Tag Archives: Grahame Russell

[en] Rights Action: Day 132 of Honduras Coup Resistance – Failure of “Guaymuras Accords”

(November 6, 2009, Honduras Coup Alert#87)

(131st day of peaceful resistance to the coup regime. Photo, Karen Spring, November 5, 2009, Tegucigalpa)


  • COPINH (Civic council of popular and indigenous organizations of Honduras) analyses the failed “Guaymuras Accords”
  • CPTRT (Center for the Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture) summary report on use of torture by oligarchic-military regime


Please continue to financially support the pro-democracy, anti-coup movement in Honduras.  This extraordinary struggle, to defeat the oligarchic-military regime and to remake their constitution and country, will continue well into 2010.

VIEW The Real News

“Nothing resolved in Honduras: Widely-celebrated, US-brokered agreement looks to have strengthened coup instead of reversing it”: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=4431


Consider joining a Rights Action delegation to Honduras.  For information: Grahame Russell, info@rightsaction.org, 1-860-352-2448


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The indigenous-campesino organization COPINH denounces the “Guaymuras Accords”

In the face of the signing of the accords to seek a solution to the crisis generated by the military coup d’etat against the people of Honduras, COPINH emits the following communiqué:

1. We have no trust in the negotiating commission of the coup regime, given that they have never demonstrated a willingness to reinstate the constitutional president of the republic.  Its only purpose is to buy time to consolidate the objectives of the coup d’etat in looting the national treasury and imposing neoliberal projects of privatization of natural resources and state institutions.

2. We denounce the malicious and intentional attitude of the government of the United States of America, that takes ambiguous positions but, behind the scenes, has supported the coup-makers and, if not, how can they explain that in the kidnapping of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales they used the [U.S. military’s Honduran] Palmerola base?  If the yankees had so much political will to contribute to the resolution of this crisis, why so much tolerance, patience and complacency with the coup-makers in lending themselves to a dialogue where they present deceiving agreements as a solution?

3. We call out people not to rest until we achieve the convoking of a popular and democratic national constitutional assembly, which should be made up of the different social sectors of the country such as women, feminists, youth, indigenous and black peoples, workers, the LGTB community, community councils, representatives of marginalized neighborhoods, teachers, artists, peasants, honest business people, intellectuals, professionals, the informal economy sector, alternative media, among others.

4. We urge the National Front of Popular Resistance to raise an initiative of dialogue and negotiation towards more dignified agreements in which the mediation shouldn’t be to the liking and oversight of the yankee government, which has helped drive the coup d’etat against our people, but instead by people like Rigoberta Menchu, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, democratic countries that make up the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas (ALBA) and UNASUR, foundations like the Carter Foundation, social movements of the countries of Latin America and the world like the Landless Peoples Movement of Brazil, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo of Argentina, the Scream of the Excluded, Jubilee South, the Convergence of Popular Movements of the Americas, the School of the Americas Watch, the platforms of solidarity with the Honduran people and others.

For this the front should name a negotiating commission that understands that the coup-makers are perverse and that the State Department, the Pentagon and the U.S. government in general are driving the coup d’etat and proposing, as key points, the restitution of the President of the Republic Manuel Zelaya Rosales to govern for the time that the coup-makers robbed of his governing period, the installation of a national constitutional assembly and the dissolution of the coup congress, of the coup supreme court, of the coup public ministry, the reduction and purging of the armed forces, the definitive purging of the national police and the punishment of the people involved in the coup d’etat and the violation of human rights.

5. We urge once again to the candidates of the Democratic Unification Party, the Popular Independent Candidacy, the PINU party and the Liberals, who are in resistance, to be consistent and renounce, once and for all, participation in the electoral farce set up by the coup-makers.  To our people we urge you not to participate in the electoral circus and to boycott that act of the coup-makers.

6. To the international solidarity we invite you to strengthen the support to the Honduran people not just as a principle of solidarity but for reasons of self-defense since if the coup-makers consolidate in Honduras the democratic spring of the peoples of the world and particularly the peoples of our America will end.

