Honduran Coup Turns Violent, Sanctions Imposed

Laura Carlsen
Americas Program, Special Report
Center for International Policy (CIP)
June 30, 2009
Laura Carlsen (lcarlsen(a)ciponline.org) is the Director of the Americas Program (www.americaspolicy.org) for the Center for International Policy in Mexico City.
Zelaya supporters clash with soldiers near the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Photo: www.businessweek.com.

Thousands of Hondurans are now in the streets to protest the coup d'etat in their country. They have been met with tear gas, anti-riot rubber bullets, tanks firing water mixed with chemicals, and clubs. Police have moved in to break down barricades and soldiers used violence to push back protesters at the presidential residence, leaving an unknown number wounded.

If the coup leaders were desperate when they decided to forcibly depose the elected president, they are even more desperate now. Stripped of its pretense of legality by universal repudiation and faced with a popular uprising, the coup has turned to more violent means.

The scoreboard in the battle for Honduras shows the coup losing badly. It has not gained a single point in the international diplomatic arena, it has no serious legal points, and the Honduran people are mobilizing against it. As the military and coup leaders resort to brute force, they rack up even more points against them in human rights and common decency.

Only one factor brought the coup to power and only one factor has enabled it to hold on for these few days—control of the armed forces. Now even that seems to be eroding.

Cracks in Army Loyalty to the Coup?
Reports are coming in that several battalions—specifically the Fourth and Tenth—have rebelled against coup leadership. Both Zelaya and his supporters have been very conscious that within the armed forces there are fractures. Instead of insulting the army, outside the heavily guarded presidential residence many protesters chant, "Soldiers, you are part of the people."

President Zelaya has been remarkably respectful in calling on the army to "correct its actions." It is likely the coup will continue to lose its grip on the army as intensifying mobilizations force it to confront its own people.

photo on the right: The meeting of the Central American Integration System in Managua became a forum for pronouncements from the major diplomatic groups in the region. Photo: www.granma.cu.

International Community Imposes Sanctions
In the diplomatic arena, it's not that the coup is losing its grip—it never even got a foothold. The meeting of the Central American Integration System in Managua Monday became a forum for pronouncements from one after another of the major diplomatic groups in the region. Latin America is a region where diplomatic recombinations have proliferated in recent years, so the alphabet soup of solidarity statements just keeps on growing.

The Bolivarian Alliance (ALBA) issued a resolution, announcing the withdrawal of its ambassadors while continuing the member countries' international cooperation programs in Honduras. The group urged other nations to do the same—a growing list including Brazil and Mexico has already followed suit.

The ALBA group cited the Honduran Constitution, which states in Art. 3:
"No one owes obedience to a government that has usurped power or to those who assume functions or public posts by the force of arms or using means or procedures that rupture or deny what the Constitution and the laws establish. The verified acts by such authorities are null. The people have the right to recur to insurrection in defense of the constitutional order."
Putting teeth behind the words has already begun. The Central American countries agreed to close off their land borders to all commerce with Honduras for the next 48 hours. The Central American Bank for Economic Integration has cut off all lending until the president is restored to power.

It also called for sanctions in multilateral organizations: "We propose that exemplary sanctions be applied in all multilateral organizations and integration groups, to contribute to bringing about the immediate restitution of the constitutional order in Honduras, and to make good on the principle of action that Jose Marti taught us when he said: 'If each one does his duty, no one can overcome us.' "

The Rio Group of Latin American and Caribbean nations also met in Managua and issued a statement condemning the coup and supporting Zelaya. Organization of American States Sec. General Jose Insulza was there too. President Zelaya received a standing ovation following his closing speech.

The U.S. government has been unambiguous in its condemnation of the coup and support of President Zelaya. President Obama stated today:
"We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the democratically elected president there." He added, "It would be a terrible precedent if we start moving backward into the era in which we are seeing military coups as a means of political transition rather than democratic elections."
After years of the Bush administration, when the commitment to democracy abroad was decided more on the basis of ideological affinities than democratic practice, some sectors have trouble accepting that the U.S. government is condemning the overthrow of a president who espouses left-wing causes. Note the obstinacy of reporters at today's State Department press conference:
QUESTION: "So Ian, I'm sorry, just to confirm—so you're not calling it a coup, is that correct? Legally, you're not considering it a coup?"

MR. KELLY: "Well, I think you all saw the OAS statement last night, which called it a coup d'état, and you heard what the Secretary just said ..." (Clinton explicitly called it a coup).
This discussion and another drawn-out discussion in which reporters attempted to open up a window of doubt over support for reinstatement of Zelaya went on quite a while. Ian Kelly, the Dept. spokesperson, held fast as reporters tried to equate supposed violations of law by Zelaya with a military coup in a fantasy "everyone's-at-fault" scenario. Kelly reiterated that the coup is indeed an illegal coup and the only solution is the return of the elected president.

The "coup question" is more than semantics and has implications beyond conservative media's political agenda to justify the coup leaders. When a legal definition of coup is established, most U.S. aid to Honduras must be cut off.

Here's the relevant part of the foreign operations bill:
Sec. 7008. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to titles III through VI of this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.
So far, the Obama administration has focused on diplomatic efforts and is waiting to see how long the Honduran stand-off will last before looking to specific sanctions. The probability that the coup's days are numbered makes that a reasonable strategy for the time being.

Attack on Freedom of Expression
The military coup has also launched an all-out attack on freedom of expression in the country. Venezuela's Telesur reports that its team was detained and military personnel threatened to confiscate its video equipment if it continued to broadcast.

The ALBA declaration notes the use of censorship as a tool of the coup, "This silence was meant to impose the dictatorship by closing the government channel and cutting off electricity, seeking to hide and justify the coup before the people and the international community, and demonstrating an attitude that recalls the worst era of dictatorships that we've suffered in the 20th century in our continent."

Grassroots organizations that support President Zelaya have faced an uphill battle against the media, which alternates between scaring people about the risk to keep them out of the streets and denying the existence of those who do go out. A message from Via Campesina Honduras warns people that information is controlled by the coup to hide opposition, cut off communications on many channels, and only allow information that favors them. They have now organized to open up contact with reporters throughout the world.

