Tag Archives: Goldcorp

[en] Jennifer Moore: ‘What is Minister Kent Waiting for?’

Honduran First Lady Xiomara Castro de Zelaya argues with Honduran army Coronel Ayala at the Arenal military-police blockade. El Paraiso, July 24, 2009. Photo: Sandra CuffeHonduran First Lady Xiomara Castro de Zelaya argues with Honduran army Coronel Ayala at the Arenal military-police road blockade the night of July 24th, 2009. Hundreds of Hondurans were detained for days at various blockades along the highway to the Las Manos border crossing with Nicaragua, where elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya Rosales attempted to re-enter the country for a second time since the June 28th military coup. Photo: Sandra Cuffe, http://flickr.com/photos/lavagabunda

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‘What Is Minister Kent Waiting for?’

As beatings and killings mount in Honduras, President Zelaya’s wife joins critics of Canada’s approach.

By Jennifer Moore

http://thetyee.ca/News/2009/08/21/KentWaiting/

Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Peter Kent has repeatedly urged
“restraint” until a negotiated solution can be achieved regarding the
return of ousted President Manuel Zelaya to Honduras. He has said that
Zelaya was subject to an illegal coup, but suggests that if he were to
return too soon there would be an outbreak in violence. But more than
seven weeks since the coup, human rights violations are mounting in
the democratically-elected leader’s absence.

First Lady Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, during an interview with The Tyee
last week, showed the back door of her Tegucigalpa home that was shot
at sixty times on the morning of June 28 when military officers hauled
President Zelaya away in his pyjamas to Costa Rica. She also spoke
with dismay about repression against protesters and the lack of
medicine in hospitals for people who have been beaten or shot by
police.

Human rights violations mount

Most recently, last week, police and military brutally repressed
demonstrations calling for the return of Zelaya. On Wednesday, August
12, armed forces cracked down on a protest in front of the National
Congress building where legislators were debating if they would
reinstate obligatory military service or not. International observers
and press watched as police chased protesters and beat men, women and
youth. Various testimonies indicate that they attacked people who had
not even been participating. Police were also photographed hitting a
reporter who had been filming the protest.

Dozens were detained and sent to various police dispatches across the
capital city. Most notably, a group of people, many bleeding or
otherwise injured, were taken to a post belonging to the Special
Police Forces, called COBRAs. In the 1980s, their headquarters were
associated with numerous cases of disappearances and torture.

Later the same day, hundreds of soldiers and police locked down the
Pedagogical University, which became a virtual holding cell for dozens
of people who were forced to give declarations as a result of Molotov
cocktails that had been found on location. Strangely, the lock-down
occurred after those inside had already reported the presence of
home-made explosives to a public attorney.

Other organizations also came under attack. The offices of a farmer’s
organization and a union hall belonging to groups integrally involved
in the opposition to the coup were shot at during the night. In one
case, the shooting took place after curfew, at which time only police
and military are permitted to be in the streets.

In this context, and in response to Kent’s position to keep urging
patience on the part of Hondurans, the First Lady exclaims, “How can
this not be the moment to restore constitutional order and respect of
this people? How can it not be the moment to restore democracy to my
country?”

Negotiations drag on

But Kent has remained hopeful in ongoing negotiations led by Costa
Rican President Oscar Arias.

Negotiations began in early July, despite that fact that they help
legitimate the de facto government and go against the spirit of a July
5th OAS Declaration which demands Zelaya’s return “so that he may
fulfill the mandate for which he was democratically elected.”
President Arias presented the current proposal, called the San José
Accord on July 22. Zelaya has accepted the agreement even though it
strips him of power and provides amnesty for political crimes taking
place before and after his ouster. Coup leader Roberto Micheletti
Bain, however, has so far refused.

Since August 5, Hondurans have been anticipating the visit of an OAS
Commission in which Kent is expected to participate and which is meant
to pressure Micheletti to concede to Arias’ proposal. But the high
level visit has yet to happen.

Meanwhile, violence and human rights violations have been racking up
and Kent has failed to take his own advice.

In a July 19 statement, the Minister said, “We call on all parties to
condemn any and all incitement to violence in this ongoing crisis and
to respect the right of Hondurans to peace, order and good
governance.”

To date, around 10 assassinations have been registered in relation to
the coup. There have also been various attacks on the press, thousands
of arbitrary arrests, about 150 documented cases of mistreatment or
abuse, and at least one young man who is the son of a long-time social
activist has been missing for more than a month. Human rights
organizations in Honduras are also questioning who is responsible for
roughly 100 assassinations that have taken place during curfew.