With the ancestral force of Lempira, Iselaca, Mota and Etempica we raise our voices filled with life, justice, dignity, freedom and peace.


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By the CPTRT (Center for the Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture and their Families).  Complete report in Spanish:  http://www.cptrt.org/pdf/Tortura_Represion_Sistematica_GolpeEstado.pdf.  Translated by Patricia Adams of the Quixote Center, www.quixote.org)

The political military coup in Honduras, which took place on June 28, 2009, has special characteristics … .

The first component is the participation of the old followers of the National Security Doctrine that have continued practicing torture with impunity since the 80’s and who are the principle military and police advisors of the de facto regime.

The second component is the strategy of low intensity conflict, psychological torture, state terrorism, total suspension of constitutional guarantees, the state of siege and the presence of national and international hired assassins.

The third element is that the coup is taking place in the country where one of the most important US military bases exists [Palmerola, 40 minutes north of Tegucigalpa, the capital city] and where international military trainings and maneuvers occur frequently.

The fourth element is the alliance of economic, media, political, judicial, and religious powers in the country, that openly denies the coup, referring to it as a ‘constitutional succession.’ An alliance which also proclaims and justifies this military coup in the name of the law of God, peace, and democracy, all while keeping silent about murders, torture, and human rights violations.

The fifth component is the condemnation of the coup as a military coup, by almost 100% percent of the world’s countries, with the exception of United States, which condemns it as a coup but does not consider it to have been military in nature.

The sixth component is that the coup is considered as being not only against Zelaya but against the entire people of Honduras, and is a threat to the stability of some Latin American governments.

The seventh component is the existence of the popular response by the National Resistance Front Against the Military Coup, which has been protesting continuously for more than 120 days, despite the massive repression by brutal military and police force, the use of toxic gases, chemical weapons, intense noises, murders, persecution, political imprisonment and massive use of torture.

The eighth component is that the coup has occurred in the context of an electoral process which censors and gags the freedom of expression, in which the de facto government has fierce control of more than 90% of the communications media, and through which a variety of media outlets and journalists were militarized and repressed, including Radio Globo, Cholusat Sur, Diario Tiempo, Canal 11, Radio Progreso and the newspaper El Libertador.

The ninth element in that candidates from the opposition parties for the upcoming presidential, congressional, and mayoral elections have been subjected to torture, to being followed, to violent trauma and to murder. These facts are indicators of the restrictions on freedom and the civil and political rights of an electoral campaign process.

The tenth component is a 60% increase in femicide, the violations of the rights of trans-gender people, as well as the persecution and racism against the indigenous and the Garífunas. In this context, it is especially important to mention that since the sixth of October of 2009, 12 people affiliated with the Lenca indigenous organization COPINH have sought political asylum inside the Guatemala Embassy, that Augustina Flores, sister of COPINH leader Berta Caceres, was tortured by the police forces, and that the Lenca resistance leader Antoio Leiva was murdered.

Additionally, on the 21st of October, Day of the Forces that are Armed against the people, the criminal policies of the de facto regime resounded clearly when the repressive forces of the Direction of Criminal Investigation were ordered to break in, terrorize and silence the language and culture of our brothers and sisters of Radio Flumabimeto and Radio Duruugubuty, radio stations of the Garífuna peoples in the regions of Triunfo de la Cruz and San Juan, in the Bay of Tela, terrorizing 46 communities.

The murder of leaders of the teachers movements has been another characteristic of this military coup: Roger Vallejo, Martín Rivera, Mario Fidel Contreras, and Eliseo Hernández, as well as Jairo Sánchez, the President of the Union of INFOP Workers (SITRAINFOP), who was shot and eventually died from the wounds he sustained.

Lastly, we wish to point out the enormous risk of human rights defense work: our staff has been threatened, followed, and shot at, and their phone lines have been tapped and cut.  We are grateful for the international solidarity and support and for our organization, particularly we are thankful for the Research Centre for Torture (RCT DANIDA).  This report is a product of team work and the vocation to ethical and responsible service of the CPTRT.