An increasingly organized opposition and independent media on the scene and on the net are breaking through the information blockade. A third source is Twitter. A major player in the Iranian uprising, Twitter has become the pulse of, if not the body politic, at least some bodies of that politic.

All this means that the information black-out designed by the coup is riddled with points of light. It's still hard to get statistical information like crowd numbers or figures of killed and wounded, but Honduras is certainly not the isolated and insignificant "banana republic" it once was.

The Return of the President
Zelaya now leaves for New York City where he will speak before the General Assembly of the United Nations to further outpourings of support. In Managua, he announced that from there he will return, accompanied by Insulza, to Honduras.

In an interview with CNN a coup leader said that Zelaya "can return to Honduras—as long as he leaves his presidency behind."

The Honduran ambassador to the UN, Jorge Reina, said that although the coup leaders have asked to address the UN, "the UN does not recognize them ... They have made a serious mistake, those who think that countries can be led through coups."

"That history has passed."

Coup in Honduras Day 2 - Mass Repression in the Street

Eva Golinger
June 29, 2009

Last night, the coup government de facto president in Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, spoke live in a television interview (the only television station left open in Honduras, the others have been shut down by the military), and reinforced his determination to remain in power. He said he would allow President Zelaya to return to the country - not as president, but as a citizen - only if he renounces his relationship with President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. Micheletti also said he didn't need the approval of any nation - including the US- regarding his position in power and the "new government" in place in Honduras. Despite all of the condemnations from the international community, Micheletti has said his coup government will not step down.

Today there are several meetings in Nicaragua - the Rio Group is meeting (comprised of all Latin American and Caribbean nations), ALBA countries have been meeting since last night (Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Dominica, St. Vicent, Antigua and Barbados and Honduras) and the Central American nations are also all going to meet later today to discuss the situation in Honduras.

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has made a statement unilaterally condemning the coup in Honduras and calling for President Zelaya's immediate reinstatement. All have said so far they will only recognize Zelaya as the legitimate president of Honduras.

Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas has been released by the coup military officers who beat and detained her. She was forced into exile in Mexico, where she is now and is expected to fly later today with Mexican president Felipe Calderon to Nicaragua.

The coup government in Honduras has issued arrest warrants for members of Zelaya's cabinet that are still in the country. There is widespread repression throughout the country. A curfew was imposed by the coup government last night at 9pm to 6am this morning and the military have thoroughly barricaded the presidential palace to prevent protesters from getting close.

Television, press and radio in Honduras are not reporting AT ALL on the coup and President Zelaya's whereabouts. As they did during the April 2002 against Chávez in Venezuela, television stations are showing soap operas and regular programming, print media is not mentioning the coup at all and neither is radio. There is a MAJOR BLACKOUT on information in Honduras.

No longer is the coup in Honduras making international headlines. Seems like the international media doesn't really care that a military coup has just occurred in Honduras and the president was kidnapped, beaten and forced into exile. Nor are they reporting that for the first time ever, all multilateral organisms, like the OAS, UN, European Community, ALBA, UNASUR, etc, have all condemned the coup and convened emergency meetings to discuss solutions.

This afternoon, President Obama meets with President Uribe of Colombia, in a previously scheduled meeting, and will most likely make statements regarding the situation in Honduras.

Nevertheless, it seems like in the particular coup scenario, Obama has lost control. The US Military Group and Embassy in Honduras have been directly involved with the coup leaders. USAID and the Pentagon have backed this coup, there is just really no question. The Honduran military would never have moved with consent from their commanding officers, the US Military Group in Honduras and those stationed on the Soto Cano base.

Fidel 0n Honduras: A Suicidal Mistake

Fidel Castro
June 29, 2009

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.


Iranian Workers in Action for Democractic Rights

Robert Johnson and John Riddell
Socilaist Voice, Canada
June 28, 2009


The mass protests in Iran, sparked by charges of fraud in the June 12 presidential elections, express deeply felt demands for expanded democratic rights. The establishment press has been silent on the aspirations of rank-and-file protesters. Socialist Voice is therefore pleased to be able to publish several statements by components of Iran's vigorous trade union movement, which has been a major target of repression by Iran's security forces. We have provided the titles and some introductory comments.

The U.S. government and its allies hypocritically claim to be "pro-democracy," a lie exposed by their enthusiastic support of repressive dictatorships in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere, and their alliance with the apartheid regime in Israel. For 30 years they have raged against Iran, jealous of the sovereignty established by its great revolution in 1979. Now they hope that the protest movement can provide an opening for them to undermine Iranian sovereignty and return the country to their sphere of influence. They hope to break Iran's alignment with the Palestinian freedom struggle and with the progressive nations of Latin America's Bolivarian Alliance (ALBA).

By repressing mass protests, the Iranian government is weakening the country's defenses against such imperialist attacks. Continued social progress in Iran depends on the expansion of democratic rights, and the strengthening the working class and other popular forces that are the main pillar of national sovereignty.

Progressive activists in Canada should not take sides between the competing factions in Iran's capitalist class, nor should we try to instruct the Iranian people on how the present crisis might be resolved. These questions can only be settled by the Iranian people themselves.

We should, however, support the right of the Iranian people to communicate freely, to demonstrate, and to form trade unions and other popular associations independent of government supervision or control. We should support calls for freeing political prisoners and for an end to the repression.

At the same time, we should strongly oppose attempts by imperialism to take advantage of this crisis, and call for an end to sanctions and other forms of foreign oppression of the Iranian people.

The position adopted by the Vancouver antiwar coalition Stopwar.ca provides a good example of this approach. Its resolution also appears below.

* * * * *
"General prosperity depends on general cooperation, and we must not let others make decisions for us. We must take the initiative ourselves."
[In 2005-2006, the strike movement of Tehran's bus drivers won respect among working people in Iran and worldwide. The movement was repressed and hundreds of drivers were arrested, but the union continues to function.

[Mansour Osanloo, the president of the bus drivers' union, has been in jail since July 2007, serving a five-year sentence for "threatening national security "and "propaganda against the state." He has suffered gross mistreatment at the hands of his jailers. He is being denied appropriate medical treatment and his health is failing. Other leaders and activists of the bus drivers' union have suffered arbitrary arrests, beatings, and loss of their jobs.

