There are several congressmembers asking for sanctions such as Jessie Jackson Jr, Shiela Jackson, among a few other radicals in Congress. I responded this morning to their requests on the Congress.gov site where you can leave open letters to Congress. I directed it at Obama in hopes that he will direct it back to them as well.
Here is that letter. I encourage others to go to Congress.gov and leave their letters to Congress and Obama about Honduras as well. Regardless of your position all opinions to him and the importance of the effect on the poor should not occur. He cannot take a non intervention stance and a release of embargos against Cuba and turn around and ask for embargos against Honduras that would have essentially the same effect...harm the poor. I also encourage people to write Congress, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch(their chairman recently resigned because of the groups position on Honduras and his opposition to their opinions), SOA, and other groups as well as the OAS and all members of the OAS expressing your concerns for not only the situation in Honduras but the violation of Children´s rights which is a chartered law in International charters of the United Nations of which Honduras is a party to.
August 29, 2009
San Pedro Sula, Cortes, Honduras
I wanted to write you about your position on Honduras.
First, I would like to introduce myself. I am Cynthia Moreno and I live in San Pedro Sula, Cortes, Honduras. I am a US citizen living abroad with my Honduran family. My husband is Honduran and my child is Honduran.
I understand your view is that Manuel Zelaya was democratically elected. Indeed, most would view it that way even in light of the fact he has admitted he won by fraud in a nationally televised interview by buying 10% of the votes. However, he was not deposed by the Honduran military. He was ordered arrested by the Honduran Supreme Court and that order was handed down June 26, 2009. The only thing that could even partially be viewed as wrongdoing on part of the military who was acting under orders of the court was removing him to Costa Rica. However, many believe he requested this because of his earlier statements on live television that if he were to be arrested that he would be removed to Costa Rica as tradition held. I believe it was a carefully orchestrated media stunt to gain favor for him.
It seems you are determined to call this a military regime, a military coup, and many other things that are not even close to the truth which tells me that you have not closely looked at the situation in Honduras or spoken to the people here and how we feel about this situation. In the end the most important thing is how the majority of Hondurans feel not what the US Congress or anyone else wants. The US made a disaster out of Haiti and I would hope that they do not want to go down that road again.
Protests in Honduras:
There is no violent repression of protests. In the US during the Los Angeles Riots there were over 50 people killed. The police in the US used techniques identical to the techniques that Honduras is using to break up violence that is occurring in our streets.
After the June 28 situation we held a peace rally in which we were attacked by Pro Zelaya protesters and we were not even close to where they were. We were located on an entirely different street in San Pedro Sula. Someone informed them of the protest and they made their way to us to attack us. They threw rocks, injuring many peaceful protesters; they hit people including children with sticks. There were even gunshots from them that sounded like Ak 47 assault rifles. They made serious verbal threats to murder our families and other things that would shock you. This is wrong and this type of activity should never be viewed as a right or activity that is legal and should be broken up. The military did get involved and used water canons, tear gas, and detained the most violent. If we reflect on the Los Angeles riots 53 people were killed, thousands were injured, nearly $1 billion in property was damaged, 3,600 fires were set, by the fourth day 4,000 military was in the street stopping the riots.
(I have included copies of all of the legal documents pertinent to this letter)
You mention extrajudicial killings, but you have automatically determined that the government is at fault without any investigation, trial or further information other than wild claims of hundreds of killings. The OAS has already determined this is not the case. They are focused on four POSSIBLE situations and this is not the 80´s clearly and there is no death squad in action here. I live very close to downtown and in an area that is dominated by Liberals so I would know if there were any death squads because they would have arrived in my area. You seem to focus on four possible deaths related, but fail to focus on the lack of evidence as well that only two are directly related. One was a man who was shot when he tried to run over soldiers at a check point. In the US you would be shot if you try to use your car as a lethal weapon and it would be considered justifiable. The other is Obed Murillo. He was among others were breaking down a fence to an international airport. I would think this would be considered not only a threat in the US but likely the same thing would happen in light of what happened after 9-11 and how people react to someone just jumping a gate at any airport in the United States post 9-11. There is some question about whether he was shot by the military though and it should be investigated entirely. There are questions about the possession of a gun by people in the crowd and him being shot from within the crowd. This should be investigated entirely. The proof of this gun is in a BBC video from that day. The man stabbed at the border of El Paraiso is likely part of the ongoing violence that has consumed Honduras in the past years. Honduras has over 12 murders every day which is in a population of 7.5 million. Later a similar killing happened to a teacher who left a funeral of the teacher who was shot by a security guard defending his store from looters.
