“Only Latin Americans can defend their own democracy.”

Honduras in The Guardian (Britain) If this were Burma or Iran the assault on democracy would be a global cause celebre. Instead, Obama is sitting on his hands… http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/12/honduras-coup-democracy-barack-obama If Honduras were in another part of the world ‚Äì or if it were, say, Iran or Burma ‚Äì the global reaction to its current plight would be very different. Right now, in the heart of what the United States traditionally regarded as its backyard, thousands of pro-democracy activists are risking their lives to reverse the coup that ousted the country’s elected president. Six weeks after the left-leaning Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped at dawn from the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa and expelled over the border, strikes are closing schools and grounding flights as farmers and trade unionists march in defiance of masked soldiers and military roadblocks…

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4 Responses to ““Only Latin Americans can defend their own democracy.””

  1. "Gabriela Melano, Ed.D." Says:

    Aug. 13, 2009

    Dear Friends of Democratic and Justice:

    As a woman born and raised in Latin America, who also lived under military dictatorships, I am utterly concerned about the situation in Honduras and want a civilian response to a democratic problem. Because of that, to state that Obama is sitting on his hands is not only inaccurate, but non-strategically inflammatory and thus, politically unwise.

    Nothing like shooting at our democratically elected president (finally!) when we are in need of his leadership and the one of his team. There is a huge difference between letting the Obama Administration what our opinion is, as rightfully concerned citizens and attacking his role and reputation while he is astoundingly busy in addressing so many politically charged situations in our country and the world. As progressive activists we need to expand and improve our repertoire of moves– being merely adversarial has not been constructive for quite a while. That is a very recurrent and old mistake of the so-called “left”. I propose to explore constructive alternatives and, at least, be original in our mistakes. We are utterly lucky that The Obamas understand this and count on our imagination and commitment!

    In solidarity,


    On Aug 12, 2009, at 10:34 PM, Cafesombra@aol.com wrote:

  2. "Mark Bonta" Says:

    I disagree. Has the State Dept not just sent a memo to Senator Lugar basically stating that there will be no further sanctions? Is Mr. Clinton’s lawyer not now lobbying for the dictator and his minions? What is REALLY needed is some REAL reporting by Reuters and their ilk–there are hundreds of people being tortured and disappeared, including right now in the Universidad Pedagogica Nacional. The entire country has turned into a hunting ground of anyone and everyone who has been ticking off the oligarchy since Hurricane Katrina; people as prominent as Rafael Alegria, leader of Via Campesina, and Padre Andre Tamayo , winner of the Goldman Prize, are being harassed and their followers hunted like dogs. PLEASe, if anyone has good contacts in the major media, what we need are international correspondents on the ground documenting the brutal repression. Why is it that the Latin American progressive left is galvaniyed by what is going on, but the rest of the world is pretending it really is not very important? Does Mr. Obama really have four or five other more important things to do? Zelaya has been received across the Hemisphere; the rhetoric of the (extreme) Right is that this could happen to You, and given the actors involved in the coup, it is widely understood that, if it is successful, there is a whole line of countries that will follow. Obama risks becoming irrelevant, after a decent start with Latin America. What would be so hard about some sanctions with teeth? The White House is being won over by State, it seems.

    Dr. Mark Bonta Associate Professor of Geography Division of Social Sciences Delta State University Cleveland MS 38733 662.846.4096 (office) webpage: http://ntweb.deltastate.edu/mbonta

  3. Alexis Aguilar Says:

    Gabriela: I have to agree with Mark. U.S. foreign policy to Latin America seems to be dictated by right wing ideologues like Otto Reich and John Negroponte (former Honduran ambassador now an advisor to H. Clinton). I’d like to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume that he’s just clueless about Latin America and is being taken on a ride by his State department, but recently he accused of hypocrites those who are asking him to stop supporting the coup government in Honduras. Unfortunately, as far as Latin America is concerned (and some people say the Middle East as well), Obama’s foreign policy is virtually indistinguishable from that of Bush. He recently signed an agreement with president Uribe of Colombia to establish five new military bases, the biggest expansion of U.S. military power in the region in a long time, something not even seen in the worst of the Bush years, see for instance http://www.telesurtv.net/noticias/entrev-reportajes/index.php?ckl=346. And, the least that the Obama administration could do is denounce ongoing human rights violations in Honduras. Yesterday for instance, demonstrators were taken to the basement of the Honduran congress and beaten, even a congressman from a leftist party was severely beaten and sent to the hospital. Yet, the Obama administration remains silent. I’m sorry, but the hope that Obama would signify a new era in U.S.-Latin American relations is quickly fading.


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  4. "Gabriela Melano, Ed.D." Says:

    Hi, Everyone:

    If you re-read the emails, you will realize we are not disagreeing– at least, not yet. That is, other than it is better to put strategic pressure on the Obama Administration than to outright discredit it or to equate it with the Bush Doctrine! (!?) Of course, that is a huge difference. But, then I have to remember there are still folks who would equate G.W. with Gore, right? If the USA did not have such a role in the rest of the world, that equation would be laughable, it isn’t. How soon we forget that we just came out from perhaps the worse dictatorship ” a la gringa” the world has endured. And, this is not about protecting The Obamas, more ambitiously, it is about being more strategic when it comes to transforming the world.

    In solidarity,


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