[The union issued the following statement during the campaign for Iran's tenth presidential election, before the outbreak of the national crisis.]

The Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company Workers' Trade Union is purely a trade and workers' organisation. This trade union was formed in 2005 based on the consciousness of the workers and the broad support and involvement of workers, and despite its ups and downs and many problems, has continued its activity as before until today.

The Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company Workers' Trade Union does not support any candidate in the tenth presidential election and does not view supporting any candidate as within the scope of the activities of independent workers' organisations. With the absence of freedom [of activity] for parties, naturally our organisation is also deprived of a social association that would protect it. While the Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company Workers' Trade Union views political intervention and activity as the absolute right of every single person in society, it believes that if the presidential candidates present workers' manifestoes and give practical guarantees about their electoral slogans, workers throughout Iran can either participate or not participate in the election.

But the Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company Workers' Trade Union, as a workers' association, sees it as its duty to ask all candidates [some questions], so that in case there is a logical answer, workers can make a decision about these [replies]. But unfortunately, until now the presidential candidates have not expressed any views about workers, the unemployed, and their demands in the press, at conferences, in press conferences or during provincial trips.

Today, for workers and their families, encouragement about participation in the election is one of the most meaningless of existing debates, because during the past three decades the workers have experienced all the presidents from the time of the [Iran-Iraq] war and the [post-war] reconstruction and reform, and also the affection-cultivating president.

We want all our workmates and people of our class, if there is a discussion about the election in their place of work or study, home or neighbourhood, to not forget to ask themselves and others what is the programme of the presidential pretenders for workers?

1. What is the clear position of the candidates of the tenth presidential election on the formation of independent workers' organisations without the interference of the government and employers?

2. How do you justify the suppression of independent workers' organisations like the Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company Workers' Trade Union?

3. Considering the accumulated demands of workers and that the poverty line announced for this year is 850,000 tomans [$874], but on the other hand the monthly wage has been set at 263,000 tomans [$270], will you accept the demand of workers' organisations that the minimum wage should be one million tomans [$1,021]? This was what the signatures of factory workers throughout the country have proclaimed.

4. To announce their opinion on international conventions on labour rights, children's rights, women's and human rights, and to say how they will adhere to them?

5. To say what their opinion and programme is on job security, job creation, housing, and unemployment insurance for people over 18 years old, medical insurance for everyone, and scrapping temporary contracts that are the cause of hardship and poverty for working class families?

During these past years, the workers have been told to make sacrifices and to accept their hardship and their lack of rights. While the workers can neither go to work with security or hope, nor to their homes for rest, thousands of plain-clothes and security force [officers] - forces that perform no productive work and are used everywhere and for any deed that is necessary, with any level of violence and use of force - are kept to deprive and detain workers from a free life. Yet [the candidates] refuse to [devote] one day to talking about the workers' demands and needs.

These are not issues specific to the time of the election. These problems depend on the co-operation of all toilers who see this dam in front of them.

We must strive to go past this dam and reach a society where the solving of social problems is not handed over to the president and parliament only.

General prosperity depends on general cooperation, and we must not let others make decisions for us. We must take the initiative ourselves.

--Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company Workers' Trade Union, May 2009

* * * * *
We "fully support this movement of [the] Iranian people to build a free and independent civil society and condemn any violence and oppression."
[In this later statement, the union states its position on the post-election crisis.]

In recent days, we continue witnessing the magnificent demonstration of millions of people from all ages, genders, and national and religious minorities in Iran. They request that their basic human rights - particularly the right to freedom and to choose independently and without deception - be recognized. These rights are not only constitutional in most of the countries, but also have been protected against all odds.

Amid such turmoil, one witnesses threats, arrests, murders and brutal suppression that one fears only to escalate on all its aspects, resulting in more innocent bloodshed, more protests, and certainly no retreats. Iranian society is facing a deep political-economical crisis. Million-strong silent protests, ironically loud with unspoken words, have turned into iconic stature and are expanding from all sides. These protests demand reaction from each and every responsible individual and institution.

As previously expressed in a statement published on-line in May of this year, since the Vahed Syndicate does not view any of the candidates support the activities of the workers' organizations in Iran, it would not endorse any presidential candidate in the election. Vahed members nevertheless have the right to participate or not to participate in the elections and vote for their individually selected candidate.

Moreover, the fact remains that demands of almost an absolute majority of the Iranians go far beyond the demands of a particular group. In the past, we have emphasized that [so long as] the freedom of choice and right to organize are not recognized, talk of any social or particular right would be more of a mockery than a reality.

The Syndicate [Union] of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company fully supports this movement of [the] Iranian people to build a free and independent civil society and condemns any violence and oppression.

In line with the recognition of the labour rights, the Syndicate requests that June 26, which has been called by the International Trade Unions Organization "Day of Action" for justice for Iranian workers, include the human rights of all Iranians who have been deprived of their rights.

With hope for freedom and equality

--The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company, June 18, 2009

* * * * *
Organize 30-minute protest strike; "it is our duty to join this people's movement"

The workers of the Khodro automobile company in Iran slowdowned their works to support the mass protest in June 18, 2009. Photo taken previously by ISNA.

[Khodro, Iran's leading car company and the largest vehicle producer of automobiles in the Middle East, has a strong recent history of labor militancy, strikes, and repression. It employs more than 100,000 workers and produces more than half a million vehicles a year.

[A few weeks before Iran's June elections, a strike by the Khodro workers quickly won its two demands: for payment of unpaid wages and for Khodro itself to sign up employees previously supplied by third-party contractors.

[In a recent letter to the International Labour Organization, Khodro workers have also made their long-term demands clear, asking that ILO work to help ensure that Iran:

** Observes workers rights.

** Does not prevent the formation of free workers' organisations.

** Does not arrest and jail workers for the offence of going on strikes and forming workers' organisations.

** Respects the conventions of the International Labour Organisation.

[The following is the Khodro workers' response to the crisis.]

Autoworkers, fellow labourers: What we witness today, is an insult to the intelligence of the people, and disregard for their votes, the trampling of the principles of the Constitution by the government. It is our duty to join this people's movement.