We also take this opportunity to publicly recognize all the human rights organization, national and international, who are against the military coup.

Juan Almendares
Executive Director of the CPTRT


Tegucigalpa November 2, 2009: The CPTRT reports that the number of cases of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading (TCID) treatments has risen at an alarming rate and has become of means of political repression in the wake of the coup d’etat.

Throughout these four months, the CPTRT alone has registered 475 cases of torture and TCID. Nonetheless, it is estimated that the number of total cases in considerably higher given the tendency of under-reporting for fear of reprisal or lack of trust in the judicial system.

Between 2007 and the first half of 2009, CPTRT saw an average of 2.5 cases of torture each month, compared with 118.75 cases per month in the current context.

The majority of victims of torture seen by CPTRT have been protestors that have shown a serious opposition to the coup, although members of Congress, advocates of the 4th ballot box process, and journalists have been targeted as well.

[Translators note: The possible presence of a 4th ballot box was the subject of the non-binding survey President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya tried to carry out on June 28th 2009, the day of the coup d’etat. If the results of the non-binding survey would have been positive, Zelaya could have used them to back his proposal to Congress for the presence of a 4th ballot box in the November general elections. If the Congress approved the presence of the 4th ballot box, the Honduran people would have been able to vote for the creation of a Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting a new Constitution.]

The torture has been physical, psychological, and sexual and has been almost exclusively committed by the police and military. The torture has included both traditional and new methods, such as viscous blows to the body and throat, burns via the application of lit cigarettes to the body and genitals, use of gas, deprivation of water and food, humiliation, verbal abuse, sexual harassment, the threat of death, the threat of disappearance, and the threat of the use of electric shock, among others.


Demands that the Honduran state investigate, pursue and penalize those responsible for the crimes of torture and TCID, and demands that attention, reparation, and restitution be provided to the victims.

Offers the reminder that torture is a crime against humanity that is not subject to a statute of limitations and that the passage of time does not make impossible either investigation of the crimes nor penalty of those responsible.

Offers the reminder that the prohibition of torture is an obligation that Honduras assumed on a national level through the Constitution, and through the ratification of international instruments like Convention on Torture, among others.

CPTRT states that the defense of human rights in the country has become a high risk activity for its staff, which has been threatened continuously through intimidation, being fired upon, followed, and threatened. Therefore, CPTRT urges the international community to undergo pertinent actions to protect the life of defenders and also makes a special call to the representatives of the EU to apply the European Guidelines of Human Rights Defenders.

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FUNDS NEEDED to support organizations and people working on human rights issues and with the National Front Against the Coup.  Make your tax-deductible check 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

For foundations and institutional donors, Rights Action can (upon request) provide a full proposal of which organizations and people we are channeling funds to and supporting.


In Honduras, Karen Spring, 011-504-9507-3835, spring.kj@gmail.com
In USA, Grahame Russell, 860-352-2448, info@rightsaction.org

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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.


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.]



Day 36 of Honduran Coup Resistance, August 2, 2009

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.


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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By Grahame Russell, co-director of Rights Action
(To listen:

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”?

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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!

* * *

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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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


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

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


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[en] Rights Action Coup Alert #22: No Concessions to ‘Golpistas’

Honduras Coup Alert #22  —  NO CONCESSIONS TO ‘GOLPISTAS’


  • Photos and commentary about the Saturday July 11 commemorative march for Isis Oved Murillo, the young man killed by the Honduran Armed Forces on July 5
  • Article: “Honduras: Are we going to make concessions to those who perpetrate coups?”


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Thousands of pro-democracy Honduran again took to the streets today, marching to the spot by the airport where Isis Oved Murillo was shot down by Honduran soldiers when they opened fire, July 5, with hundreds of rounds, against some of the 100,000+ Hondurans who had come to greet the returning President Zelaya.

(This July 5th photo was taken from second floor of the shot-out Popeyes restaurant.  It looks back across the grassy area, where Isis was shot, to the Toncontin airport landing strip guarded by 1000s of soldiers and anti-riot police.  All photos: Rights Action)

On July 11, 2009, thousands marched to and gathered at the spot where Isis was killed.