Kent has not issued another official statement since July 24, and has
not condemned these incidents. Nor has he suggested, considering
Micheletti’s intransigence, that Canada could take further measures to
pressure the de facto leader to accept any negotiated agreement.

Back to the ’80s

Independent Presidential Candidate Carlos H. Reyes, whose hand is
severely fractured after being struck by police and falling from a
five-meter high wall during a march two weeks ago, thinks that Kent
has things backwards when the Minister suggests that Zelaya’s return
will lead to violence. “Those using repression and violence are not
the protesters,” he states.

“Your minister of foreign relations is poorly informed,” says Reyes,
also president of the Bottling Workers Union (STIBYS, by its initials
in Spanish). “The disinformation is so great at the moment that even
our cardinal of the Catholic Church in Honduras has said that if
Zelaya returns that there would be blood spilled. But whose blood?
Those who are governing? We are not armed.”

The repression and violence have been so intense that activists and
human rights advocates are seeing links with the past to a time when
government-supported death squads disappeared, tortured and murdered
hundreds of suspected leftists. Not only do they say that the degree
of repression is comparable, but they recognize many of the same
actors.

Micheletti’s security advisor is Billy Fernando Joya Améndola. Billy
Joya is recognized as a former operative of Batallion 3-16, a group of
military officers who received training at the School of the Americas,
and which is associated with hundreds of cases of kidnapping, torture
and murder. Joya himself has numerous unresolved charges, most notably
for the illegal detention and torture of six university students in
1982. He recently told the New York Times that, “The policy [in the
80s] was, ‘The only good Communist is a dead Communist,’ and ‘I
supported the policy.'”

However, the de facto government and most coverage by corporate media
presents Zelaya and opposition to the coup as representing the threat.
“They say that they’re investigating,” notes Reyes, “whether I or
another leader in the resistance is receiving money from
narco-trafficking, Chávez or the FARC.” The labour activist raises his
right arm to help stop the swelling in this hand, revealing bruising
all along the soft tissue of his upper arm. “The idea of a ‘red scare’
has not changed since the ’80s,” he says, when leftist activists were
supposedly receiving funding from Moscow.
He suggests that Kent’s position is off-base, and offers that he would
be happy to meet with him to clarify anything that the Minister might
like to know.

‘Waiting for another coup?’

“One makes the conditions, one doesn’t wait for them,” says Bertha
Oliva, Director of the Committee for the Families of the Detained and
Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH). “Positions like this do not help at
all.”

Not only has the delay in Zelaya’s return led to a rise in human
rights violations, the de facto government has also had time to
install its supporters throughout the state. Notably, she points out,
they are seeing a growing military or retired military presence in
public institutions.

She is also critical of negotiations with a coup government that the
international community has presumably not recognized. Beyond
conditions in the San José Accord that would leave Zelaya as a
decorative leader for the brief remainder of his term, she is
concerned about the possibility of an amnesty. For Oliva, who has been
working since the 1980s to ensure that those who were disappeared are
not forgotten and that their cases are not dropped, she says,
“Impunity is non-negotiable.”

Other critics of the delay in restoring Zelaya to the presidency raise
questions about why Minister Kent has not taken a tougher position.
They note that Canadian companies such as Gildan Activewear and
GoldCorp have important interests in the country, and it could be that
they were not pleased with the recent hike in the minimum wage or with
growing pressure for mining law reforms. If not, why has Canada not
withdrawn support for its Military Training Assistance Program or been
considering other economic sanctions that could help advance the
negotiation process? And why, some ask, has Canada not vigourously
condemned human rights violations taking place given Honduras’s
important position as the second largest recipient of Canadian aid
money in the Americas after Haiti?

First Lady Xiomara Castro de Zelaya has questions of her own for
Minister Kent: “Is he waiting for another country to suffer a coup? Or
until they kill who knows how many people? He says it is not the right
moment. But this is not about President Zelaya. The President
represents the restoration of rights to the people.” His return, she
says, “is a mechanism to find peace and tranquility.”

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Jennifer Moore is a free-lance journalist covering Latin America. She has
previous reported for The Tyee on Ecuador and Canadian mining interests.

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[en] Yves Engler, rabble.ca: Canadian media silent on Honduras coup

| August 17, 2009

The dominant Canadian media’s coverage of the coup in Honduras has been atrocious.

Even a close observer of the Canadian press would know almost nothing about the ongoing demonstrations, blockades and work stoppages calling for the return of elected President Manuel Zelaya.

