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[The communities in the Siria Valley, gravely affected by Goldcorp's San Martin mine in Honduras, would argue with Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas, Peter Kent, who stated to CBC that "Canadians should be proud of Goldcorp..." Photo: Siria Valley Environmental Committee.]
[re-posted from www.RIGHTSACTION.org email list]:
IN RESPONSE TO MR. PETER KENT:
CANADA’S INCREASINGLY COMPLICIT ROLE IN HONDURAS
Day 36 of Honduran Coup Resistance, August 2, 2009
On July 29, The Current radio program, of the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), aired a 2-part discussion about “Canada’s role in Honduras”: part one with Grahame Russell of Rights Action; part two with Peter Kent, Canada’s Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas.
To listen: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/200907/20090729.html
As Peter Kent spoke second, and responded to points Grahame made, we publish this in response to comments made by Mr. Kent.
GENERAL COMMENT: BODY COUNT RISING
Honduran teacher Roger Abraham Vallejo died in hospital on Saturday, August 1, two days after he was shot point-blank in the head by a police officer during a peaceful protest.
As one listens to the 2-part CBC interview and reads the comments below, keep in mind that Mr. Kent represents the government of Canada. He is not speaking in his personal capacity. Keep in mind, also, that the OAS (Organization of American States), one month ago, unequivocally called for the “the immediate and unconditional return” of President Zelaya and his government – “immediate” and “unconditional”.
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It's been a whirlwind workweek for Peter Kent, who on Monday kicked off his first field trip as Canada's minister of state for the Americas. The junior minister post is a new position created by the Conservatives in order to fulfill their plan to re-engage in Latin America.
Kent started off his week in a meeting with President Daniel Ortega in Managua, Nicaragua.
But he didn't make the local news until he expressed "serious concern" about "credible evidence" pointing to fraud in municipal elections in the country last November. Among the critics of the fairness of the elections are the opposition, the US, and the Organization of American States.
OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza said in a press release that the organization was "very concerned" about the "difficulties unfolding in Nicaragua as votes [were] being counted." The same press release duly noted that "Insulza remarked that since the organization had not been invited to observe any of the latest elections in that country, it is not in a position to comment on them." Ummm... ¿Perdon?
Canada's junior minister of foreign affairs has made a point of pointing fingers lately. For that matter, so has Canada, which was the only country on the United Nations' Human Rights Council that voted against a motion condemning Israel for its recent attacks on the Gaza Strip.
The vote before the Geneva-based body shows the Stephen Harper government has abandoned a more even-handed approach to the Middle East in favour of unalloyed support of Israel, reads an article in today's Toronto Star.
Peter Kent, a former anchor with CBC Newsworld and foreign correspondent for NBC, seems to be settling right into his role as Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon's sidekick in an increasingly reactionary Ottawa. His outspoken condemnation of Hamas has rippled through the news as Israel continues its attacks on the Gaza Strip.
"The government of Canada has been very clear since the beginning of this crisis that it believes that the Hamas rocketing was responsible for the initial development of this crisis and for the continuing deepening humanitarian tragedy," Kent told the CBC little more than a week after Israel began Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.
The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.