July 2, 2009
June 30, 2009
Peoples Voice, July 1-31
“Don’t blame it on my eyes, blame on my youth” Sammy Davis Jnr. once sang – but a bad infection in the organs of vision has frustrated writing my column. Never mind. My last two articles have created some online debate. Now I reply.
As a student heavily involved in student government and who helped coordinate our students' union's tuition campaign last year, I resent the claim (“Student Movement Today: Tactics and Priorities,” PV June 1-15) that the Canadian Federation of Students is the only way for students and that the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations is a right-wing plot to sabotage students. […] Student issues and access to education are too important to get hung up on ideology.
Respectfully, the history is there to be googled. CASA’s advocacy approach flows from their ‘line of compromise’ politics. Their founder recently authored a
[T]he underlying issue is not "We should be profiling these kids who don't fit in", but why must they fit in? “The Stereotype of Dangerous Youth” PV, June 16-30. Not fitting in isn’t a prerequisite to becoming a reclusive, trigger happy psycho. There are plenty of kids who have flipped out at school who appeared to be perfectly normal children. […] Why should all children be the same and carry the same thoughts and beliefs? That's like asking for two identical bunches of bananas at the grocery store. It doesn't work. The only limitation that inclusive teaching faces is funding, but now we're getting into another issue (because funding should NOT be a problem when it comes to education or health care, but apparently the BC government thinks otherwise).
Re: “Dangerous Youth” I don't think racial profiling has anything to do with social malaise or a fetish of violence in terms of a cause. It has to do with one group of people repressing another and keeping them subordinate, not letting them get ahead. You could have upbeat social conditions and unarmed police but that would not solve the problem of racial profiling. Racial profiling is where racial fears are used to target people of a subordinate group and shake them down for anything that will stick. As long as there is white supremacy there will be racial profiling.[…]
Discussing racial profiling together with other forms of stereotyping was, I agree, awkward. A recent Huffington Post article by Rinku Sen, publisher of ColourLines magazine, talks about the murders of Stephen T. Johns (a black security guard at the Holocaust Museum killed by an anti-Semite) and also abortion clinic physician George Tiller (shot by a man with roots in the ‘racial purity movement’). “There's been lots of discussion about why hate crimes are rising and how to prevent future tragedies, yet we've largely missed the relationship between extremist racism and the less obvious version,” Sen writes. “Social psychologists […] tell us that notions of the innate goodness of white people and the equally innate badness of people of color are so deeply embedded in our minds that we're totally unaware of making such judgments.” Differences aside, Canadian and US history is the partly bloody tale of a ruling class fostering racism. What danger is posed to that ruling class by non-aboriginal workers, especially white workers, inseparably linking the national grievances of Natives with their own liberation, and considering Aboriginal people’s militancy proudly worth emulating?
Supposedly at the centre of the controversy is a referendum that had been scheduled for Sunday.
As writer and lawyer Eva Golinger points out, it would not have been a binding vote but "merely an opinion poll to determine whether or not a majority of Hondurans desire to eventually enter into a process to modify their constitution.
"Such an initiative has never taken place in the central American nation, which has a very limited constitution that allows minimal participation by the people of Honduras in their political processes," Golinger writes.
"The current constitution, written in 1982 during the height of the Reagan administration's dirty war in central America, was designed to ensure those in power, both economic and political, would retain it with little interference from the people."
Ah yes, the Reagan years, during which time Honduras was the base for CIA training of Nicaraguan death squads.
This was also the era during which US ambassador to Honduras John Negroponte was helping to flood the country with military aid so that Battalion 316 could murder and torture dissidents.
Says Golinger: "Zelaya, elected in November 2005 on the platform of Honduras' Liberal Party, had proposed the opinion poll be conducted to determine if a majority of citizens agreed that constitutional reform was necessary.
"He was backed by a majority of labour unions and social movements in the country. If the poll had occurred, depending on the results, a referendum would have been conducted during the upcoming elections in November to vote on convening a constitutional assembly.
