This Week in the Americas
We’ve been covering the coup in Honduras since before it happened—some 40 days ago now. That’s the standard quarantine period, a biblical reference traditionally observed after childbirth here in Mexico. In the 40 days since the coup, diplomatic efforts to quarantine anti-democracy maneuvers by isolating the Honduran coup have not worked. That’s a serious blow to the international community and has increased fears of contagion in the region. The OAS is traveling to Honduras early this week to try to retake initiative based on its resolution condemning the coup and calling for the immediate return of President Zelaya.
The message is simple: We cannot allow a return to military coups and death squads in Central America—or anywhere. Honduras today is not the time or place to play geopolitics. Diplomatic games and delay tactics only prolong the illegality that exists, entrench the coup leadership, and deepen the polarization and violence in the nation. A coup is a coup. All peaceful measures must be applied to prevent further violence and restore democracy.
There have been some lively debates on the postings here and at my blog on Huffington Post.
What’s remarkable about them is the persistence of myths—particularly that the non-binding referendum proposed included an indefinite term for President Zelaya—and the idea among so many people that it’s okay for the military to oust an elected president if they have a difference of opinion. We would have hoped that after the Organization of American States and the United Nations resolved to condemn the coup, and after Central American countries fought so hard to rebuild democracy, at least the terms of debate would be clear.
You can find a list of the 31 articles and blogs on Honduras below the Updater. They chronicle and analyze the development of the political crisis and include exclusive interviews and dispatches from people on-the-ground in Honduras like farm movement leader Rafael Alegria and union leader Juan Barahona (both leaders now of the National front Against the Coup), and journalist Dick Emanuelsson. They also include perspectives from former ambassador to El Salvador Robert White, president of the Center for International Policy, and Costa Rican political analyst Carlos Aguilar, as well as what I’ve written.
In a phone conversation this morning that was mysteriously cut off several times, Wendy Cruz of the CLOC-Central America Via Campesina described the current situation: thousands of Hondurans are marching since Aug. 5 to converge on Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula tomorrow in a nationwide protest against the coup. She noted that they are waiting to see what happens with a group of foreign ministers scheduled to arrive since the coup leaders have vacillated as to whether they will receive them or not. The coup recently said that the OAS delegation will only be admitted as tourists—a further insult to international diplomacy and law.
Cruz called on the international community to "ask the United States to take a much firmer position … and to stop sending aid to the Honduran Army. Because we know that they have only stopped a small part of the aid." Indeed, the suspension of $16.5 million is a fraction of U.S. aid to Honduras in the pipeline. Tomorrow is the International Day of Action for Honduras as the marches arrive there.
This is the time to act. The State Department sent a letter to the Senate softening its stance and has said it is not currently considering further sanctions. President Obama will be discussing the Honduran coup with North American leaders today at the Summit. Below is a partial list of U.S. links of support for democracy in Honduras compiled by one of our readers to write letters to the editor and to Congress:
New from the Americas Program
A Lack of Resolve
By Robert E. White
The United States has a great opportunity. By speaking unambiguously, by acting decisively, by joining with the other nations of the hemisphere in restoring constitutional government in Honduras, a great victory will have been achieved for the Obama doctrine of a Partnership of the Americas. If the United States and the OAS cannot do the job, no doubt President Hugo Chavez will put together a coalition to restore the rightful president. If we won’t lead, others will. Read more…
See full article at:
Honduras: The Frontline in the Battle for Democracy
By Dick Emanuelsson
In this special report for the Americas Program, Dick Emanuelsson has written an on-the-ground report and analysis based on what he has lived and seen in the past few weeks. It is a mix of voices, images, and testimonies that tells the story of the firm struggle to restore democracy in Honduras, the dark origins of the coup leaders, and the current situation that remains unresolved after a month. Read more…
See the full article at:
The How and Why of the Coup d’Etat in Honduras
By Carlos G. Aguilar
Once again, defending the social and political interests of Central America’s marginalized and impoverished majorities rests on the heroic actions of social movements. They achieved it once, when Nicaragua’s Somocista dictatorship was defeated. On the results of this regional and continental polarization and this struggle hang a new balance of power and the new political scenarios that we face before decisive elections in South America. Read more…
See the full article at:
Biodiversity Report from the Americas Program of CIP—July 2009
By Carmelo Ruiz Marrero
This month in the Americas Program Biodiversity Report:
1) Chile: Resounding Rejection of Genetically Modified (GM) Products
2) Brazil: The Harsh Reality Behind Sugar Cane Ethanol
3) NO to Biofuels for Aviation
4) Mexico: African Palm Plantations Wreak Havoc
5) Argentina: More Evidence Against Roundup
See full article at:
Elections in Argentina: A Return to the Right and a Blow for Kirchnerism
By Lucia Alvarez
Though legislative elections took place in Argentina on June 28, the topic on everyone’s mind now is the 2011 presidential elections. The ruling party, Front for Victory, (FPV—Frente Para La Victoria, which includes the Justicialist Party) lost a total of 24 deputies and four senators, a number which includes both their own seats and those of their political allies. The party’s popularity dropped to 31.2% nationally. The government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has been weakened by its loss of control in both legislative chambers.