(“Isis Obed Murillo, You Are here! In the liberation of the country”.  Below that, on the wall: “Plaza Obed Murillo and Alex Zavala” – Alex is the 8-year old who was shot and killed.)

Two of Isis’ sisters, Rebeca and Gedalia, came from Olancho, in eastern Honduras, to participate in the march.  They spoke with the press and then stood on the stage with Honduran First Lady Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, and spoke to the crowd, demanding justice for the killing of their brother, telling the thousands that though their family was devasted by his death, that what Isis, and their whole family, were fighting for was not in vain – the return of President Zelaya and his whole government and justice to be done against the coup plotters and perpetrators.

(Gedalia Murillo Mencias, sister of Isis)

On Sunday morning, July 12, thousands will march to the Central Park of Tegucigalpa, by the Cathedral presided over by Catholic Cardenal Oscar Andres Rodriguez who, along with 11 bishops, have justified the military coup and are supporting the military-coup regime.

(During one of the daily pro-democracy marches, a man holds this photo of Cardenal Oscar Andres Rodriguez – “Goddam Murderer Priest”, with a photo of Isis Oved Murillo just after he was shot, July 5).

In this catholic country, many Hondurans have been more shocked and upset by the pro-coup position of the Catholic Church hierarchy, than by the complicity of other the other main pro-coup sectors – economic elites, military, congress, media.

(“Ex-Cardenal Rodriguez.  The Catholic people of Honduras do not know you, son of Satan.”)

(“Honduras is in need of a Cardenal, because the one we had is a ‘golpista’ (pro-coup)”)

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(The article below is a clear and obvious reminder why we must continue to work in Canada and the United States so that our governments take concrete economic and legal actions – including cutting off all military relations, assistance, aid, etc – so as to ensure the return of President Zelaya and his entire government, and legal trials against the coup plotters and perpetrators.)

July 9, 2009, By Dana Frank, Professor of History, University of California, Santa Cruz

Now that legitimate President Zelaya of Honduras is sequestered in “negotiations” in Costa Rica with the very man, Roberto Micheletti, who ordered his  kidnapping and removal from the country at the point of a gun, we can ask: what does it mean to “negotiate” with the perpetrators of a coup?

The President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias, is supposed to be mediating some kind of compromise. Is Zelaya himself, the legitimately elected President expected to compromise? Is Micheletti somehow Zelaya’s equal here? What, is up for negotiation?

Although many on the far right are crying out that Zelaya was himself trying to subvert the Honduran constitution–which he wasn’t–it is clear that Micheletti and his oligarchs could have followed a legal procedure had that been the case. The Honduran constitution allows for impeachment as well as a precise legal structure in which an official can be officially charged and allowed to defend him.

Micheletti and General Romeo Vasquez, by contrast, with the support of the Supreme Court and most of Congress, completely subverted the rule of law and occupied the country militarily.

Since U.S. Secretary of State announced Wednesday that Arias would mediate a potential solution, Honduran trade unionists, human rights groups, and scholars have expressed alarm about the very concept of negotiating with those who perpetrate coups.

We can join them in underscoring the danger of making concessions to those who launched, supported, and carried out a military coup, and the potential for setting a dangerous precedent in doing so.

As German Zepeda, President of the Coalition of Honduran Banana and Agroindustrial Unions, noted on Wednesday, “Does this mean that in any country in the region, you can launch a coup d’etat and you’ll be rewarded with negotiation?”  As he points out, the U.S. initiative in setting up mediation “could convert itself into the norm for future politics in the region.”

Leticia Salomon, a prominent Honduran sociologist and economist, in an extended analysis released on July 3, underscores the key elements necessary in any solution to the conflict: not only the restitution of President Zelaya to office, but a removal from responsibilities of all those that violated the law in supporting the coup–including the highly politicized judges of the Supreme Court, the military, and those in Congress who voted to support the bogus presidency of Micheletti, and who falsified documents in which Zelaya supposedly renounced his office.

