JFP 11/30: Honduran Elections Marred by Police Violence, Censorship, Non-Recognition

Just Foreign Policy News
November 30, 2009


[The Just Foreign Policy News may be intermittent in the next week, as the editor is traveling. The regular schedule will resume on December 7.]

CEPR: Honduran Elections Marred by Police Violence, Censorship, International Non-Recognition, CEPR Co-Director Says

Elections Won't Resolve Political Crisis; Democracy Must Be Restored Before Free Elections Can Be Held
http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/11/30-8

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) President Obama plans to lay out a "time frame" for winding down US involvement in the war in Afghanistan when he announces his decision to send more forces, the New York Times reports. But officials said it would not be "as firm as the current schedule for withdrawing troops in Iraq."

2) Election observers said about 500 people marching peacefully in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula were repressed by tear gas and water cannons as a presidential election was held, Nica Times reports. Juan Barahona, who leads a resistance group critical of the de facto government and the elections, had told followers not to protest on the day of elections for fear of military repression but left it up to local chapters to decide.

3) Amnesty International urged the Honduran authorities to reveal the identities, whereabouts and charges against all people detained on the eve and day of the presidential elections. "Filling a petition to find where a detainee has been taken is an almost impossible task in Honduras," said Javier Zuñiga, head of the Amnesty International delegation in Honduras . "The delays and barriers imposed by the authorities to find even basic information goes to show the extent of violations taken place in Honduras today, and how vulnerable Honduran citizens are to abuses by the police and security forces," said Javier Zuñiga.

4) President Obama is under increasing pressure to explain how his administration intends to pay the rising costs of military operations in Afghanistan, which average about $3.6 billion per month, Farah Stockman reports in the Boston Globe. Senator Lindsey Graham suggested cutting health care spending and stimulus payments sent to states to help the economy recover from deep recession. Senator Lugar suggested postponing health care reform until next year. Next year, for the first time ever, Afghanistan is slated to be more costly than Iraq.

5) Utah Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz is calling on President Obama to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan, the Politico reports.

6) A day after the State Department announced the administration would not sign the treaty banning anti-personnel landmines, it insisted that US policy on the issue was still being reviewed, Jim Lobe reports for Inter Press Service. Human rights and disarmament activists had reacted with outrage to last Tuesday's announcement that the US "would not be able to meet our national defence needs, nor our security commitments to our friends and allies if we sign the [landmine] convention." The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines had called Tuesday's announcement "shocking", while Human Rights Watch described it as "reprehensible." Sen. Leahy said the decision constituted a "default of U.S. leadership" and charged that it appeared to be based on a review that "can only be described as cursory and half-hearted."

Honduras
7) Heavily armed members of the national police, military and criminal investigation units under the coup regime raided the Honduran farm organization COMAL, Laura Carlsen reports for the Americas Policy Program. After breaking down the doors, they ransacked the offices. Intelligence agents removed a list of all the people who had attended workshops in the organization and employees. Among the information they took from the offices were computer archives containing photographs of the peaceful marches where members of the organization demonstrated against the coup, "where they can see the faces of everyone of us who participated," and testimonies from communities describing violations of human rights under the coup, said a COMAL official. The group fears further persecution.

Afghanistan
8) The Obama administration has soured on a call from its top commander to double the size of the Afghan police and army, the Wall Street Journal reports. Placing less emphasis on Afghan forces risks irking Democrats leery about an extended and expensive escalation, the Journal says. But Vice President Biden and other senior administration officials have become skeptical that the Afghan central government could retain, train and support so large a force, even with considerable Western support.

Iran
9) The White House suggested a 25-3 vote in the IAEA criticizing Iran for obstructing investigations into its nuclear program presaged world support for increased sanctions, McClatchy reports. Former NSC staffer Gary Sick said the vote could be significant enough to convince Iran to return to the table for renewed talks. But Sick said, "The vote by the Russians and the Chinese should not be taken as an indicator they're now prepared to go to really severe sanctions." Even if they are, Sick predicted that it "will after a lot of negotiation turn out to be a tightening of the financial screws. And if it's simply a tightening of the financial screws, I don't think it will make much difference."

Israel/Palestine
10) Israel's defense minister instructed his staff to recruit dozens of new building inspectors to supervise Israel's partial and temporary construction freeze in West Bank settlements, after settlers vowed to defy the ban, the New York Times reports. Israel announced the construction halt under pressure from the Obama administration. But Palestinian leaders said the moratorium did not go far enough because it did not include East Jerusalem and allowed for the completion of up to 3,000 housing units that are already under construction.

Uruguay
11) José Mujica was elected president of Uruguay on Sunday, returning to power a left government credited with lowering unemployment and poverty, the New York Times reports. Vázquez. The race pitted Mujica against former president Luis Lacalle, a neo-liberal who favors privatizing state firms and sought to do away with the income tax.

Contents:
U.S./Top News
1) Obama's Speech on Afghanistan to Envision Exit
Peter Baker, Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger, New York Times, November 30, 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/30/world/asia/30policy.html

Washington - President Obama plans to lay out a time frame for winding down the American involvement in the war in Afghanistan when he announces his decision this week to send more forces, senior administration officials said Sunday.

Although the speech was still in draft form, the officials said the president wanted to use the address at the United States Military Academy at West Point on Tuesday night not only to announce the immediate order to deploy roughly 30,000 more troops, but also to convey how he intends to turn the fight over to the Kabul government.