We the workers of Iran Khodro, Thursday 28/3/88 [June 18], in each working shift will stop working for half an hour to protest the suppression of students, workers, women, and the Constitution and declare our solidarity with the movement of the people of Iran. The morning and afternoon shifts from 10 to 10:30. The night shift from 3 to 3:30.

--Labourers of Iran Khodro

* * * * *
"Honour the will and the vote of the people"
[We have been unable to find an English translation of the statement by the teachers' union. Below is a summary and partial translation of the statement as it appeared on the LaborNerd website June 19.]

Sazman-e Moalleman-e Iran (Teachers' Organization of Iran) is writing a statement protesting the arrest three days ago of its leader, Ali-Reza Hashemi. It expresses the view that the wave of arrests by the government will only serve to unite the people. It says, "The only way out of this situation is to accept the request of the candidates and to honour the will and the vote of the people." It expresses extreme objection to the arrest of Hashemi and other activists and says that freeing those who have been arrested will serve to decrease the amount of conflict in the country. It also says, "The Teachers' Organization of Iran, further, supports the goals of Messrs. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi and calls on the election authorities to annul this election and undertake a free election."

* * * * *
STOPWAR COALITION (Vancouver, Canada)

Statement on the Iran crisis

[The Vancouver antiwar coalition StopWar adopted the following statement at its June 24 monthly membership meeting.]

StopWar, the broad-based anti-war coalition which has been active in the Vancouver area since 2002, sends warm greetings and solidarity to all those who are rallying for democracy and justice in Iran and abroad this week. We share your commitment to a peaceful and just resolution of the disputes brought to the surface by the recent presidential election in Iran, and your desire for Iranians themselves to determine the future of their country.

We condemn the regime's killing of protesters and we join with others in demanding the right to organize, strike and protest, and to free speech and assembly for all Iranians. We demand the release of all arrested workers, students, and political leaders.

We condemn any attempt by pro-war forces in the United States, Canada, and other countries to take advantage of this situation to push for 'regime change' imposed by outside powers. The drumbeat of threats against Iran should remind all peace-loving people of the build-up for war against Iraq seven years ago, which brought a terrible tragedy to that country without advancing the rights of the Iraqi people.

StopWar expresses our full confidence that the people of Iran will achieve their goals without the interference of governments such as that of Canada, which has only hindered genuine progress towards democracy, social justice and gender equality with the ongoing military mission in Afghanistan.

* * * * *

1. Tehran bus drivers' union (pre-election statement) Translated by Iranian Workers' Solidarity Network. http://www.iwsn.org/labour/vahed-election2009.htm

2. Tehran bus drivers' union (post-election statement) http://www.justiceforiranianworkers.org/?p=594

3. Iran Khodro autoworker. Translated for The Field by Iraj Omidvar. http://tinyurl.com/nt6hn8

4. Teachers' Organization Of Iran, Summary and partial translation posted on LaborNerd website.

5. Stopwar Coalition (Vancouver, Canada) http://www.stopwar.ca/.


Update on Hondura II

1) Statement from U.S. Secretary Hillary Clinton on Honduran coup
June 28th, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) — “The action taken against Honduran President Mel Zelaya violates the precepts of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and thus should be condemned by all. We call on all parties in Honduras to respect the constitutional order and the rule of law, to reaffirm their democratic vocation, and to commit themselves to resolve political disputes peacefully and through dialogue. Honduras must embrace the very principles of democracy we reaffirmed at the OAS meeting it hosted less than one month ago,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a written statement on Sunday.

2) Chavez: We can't surrender to the coup
June 28th, 2009

I don't have time to translate all, but Chavez warned that if the Venezuelan embassador is kidnapped or the embassy occupied, Venezuela will have to act, "even militarily." Chavez also confirmed that the Cuban and Venezuelan ambassadors had been attacked in their residences by Honduran soldiers.

Sounds like a provocation directed at ALBA and the Bolivarian movement, as someone said previously. And we have the typical U.S. response: Clinton publicly deplores it even while her State Department is implicated...

3) Zelaya calls on workers and peasants to protest
The wall Street Journal
Jun 28, 2009

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- Honduran soldiers rousted President Manuel Zelaya from his bed and exiled him at gunpoint Sunday to Costa Rica, halting his controversial push to redraw the constitution but spurring fresh concerns about democratic rule across Latin America.

Honduran soldiers blocked a street near the residence of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya in Tegucigalpa on Sunday.

"I was awakened by shots, and the yells of my guards, who resisted for about 20 minutes," Mr. Zelaya said, describing the predawn raid of his home to reporters at the San José airport in Costa Rica, where he was flown against his will. "I came out in my pajamas, I'm still in my pajamas....When (the soldiers) came in, they pointed their guns at me and told me they would shoot if I didn't put down my cellphone."

Mr. Zelaya called the action a kidnapping, and said he was still president. The U.S. and other countries condemned the coup. President Barack Obama said he was "deeply concerned" and called on all political actors in Honduras to "respect democratic norms." Venezuela President Hugo Chávez, a close ally of Mr. Zelaya and nemesis of the U.S., said he would consider it an ''act of war" if there were hostilities against his diplomats. "I have put the armed forces of Venezuela on alert," Mr. Chávez said.

Central American leaders called a summit including the ousted president for Monday in Managua, Nicaragua to deal with the crisis, and the U.N. General Assembly planned to meet.

In Honduras, television stations were off the air, electricity was out in parts of the capital, and military jets streaked overhead, recalling Latin America's long history of military coups and dictatorships.

Honduras's Supreme Court gave the order for the military to detain the president, according to a former Supreme Court official who is in touch with the court.

Later, Honduras's Congress formally removed Mr. Zelaya from the presidency and named congressional leader Roberto Micheletti as his successor until the end of Mr. Zelaya's term in January. Mr. Micheletti and others said they were the defenders, not opponents, of democratic rule.

Supporters of Honduras's President Manuel Zelaya demonstrate in front of a tire bonfire in Tegucigalpa.

"What was done here was a democratic act," Mr. Micheletti, who was sworn in as president Sunday afternoon, said to an ovation. "Our constitution continues to be valid, our democracy continues to live."