“Human Rights Are Not Negotiable,” declared the Center for Investigation and Promotion of Human Rights (CIPRODEH) of Honduras –an independent civil society group, not to be confused with the pro-coup human rights office of Micheletti’s false government.

In a letter released on Wednesday, July 8, they note that we cannot accept impunity for those who have violated human rights all over Honduras in the past ten days, through kidnapping, torture, illegal detentions, repression of demonstrations, and murder.

They specify a set of minimal demands which begin with the immediate demilitarization of the country.  Many outside Honduras are not aware that from the moment the coup began, the army occupied all government facilities throughout the country.

Police forces have been subsumed under military control. Civil liberties, including the right to freedom of expression and travel and against home searches, have been suspended.

Second, they demand an end to the use of chemical and lethal weapons to repress demonstrations, and the removal of the Armed Forces from responsibility for managing public demonstrations.  They also call for the return to civil control of all public services, electric power, telecommunications, hospitals, and other bodies, which are currently being controlled by the military.

Given the involvement of so many key political actors in the coup, the situation is extremely difficult. In imagining a solution, it’s nonetheless essential to eschew a scenario in which concessions are made to those who perpetrated the coup, in some kind of “compromise” in which the generals, justices, and members of Congress who perpetrated this are allowed to continue in office. As Salomon underscores, it will be necessary to draw on judges from outside the country to bring justice to the situation.

Nor should the coup lead to concessions to U.S. power.  When Jean Bertrand Aristide, president of Haiti, was overthrown in a 1994 coup in Haiti, the U.S. flew him back on a plane and restored him to power; but with a price: that Aristide support the policies of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which notoriously led to even worse poverty and a second coup.

In Honduras today, Greg Grandin cautions in The Nation, “Washington should follow the lead of the rest of the Americas and resist the temptation to attach conditions to its support for his return to office.”

Any solution to the coup must take into account the very conditions that led to it; not just the now-famous mass poverty in Honduras, but the lockdown on the political process by the two ruling parties and a handful of oligarchs who have run Hondurans for decades, with armed support from the U.S. government at Soto Cano (Palmerola) Air Force Base.

In the U.S., we hear a lot about “no concessions to terrorists.”

As we move forward in what we hope is a new political era, we need to beware of concessions  as well to those who perpetrate coups–especially in Latin America, where democracy is, alas, still fragile, and the U.S. still needs to prove that it is unequivocably opposed to military coups and will not use them to its strategic advantage.

= = =


  • unequivocal denunciation of the military coup
  • no recognition of this military coup and the ‘de facto’ government of Roberto Michelletti
  • the unconditional return of the entire constitutional government
  • increasing economic, military and diplomatic sanctions against the coup regime
  • respect for safety and human rights of all Hondurans
  • the application of international and national justice against the coup plotters, and
  • reparations for the illegal actions and rights violations committed during this illegal coup


Rights Action staff in Honduras are providing emergency relief funds, every day, to community development, campesino, indigenous and human rights organizations for: food and shelter, transportation and communication, urgent action outreach and human rights accompaniment work.  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

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[en] Rights Action Coup Alert #21: Kafka in Honduras

HONDURAS COUP ALERT #21 – July 10, 2009



  • Article by Grahame Russell
  • What to do
  • How to donate: funds are urgently needed, and being put to very good use by the pro-democracy movement


Please re-distribute this information all around
To get on/ off Rights Action’s email list:

= = =

July 10, 2009


With respect to the military coup in Honduras, in some circles there is discussion and debate, bordering on the absurd, about the so-called legality of this illegal coup.  To begin to clarify some of the “legal” arguments, I summarize here some issues.

Shortly, we will distribute a copy of a legal case filed in the Honduran courts by CODEH (Honduran committee for the defense of human rights).  Their case, filed before the Honduran Special Prosecutor Against Organized Crime, refers to legal cases filed in Honduran courts months ago, alleging the planning of a military coup.

None of these previous legal cases were dealt with by the courts that are almost completely controlled by pro-coup sectors.