"Nevertheless ... the poll was not binding by law. In fact, several days before the poll was to occur, Honduras' Supreme Court ruled it illegal, upon request by the Congress, both of which are led by anti-Zelaya majorities and members of the ultra-conservative party, National Party of Honduras (PNH)."
The Miami Herald, naturally enough, vocalised the propaganda of the would-be putschists a couple of days ago, namely their speculation that the aim might secretly be to try to remove the cap on presidential re-elections and thus have some sort of elected dictatorship just like that Chavez monster.
So, to forestall the possibility, the military has installed an unelected dictatorship. The White House is denying any involvement in the coup. Is it a plausible denial?
Back to Golinger. "Another major source of funding in Honduras is USAID, providing over $50 million annually for 'democracy promotion' programmes, which generally supports NGOs and political parties favourable to US interests, as has been the case in Venezuela, Bolivia and other nations in the region.
"The Pentagon also maintains a military base in Honduras in Soto Cano, equipped with approximately 500 troops and numerous air force combat planes and helicopters.
"Foreign Minister Rodas has stated that she has repeatedly tried to make contact with the US ambassador in Honduras Hugo Llorens, who has not responded to any of her calls thus far.
"The modus operandi of the coup makes clear that Washington is involved. Neither the Honduran military, which is majority trained by US forces, nor the political and economic elite, would act to oust a democratically elected president without the backing and support of the US government."
Well, I would say that if the behemoth just to the north has a military base in your country and funds your military and major pro-US parties, then you probably do have to get its permission before overthrowing the government.
The Honduran army will presumably now have a brief to deal with the protesters, the social movements, the labour organisations and everyone else who has been inconvenient in backing Zelaya and might now try to resist the coup. They're calling it a "bloodless" coup. For now.
Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has announced that he will return to his country on Thursday to reclaim control from the military.
Flanked by progressive Latin American leaders who have vowed to help him regain power, Mr Zelaya said at a news conference in Nicaragua last night that he would accept an offer by Organisation of American States secretary-general Jose Miguel Insulza to accompany him back to Honduras and work for the restoration of the democratic order.
The military coup which forced him out has provoked the condemnation of world leaders from US President Barack Obama to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and sparked clashes in Tegucigalpa that left over 150 injured.
Mr Zelaya announced that he will return after attending a meeting of the UN general assembly to seek the support of the international community "and I want the support of whoever thinks I have the right to finish my presidency."
Honduran military leaders seized him on Sunday and flew him to Costa Rica.
They asserted that Mr Zelaya had been legally overthrown because he violated the constitution by sponsoring a referendum that was barred by the Supreme Court.
But many Honduran citizens disagree and thousands have clashed with police and soldiers outside the national palace since the coup, demanding the restoration of democracy.
Classes remained suspended at public universities in Tegucigalpa, while secondary school teachers walked out of classrooms to take part in the rallies demanding Mr Zelaya's reinstatement.
Mr Zelaya said that he would call for dialogue and urged soldiers to return to their barracks.
"In the name of God, in the name of the people, stop repressing the people. If the people want to express themselves, don't press them," he pleaded.
Mr Zelaya said that, according to the information available to him, over 150 people had been injured and 50 arrested, but he added that he didn't "have exact figures, because I'm not there."
Rifle-toting soldiers briefly detained four journalists from Associated Press and three from Venezuela-based Telesur at their Tegucigalpa hotel on Monday, bundling them in a military vehicle and taking them to an immigration office, where two officials demanded to see their visas.
The group was released a short time later.
June 29, 2009
- Honduran president expelled by army
From Wikinews, combined sources
Monday, June 29, 2009
Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was expelled by the country's army on Sunday. Zelaya declares the action a coup d'état.