Since Zelaya was overthrown by the military on June 28 the majority of teachers in Honduras have been on strike. Recently, health workers, air traffic controllers and taxi drivers have also taken job action against the coup.  In response the military sent troops to oversee airports and hospitals across the country.

For more than a week protesters from all corners of the country walked 20 km a day and on Tuesday tens of thousands of demonstrators converged on the country’s two biggest cities, San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa. These demonstrations prompted the de facto regime to re-impose a curfew in the capital, which had been in effect in the weeks after the coup.

This resistance — taking place under the threat of military repression — has gone almost entirely unreported by leading Canadian media.  So has Canada’s tacit support for the coup.

Last Tuesday the ousted Honduran Foreign Affairs Minister told TeleSur that Canada and the U.S. were providing “oxygen” to the military government. Picked up by numerous Spanish language newspapers, Patricia Rodas called on Canada and the U.S. to suspend aid to the de facto regime.

During an official visit to Mexico with Zelaya last week, Rodas asked Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who was about to meet Harper and Obama, to lobby Ottawa and Washington on their behalf. “We are asking [Calderon] to be an intermediary for our people with the powerful countries of the world, for example, the U.S. and at this moment Canada, which have lines of military and economic support with Honduras.”

To my knowledge, no Canadian media reported Rodas’ comments. Nor did any Canadian media mention that Canada’s ambassador to Costa Rica, Neil Reeder, met coup officials in Tegucigalpa last week. The Canadian media has also ignored the fact that Canada is the only major donor to Honduras yet to sever any aid to the military government.

Latin American (and to a lesser extent U.S.) media have covered Ottawa’s tacit support for the coup more closely than the Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen and most of the rest of the Canadian media. When Zelaya tried to fly into Tegucigalpa a week after the coup Canada’s minister for the Americas, Peter Kent, told the Organization of American the “time is not right” for a return. The New York Times ran two different articles that mentioned Canada’s anti-Zelaya position while Bloomberg published another.  Many Latin American news agencies also printed stories about the Conservative government’s position; however, the Canadian media was uninterested.

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A few weeks later Zelaya attempted to cross into Honduras by land from Nicaragua.  Kent once again criticized this move. “Canada’s Kent Says Zelaya Should Wait Before Return to Honduras,” read a July 20 Bloomberg headline.

A July 25 right-wing Honduran newspaper blared: “Canadá pide a Zelaya no entrar al país hasta llegar a un acuerdo” (Canada asks Zelaya not to enter the country until there’s a negotiated solution).

After publishing a number of articles about Ottawa’s position in the hours and days after the coup, Mexican news agency Notimex did a piece that summarized something this author wrote for rabble.ca.

Then on July 26 Notimex wrote about the Canadian Council for International Cooperation’s demand that Ottawa take a more firm position against the coup.

Both of these articles were published (at least online) by a number of major Spanish-language newspapers.

Finally, a month after the coup there was a small breakthrough into Canada’s dominant media. CBC radio’s The Current provided space for Graham Russell from Rights Action, a Canadian group with a long history in Honduras, to criticize Ottawa’s handling of the coup.  Unfortunately, Russell’s succinct comments were followed by the CBC interviewer’s kid gloves treatment of Minister Peter Kent. Still, the next day the Canadian Press revealed that Ottawa refused to exclude Honduras from its Military Training Assistance Program, a program rabble.ca reported on days after the coup.

Uninterested in the Conservative government’s machinations, the Canadian media is even less concerned with the corporations that may be influencing Ottawa’s policy towards Honduras.  Rights Action has uncovered highly credible information that Vancouver-based Goldcorp provided buses to the capital, Tegucigalpa, and cash to former employees who rallied in support of the coup.

As far as I can tell, the Halifax Chronicle Herald is the only major Canadian media outlet that has mentioned this connection between the world’s second biggest gold producer and the coup.

Under pressure from the Maquila Solidarity Network, two weeks ago Nike, Gap and two other U.S.-based apparel company operating in Honduras released a statement calling for the restoration of democracy.

With half of its operations in the country Montréal-based Gildan activewear, the world’s largest blank T-shirt maker, refused to sign this statement. According to company spokesperson Genevieve Gosselin, Gildan employs more than 11,000 people in Honduras. Without a high-profile brand name Gildan is particularly dependent on producing T-shirts and socks at the lowest cost possible and presumably the company opposed Zelaya’s move to increase the minimum wage by 60 per cent at the start of the year.  Has Gildan actively supported the coup like Goldcorp? It is hard to know since there has yet to be any serious investigation of the company’s recent activities in the country.