To understand the “legal” situation in Honduras, one has to acknowledge that the administration of justice and the rule of law are deeply corrupted.  To argue otherwise – to argue that the administration of justice and rule of law in Honduras function in a transparent and impartial manner – ignores extensive documentation from national and international human rights groups documenting corruption and manipulation, and ignores Honduran history and the current day reality of the impunity of the powerful military, economic and political sectors.

To the point, for today …

Even as the Honduran courts refused to deal with numerous previous cases filed, dealing with and trying to prevent a coup, in the last few days before the coup, the Supreme Court received an accusation against President Zelaya, with a laundry list of alleged crimes.  Without now going into the alleged merit of these charges, that President Zelaya was never able to see or respond to, here are comments on what transpired:

The Honduran Armed Forces (HAF) have no authority whatsoever – none, ever – to carry out detention orders of the Supreme Court.  If there were a valid detention order (there was not), it would be the police forces that would have to be authorized by the court to carry it out.

Having said that, no detention order was even presented when the HAF broke violently into the President’s residence.

They broke in violently (also illegal) at around 5am, whereas Honduran law states that authorized entries (which this was not) can only occurring after 6am.

If there were a valid legal case before the Supreme Court (there is not, or if there is, no one has seen it), no detention order would have been issued by the Supreme Court.  First, they would have issued a summons to President Zelaya to present himself, with lawyers, before the court to hear the charges.

If there were a valid legal case before the Supreme Court (there is not), if there were a valid detention order (there was not), then the authorized police forces (no police forces participated in the violent entry, only the HAF), would have brought the accused – President Zelaya – to appear before a judge.

As is know, the HAF took Zelaya in his pijamas and slippers to Costa Rica.

Soon after the coup transpired, the pro-coup forces produced a letter of resignation, allegedly signed by President Zelaya, saying he was resigning for health reasons.

In Costa Rica, once left free by the HAF (in his pyjamas), President Zelaya publicly denied he wrote or signed the letter or that he was resigning.  The letter is a forgery.

Having said that, if the HAF and coup conspirators had a valid resignation letter (they did not), why illegally and violently detain and deport the President?  Why not proceed to have present the letter to the Congress and have Congress name his replacement, according to law?

Kafka is crying and laughing in his grave.  More soon …

Grahame Russell
Rights Action co-director

= = =


  • unequivocal denunciation of the military coup
  • no recognition of this military coup and the ‘de facto’ government of Roberto Michelletti the unconditional return of the entire constitutional government
  • increasing economic, military and diplomatic sanctions against the coup regime
  • respect for safety and human rights of all Hondurans
  • the application of international and national justice against the coup plotters, and
  • reparations for the illegal actions and rights violations committed during this illegal coup


Rights Action staff in Honduras are providing emergency relief funds, every day, to community development, campesino, indigenous and human rights organizations for: food and shelter, transportation and communication, urgent action outreach and human rights accompaniment work.  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

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[en] Rights Action Coup Alert #20: July 9, 2009

HONDURAS COUP ALERT #20 – July 9, 2009


URGENT ACTION: Father of boy, who was shot and killed by army during Sunday’s pro-democracy protest, has been detained by police!
THINGS OF NOTE (from the streets of Honduras)
CALLS TO ACTION for U.S. and Canadian citizens. Our governments must move from rhetoric to concrete measures

* * *

URGENT ACTION – Illegal Detention

This morning (July 9, 2009), Jose David Murillo Sanchez came to a leading human rights group COFADEH (Committee of Family Members of the
Disappeared) to give testimony about the death of his 19 year old son, Isis Oved Murillo Mencilla, who was shot and killed by the Honduran army during the Sunday July 5th pro-democracy march, at the “Tocontin” airport.

In the COFADEH offices, he gave his testimony to the DGIC (Honduras police investigation unit). He left COFADEH at 1130am, to go home to Olancho. Witnesses came running to COFADEH soon after to say that police, in civilian clothes, detained Jose David Murillo Sanchez, put him in an unmarked car, and took him away.

