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Honduran Coup Leader Coming to Miami Saturday?

It seems too awful or too good to be true, depending on how you look at it. But according to the web site of "MIGApartners," which I gather is some flavor of Christian organization, General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, the military leader of the coup in Honduras, is going to be in Miami on Saturday morning July 25th, between 9:45am-10:45am, at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

I tried to confirm this by calling the numbers listed on the website but only got answering machines. The calendar of the Miami Beach Convention Center merely has "Christian Ministries" listed on its schedule for Saturday.

If it is true that General Vasquez is coming to Miami - is he already in the U.S.? - this raises a number of questions.

First: this guy is welcome in the United States? In an editorial on July 14, the Los Angeles Times called for the U.S. to consider canceling visas for coup leaders. Supporters of the democratically elected government in Honduras have made similar calls. If there is any coup leader who should be denied a visa to visit the United States, surely it is General Vasquez.

JFP News 7/22: Honduran Coup Regime Rejects Own Proposal for Compromise

Just Foreign Policy News
July 22, 2009


Urge Hillary to Increase U.S. Pressure on Coup Regime in Honduras
Talks in Costa Rica broke down after the coup regime refused to accept a compromise that would have allowed President Zelaya to return.
Call Secretary of State Clinton's Secretary Clinton's Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills at 202-647-5548 and urge her to support increased U.S. pressure on the coup regime, such as canceling U.S. visas and freezing U.S. bank accounts of coup leaders, as suggested by the Los Angeles Times editorial board on July 14.
Or send a letter to your Representative, in support of increased pressure, and in support of the Delahunt-McGovern-Serrano resolution [HRes 630], condemning the coup and calling for the restoration of President Zelaya.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/hres630

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) The coup regime in Honduras rejected a proposal by the head of its own negotiating team that would have allowed President Zelaya to return to power, the New York Times reports. Rejection of the proposal made it clear that coup leaders had hardly moved at all in their positions, the NYT says.

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JFP News 7/21: Transport Workers Boycott Honduran Ships

Just Foreign Policy News
July 21, 2009


Urge Hillary to Increase U.S. Pressure on Coup Regime in Honduras
Talks in Costa Rica broke down after the coup regime refused to accept a compromise that would have allowed President Zelaya to return.
Call Secretary of State Clinton's Secretary Clinton's Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills at 202-647-5548 and urge her to support increased U.S. pressure on the coup regime, such as canceling U.S. visas and freezing U.S. bank accounts of coup leaders, as suggested by the Los Angeles Times editorial board on July 14.
Or send a letter to your Representative, in support of increased pressure, and in support of the Delahunt-McGovern-Serrano resolution [HRes 630], condemning the coup and calling for the restoration of President Zelaya.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/hres630

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

Summary:
U.S./Top News

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JFP News 7/20: Hondurans Urge International Sanctions on Coup Regime

Just Foreign Policy News
July 20, 2009


The Day They Arrested President Roosevelt
How might American history have been different, if, like President Zelaya, President Roosevelt had been deported by the military during a constitutional dispute? Maybe we wouldn't have a Social Security system, or minimum wage laws, or the National Labor Relations Act, which guarantees the right of workers to organize; maybe, like Honduras, 60% of our fellow citizens would live in poverty.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/265

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Aides to Honduran President Zelaya pushed for international sanctions against Honduran officials who took power in a coup and foreign nations stepped up pressure after negotiations for his return reached a deadlock, AP reports. Zelaya adviser Enrique Flores, told AP governments should take steps such as freezing the bank accounts of members of the coup government. The EU announced it is suspending $92 million in aid to Honduras after the government installed by a coup rejected a mediator's plan for Zelaya's return. Secretary of State Clinton phoned coup president Micheletti to warn of consequences if he fails to reach a negotiated settlement. OAS secretary-general Insulza chastised the coup government for its inflexibility, warning that its refusal to reinstate Zelaya could provoke violence in Honduras.

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JFP News 7/17: If the US Military Had Deported President Roosevelt...

Just Foreign Policy News
July 17, 2009


The Day They Arrested President Roosevelt
How might American history have been different, if, like President Zelaya, President Roosevelt had been deported by the military during a constitutional dispute? Maybe we wouldn't have a Social Security system, or minimum wage laws, or the National Labor Relations Act, which guarantees the right of workers to organize; maybe, like Honduras, 60% of our fellow citizens would live in poverty.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/265

LAWG, SOAWatch: Call, Write to Support Democracy in Honduras
The Latin America Working Group and School of the Americas Watch urge Americans to contact Congress in support of the resolution (HRes 630) introduced by Reps. Delahunt, McGovern and Serrano, calling for Honduran President Zelaya to be returned to office. The Capitol switchboard is 202.224.3121; or you can send an email here:
LAWG:
http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/625/t/8560/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=1206
SOAWatch:
http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/727/t/3823/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27691

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U.S./Top News

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The Day They Arrested President Roosevelt

What a dark day for American democracy it was - February 5, 1937, the day they arrested President Roosevelt.