Mr. Micheletti is a member of Mr. Zelaya's Liberal party. But he had opposed his plans for a referendum that could have led to overturning the constitution's ban on re-election, allowing Mr. Zelaya to potentially stay in power past January, when his term ends.

Mr. Zelaya, a frequent critic of the U.S., has been locked in a growing confrontation with his country's Congress, courts, and military over his plans for the referendum -- planned for Sunday -- that would have asked voters whether they want to scrap the constitution, which the president says benefits the country's elites.

The Supreme Court had ruled the vote was illegal because it flouted the constitution's own ban on such referendums within six months of elections. The military had refused to take its usual role of distributing ballots. But Mr. Zelaya fired the chief of the army last week and pledged to press ahead.

There were no reports of violence Sunday, but tensions were high. Soldiers surrounded the presidential palace, keeping at bay a group of several hundred protesters who gathered to support the ousted president. The demonstrators burned tires and chanted slogans in favor of Mr. Zelaya.

A 9 p.m. curfew was imposed, but in the evening the protesters, many carrying sticks and rocks, began adding chain-link fences to the burning tires as barricades to try to block the military from moving to break up the demonstrations. "I love Zelaya, he's a good president," said Esther Ortiz, a 46 year old doctor, as she helped block off a street by the palace.

Honduras, one of Latin America's poorest countries, was a staging area for the U.S.-backed Nicaraguan Contra rebels during the 1980s. The country of about eight million people subsists on exports of bananas, shrimp, coffee, apparel and remittances from Hondurans in the U.S.

The Obama administration and members of the Organization of American States had worked for weeks to try to avert any moves to overthrow President Zelaya, said senior U.S. officials. Washington's ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, sought to facilitate a dialogue between the president's office, the Honduran parliament and the military.

Soldiers stormed the house of leftist President Manuel Zelaya in a predawn raid Sunday, arresting him and removing him from power amid a growing crisis over Mr. Zelaya's plans to try to get re-elected. Video courtesy Fox News.

The efforts accelerated over the weekend, as Washington grew increasingly alarmed. "The players decided, in the end, not to listen to our message," said one U.S. official involved in the diplomacy. On Sunday, the U.S. embassy here tried repeatedly to contact the Honduran military directly, but was rebuffed. Washington called the removal of President Zelaya a coup and said it wouldn't recognize any other leader.

The U.S. stand was unpopular with Honduran deputies. One congressman, Toribio Aguilera, got prolonged applause from his colleagues when he urged the U.S. ambassador to reconsider. Mr. Aguilera said the U.S. didn't understand the danger that Mr. Zelaya and his friendships with Mr. Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro posed.

Retired Honduran Gen. Daniel López Carballo justified the move against the president, telling CNN that if the military hadn't acted, Mr. Chávez would eventually be running Honduras by proxy. It was a common view Sunday. "An official who was subverting legality and had violated the Constitution was removed," wrote Mariela Colindres, a 21-year-old Honduran who is studying at Indiana University, in an email. "Everything was done legally and this does not imply a rupture in the constitutional order."

The U.S. has a controversial history of backing coups in Latin America. It began promoting democracy strongly after the end of the Cold War, but in 2002 it hesitated in condemning a brief coup against Mr. Chávez and was sharply criticized by other Latin nations. Mr. Chávez came back to power and radicalized his posture against the U.S. Since then, he periodically claims the U.S. wants to oust him in a coup.

Moves to try to stay in power through the ballot box have become increasingly common in Latin America. Leftist Latin American leaders such as Venezuela's Mr. Chavez, Ecuador's Rafael Correa and Bolivia's Evo Morales have used referendums for a similar purpose, and Colombia's right-wing President Alváro Uribe is trying to change the constitution to allow him a third term.

Latin America analysts said the Honduran coup will complicate President Obama's efforts to re-engage a region where anti-Americanism has flourished in recent years. They said Mr. Chavez is likely to seize on the crisis to depict Central America as under attack.

At a Sunday news conference in Costa Rica, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, ousted at gunpoint by the army hours earlier, denounced his exile as a kidnapping.

As a result, analysts said Mr. Obama will need to aggressively call for the reinstatement of President Zelaya, despite U.S. concerns that he is seeking to mirror Mr. Chávez's campaign to secure limitless rule.

"It's very important for the U.S. to come out against the coup and make the point that the U.S. supports democracy unequivocally," said Kevin Casas-Zamora, Costa Rica's former vice president and a senior fellow at Washington's Brookings Institution. "This would prevent Chávez from stealing the show."

Mr. Casas-Zamora and other regional analysts said the coup raised questions about just how much influence Washington actually has in Central America, given the Obama administration's failed effort to avert it. Honduras receives more than $200 million in development aid from Washington annually.

Both sides of the Honduras crisis traded allegations Sunday. The secretary of Honduras' congress, José Alfredo Saavedra, showed reporters what he said was a resignation letter signed by Mr. Zelaya. The letter cited the crisis and "insuperable health problems" in resigning. Mr. Zelaya said it was a fake.

The ousted president called on unions, workers and peasant and indigenous organizations to demonstrate peacefully for his return. "I ask the people of Honduras to be calm, but for them to defend their democracy and rights," he said.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

In a major blow to the coup leaders in Honduras who just illegally installed themselves in power, the Organization of American States (OAS) has just issued a resolution condemning the coup against President Zelaya, demanding the return of Zelaya to power immediately and clarifying that the OAS will not recognize any other government other than Zelaya's in Honduras. Whew! For a minute there I thought this was going to turn out like Haiti in 2004 when coup forces kidnapped President Aristide and forced him into exile and, while the OAS "condemned" the constitutional rupture, they never called for Aristide's reinstatement, and since the US backed the coup, an illegal transitional government was installed and nothing more came of it from the international community.

This time, things seem different. Still waiting on the US Government's official position...If they say they will not recognize the coup government, then we have to see how things will play out in Honduras.

It’s not a Twitter revolution in Iran

Reese Erlich
The Great Debate
Reuters website
June 26th, 2009
Reese Erlich is a freelance journalist and author from the United States. His books include the 2003 best-seller, Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You, 2007's The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of US Policy and the Middle-East Crisis, and his newest release Dateline Havana: The Real Story of US Policy and the Future of Cuba. He has produced many radio documentaries, including a series hosted by Walter Cronkite. The views expressed are his own.