The Canadian media’s coverage of the coup demonstrates the importance of independent media. We need to support news outlets willing to challenge the powerful.

Yves Engler is the author of the recently released The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy and other books. The book is available at blackbook.foreignpolicy.ca. If you are interested in helping to organize an event as part of the second leg of a book tour in late September please contact: yvesengler[at]hotmail[dot]com.

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article published by http://rabble.ca

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[en] Rights Action Coup Alert #41: In Response to Mr. Peter Kent: Canada’s Increasingly Complicit Role in Honduras

!No a la mineria! frente la mina de Goldcorp. foto: Comite Ambientalista del Valle de Siria[The communities in the Siria Valley, gravely affected by Goldcorp's San Martin mine in Honduras, would argue with Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas, Peter Kent, who stated to CBC that "Canadians should be proud of Goldcorp..." Photo: Siria Valley Environmental Committee.]

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IN RESPONSE TO MR. PETER KENT:
CANADA’S INCREASINGLY COMPLICIT ROLE IN HONDURAS

Day 36 of Honduran Coup Resistance, August 2, 2009
(Alert#41)

On July 29, The Current radio program, of the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), aired a 2-part discussion about “Canada’s role in Honduras”: part one with Grahame Russell of Rights Action; part two with Peter Kent, Canada’s Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas.

To listen: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/200907/20090729.html

As Peter Kent spoke second, and responded to points Grahame made, we publish this in response to comments made by Mr. Kent.

GENERAL COMMENT: BODY COUNT RISING

Honduran teacher Roger Abraham Vallejo died in hospital on Saturday, August 1, two days after he was shot point-blank in the head by a police officer during a peaceful protest.

As one listens to the 2-part CBC interview and reads the comments below, keep in mind that Mr. Kent represents the government of Canada.  He is not speaking in his personal capacity.  Keep in mind, also, that the OAS (Organization of American States), one month ago, unequivocally called for the “the immediate and unconditional return” of President Zelaya and his government – “immediate” and “unconditional”.

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IN RESPONSE TO MR. PETER KENT:  CANADA’S INCREASINGLY COMPLICIT ROLE IN HONDURAS
By Grahame Russell, co-director of Rights Action
(To listen:
http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/200907/20090729.html)

Mr. Kent said that after the July 4 emergency meeting of the OAS (Organization of American States), a call was made “for calm and non-provocative actions by all parties.”  On a number of occasions in this interview, and on other occasions, Mr. Kent has made this “call” to “all parties”, giving the idea that in Honduras there are two sides in conflict.

This is a mid-leading “call”.  There is one side using provocation and violence.  The illegal coup regime, on a daily basis, is using the army, police and para-military forces in civilian clothing to carry out repression against Honduran civilians who are, on a daily basis, protesting peacefully, demanding an end to the illegal, repressive regime, and a return of President Zelaya and his government.

Surely, Mr. Kent is not characterizing those promoting the OAS position through peaceful demonstrations as being “provocative”?

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Mr. Kent states: “The Supreme Court and the Congress of Honduras had acted within the constitutional framework of that country up to the moment that the army actually arrested and expelled President Zelaya …”.

This is an inappropriate and disturbing assertion for the Canadian government to make and repeat.

Inappropriate:  Mr. Kent is parroting the highly questionable position of the coup planners and perpetrators: that the Congress and Supreme Court were acting properly.  At a bare minimum, Mr. Kent should not take this openly partisan position on such a debated and sensitive point.

Disturbing assertion:  But, the problem goes further.  Representing the Canadian government, just how did Mr Kent arrive at the conclusion that the political systems (Congress, etc) and the administration of justice in Honduras were acting in adherence to the principles of democracy and the rule of law?  There have been no such findings in Honduras.  There has been no due process.  He certainly did not seek the opinion of the ousted President Zelaya and his entire government, and numerous members of Congress, on this issue.

In the name of the Canadian government, Mr. Kent is seemingly washing clean the hands of the coup supporters – including some in the judiciary, legislature and executive branches whose American visas have now been revoked – on the untenable argument that they themselves did not remove the president at gunpoint.  The absurdity of this argument is patent.  It is an attempt to give legitimacy to those who plotted and carried out the coup based on what their intentions might have been before the coup.  This argument does not work any better here than it would in a criminal court of law.

The Canadian government’s use of this argument undermines the principled position of the OAS – calling for the “the immediate and unconditional return” of President Zelaya and his government.

