Tuesday, July 27, 2010

US "dangerous approach rewards illegal and violent regime change"

The Center for Constitutional Rights has released a letter sent to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opposing easy readmission into the OAS for Honduras. CCR is a highly credible institution; its opinion that "The human rights situation in Honduras is dire and has continued to deteriorate" represents a consensus of international human rights organizations.

The language Vincent Warren, executive director of CCR, used to characterize the US role is blunt:
The United States is taking a dangerous approach in leveraging its influence to lobby for the normalization of relations by the OAS. It rewards illegal, anti-democratic and violent regime change and should be abandoned.

CCR's letter (which you can download here) is a searing indictment summarizing clearly the evidence that the human rights situation did not turn around with the inauguration of Porfirio Lobo Sosa. From the issue of violence against journalists to the persecution of judges opposed to the coup, from Reporters Without Borders to the IACHR, the CCR letter marshals the evidence that repression and violence continue.

And it calls out Secretary Clinton for repeating the falsehood that the November election was "free and fair". Citing the Carter Center's statement when it decided it could not send observers, that
restrictions on press, protest, and movement have occurred since the presidential coup on June 28, 2009, and into the formal campaign period, impinging on the electoral rights of Hondurans

CCR shows that it understands what the requirements are for a "free and fair" election, and asks that Secretary Clinton cease the pretence that the November election met these requirements.

CCR also has the courage to call out the failure of the US government to insist on the truth, and the implication that this resulted from the influence of lobbyists:
we are concerned also about the role that a number of U.S.-based lobby and public relations consulting firms may have played in helping to muddy the waters in this respect, and the effect that may have had in shaping U.S. policy.
...
We believe that the extent to which these firms helped paint a portrait of the situation in Honduras that was at odds with the reality of the situation in order to manipulate public opinion and policy is further evidence of the anti-democratic forces at work behind the coup and should be inquired into and investigated, particularly when so many lives have been lost and affected.

Finally, the CCR exposes the truth about the "Truth Commission" (or CVR):
the mandate, methodology and scope of the CVR have been criticized from the outset by the Human Rights Platform and the Honduran civil society....Additionally, the CVR has been criticized by international human rights organizations that question its legitimacy.

CCR cites The International Center for Transitional Justice as saying
the decision to establish the commission seems to have more to do with a hasty desire to turn the page, rather than clarifying last year’s disruption of democracy and the serious crimes that took place.

The CCR concludes that
Honduras today presents a moment and an opportunity for the U.S. to proceed on the right side of history.

We wish this powerful document could move the US to at least a position of neutrality, instead of its crass pragmatic stance that winks at the coup because it is "in the past" and seeks to "put behind" the reality that Hondurans still have to live with daily.

Instead, we expect we are likely to see a continuation of the exploitative history for which the CCR calls the US to account:
an ignominious past in which Honduras was used in the Cold War era as a springboard for U.S. policy and an ill-advised, illegal and ultimately unsuccessful counterinsurgency effort in Central America that resulted in countless violations of human rights and lives lost.

We know now what motivated past interference in Honduras. For what gain now? Cui bono?

1 comment:

Revolter said...

US military/arms dealers/right-wing terrorists/oligarchs/some drug traffickers/ empire, to name a few.