"Today's events originate from a court order by a competent judge. The armed forces, in charge of supporting the constitution, acted to defend the state of law and have been forced to apply legal dispositions against those who have expressed themselves publicly and acted against the dispositions of the basic law," said the supreme court in Honduras.
Zelaya was attempting to change the constitution via a constitutional referendum to allow himself to be re-elected following the 2009 Honduran political crisis.
Speaking from Costa Rica, Zelaya said, "Tomorrow, I will attend in the Summit of Central American presidents in Managua."
Leaders from around the world have reacted to the ouster, saying it is against the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the Vienna Convention.
"I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter," President of the United States Barack Obama said, "Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference."
Meanwhile Peter Kent, the Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), stated: "Canada condemns the coup d'état that took place over the weekend in Honduras, and calls on all parties to show restraint and to seek a peaceful resolution to the present political crisis, which respects democratic norms and the rule of law, including the Honduran Constitution. Democratic governance is a central pillar of Canada's enhanced engagement in the Americas, and we are seriously concerned by what has transpired in Honduras."
Based on the statement, Canada supports the democratically elected president. Or not. Based on the bold font portion of the quote, it seems that the Tory government supports the constitution and a peaceful resolution, perhaps implying a peaceful coup? Given that Harper prorogued parliament late last year, it should come as no surprise that in Honduras, the military has also invoked special powers to keep power in the hands of the establishment. The Harper government has not gone as far as other nations, which have pledged support for Zelaya specifically, rather than broad terms of peace and law and order.
A role by US Special Forces?
According to wikileaks, a confidential US Special Forces (7th, US Southern Command), briefing dated 17 May 2009 was created for Florida Congressman Miller.
On page 7 of the document, it is proudly proclaimed that the 7th Special Forces Group has conducted missions in every Latin American country.
On page 10 a map is given, revealing Special Forces deployments to 19 Latin American countries during 2009 alone, including two bases or missions in Honduras.
Notable is a graph of Special Forces growth. Its numbers now substantially eclipse its previous 1968 peak during the height of the cold war.
The local U.S. military base is maintained at Soto Cano. It has a garrison of about 500 troops.
The Honduran military leader of the coup is Romeo Orlando Vasquez Velasquez a graduate of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation AKA School of the Americas, Fort Benning.
A constantly changing situation
- International community overwhelmingly condemns coup.
- United States President Obama recognizes Zelaya as the legitimate President of Honduras.
- reports of arrests of foreign news reporters.
- Battalions of troops (including the 10th infantry)are reported to have rebelled and now fight against the military dictatorship.
- People have put up popular resistance and blockade "all the highways in the country".
raw footage used in the above report 1....2
Reflections by comrade Fidel
A SUICIDAL MISTAKE
Three days ago, in the evening of Thursday 25th, I wrote in my Reflections: "We do not know what will happen tonight or tomorrow in Honduras, but the courageous behavior adopted by Zelaya will go down in history."
Two paragraphs before I had indicated that: "The situation that might result from whatever occurs in that country will be a test for the OAS and the current US administration."
The prehistoric Inter-American institution met in Washington the following day and in a halfhearted and spiritless resolution promised to immediately make the necessary efforts to bring about harmony between the contending parties; that is, a negotiation between the putschists and the Constitutional President of Honduras.
The high ranking military chief who was still in command of the Honduran Armed Forces was making public statements different from the President’s position while recognizing his authority in a merely formal way.
The putschists needed barely anything else from the OAS. They couldn’t care less for the presence of a large number of international observers who had traveled to that country to bear witness to a referendum and who had been talking with Zelaya until late into the night. Today, before dawn, they launched on the President’s home about 200 well-trained and equipped professional troops who roughly set aside the members of the Guard of Honor and kidnapped Zelaya --who was sleeping at the moment-- taking him to an air base and forcibly putting him on a plane to Costa Rica.
At 8:30 a.m. we learned from Telesur of the assault on the Presidential House and the kidnapping. The President was unable to attend the initial activity related to the referendum that was to take place this Sunday and his whereabouts were unknown.