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Mr. Kent says:  “We urge restraint.  We view his initial and subsequent attempts to re-enter the country as very unhelpful to the situation.”

It is disturbing, but not surprising – given other comments by Mr. Kent – that the victims of the coup and repression, the Honduran people, are here blamed for protesting against the coup and repression.  The right to free movement, opinion and expression are guaranteed in Honduras and in international human rights law, but are presented as “unhelpful” in Mr. Kent’s view.

On July 5th, President Zelaya made his first attempt to return to Honduras.  Over 100,000 Hondurans marched peacefully to the Toncontin airport in Tegucigalpa to await his arrival.  He made this attempt, by air, after the first round of negotiations in Costa Rica fell apart because the military ‘de facto’ regime refused to discuss any of the points that Oscar Arias had presented to them.

Now, more than a month has gone by, the body and repression count is rising, and still the Canadian government seemingly faults the legitimate President and the Honduran people for their peaceful actions.

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Mr. Kent acknowledges that the first set of proposals, as presented by Oscar Arias of Costa Rica, were rejected outright by the illegal coup regime.

Why, at this point, did Canada not take concrete military, economic and diplomatic actions against the coup planners and  perpetrators?

Why does the illegal regime get to dictate what terms they will accept or not?

Furthermore, to raise a point that did not come up in the CBC interview, why are Mr. Kent and Canada supporting the “negotiation” point of providing amnesty for Zelaya for alleged legal and political problems before the military coup?

I refer again to comments made above, about Mr. Kent blindly accepting and repeating the mantra, used daily by the pro-coup sectors, that the “Supreme Court and the Congress of Honduras acted within the constitutional framework up to the moment that the army actually arrested and expelled President Zelaya …”.

These are unproven allegations, made by coup supporters to justify the coup.  At a bare minimum, the Canadian government should stay completely away from giving an opinion about these matters.

In contrast, why is Mr Kent not demanding, as a point of “negotiation”, legal trials against the coup planners and perpetrators?

Mr. Kent represents a biased position of the Canadian government by giving weight and importance to internal legal and political issues as alleged by the coup planners and perpetrators, while providing no weight to demanding that justice be done for the coup and for over a month’s worth of quite brutal repression.

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In discussing Oscar Arias’ latest negotiation plan, Mr. Kent mentions how it is being reviewed by the “legally elected Congress” of Honduras.

This is a questionable point, in straight legal terms, given that the entire constitutional framework of Honduras has been uprooted.  There is no constitutional government in Honduras right now; there is an illegal, military supported ‘de facto’ regime.

Mr. Kent is again taking pains to legitimize and praise the Honduran Congress – the very Congress that legitimized the illegal coup and militarization of the country and that is effectively supporting the repression that has gone on for over one month, with no end in sight.

* * *

In passing, Mr. Kent commented that: “Canadians should be proud of Goldcorp …”

Since 2003, Rights Action has worked closely with the Goldcorp mine affected communities of Honduras (and Guatemala).  At www.rightsaction.org, one can find links to reports, articles and films documenting a wide range of health and environmental harms and human rights violations that Hondurans, in the mine affected communities, have suffered.

On many occasions, Goldcorp has responded to these reports, denying their veracity, claiming fabrication of false accusations, and the like.

The narrow point here is that Mr. Kent is again taking an openly partisan position, this time in favour of Goldcorp, while giving no creedence to serious allegations of health and environmental harms and human rights violations being caused by a Canadian mining company.

* * *

Mr. Kent criticizes President Zelaya for camping out on the Nicaragua-Honduran border, blaming him for interrupting millions of dollars in Central American commerce, including shirts made by low-paid wager-earners in garment factories owned by the Montreal based Gildan company.

Thus, while the Canadian government steadfastly refuses to take any actions – diplomatic, economic or military – against the military backed ‘de facto’ regime that is carrying out a campaign of brutal repression, he takes the time to criticize the militarily deposed President (Zelaya) for blocking commerce!

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Mr. Kent finishes off: “This crisis needs to be resolved quickly and non-violently and we continue to call on all parties to work to that end.”

This is one more example of the explicit and, I believe, complicit bias of the Canadian government.  There is one side using violence – M-16 weapons, rubber bullets, tear-gas, wooden clubs, illegal detentions, death threats, mid-night beatings, etc, – against the other side, the civilian population that is peacefully protesting against the illegal, military regime.

* * *

As the body count rises in Honduras, Canada’s position passes from being equivocally ambiguous to being one of indirect complicity with the military coup regime.

