Judicial Independence Under Fire in Honduras

Honduras: The Honduran People under a Permanent Coup d’Etat (final entry below)

Not bad AP article on the current institutional crisis in Honduras. AP seems to be the only news service regularly covering Honduras. They deserve kudos for that.

Judicial Independence Under Fire in Honduras    Posted: 11 Dec 2012 05:19 AM PST

The conflict between Honduras’ Supreme Court and the executive and legislative branches heated up yesterday after the Honduran Congress voted to create a special commission charged with investigating the “administrative conduct” of federal judges in the country. El Heraldo reports that the initiative, which was passed late yesterday afternoon by the ruling majority of President Porfirio Lobo’s conservative National Party, will focus mainly on the five-member Constitutional Branch of the Supreme Court.
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A $170 Billion Tab:How Taxpayers Are Paying the Pentagon to Occupy the Planet

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175627/  See Honduras costs …

Tomgram: David Vine, The True Costs of Empire Posted by David Vine at 9:13am, December 11, 2012. Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch.

Mars? Venus? Earth-like bodies elsewhere in the galaxy? Who knows? But here, at least, no great power, no superpower, no hyperpower, not the Romans, nor imperial China, nor the British, nor the Soviet Union has ever garrisoned the globe quite the way we have: Asia to Latin America, Europe to the Greater Middle East, and increasingly Africa as well.

Build we must.  If someday Washington took to the couch for therapy, the shrink would undoubtedly categorize what we’ve done as a compulsion, the base-building equivalent of a hoarding disorder.
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Two articles about Military Strategy


Published on Monday, August 20, 2012 by TruthDig.com                                                 The War in the Shadows by Chris Hedges

A Swedish documentary filmmaker released a film last year called “Last Chapter—Goodbye Nicaragua.” In it he admitted that he unknowingly facilitated a bombing, almost certainly orchestrated by the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, which took the lives of three reporters I worked with in Central America. One of them, Linda Frazier, was the mother of a 10-year-old son. Her legs were torn apart by the blast, at La Penca, Nicaragua, along the border with Costa Rica, in May of 1984. She bled to death as she was being taken to the nearest hospital, in Ciudad Quesada, Costa Rica.Illustration by Mr. Fish
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Interesting commentary on the situation in Haiti…
August 20, 2012, Manufacturing Contempt [1]

[2] In a July 29th speech [3] at a fundraiser in Jerusalem, presidential candidate Mitt Romney attributed the stark difference in economic development between Israel and Palestine partly to cultural factors. To illustrate his case, he provided incorrect data showing that Israel’s per capita gross domestic product was twice that of Palestine (the difference is actually around 20 to 1 [4]).

In any case, it was but one indicator that allowed Romney to “recognize the power” of “culture, and a few other things” in determining “economic vitality.” One of “a few other things” that has influenced Palestine’s economy, unmentioned by Romney, is Israel’s crippling, U.S.-funded military occupation of Palestine, now in its 45th year [5], which has dispossessed the Palestinians of land, water, and sovereignty.
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Colombia: Human Rights are also a Human Way of Life

Posted by ⋅By Alix Lozano

Miguel Angel González Gutiérrez,1 the first school of peasant formation, dedicated to strengthening, promoting and defending human rights, was held from June 29th to the July 2nd in Medellin. Active in northeast Antioquia for the last eight years, the school has been advancing the work of CAHUCOPANA. The school leadership are campesinos who serve as regional coordinators, women’s groups organizers, youth representatives and regional communicators. The school also has teams based in Bogotá and Medellin to support in its development and in the formation of methodological processes.

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Action Alert // Tensions Rise between El Salvador’s National Assembly and the Supreme Court:

Action Alert! U.S. Senators threaten to cut aid to El Salvador in an effort to discredit the FMLN

Call on the U.S. State Department today and ask them to commit to neutrality.

The following press release is from CISPES:

On Tuesday July 17, Senators Rober Menedez (D-NJ) and Maro Rubio (R-FL) released a press statement calling for the Obama administration to threaten the Salvadoran government with the suspension of aid money and advisors if they do not resolve the “constitutional crisis”.   The so called constitutional crisis stems from a decision by the Constitutional Court of El Salvador to invalidate the 2006 and 2012 election of magistrates to the Supreme Court.  In an unusual show of unity parties from both the left and the right have rejected the ruling of the Constitutional Court in the Legislative Assembly.  Notably absent from this group is the right-wing ARENA party who stands to benefit from the ruling because they would be able to elect two thirds of the court.  Read more background on the dispute here.

In addition to encouraging the Obama administration to threaten the withdrawal of aid to El Salvador the Senators also demand that Obama deny visas for anyone “participating in the existing unconstitutional order”.  These demands are putting even more pressure on what is already a very tense situation which many have described as a right-wing attempt to destabilize the government.  The Salvadoran people and government should be allowed to resolve this dispute without interference by the United States.