Iran is not undergoing a Twitter Revolution. The term simultaneously mischaracterizes and trivializes the important mass movement developing in Iran.

Here’s how it all began. The Iranian government prohibited foreign reporters from traveling outside Tehran without special permission, and later confined them to their hotel rooms and offices. CNN and other cable networks were particularly desperate to find ways to show the large demonstrations and government repression. So they turned to Internet sites such as Facebook and Twitter in a frantic effort to get information. Since reporters were getting most of their information from Tweets and You Tube video clips, the notion of a “Twitter Revolution” was born.

We reporters love a catch phrase and, Twitter being all a flutter in the west, it seemed to fit. It’s a catchy phrase but highly misleading.

First of all the vast majority of Iranians have no access to Twitter. While reporting in Tehran, I personally didn’t encounter anyone who used it regularly. A relatively small number of young, economically well off Iranians do use Twitter. A larger number have access to the Internet. However, in the beginning, most demonstrations were organized through word of mouth, mobile phone calls and text messaging.

But somehow “Text Messaging Revolution” doesn’t have that modern, sexy ring, especially if you have to type it with your thumbs on a tiny keyboard.

More importantly, by focusing on the latest in Internet communications, cable TV networks intentionally or unintentionally characterize a genuine mass movement as something supported mainly by the Twittering classes.

I witnessed tens of thousands of mostly young people coming out into the streets in spontaneous campaign rallies in the days leading up to the election – most of whom had never heard of Twitter.

They shared a common joy not only campaigning for reformist Mirhossein Mousavi, but in being able to freely express themselves for the first time in many years. When the government announced an overwhelming victory for hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad only two hours after the polls closed, people became furious.

Over the next few days, hundreds of thousands of Iranians poured into the streets in Tehran and cities around the country. They organized silent marches through word of mouth and phone calls since the government had shut down text messaging just prior to the election. Contrary to popular perception, these gatherings included women in chadors, workers and clerics – not just the Twittering classes. Spontaneous marches took place in south Tehran, a decidedly poorer section of town and supposedly a stronghold for Ahmadinejad.

Iranians initially protested what they perceived as massive vote fraud, but that quickly evolved as the protests grew in size and breadth. In the week after the June 14 election, millions of Iranians vented 30 years of pent up anger at a repressive system.

Iranian youth particularly resented President Ahmadinejad’s support for religious militia attacks on unmarried young men and women walking together and against women not covering enough hair with their hijab. Workers resented the 24 percent annual inflation that robbed them of real wage increases. Independent trade unionists had been fighting for decent wages and for the right to organize.

Some demonstrators wanted a more moderate Islamic government. Others advocated a separation of mosque and state, and a return to parliamentary democracy. They are well aware that when Iran had a genuine parliamentary system under Prime Minister Mossadegh, the CIA overthrew it in 1953 in order to promote the Shah as dictator. I didn’t meet any Iranians calling for U.S. intervention; that’s strictly a debate inside the Washington beltway.

Some Iranian friends have asked me why Supreme Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei would throw his support behind Ahmadinejad when his presidency was so clearly damaging the country at home and abroad. Initially, Khamenei supported the president because they share common ideological and political positions. Later, the top clerical leaders saw the mass movement that coalesced around Mousavi’s campaign as a direct threat to government stability and their future rule.

Since June 21, the top clerics, military and intelligence services have mobilized their entire apparatus to crush the movement for social and economic change.

The mass movement that sprang forth in the past few weeks has been 30 years in coming. It’s not a Twitter Revolution, nor even a “velvet revolution” like those in Eastern Europe.

It’s a genuine Iranian mass movement made up of students, workers, women, and middle class folks. It may not be strong enough to topple the system today but is sowing the seeds for future struggles.

Update on Honduran (I)

Eva Golinger
June 28th 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009. 2:20pm

President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras was just live on CNN en Español, confirming that he never signed nor authorized his resignation from the presidency. This is a coup d'etat taking place, he denounced. The Honduran congress has forged a resignation letter removing illegally the president from power. They say it's a correspondence they have received and have to process, but have not confirmed its authenticity. MAJOR COUP UNDERWAY.


Sunday, June 28, 2009. 3:00PM

100,000 protest for Zelaya, Jun 28, 2009 by laprensa.hn

Minister of the Presidency in Honduras, Enrique FLores Lanza, is live on "Once Noticias" Channel 11 news in Honduras affirming that hundreds of thousands of Hondurans are taking to the streets to demand the return of President Zelaya. He has confirmed that President Zelaya HAS NOT RESIGNED and the letter presented by the Congress is a FAKE.

The OBAMA Administration has not yet called for the unequivocal reinstatement of Zelaya to the presidency of Honduras.

Call the State Department and the White House
Demand that they call for the immediate reinstatement of Honduran President Zelaya.

State Department: 202-647-4000 or 1-800-877-8339
White House: Comments: 202-456-1111, Switchboard: 202-456-1414

The Honduran Congress and Supreme Court are backing the Armed Forces and the military coup. They say a military coup per se has not occurred because the military does not want to take power, but rather the head of Congress will be named president.

Sunday, June 28, 2009. 3:15PM

protester burned tires in Honduras capital , Jun 28, 2009 by laprensa.hn

The Organization of American States, ALBA nations, European Community, United Nations, UNASUR, MERCOSUR and even the United States have now ALL condemned the military coup underway in Honduras. HOWEVER, the Honduran Congress, Supreme Court and military are refusing to recognize their actions as a coup d'etat.

Still the other nation to not unequivocally call for President Zelaya's immediate rescue and reinstatement is the United States, nevertheless, Hillary Clinton has issued a statement condemning the "situation" in Honduras and calling for "respect" for constitutional order.

Electricity and state media outlets in Honduras are still shut down in order to impose a curfew and blackout state so the military coup can succeed.

Honduran Congress live on CNN en español, Jose Alfredo Saavedra, Secretary of the Congress, has just read a Decree declaring President Zelaya no longer President of Honduras because he wanted to proceed with the opinion poll scheduled to occur today.

