Mark Weisbrot on Honduras

Outstanding article.

A small group of rich people who own most of Honduras and its politicians enlist the military to kidnap the elected president at gunpoint and take him into exile. They then arrest thousands of people opposed to the coup, shut down and intimidate independent media, shoot and kill some demonstrators, torture and beat many others. This goes on for more than four months, including more than two of the three months legally designated for electoral campaigning. Then the dictatorship holds an “election.”

Should other countries recognize the results of such an election, to be held on November 29th? Latin America says absolutely not; the United States is saying, well, “yes we can”- if we can get away with it.

“There has been a sharp rise in police beatings, mass arrests of demonstrators and intimidation of human rights defenders,” since President Zelaya slipped back into Honduras and took refuge in the Brazilian embassy, wrote Amnesty International. Human Rights Watch, the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and human rights groups worldwide have also condemned the violence and repression perpetrated by the Honduran dictatorship.

On November 5, the 25 nations of the Rio Group, which includes virtually all of Latin America, declared that they would not recognize the results of the November 29th elections in Honduras if the elected President Manuel Zelaya were not first restored.

Oh, and Chomsky on Obama.

Actually, I mentioned a pretty striking case of this in “Crisis and Hope,” which was the Caterpillar case in the early 1990s. Caterpillar was quite important because that was the first manufacturing industry that used Reaganite strike-breaking techniques. They illegally called in scabs to break a major strike. It was reported pretty well in the Chicago Tribune, who pointed out something very interesting. They said that the workers got very little support in Peoria when scabs illegally broke the strike, and that was particularly striking because that whole community had been built up by the union—it was a union-based community. But when it came to the crunch, the community itself didn’t support the union. Now that’s kind of interesting about Obama, because Obama was supposedly a community organizer in Chicago at that time. Now I’m sure he read the Chicago Tribune, so he knew about it, but when he went to show his solidarity with the workforce, the first place he went was Caterpillar. I don’t think he’s forgotten, and the labor movement didn’t react. Even radical labor historians didn’t remember. It was only 15 years ago, after all, but that’s a real triumph of propaganda in many ways.


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