We urge Canadians to pressure their own politicians and government to implement direct military and diplomatic sanctions on the Honduran regime, and to implement economic sanctions on the coup plotters and perpetrators.

By Grahame Russell, co-director of Rights Action, info@rightsaction.org

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WHAT TO DO

AMERICANS AND CANADIANS SHOULD CONTACT YOUR OWN MEDIA, MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, SENATORS & MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT, EVERY DAY, DAY AFTER DAY,TO DEMAND:

an end to police, army and para-military repression
respect for safety and human rights of all Hondurans
unequivocal denunciation of the military coup
no recognition of this military coup and the ‘de facto’ government of Roberto Micheletti
unconditional return of the entire constitutional government
concrete and targeted economic, military and diplomatic sanctions against the coup plotters and perpetrators
application of international and national justice against the coup plotters
reparations for the illegal actions and rights violations committed during this illegal coup

TO DONATE FUNDS TO PRO-DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT IN HONDURAS, MAKE TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS TO “RIGHTS ACTION” AND MAIL TO:

UNITED STATES:  Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887
CANADA:  552-351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8
CREDIT-CARD DONATIONS:
http://rightsaction.org/contributions.htm

Upon request, Rights Action can provide a proposal of which organizations and people, in Honduras, we are channeling your funds to and supporting.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

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[en] MediaCoop.ca: Vancouverites picket Goldcorp offices in support of Honduran resistance

July 23, 2009

All out against the Coup in Honduras

Vancouverites picket Goldcorp offices in support of Honduran resistance

by Dawn Paley Honduras, →Free Trade & Gateway Projects

Dozens of people gathered today for a lunchtime information picket in front of the head offices of Goldcorp Inc in downtown Vancouver, protesting against the company’s involvement in the military coup in Honduras.

This is the fourth action in Vancouver against the nearly month-long coup regime of Roberto Micheletti.

“We came here to stand in solidarity with the people of Honduras, who are fighting for democracy in their country,” said Marla Renn, co-chair of Stopwar.ca. The group targeted the gold mining giant “because Goldcorp is supporting the coup in Honduras,” she said.

Goldcorp has been an active supporter of the coup, providing material support to employees to attend pro-coup rallies. The company operated the San Martin mine, which was Central America’s largest, until shut down began last year.

Peter Kent, Canada’s Minister of State of Foreign Affairs, emailed a statement on Monday which discouraged the return of ousted President Manuel Zelaya “prior to a negotiated resolution.”

“Canadians champion democracy, but the Canadian government is complicit in overthrowing democracy in Honduras, as is Goldcorp,” said Andrea Pinochet, who helped to organize the picket.

Though at times they were nearly drowned out by a live jazz band playing just meters away, protesters chanted slogans and handed out leaflets to the people passing by.

“We will continue to protest until Zelaya is back in Honduras,” said Pinochet.

[published by Dawn Paley on MediaCoop.ca]

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[en] Dominion: Five things the Corporate Media doesn’t want you to know about the Coup in Honduras

[posted by Dawn Paley: http://www.dominionpaper.ca/weblogs/dawn/2795%5D

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3685604935_59370fc49d.jpg

1. It was a military coup carried out on behalf of corporate, national and transnational elites. “Restoring Democracy” though a military coup is akin to bombing your way to peace.

2. Coup participants were trained by the CIA and at the School of the Americas. Reactionary, anti-democratic US training grounds such as these are responsible for mass murder throughout the Americas.

3. President Mel Zelaya is a centrist, and his movements towards the “left,” such as joining the ALBA trade block, are a result of massive popular pressure for change.

4. The constitutional referendum was not focused on extending Zelaya’s term limit. The referendum on the constitution marked the beginning of a popular process of participative democracy, which is extremely threatening to local and transnational elites.

5. Transnational corporations support the coup. Goldcorp has been bussing employees to pro-coup marches, other Canadian companies have stayed silent and are complicit in the coup.

Photo of demonstrators in Tegucigalpa by Sandra Cuffe

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[en] Rights Action: Day 23 of Honduran Coup Resistance, Alert #30

Foto 2006 por Sandra Cuffe: http://hondurassolidarity.wordpress.com[Goldcorp worker downwind from sprinkler system spraying cyanide solution at mine in Siria Valley, Honduras. 2006. Photo: Sandra Cuffe]

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Funds and support for the pro-democracy, pro-Zelaya movement — versus — Funds and support for the Coup regime

BELOW:

  • Rights Action’s renewed funding appeal
  • Article about private sector (including Goldcorp’s subsidiary Entremares) paying for and/or bussing workers to pro-coup “Movement for Peace and Democracy” marches.