What happened to the validity of all those who voted for Zelaya? He is the elected president since 2005!

Sunday, June 28, 2009. 3:30PM

A member of Honduras' Congress has just admitted that in discussions with the US Ambassador in Honduras, the US Ambassador suggested they just let the opinion poll take place and then vote against the Constitutional Assembly in November, but, said the congressmember, "we can't just allow 'these people' to do this with the help of Venezuela and Cuba."

"we can't have a constitution that allows the 'people' to elect members on the supreme court and allows the 'people' to be involved in government".......

They also blamed Zelaya for increases in corruption, drugtrafficking and the relationship with "chavismo" in Venezuela....

Nevertheless, they can be in disagreement with Zelaya's policies, but he was elected by a majority of Honduran people and still remains popular as their president...It's the elite and the conservative parties, which have power in Congress, who have backed this coup...

Sunday, June 28, 2009. 3:44PM

Alleged resignation letter with forged signature from President Zelaya is dated June 25, 2009. This is completely ridiculous considering that up until he was violently kidnapped this morning, Zelaya gave no indication whatsoever that he was planning to resign. Today, in is forced exile from Costa Rica, he has reaffirmed his role as constitutional president of Honduras and denied any resignation via letter or any other means.

The Honduran Congress has violated the human rights of its citizens and has brutally repressed members of Zelaya's administration. Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas, who was beaten and taken from her home a few hours ago, has still not resurfaced.

The Honduran Congress says they have not executed a coup d'etat but rather are installing "rule of law" and "democracy". WTF?????

BTW, the FAKE RESIGNATION letter states:

"Mr. President:

Due to the polarizing political situation in the country, which has provoked a national conflict that is eroding my political support, and due to my uncureable health problems that have impeded me from concentrating on my fundamental duties in the government, I am handing in my irrevocable resignation as President of the Republic, together with my Cabinet members, effective as of today.

With my resignation, I hope to contribute to healing the wounds in the national political environment.


Jose Manual Zelaya Rosales
President of the Republic of Honduras

Addressed to: President of the National Congress
Honorable Representative Don Roberto Micheletti BainA
Legislative Palace


Also, the "health problems" referred to in the letter are regarding the opposition's claim that President Zelaya is "mentally ill". Hmmm....the Venezuelan opposition has tried to say the same about President Chavez and have even had psychiatric studies conducted to back their "accusations".

Maybe all of us are mentally ill who fight for social and economic justice and refuse to bow to imperialism, fascism and military coups!!

[1] http://www.chavezcode.com/

Obama's First Coup d'Etat: Honduran President has been Kidnapped

Eva Golinger
June 28th 2009

Eva Golinger is a Venezuelan-American attorney, writer and investigator. Author of The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela (2005) and Bush vs. Chávez: Washington's War on Venezuela. A native New Yorker currently residing in Caracas, living passionately every moment of the Bolivarian Revolution.

Manuel Zelaya and Hugo Chavez

Caracas, Venezuela - The text message that beeped on my cell phone this morning read "Alert, Zelaya has been kidnapped, coup d'etat underway in Honduras, spread the word." It's a rude awakening for a Sunday morning, especially for the millions of Hondurans that were preparing to exercise their sacred right to vote today for the first time on a consultative referendum concerning the future convening of a constitutional assembly to reform the constitution. Supposedly at the center of the controversary is today's scheduled referendum, which is not 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. 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. 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 labor unions and social movements in the country. If the poll had occured, depending on the results, a referendum would have been conducted during the upcoming elections in November to vote on convening a constitutional assembly. Nevertheless, today's scheduled 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). This move led to massive protests in the streets in favor of President Zelaya. On June 24, the president fired the head of the high military command, General Romeo Vásquez, after he refused to allow the military to distribute the electoral material for Sunday's elections. General Romeo Vásquez held the material under tight military control, refusing to release it even to the president's followers, stating that the scheduled referendum had been determined illegal by the Supreme Court and therefore he could not comply with the president's order. As in the Unted States, the president of Honduras is Commander in Chief and has the final say on the military's actions, and so he ordered the General's removal. The Minister of Defense, Angel Edmundo Orellana, also resigned in response to this increasingly tense situation.

But the following day, Honduras' Supreme Court reinstated General Romeo Vásquez to the high military command, ruling his firing as "unconstitutional'. Thousands poured into the streets of Honduras' capital, Tegucigalpa, showing support for President Zelaya and evidencing their determination to ensure Sunday's non-binding referendum would take place. On Friday, the president and a group of hundreds of supporters, marched to the nearby air base to collect the electoral material that had been previously held by the military. That evening, Zelaya gave a national press conference along with a group of politicians from different political parties and social movements, calling for unity and peace in the country.

As of Saturday, the situation in Honduras was reported as calm. But early Sunday morning, a group of approximately 60 armed soldiers entered the presidential residence and took Zelaya hostage. After several hours of confusion, reports surfaced claiming the president had been taken to a nearby air force base and flown to neighboring Costa Rica. No images have been seen of the president so far and it is unknown whether or not his life is still endangered.

President Zelaya's wife, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, speaking live on Telesur at approximately 10:00am Caracas time, denounced that in early hours of Sunday morning, the soldiers stormed their residence, firing shots throughout the house, beating and then taking the president. "It was an act of cowardice", said the first lady, referring to the illegal kidnapping occuring during a time when no one would know or react until it was all over. Casto de Zelaya also called for the "preservation" of her husband's life, indicating that she herself is unaware of his whereabouts. She claimed their lives are all still in "serious danger" and made a call for the international community to denounce this illegal coup d'etat and to act rapidly to reinstate constitutional order in the country, which includes the rescue and return of the democratically elected Zelaya.

Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela have both made public statements on Sunday morning condeming the coup d'etat in Honduras and calling on the international community to react to ensure democracy is restored and the constitutional president is reinstated. Last Wednesday, June 24, an extraordinary meeting of the member nations of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), of which Honduras is a member, was convened in Venezuela to welcome Ecuador, Antigua & Barbados and St. Vincent to its ranks. During the meeting, which was attended by Honduras' Foreign Minister, Patricia Rodas, a statement was read supporting President Zelaya and condenming any attempts to undermine his mandate and Honduras' democratic processes.

