March 24th of this year was the thirtieth anniversary of the assassination of Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the Roman Catholic archbishop of El Salvador.
His killing drew attention to the murderous rampages of death squads in that nation and throughout Central America as no other slaying had, although hundreds of thousands of civilians were slaughtered in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras before and during the 1980s by paramilitary formations usually led by graduates of the U.S.’s School of the Americas and covertly funded by the same nation’s Central Intelligence Agency.
Graduates of the Pentagon’s School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia (now the equally euphemistic Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) include the man responsible for ordering Romero’s killing, the late Roberto D’Aubuisson; Efrain Rios Montt, head of the military junta in Guatemala in 1982-1983 which perpetrated some of the worst atrocities in the nation’s bloodstained history; and Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, who was dismissed as chief of the Honduran military on June 25 of last year and led the coup against President Manuel Zelaya three days later.
Honduras, ousted president Manuel Zelaya is due to leave the country today after president-elect Porfirio Lobo is sworn into office. Zelaya has taken refuge in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa since returning to Honduras in September. On Tuesday, the Honduran Supreme Court dismissed all charges against six military commanders involved in the June 28th coup that removed Zelaya from office. We go inside the Brazilian embassy to speak with Democracy Now’s Andres Conteris.
Video Documentary Directed by Gerard Ungerman – Narrated By Ed Asner
Plan Colombia: Cashing in on the Drug War Failure documents what many believe to be dangerous hypocrisy on the part of the American government. The film gives particular attention to the reasons behind the drug trade (Colombia is the world’s biggest cocaine exporter), which include illegal trade funded by radicals, the corrupt government, and the simple fact that most farmers harvest coca because they can’t survive on the profits of legitimate food crops.
Ungerman also explores the link to America’s notorious School of the Americas in Georgia and how targeted aerial fumigation has destroyed perfectly legal natural resources in the mission to eradicate drug crops. The film concludes that the U.S. military-industrial complex is cashing in on the violence they themselves perpetrate, while doing little to actually stem cocaine production.
Among the numerous conditions afflicting Third World people today are starvation, disease, war and injurious devices or substances left behind by invading armies like land mines, cluster bombs, Agent Orange and depleted uranium. A little discussed occurrence, which makes life extremely miserable for many people, is a tactic of counterinsurgency and intimidation called low intensity warfare. It depends for its success on torture, mutilation, disappearances and other methods designed to shock and reduce the civilian population to docility and acceptance of the conditions imposed on them. These conditions often have much to do with facilitating the extraction of wealth from these Third World countries by multinational corporations, i.e., sweatshops, structural adjustments and so-called free trade.
EXCLUSIVE: Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya Speaks from Nicaraguan Border on Who’s Behind the Coup, His Attempts to Return Home, the Role of the United States and More
In a Democracy Now! national broadcast exclusive, ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya joins us from the Nicaragua-Honduras border for a wide-ranging interview on his attempts to return home, who’s behind the coup, the role of the United States, and much more. “I think the United States is going to lose a great deal of influence in Latin America if it does not turn the coup d’état around,” Zeleya says. “It will not be able to put forth its idea about democracy. It won’t be credible before anyone.” On his message to the Honduran people, Zelaya says they should “maintain their resistance against those who want to take their rights away…so that no one will be able to disrespect them, which is what the coup regime is doing today.” [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: Governments around the world should continue sanctions against the coup regime in Honduras. Those are the comments of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, who’s trying to mediate negotiations between ousted Honduran president and the coup leaders. He was speaking at a Latin American summit in Costa Rica a day after the US State Department’s decision Tuesday to revoke the visas of four Honduran coup officials, though the US has not cut off more than $180 million in economic aid.
The situation in Honduras is getting worse each day since the SOA graduate-led military coup against the government of President Manuel Zelaya.
The Committee of Family Members of Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) published a report yesterday, detailing hundreds of cases of human rights abuses committed by the coup regime, including four political assassinations. You can take a stand against this injustice right now: http://www.soaw.org/contactcongress
No to the Military Coup! Urge your Representative to Take a Stand for Democracy!
Despite US government claims that they’ve cut all military ties with the Honduran golpistas, the SOA continues to train Honduran soldiers. This is not real support for democracy.
Representatives Bill Delahunt, José Serrano and Jim McGovern have introduced a resolution that calls for the return to democracy and the reinstatement of Manuel Zelaya as President of Honduras. Ask your Representative to take a stand for democracy by suspending operations of the SOA and restoring the rightful government of Honduras: http://www.soaw.org/contactcongress
By Eva Golinger
Postcards from the Revolution
15 July 2009
• The Department of State had prior knowledge of the coup.