The man was not killed by military and it was not related to the crisis in Honduras. His family made statements asking people to not use him as a political pawn because he had been killed over a debt and they had made the corresponding complaints and gave information to the police. The situation on the border was impossible to investigate the murder of the man because when the police from the investigative unit arrived to investigate his murder in company of human rights workers the crowd attacked them and their vehicle turning it over and setting it on fire. So it was not investigated as a result.
Peaceful demonstrations: The demonstrations have not been peaceful as I have already demonstrated to you above. During the protests cars have been burned, innocent civilians have been attacked, counter protesters have been attacked, buildings have been burned, looted, rocks thrown at them, and vandalism has been wide spread. To be considered a peaceful demonstration a protest does not block the free travel of other citizens, it usually is set for a certain time and to end at a certain time, it does not include attacks against buildings, cars, other citizens, and it does not include vandalism. None of the protests have been peaceful. You have completely ignored the hundreds of thousands who protest against Zelaya in your letter and our desires to change our corrupt government.
The measure of halting military aid has affected the United States more than it has Honduras. The military aid is drug interdiction aid. It assists us in locating and stopping drug traffickers from trafficking dangerous drugs into the United States. Now it flows freely, because of a lack of funds to stop it. This in my opinion hurts the United States much more than it does the country of Honduras. The government should think about their actions and while they maybe should not provide the aid directly to a government you clearly do not support you should continue paying your DEA agents and military to continue drug tasks in Honduras.
Hondurans civil rights were not respected by Zelaya nor have they been completely respected in the fashion the US thinks they should be. During Zelaya´s administration corruption was rampant which is why he in the end was removed. He disobeyed the law, ignored Supreme Court orders (think about a president ignoring Roe V Wade because he doesn’t like it). There is millions of dollars missing from the treasury because of illegal projects that were not in the budget. There had been no yearly budget provided to Congress for approval by the president and we were already six months into the year. Can you imagine the United States functioning with a president who does not provide a budget proposal for six months after it was due? Any declarations of restoration of democratic institution as you call it should also include the democratic ideas of a fair trial against those accused and should include equal justice for all. There should be no special treatment for the president if he has embezzled funds.
One of the revocations of an A-1 visa was against the chief justice of the Supreme Court. He had the right to order the arrest of Manuel Zelaya and this was an internal action and should not be considered a punitive or corrupt action since it is legally permitted in Honduras. I find it shocking that the United States wants to involve itself in the sovereign decisions of Honduras but you stand idly by in the situation that is unfolding in the rest of Latin America. In Venezuela many human rights have been violated, the constitution has been trampled, protesters have indeed been repressed and there are political prisoners. Yet, the United States is afraid of Chavez so they will not take a stand on what he is doing and consider it internal. Honduras is a small country so you feel you can bully us into accepting your plan. Honduras will not be bullied. Your latest revoking of tourist visas only hurts the citizens of Honduras and is wrong. The citizens of Honduras have no control over the decisions of the government and you punishing them smacks of discrimination based on national origin.
A few weeks ago Obama said that he was not getting involved because the same actors had asked him to leave Latin America alone many times, yet he lied to us. I have a vote in the United States and my husband has a vote to as a naturalized citizen and many Hondurans have a vote. There are 1 million Hondurans in the United States and there are 40 million Hispanics. We will not forget how you defamed us, treated us badly and we will move against Obama and all of the signers of the letter you sent to him on the next election. We feel your real motive is to protect a despot because oil was found off our shores last year and you want access he has promised you if he is returned. In politics there are no friends just interests and I will lead the charge making sure that each one of you are bumped out of office over this issue when reelections come up.
I will remind them how you lied to the American people about the situation in Honduras to further drilling in foreign countries in spite of the fact that the constitution prohibited it and how you promoted returning one of the most corrupt leaders in Latin America to his seat as president.
Thank you for your time,