FOR INFORMATION FROM & ABOUT HONDURAS, CONTACT:
Grahame Russell (Rights Action):
info@rightsaction.org
Sandra Cuffe (journalist):
lavagabunda27@yahoo.es, [504] 9525-6778

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FUNDING APPEAL, JULY 20, 2009

DEFENDING DEMOCRACY & THE RULE OF LAW IN HONDURAS

The pro-democracy and pro-Zelaya movement in Honduras is in its 23rd day of resistance to the military coup regime.  As “dialogue” and “negotiations” stumble along at the international level, the coup regime remains utterly intransigent, and working hard and repressively to maintain a firm grip on the Honduran people and governmental and legal institutions.

Since June 28, Rights Action has been channeling funds directly to Honduran people and organizations for emergency relief and pro-democracy work. Thank-you to all who have donated.  Please continue to support this amazing popular movement.

There is a chance that the Honduran people – with global support – can turn back the coup!  It is a difficult and risky struggle.  Repression is on-going, but the need and desire are there in the Honduran people, and indeed in peoples across the Americas.

FUNDS ARE BEING USED BY HONDURAN ORGANIZATIONS AND PEOPLE AS FOLLOWS:

  • general support funds for Honduran organizations carrying forth with their coordinated work in defense of democracy and human rights
  • emergency funds for ‘at risk’ leaders who have been targeted by the coup regime
  • emergency funds for families who have suffered directly from repression
  • legal defense funds for people illegally detained by the regime
  • funds to help with communications, transportation and food costs related to defense of democracy and rule of law activities

HOW TO DONATE: see below

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PRIVATE SECTOR SUPPORT FOR PRO-COUP REGIME
By Grahame Russell

On July 8, Rights Action reported (in Honduras Coup Alert #19) that:

“From our partner group, the Committee for the Defense of the Environment in the Siria Valley, Rights Action has learned that Entremares employees (Entremares being Goldcorp’s wholly owned subsidiary) from the “San Martin” mine have been taken … to participate in pro-coup regime marches in Tegucigalpa organized by the “Movement for Peace and Democracy”.  Goldcorp (Entremares) pays for the transportation and at least one meal for the workers to attend.”

After sending this to our list-serv, Rights Action received a letter from Goldcorp saying our information was “fabricated”, “utterly and completely false”.  They asked us to take these statements off our webpage and publish a retraction of the “malicious allegations.”

This is not the first time that Goldcorp has accused Rights Action of fabricating information and writing “sensationalist” articles about their huge (and very profitable) open-pit, cyanide leach mines in Honduras and Guatemala that have contributed to and caused extensive health and environmental harms and human rights violations. (For more info: info@rightsaction.org)

In respect for Goldcorp, we took the Honduras Coup Alert #19 off our webpage.  Then, we sent two people to the Siria Valley, to triple-check our information. Today, we re-confirm and clarify our information.

In the Siria Valley, where Goldcorp (Entremares) operates its cyanide leach, open pit gold mine, we interviewed: mine workers, ex-mine workers, local citizens and some local citizens who have worked for many years to hold Goldcorp Inc accountable for the well documented health and environmental harms and human rights violations.  They confirmed to us that:

  • On a number of occasions, mine workers, ex-mine workers and other local young men, have travelled in buses from the Siria Valley to Tegucigalpa to participate in pro-coup marches organized by the pro-coup Movement for Peace and Democracy that is funded by the Honduran private sector (see more info, below) and possibly by the International Republican Institute, USAID and the NED (National Endowment for Democracy);
  • The buses from the Siria Valley are contracted to Entremares;
  • These bus trips are coordinated by local men who work or used to work with Entremares; who work or used to work as “community promoters” with the Fundacion San Martin (a local NGO set up and funded by Entremares); and who work with the Honduran Association of Mining, that Entremares is a member of;
  • The men and young men are contacted one by one, and asked if they would like to go on the bus, for 400 Lempiras (over US$20).  If they agree, they are told to meet at such and such a point, in the Siria Valley, and the bus picks them up in the morning;
  • On the bus, they were given white t-shirts with pro-democracy and pro-peace slogans on them, to wear during the protests.
  • On the bus, the men and young men are paid 400 Lempiras cash.  One young man told us that he, working as a campesino, could earn 100 lempiras ($5) on a typical day of work; thus, it was worth it and he was going to do it again;
  • When the bus gets to the protest, in Tegucigalpa, they are wearing their white t-shirts.  They are told to stay in the area of the protest, and to meet back at the bus at 3pm.  They were told to shout along with the pro-democracy and pro-peace slogans of the pro-coup rally organizers.
  • At around 3pm, then are driven home to the Siria Valley.