The official television channel was silenced. They wanted to prevent the early spread of the news of the treacherous action through Telesur and Cubavision Internacional, which were reporting the events. Therefore, they first suspended the broadcasting centers and then cut off electricity to the entire country. At the moment, the Supreme Court and the Congress involved in the conspiracy had yet to make public the decisions that justified the plot. They first carried out the indescribable military coup and then legalized it.
The people woke up to a fait accompli and started to react with growing indignation. Zelaya’s destination was unknown. Three hours later the people’s reaction was such that we could see women punching soldiers with their fists and the latter’s weapons falling off their hands as they were nervous and confused. At the beginning, their movements resembled a strange combat with ghosts; later, they tried to cover Telesur’s cameras with their hands and nervously aimed their guns at the reporters. Sometimes, when the people advanced the troops stepped back. At this point, armored vehicles carrying cannons and machineguns were sent in as the people fearlessly discussed with the crews of the armored vehicles. The people’s reaction was amazing.
Approximately at 2:00 in the afternoon, a tamed majority in Congress --in coordination with the putschists—toppled Zelaya, the Constitutional President of Honduras, and appointed a new head of State announcing to the world that the former had resigned and showing a forged signature. A few minutes later, from an airport in Costa Rica, Zelaya related everything that had happened and categorically refuted the news about his resignation. The plotters had placed themselves in a ridiculous situation in the eyes of the world.
Many other things happened today. Cubavision took all of its time to expose the coup and keep our people informed.
Some events were purely fascist in nature and even if expected they are still astonishing.
Honduran Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas was the putschists’ main target, second only to Zelaya. Another detachment was sent to her residence. She was brave and determined, and she acted quickly; she did not waste time and started denouncing the coup in every way possible. Our ambassador contacted Patricia to learn about the situation; other ambassadors did likewise. At a given moment, she asked the diplomatic representatives of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba to meet with her since she was being fiercely hounded and required diplomatic protection. Our ambassador, who from the first moments was authorized to offer the minister all the constitutional and legal support, proceeded to visit her in her own residence.
When the diplomats were already in her house, the putschist command sent Major Oceguera to put her under arrest. The diplomats stood between the woman and the officer and claimed she was under diplomatic protection and could only be moved accompanied by them. Oceguera discussed with them in a respectful fashion. A few minutes later, 12 or 15 men in uniform and covering their faces with ski masks rushed into the house. The three ambassadors embraced Patricia but the masked men using force managed to separate the Venezuelan and Nicaraguan ambassadors; Hernandez held her so strongly by one arm that the masked men dragged them both to a van and drove to an air base where they finally separated him and took her away. As he was there in custody, Bruno, who had news of the kidnapping called him to the cell phone; one of the masked men tried to violently snatch the phone out of his hands and the Cuban ambassador, who had already been punched in Patricia’s home, shouted: "Don’t push me, cojones!" I don’t remember if the term was ever used by Cervantes, but there is no doubt that ambassador Juan Carlos Hernandez has enriched our language.
Later, he was abandoned in a road far from the Cuban mission not before being warned that something worse could happen to him if he talked. "Nothing can be worse than death," he answered with dignity, "and still I’m not afraid of you." Then people from the area helped him to return to the embassy and from there he immediately called Bruno again.
There is no way to negotiate with that putschist high command. They must be asked to abdicate while other younger officers, uninvolved with the oligarchy, take charge of the military command; otherwise, there will never be in Honduras a government "of the people, by the people and for the people."
There is no hope for the cornered and isolated putschists if the problem is faced with determination.
Even Mrs. Clinton stated this afternoon that Zelaya is the only President of Honduras and the Honduran putschists can’t even breathe without the support of the United States of America.
Zelaya, a man who was in his pyjamas just a few hours ago, will be recognized by the world as the only Constitutional President of Honduras.
Fidel Castro Ruz
June 28, 2009
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