Reports coming out of Honduras have informed that the public television channel, Canal 8, has been shut down by the coup forces. Just minutes ago, Telesur announced that the military in Honduras is shutting down all electricity throughout the country. Those television and radio stations still transmitting are not reporting the coup d'etat or the kidnapping of President Zelaya, according to Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas. "Telephones and electricity are being cut off", confirmed Rodas just minutes ago via Telesur. "The media are showing cartoons and soap operas and are not informing the people of Honduras about what is happening". The situation is eerily reminiscent of the April 2002 coup d'etat against President Chávez in Venezuela, when the media played a key role by first manipulating information to support the coup and then later blacking out all information when the people began protesting and eventually overcame and defeated the coup forces, rescuing Chávez (who had also been kidnapped by the military) and restoring constitutional order.

Honduras is a nation that has been the victim of dictatorships and massive U.S. intervention during the past century, including several military invasions. The last major U.S. government intervention in Honduras occured during the 1980s, when the Reagain Administration funded death squads and paramilitaries to eliminate any potential "communist threats" in Central America. At the time, John Negroponte, was the U.S. Ambassador in Honduras and was responsible for directly funding and training Honduran death squads that were responsable for thousands of disappeared and assassinated throughout the region.

On Friday, the Organization of American States (OAS), convened a special meeting to discuss the crisis in Honduras, later issuing a statement condeming the threats to democracy and authorizing a convoy of representatives to travel to OAS to investigate further. Nevertheless, on Friday, Assistant Secretary of State of the United States, Phillip J. Crowley, refused to clarify the U.S. government's position in reference to the potential coup against President Zelaya, and instead issued a more ambiguous statement that implied Washington's support for the opposition to the Honduran president. While most other Latin American governments had clearly indicated their adamant condemnation of the coup plans underway in Honduras and their solid support for Honduras' constitutionally elected president, Manual Zelaya, the U.S. spokesman stated the following, "We are concerned about the breakdown in the political dialogue among Honduran politicians over the proposed June 28 poll on constitutional reform. We urge all sides to seek a consensual democratic resolution in the current political impasse that adheres to the Honduran constitution and to Honduran laws consistent with the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter."

As of 10:30am, Sunday morning, no further statements have been issued by the Washington concerning the military coup in Honduras. The Central American nation is highly dependent on the U.S. economy, which ensures one of its top sources of income, the monies sent from Hondurans working in the U.S. under the "temporary protected status" program that was implemented during Washington's dirty war in the 1980s as a result of massive immigration to U.S. territory to escape the war zone. Another major source of funding in Honduras is USAID, providing over US$ 50 millon annually for "democracy promotion" programs, which generally supports NGOs and political parties favorable to U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. forces, nor the political and economic elite, would act to oust a democratically elected president without the backing and support of the U.S. government. President Zelaya has increasingly come under attack by the conservative forces in Honduras for his growing relationship with the ALBA countries, and particularly Venezuela and President Chávez. Many believe the coup has been executed as a method of ensuring Honduras does not continue to unify with the more leftist and socialist countries in Latin America.

UPDATE 1: As of 11:15am, Caracas time, President Zelaya is speaking live on Telesur from San Jose, Costa Rica. He has verified the soldiers entered his residence in the early morning hours, firing guns and threatening to kill him and his family if he resisted the coup. He was forced to go with the soldiers who took him to the air base and flew him to Costa Rica. He has requested the U.S. Government make a public statement condemning the coup, otherwise, it will indicate their compliance.

UPDATE 2: 12pm noon - The Organization of American States is meeting in an emergency session in Washington concerning the situation in Honduras and the kidnapping of Honduras' president. Venezuelan Ambassador to the OAS, Roy Chaderton, just announced that the ambassadors of Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua in Honduras have just been kidnapped along with Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas, and are being beaten by Honduran military forces.

President Obama has made a statement regarding his "concern" for the situation in Honduras and a call to all political leaders and parties to "respect democratic norms". However, this statement is NOT a clear condemnation of the coup d'etat that has taken place during the early morning hours on Sunday. Nor did Obama indicate, as other countries have done, that Washington would not recognize any other government in Honduras other than the elected government of Manual Zelaya.

Opposition forces in Honduras, led by a US-funded NGO Grupo Paz y Democracia, have stated via CNN that a coup has not ocurred, but rather a "transition" to democracy. Martha Diaz, coordinator of the NGO, which receives USAID funding, has just declared minutes ago on CNN that "civil society" does not support President Zelaya nor his "illegal quest" to hold a non-binding referendum on a potential future constitutional reform. She justified his kidnapping, beating and removal from power as a "democratic transition". Again, this is eerily reminiscent of the coup d'etat in Venezuela in April 2002, when so-called "civil society" along with dissident military forces kidnapped President Chávez and installed a "transition government". The goups involved also received funding from the U.S. government, primarily via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and later from USAID as well.

CNN en Español, Telesur, and other international television stations reporting on the situation in Honduras have been removed from the airways in the Central American nation. The whereabouts of the Foreign Minister and the ambassadors of Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua are still unknown. OAS General Secretary Jose Miguel Insulze has announced he will travel immediately to Honduras to investigate the situation. President Chávez of Venezuela has also announced an emergency meeting of ALBA nations in Managua, Nicaragua, as soon as this evening.

More to come as the situation develops over the next few hours. Catch live blogging at www.chavezcode.com [1].

UPDATE 3: 12:18pm - Dan Restrepo, Presidential Advisor to President Obama for Latin American Affairs, is currently on CNN en Español. He has just stated that Obama's government is communicating with the coup forces in Honduras, trying to "feel out" the situation. He also responded to the reporter's question regarding whether Washington would recognize a government in Honduras other than President Zelaya's elected government, by saying that the Obama Administration "is waiting to see how things play out" and so long as democratic norms are respected, will work with all sectors. This is a confirmation practically of support for the coup leaders. Restrepo also inferred that other countries are interfering in Honduras' international affairs, obviously referring to Venezuela and other ALBA nations who have condemned the coup with firm statements earlier this morning.

[1] http://www.chavezcode.com/