RAISING FUNDS FOR PRO-COUP REGIME ACTIVITIES

The larger point is that many companies in Honduras – national and international – are doing this.  Though Goldcorp Inc., from its head office in Vancouver, may not have had full or any knowledge about this practice, anyone following the Honduran situation since the June 28th military coup, and even before, knows the private, pro-coup sector (mainly medium and larger sized companies) are being asked to provide financial support and to bring their workers, or even busloads of poor people from Tegucigalpa slums, to the pro-coup protests.

On June 26, 2009 (two days before the coup), the Camara de Comercio e Industria de Tegucigalpa sent the following letter (translated by Rights Action), signed by its president Aline Flores.

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TEGUCIGALPA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
Promoting free enterprise for more than a century

Tegucigalpa, M.D.C.
Friday, 26 June 2009

Faced with the political and economic uncertainty in our country, it is necessary that the Honduran private sector take urgent actions directed towards the support of democracy and social and economic freedom.

Our representative institution of the capital city businesspeople has firmly stated its respect for the rule of law, the independence of powers, and the faithful compliance with the Constitution of the Republic.

In this historic moment, it is necessary that each affiliated company take a step forward with regards to the professional effort that the Chamber of Commerce is leading. For this reason, we request a voluntary donation with the aim of implementing a communication and civic strategy.

Donation categories:

Category 1: US$1,000.00
Category 2: US$2,000.00
Category 3: US$3,000.00

This is the moment to defend our country and the result of the personal effort of each one of us that generate employment for our collaborators, and for which we respond to the highest patriotic ideal: your love for Honduras.

We assure management transparency of the funds obtained, for which a report accounting for these funds will be presented to donor companies. Remember that a receipt for a donation will be issued, so the donation is tax-deductible.

Your deposit can be made in Banco de Occidente account: #21-401-138887-3.  Confirm your deposit with Mrs. Claudia Barahona at 231-0911 or 232-4200, extension 743 or you can do this via email at: capacitacion1@ccit.hn.

Aline Flores, President

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It is understood by many people in Honduras that this is a pool of funds collected by the private sector to help fund pro-coup regime activities including the protests organized by the Movement for Peace and Democracy.

Thus far, no one Rights Action works with has been able to get a copy of the list of companies (categories 1-3) that have donated funds.  It is a good question for any company operating in Honduras as to whether they have paid money (and how much) into this fund.

WHY MIGHT GOLDCORP Inc NOT BE PLEASED WITH PRESIDENT ZELAYA?

As stated above, Rights Action has been supporting Honduran organizations and working with them, for close to 6 years, documenting and denouncing a list of environmental and health harms and human rights violations caused directly or indirectly by Entremares’ mining operation.

During this time, the Honduran governments (including that of President Zelaya) and legal system did virtually nothing to investigate and hold Entremares accountable.

The one thing the government of President Zelaya did do was place a firm moratorium on giving out further licenses for mining exploration or exploitation, acknowledging there would have to be a complete review of the Mining Law that has given extraordinary rights to mining companies, while leaving local communities and the environment unprotected – let alone the fact that the regulatory legal, political and administrative bodies have enabled the impunity of the mining companies.

It is day 23 of Honduran coup resistance, and the empowering people’s movement marches on …

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MAKE TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS TO RIGHTS ACTION AND MAIL TO:

  • UNITED STATES:  Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887
  • CANADA:  552-351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8

CREDIT-CARD DONATIONS: http://rightsaction.org/contributions.htm

AMERICANS AND CANADIANS SHOULD CONTACT YOUR OWN MEDIA, MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, SENATORS & MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT, TO DEMAND:

• unequivocal denunciation of the military coup
• no recognition of this military coup and the ‘de facto’ government of Roberto Micheletti
• unconditional return of the entire constitutional government
• concrete economic, military and diplomatic sanctions against the coup plotters and perpetrators

• respect for safety and human rights of all Hondurans
• application of international and national justice against the coup plotters, and
• reparations for the illegal actions and rights violations committed during this illegal coup

FOR MORE INFO: see series of Honduras Coup Alerts at www.rightsaction.org.  Contact Grahame Russell at info@rightsaction.org or Annie Bird at annie@rightsaction.org

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