The Senators actions may forecast the types of threats that will be made in the lead up to the presidential elections of 2014.  Therefore it is urgent that we call on the State Dept commit to neutrality now and throughout the upcoming electoral period.

Join us in Calling on the U.S. State Department to committ to neutrality

Contact the State Department TODAY

1. Call Melanie Bower at the El Salvador Desk. 202-647-4161

Sample Phone script: I am calling because I am deeply concerned that members of the Senate have called on the State Department to threaten to cut aid to El Salvador because of the current conflict between the Legislative Assembly and the Supreme Court. Not only did these Senators misrepresent the facts of the situation, it is highly unacceptable for the United State government to use international aid as a threat to interfere in El Salvador’s internal and sovereign affairs. Will Secretary Jacobson commit to a position of US neutrality and noninterference?

2. Email Roberta Jacobson Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

3. Leave comments on articles discussing this issue.

Leave a comment on articles in The Washington Post, The Hill, and Wall Street Journal and speak out against U.S. intervention.
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Central Americans vs. U.S. Empire: The Nonviolent Legacy

By George Lakey

Ecuador is in the news these days for its embassy in London giving sanctuary to Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, who is in danger of extradition from Britain and prosecution in the United States. Ecuador, in fact, has a long history of defying the U.S. empire.

Few people remember that the country once defied the U.S. by joining a wave of nonviolent campaigns in 1944, as the Second World War was coming to a close. U.S. embassies at the time were trumpeting President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms, his ideological justification for the war. The irony was that, among the series of U.S.-backed dictatorships in Latin America, even one freedom was subversive, much less four.
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Who’s Who in the Honduran Agrarian Conflict: A Primer in Images

June 2012.  Tocoa and Tegucigalpa, Honduras
The Conflict
The beauty of the countryside in the Bajo Aguan region of Honduras makes it hard to believe it has been the site of some 45 assassinations related to land conflict over the past three years. Rafael Alegria, from the Via Campesina international farm workers network, explains the reasons that the farm workers are involved in the struggle for the right to work the land. “The central problem behind the violation of farm workers’ rights is land hoarding. The hoarding of land is the product of voracious national and international capital in our country. This capital has an interest in strengthening monoculture in our country, especially with African Palm trees and sugarcane, to make the infamous Ethanol and to feed into Agribusiness. It isn’t interested at all in the environment or workers’ rights…. We want to make it clear to the international community that the bloodbath in the Bajo Aguan is a direct product of land hoarding and savage Capitalism in this country.” Testimonies from survivors of human rights abuses in the Aguan cite that the private guards hired by the few large landowners of the region are the perpetrators of the assassinations, and that army and police officials who have been dispatched to the zone have also taken part in the abuse.

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Land Reform Issues Intensify as Paraguay Enters Into a Political Crisis

Statement by Barrio Nuevo follows…
Most of the fertile land in Paraguay is held by a small number of wealthy Paraguayans and foreigners (mostly Brazilians). Meanwhile millions of poor farmers are either landless or live on plots of just a few hectares. This is the backdrop of a dangerous political game where the Colorado Party leaders see a chance to take out a popularly elected president and take control of the country again and the Liberal Party leaders have taken advantage of the crisis to take the presidency for the first time in seventy years. Neither the Colorados or Liberals are likely to do much to give impoverished farmers the land they need or end the endemic corruption and cronyism plaguing Paraguay. http://www.coha.org/land-reform-issues-intensify-as-paraguay-enters-into-a-political-crisis/

This analysis was prepared by Eric Stadius, Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs

  • Lugo risks expulsion from office by an unlikely coalition of the Liberal and Colorado parties
  • Both parties use the police-campesino clash as a self-serving ignition for the impeachment process, but fail to address any solutions to the fundamentals of Paraguay’s land tenure problems
  • Extra-constitutional expulsion threatens the democratic legitimacy of the Paraguayan state and defies the OAS prohibition of extra-constitutional changes

Source: Jorge Adorno/Reuters

Updates on Increased Militarism: Colombia and Chile (US base being built)

Colombia: Assassination attempt

Chile: Organizations reject new US military facility in Concon, Valparaiso         What’s behind Obama’s new military base in Chile?

The Colombia Support Network (CSN) views with great concern recent developments in Colombia, as well as military developments elsewhere in South America. We condemn the attempt on the life of former Colombian Minister of Interior and Justice Fernando Londoño and express our sympathy to him and condolences to those who lost family members killed by the bomb placed on the windshield of former Minister Londoño’s car in Bogotá. The authors of this bombing, which has terrorized the capital city once again, must be sought out and tried for this heinous crime. We have often disagreed with the public comments and positions taken by former Minister Londoño in his newspaper columns and radio programs, but he has every right to express those opinions and to live free of threats to his person and of attempts upon his life. We deplore any attempt to silence through violence the voice of anyone who comments on public affairs or who has held public office.
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