COFADEH has confirmed that the DGIC detained him, for some trumped up charges from 2 years ago. Jose David Murillo Sanchez is a member of MAO, a campesino, environmental defense organization in Olancho. The DGIC seemingly agreed to take his testimony about the killing of his son as a trap, so as to detain him … part of an on-going crackdown in Honduras against members of the social movement.

Please denounce this terrible abuse, as part of your on-going activism related to the military coup in Honduras.

More information in English: Sandra Cuffe, tel: [504] 9525-6778, <mailto:lavagabunda27@yahoo.es> lavagabunda27@yahoo.es <mailto:lavagabunda27@yahoo.esMore>

More info en Espanol: ofadeh@sdnhon.org.hn <mailto:cofadeh@sdnhon.org.hn> , http://www.cofadeh.org , bertha.oliva@cofadeh.org <mailto:bertha.oliva@cofadeh.org> , 8991-0259, 220-7147

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The pro-democracy marches continue daily. The movement is pacing itself. After the marches of 100,000 or more, last Friday, Saturday, Sunday, there have been daily marches of thousands in Tegucigalpa, Monday through Thursday. Smaller marches are occurring throughout the country. They are building towards more marches all around the country.

The pro-democracy movement has little faith in, but are respecting the “negotiations” in Costa Rica. This is not surprising. Inside Honduras, the rhetoric of the powerful pro-coup sectors (army, economic elites, hierarchy of the catholic church, most of the media (written, radio and TV) remains incredibly fixated on not giving in an inch. They have the wealth, the means of communication and the army and police. President Zelaya has stated publicly that he is “negotiating” only one thing – the date of his return, with all his powers and authority as President and with his entire government, and how the ‘de facto’ regime will cede power and how they will be dealt with.

Following on the decision of the U.S. government to take away recognition and diplomatic privileges of Roberto Flores Bermudez, Honduran ambassador to the United States who justified the military coup, the U.S. government has now suspended $16.5 million in military assistance programs to Honduras (according to the U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa). From Reuters, the U.S. embassy in Honduras also said “a further $180 million in aid for Honduras could also be at risk as a result of the June 28 coup which toppled President Manuel Zelaya.”

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UNITED STATES Call to Action:

Support House Resolution on Honduras! Urge your Representative to become an original co sponsor of House Resolution demanding reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras!

[This action alert comes to you from the Alliance for Global Justice and its member projects, the Nicaragua Network, the Campaign for Labor Rights, the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, and the Respect for Democracy Campaign.]

Representatives James McGovern (D-MA) and Bill Delahunt (D-MA) have sent out a Dear Colleague letter to the other members of the House of Representatives asking them to sign on as original co- sponsors to a House resolution calling for the reinstatement of Manuel Zelaya as president of Honduras. See text of the letter and of the House resolution below. Call your Representative and ask him or her to sign on! The Capitol Switchboard number is: 202-224- 3121. All original co-sponsors need to be added before 5pm today. Here is some suggested language for your call:

“Please tell Representative _________________ that I urge him/her to be an original co-sponsor of the McGovern/Delahunt resolution to oppose the military led coup in Honduras. The resolution calls for the reinstatement of democracy in that country. Please contact Cliff Stammerman or Ben Dailey in Delahunt’s office before close of business today as that will be the closing of original cosponsors.”

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Become an original co-sponsor of a resolution opposing the coup d’état in Honduras

Deadline is close of business Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dear Colleague:

We ask you to join us in co-sponsoring the resolution below condemning the coup d’état in Honduras, demanding that Honduran President Manuel Zelaya be returned to office, and welcoming the mediation efforts of Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. As you are no doubt aware, an internal political dispute in Honduras degenerated into a coup d’état on June 28, 2009, in which the democratically-elected President of Honduras was seized by the Honduran military and sent into exile. This move was swiftly condemned by the United

States, the Organization of American States, the European Union, and the United Nations, all of whom have demanded that President Zelaya be reinstated to office.

It is critical that Congress be crystal clear that coups are unacceptable. This is particularly important in Latin America, a region which has suffered greatly in the past from military interference in politics but over the last 30 years has generally moved towards democracy. To accept the overthrow of a democratically-elected government is to wipe away the progress that has been made – progress that has been supported by both Democratic and Republican Presidents and Congresses.