The pretext for this assault on democracy was President Roosevelt's proposal of the Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937, which would have allowed President Roosevelt to appoint more members to the Supreme Court, which had blocked New Deal measures President Roosevelt had introduced to try to bring America out of the Great Depression. Supporters of the New Deal were particularly galled by the Supreme Court's decision the previous year throwing out New York's minimum wage law.

But some of President Roosevelt's opponents in Congress (including many conservative Democrats), the Supreme Court, and the military claimed the proposed bill was an assault on the Constitution - even though the Constitution doesn't say how many Supreme Court justices there should be, and Congress had changed the number of Supreme Court Justices many times in the past - and that Roosevelt's move was a dangerous power grab. So dangerous, in fact, that Roosevelt's proposal could not even be considered in Congress. Roosevelt's opponents claimed that he had violated the Constitution by even suggesting the idea, and had to be removed from office immediately; that Roosevelt and his supporters were such a threat to the established order that due process had to be dispensed with - if Roosevelt were put in prison, maybe there would be riots.

Therefore, on the morning of February 5, soldiers under the command of General Smedley Butler arrested President Roosevelt and deported him to Canada, still in his pajamas.

JFP News 7/16: Delahunt, McGovern Call for President Zelaya to be Restored

Just Foreign Policy News
July 16, 2009


LAWG: Call, Write to Support Democracy in Honduras
The Latin America Working Group urges Americans to contact Congress in support of the resolution (HRes 630) introduced by Rep. Bill Delahunt and Rep. Jim McGovern, calling for Honduran President Zelaya to be returned to office. The Capitol switchboard is 202.224.3121; or you can send an email here:
http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/625/t/8560/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=1206

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.
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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Writing for the Center for International Policy, former US Ambassador Robert White recounts how Honduran President Zelaya turned for assistance to Venezuela after appeals for U.S. aid with skyrocketing oil prices were rejected. While President Chavez supplies cheap oil to favored regional allies, the US supplies funding for the war on drugs and military assistance, White writes. Civilian leaders are understandably skeptical of a drug war that only seems to have increased corruption and violence in their countries.

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JFP News, 7/15 - CSM, WSJ respond to criticism on claim of plurality for Honduran coup

Just Foreign Policy News
July 15, 2009


CSM, WSJ Respond to Criticism of Claim of Plurality for Honduran Coup
Just Foreign Policy members wrote to the Wall Street Journal and the Christian Science Monitor asking them to correct the record after they falsely reported that a plurality of Hondurans supported the coup that overthrew President Zelaya. In response, the Journal and the Monitor have published clarifications. But questions remain: did the Monitor and the Journal rely on the pro-coup, pro-elite Honduran newspaper La Prensa as a sole source? If so, why - when the Voice of America, the New York Times, and the Associated Press were able to access independent, accurate information? Will the Journal and the Monitor act differently in the future?
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/262

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U.S./Top News

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CSM, WSJ Respond to Criticism of Claim of Plurality for Honduran Coup

On Sunday, I wrote a piece here criticizing the Christian Science Monitor, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Reuters for inaccurately reporting a poll result to claim that a plurality of Hondurans supported the coup against President Zelaya.

The Wall Street Journal has now published a "Corrections & Amplifications" note attached to the original piece and the Christian Science Monitor has published a response to the criticism to which the original article is now linked. There has been no public response yet, as far as I am aware, from the Washington Post or Reuters.

Credit where credit is due: both the CSM and WSJ have now in some form publicly acknowledged the dispute and provided an explanation. (In hindsight, the inaccuracy of the original CSM and WSJ reports is arguably more clear-cut than that of the Post and Reuters reports - see below.)

But the responses leave some central questions unanswered: did these outlets rely on the Honduran newspaper La Prensa as a sole source? If so, why? Will they act differently in the future?

To recap: here are the original reports as they appeared in the four outlets.

JFP News, 7/14 - LAT: US must increase pressure on Honduran coup regime

Just Foreign Policy News
July 14, 2009


LAT, Arias: US Must Pressure Honduran Coup Leaders
The problem of the coup in Honduras did not magically disappear with the mediation of Costa Rican President Arias. President Arias says more US pressure is needed on the coup regime, in particular to the effect that the US will not recognize elections that take place under the coup government; the Los Angeles Times, in an editorial, agrees.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/260

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Manuel Zelaya is the president of Honduras and should be returned finish his term, argues the Los Angeles Times in an editorial. On this point, the UN, the OAS, Venezuelan President Chavez and President Obama are agreed. It's time the US put more superpower pressure on the Honduran establishment, the LAT says. The Obama administration needs to make it clear now that elections held under the coup regime will not be regarded as legitimate. The U.S. should consider imposing sanctions on individuals involved with the coup, such as canceling visas and freezing bank accounts.

2) President Manuel Zelaya gave coup leader Micheletti one week to step down, the Miami Herald reports. Zelaya and Micheletti's negotiating teams are expected to resume talks in Costa Rica on Saturday. But if those talks do not produce results, Zelaya said he would pay "any cost" to reclaim the presidency.

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