• The Department of State and the US Congress funded and advised the actors and organizations in Honduras that participated in the coup.
• The Pentagon trained, schooled, commanded, funded and armed the Honduran armed forces that perpetrated the coup and that continue to repress the people of Honduras by force.
• The US military presence in Honduras, that occupies the Soto Cano Palmerola military base, authorized the coup d’etat through its tacit complicity and refusal to withdraw its support of the Honduran military involved in the coup.
The Washington Lobby
Republican Senator John McCain, ex US presidential, helped coordinate the visit of a coup regime delegation to Washington last week. McCain is well known for his opposition to governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and other countries in the region considered “anti-imperialist”. McCain also maintains very close ties to the Cuban exile community in Miami. McCain is also Chairman of the Board of the International Republican Institute (IRI) that has funded the coup participants in Honduras. McCain offered the services of a lobby firm in Washington, closely tied to him, the Cormac Group, that organized a press conference for the coup regime delegation at the National Press Club on June 7th. McCain also helped set up several meetings in Congress with the traditional Cuban-American representatives and those general “Chávez-haters”, such as Connie Mack, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mel Martinez.
Is President Obama innocent of the events occurring in Honduras, specifically the coup launched by the Honduran military resulting in the abduction and forced deportation of democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya? Obama has denounced the coup and demanded that the rules of democracy be honored. Still, several troubling questions remain.
First, almost all the senior Honduran military officers active in the coup are graduates of the Pentagon’s School of the Americas (known to many of us as “School of the Assassins”). The Honduran military is trained, advised, equipped, indoctrinated, and financed by the United States national security state. The generals would never have dared to move without tacit consent from the White House or the Pentagon and CIA.
The ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is expected to meet with US diplomats in Washington today before attempting to return to Honduras Thursday, five days after being deposed by a military coup. Meanwhile, the streets in Honduras remain tense, and the crackdown on the media has reportedly not been lifted. We go to Honduras to speak with human rights activist, Dr. Juan Almendares. [includes rush transcript]
Dr. Juan Almendares, Honduran medical doctor and award-winning human rights activist. He is the president of the Honduran Peace Committee, as well as the past secretary of the Coordinating Committee of Popular Organizations. He was an opposition candidate with the Democratic Unification Party during the last presidential elections.
Just after I had written three articles about the alleged voter fraud, street demonstrations and violence in Iran being a classic example of a CIA destabilization operation because of Iran’s oil, and even more importantly its strategic location, there is a coup in Honduras, which certainly suggests another CIA operation. Two of the leaders of the Honduran coup are School of the Americas graduates. The School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia has trained some of the most brutal dictators and death squad leaders in Latin America. Two of those who immediately come to mind are the former brutal dictator of Guatemala, Rios Montt, and the Salvadoran death squad leader, Roberto d’Aubuisson, who was responsible for the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador. The names of these Honduran SOA graduates are General Vasquez and General Suazo, the first from the army and the latter from the air force. President Zelaya, the victim of the coup, was flown to Costa Rica and the ambassadors from Cuba and Venezuela were arrested. It is very reminiscent of the time when President Aristide of Haiti was arrested by US forces and flown to the Central African Republic. President Aristide was trying to raise the wages of the sweatshop workers employed by American corporations in Haiti, and this situation simply could not be tolerated. President Zelaya, being a leftist, was probably trying to do something for the poor in Honduras, also.
Coup in Honduras: Military Ousts President Manuel Zelaya, Supporters Defy Curfew and Take to the Streets
In the first military coup in Central America in a quarter of a century, the Honduran military has ousted the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. Former Parliamentary speaker Roberto Micheletti, who was sworn in as Zelaya’s replacement on Sunday, has imposed a two-day nationwide curfew. But hundreds of Zelaya supporters remain on the streets, and shots were fired at protesters near the presidential palace early Monday morning. We go to Honduras to speak with Honduran medical doctor and award-winning human rights activist, Dr. Juan Almendares, and NYU professor of Latin American history, Greg Grandin. [includes rush transcript]
President Zelaya of Honduras has just been kidnapped
[Note: 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.]
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.
A military coup has taken place in Honduras this morning (Sunday, June 28), led by School of the Americas (SOA) graduate Romeo Vasquez. In the early hours of the day, members of the Honduran military surrounded the presidential palace and forced the democratically elected president, Manuel Zelaya, into custody. He was immediately flown to Costa Rica.