To sign on, please contact Cliff Stammerman or Ben Dailey in Congressman Delahunt’s office at (202) 226- 6434 or at cliff.stammerman@mail.house.gov <mailto:cliff.stammerman@mail.house.gov>
ben.dailey@mail.house.gov <mailto:ben.dailey@mail.house.gov>

Sincerely, Bill Delahunt, James P. McGovern

* * *

CANADA Call to Action:


From: torontoboliviasolidarity@gmail.com

Call the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), Peter Kent, to demand that the Canadian government immediately suspend aid to the de facto government of Honduras. Democratically elected Honduran president Manuel Zelaya was overthrown in a military coup on June 28th, and the de facto government has categorically refused to allow his return to power, threatening instead to arrest him if he sets foot on Honduran soil. Zelaya attempted to return to his country on Sunday, but his plane was unable to land after the Honduran military placed vehicles on the runways of the international airport. Meanwhile, at least two peaceful protestors have been killed and others injured, civil liberties have been suspended, and journalists have been harassed and detained by the current authorities.

The Canadian government has denounced the coup. However, its position remains ambiguous. Canada has not cut aid, including military aid, to the illegal government that assumed power following the early morning kidnapping of President Zelaya ten days ago. Honduras is the largest recipient of Canadian aid in the Central American region. The suspension of aid would further isolate the illegal regime that has taken power in Honduras.

Already, the United Nations, Organization of American States (OAS), European Union and others have condemned the coup and called for Zelaya’s return. The OAS has expelled Honduras, European and Latin American nations have withdrawn their ambassadors, and multilateral financial institutions including the World Bank have frozen loan payments.

We stand in solidarity with the thousands of Hondurans risking their lives in the streets to demand that their voices and their votes be respected. We join the Honduran and other Latin American communities in Canada in demanding that the Canadian government move beyond words in this urgent situation and take strong action against the illegal government that has taken over in Honduras. Call Minister Kent today!

Take Action! Call, fax, or email Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), Peter Kent at Tel: 613-99…, Fax: 613-992-0887, Email:
Kent.P@parl.gc.ca <mailto:Kent.P@parl.gc.ca> . Use the call script below.

Call, fax, or email your MP (click here to contact your MP using your postal code) to demand that the Canadian government:

unequivocally denounce the military coup
refuse to recognise any ‘de facto’ government in Honduras
insist on the unconditional reinstatement of the legitimate Honduran President, Manuel Zelaya
cut aid to the illegal Honduran government
demand respect for safety and human rights of all Hondurans
demand justice and reparations for the illegal actions and rights violations committed during this illegal coup

SUGGEST PHONE CALL SCRIPT: I urge Canada to take strong action to reject the military coup in Honduras. In keeping with the Canadian government’s stated condemnation of the coup, please demand the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of legitimate Honduran President, Manuel Zelaya, as our European allies have already done.

I know that Honduras is the largest recipient of Canadian aid in the Central American region. Please also cut all Canadian assistance to the de facto government, including military aid. Canada must immediately back up its words with actions to further isolate the illegal government in Honduras.

For more information: http://www.barrionuevocanada.blogspot.com/

* * *

FOR INFORMATION FROM HONDURAS, CONTACT: Grahame Russell (Rights Action co-director): info@rightsaction.org <mailto:info@rightsaction.org> , [504] 9630-9507 & 9507-3835



Rights Action staff in Honduras are providing emergency relief funds, every day, to community development, campesino, indigenous and human rights organizations for: food and shelter, transportation and communication costs, urgent action outreach and human rights accompaniment work.

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


unequivocal denunciation of the military coup
no recognition of this military coup and the ‘de facto’ government of Roberto Michelletti and the unconditional return of the constitutional government
increasing economic and military sanctions against the coup regime
respect for safety and human rights of all Hondurans
the application of international and national justice the coup plotters, and
reparations for the illegal actions and rights violations committed during this illegal coup

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Filed under human rights & repression, international coverage, international solidarity, news & updates from Honduras