The Kirchner leadership seems to be one of the main contributing factors to this national shift to the right. The most important thing they can do now is recover public confidence, especially in the area of statistical manipulation. Now more than ever it is important to recognize the recession, inflation, the rise in poverty, and the loss of jobs, in order to design appropriate policies for the future.
See full article at:
South America’s Swine Flu Winter
By Tony Phillips
Just three weeks after the southern winter solstice, an already overloaded Argentine health service prepares for the second winter influenza peak expected in mid-July. Swine flu has flown south to winter in the southern cone; it has hit hard in Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. Paraguay and Bolivia have also declared states of emergency. Argentina is the only country in the region in the “over 101 deaths” category according to statistics from the World Health Organization.
While media channels play a role in disseminating information to bring patients to prompt treatment, an overreaction to a minimally life-threatening pandemic can cause more problems than it solves. Experience also shows that policy responses such as mandatory closures of facilities need to be coordinated better between state and national authorities, and between the public and private sectors. Read more…
See full article at:
Americas Program Blog on Honduras
Americas Program Blog on Honduras: http://americasmexico.blogspot.com/
Third Stage of Operation Crack the Coup: Popular Mobilization
Armed Police Infiltrate Funeral of Murdered Zelaya Supporter, Human Rights Abuses Mount in Desperate Attempt to Repress Popular Uprising
A Military Coup is Violence; A President’s Return is Restoration of Constitutional Order
Breakdown of Mediation Means More Pressure for U.S. to Act
As Arias Proposes Coalition Government, National Front Against the Coup Vows to Keep Up Resistance
The Criminal Right and the Obama Ultimatum
Mediation Hopes Slip as Coup Leader Returns to Honduras
Clinton Announces Mediation of Honduras Conflict, Zelaya Says Talks to "Plan Withdrawal of the Coup"
Military Coup Blocks President’s Return, Time for U.S. to Act
Near Convergence Point: Marchers, President, Armed Forces Move toward Airport
Statement of Pres. Zelaya on his Return Tomorrow, Calls for Non-Violent Demonstrations
Honduran Rural Leader Rafael Alegria: "Some Battalions Are Refusing to Repress the Population"
Text of UN Resolution and Call for International Support from Popular Resistance Front of Honduras
Zelaya Postpones Return, Mass Mobilization in the Country
ALBA and Via Campesina Issue New Declarations Against the Honduran Coup
Honduran Coup Moves from Failed Arguments to Repression, International Sanctions Imposed
Resolution from the OAS Diplomatically Isolates Honduran Leaders
Declarations from Via Campesina, Honduran Grassroots Organization
Pres. Zelaya Calls for the Military to Correct its Actions
OAS countries back Zelaya, Calls for ultimatum on reinstatement, no negotiation with coup leaders
Extreme Alert: Military Coup in Honduras, President Zelaya in Costa Rica, Minister and Ambassadors Reported Kidnapped
Honduran Crisis Tests Commitment to Democracy
Border Lines Blog: http://borderlinesblog.blogspot.com