"It's accurate to say that he will be more explicit about both goals and time frame than has been the case before and than has been part of the public discussion," said a senior official, who requested anonymity to discuss the speech before it is delivered. "He wants to give a clear sense of both the time frame for action and how the war will eventually wind down."

The officials would not disclose the time frame. But they said it would not be tied to particular conditions on the ground nor would it be as firm as the current schedule for withdrawing troops in Iraq, where Mr. Obama has committed to withdrawing most combat units by August and all forces by the end of 2011.
[...]

2) Observers: Peaceful march faces 'brutal repression' in San Pedro Sula
Mike Faulk, Nica Times, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, 4:06 p.m.
http://www.ticotimes.net/dailyarchive/2009_11/112920092.cfm

Tegucigalpa, Honduras - About 500 people marching peacefully in the northwestern city of San Pedro Sula were repressed by tear gas and water cannons on Election Day today, election observers said.

Tom Loudon, leader of the Quixote Center delegation observing the elections in San Pedro Sula, told The Nica Times that soldiers deployed on the scene of the march at around 12:30 p.m., put on gas masks and began attacking the marchers "unprovoked."

"The crowd just scattered, people went running in every direction, I was one of those," Loudon said. Speaking over the telephone, Loudon was choking from the gas and said he was still watching marchers and bystanders run away in panic from the continued repression. "It's just pure unprovoked brutal aggression against many people who haven't done anything, people are just walking down the street," Loudon said.

Juan Barahona, who leads a resistance group critical of the de facto government and the elections, had told followers not to protest today for fear of military repression but left it up to local chapters decide.
[...]

3) Honduras: Authorities must reveal identities and whereabouts of people detained today
Press Release, Amnesty International USA, Monday, Novembeer 30, 2009
http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGPRE200911301429

Tegucigalpa - Amnesty International today urged the Honduran authorities to reveal the identities, whereabouts and charges against all people detained on the eve and day of the presidential elections.

In one of the most worrying cases, the whereabouts of Jensys Mario Umanzor Gutierrez remains unknown. He was last seen at 2:30am this morning in the custody of a Police Patrol whose identification number was recorded by witnesses.

After finding about the case, the Amnesty International delegation in Honduras assisted in the filing of an habeas corpus - a legal procedure to find the whereabouts and well being of someone detained by police - at the Juzgado Penal Francisco Morazan.

The Supreme Court, amongst several other courts, was closed and noone was available by phone either to receive the petition. The court should have a judge or other court appointed official always available to deal with such urgent matters.

"Filling a petition to find where a detainee has been taken is an almost impossible task in Honduras ," said Javier Zuñiga, head of the Amnesty International delegation in Honduras . "The delays and barriers imposed by the authorities to find even basic information goes to show the extent of violations taken place in Honduras today, and how vulnerable Honduran citizens are to abuses by the police and security forces," said Javier Zuñiga.
[...]

4) Afghan War Cost Grips Both Parties
Democrats talk tax; GOP urges spending cuts
Farah Stockman, Boston Globe, November 30, 2009
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/11/30/afghan_war_cost_grips_both_parties/

Washington - A day before he is scheduled to announce a new strategy in Afghanistan, President Obama is under increasing pressure to explain how his administration intends to pay the rising costs of military operations in Afghanistan, which average about $3.6 billion per month.

Both Republicans and Democrats pressed the issue yesterday, previewing the political minefield that Obama will face when he addresses the nation from West Point tomorrow. Key Republicans said they intend to support him on his expected plan to send more troops, but called on him to curb domestic spending on items they oppose.

"Can we trim up the health care to fight a war that must be won?" asked Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on ABC's "This Week." He also suggested rethinking the stimulus payments sent to states to help jump-start the economy.

Richard Lugar of Indiana, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made similar remarks, signaling that Obama's strongest backers on the war would use the opportunity to oppose him on other issues.

"The war is terribly important," Lugar told CNN's "State of the Union." "Jobs and our economy are terribly important. So this may be an audacious suggestion, but I would suggest we put aside the health care debate until next year, the same way we put cap-and-trade and climate change, and talk now about the essentials: the war and money."
[...]
White House budget director Peter Orszag, who has attended at least one of Obama's war strategy meetings, has suggested that the cost of 30,000 additional troops would be roughly $30 billion a year, or $1 million per fighter. But some budget analysts believe the cost would be closer to $800,000 per fighter, and because Obama intends to phase the new troops in over a period of 18 months, few analysts think the costs would be that high.

Still, many Democrats continued to express misgivings about deepening the US commitment in Afghanistan, with some arguing that if more troops must be sent overseas, the administration should be forced to levy a special war tax to pay for them.

Representative David Obey, a Wisconsin Democrat and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, introduced legislation last week that would implement a graduated tax in 2011 on income to pay for the nation's wars, starting at 1 percent for the low-income bracket, and rising to 5 percent for the wealthiest.

"If this war is important enough to engage in long-term, it's important enough to pay for," Obey said on "State of the Union" yesterday. "In this war we have not had any sense of shared sacrifice. The only people being asked to sacrifice are military families."

Few Democrats have gone as far as Obey to press the administration to devise an immediate payment plan for the war, a move that critics say is simply a way of opposing a troop increase. But other Democrats signaled that questioning costs would continue to be a major strategy for skeptics of the war.

"We're engaged in a huge debate on health care and central to that debate is paying for it," Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, told CNN. "If we're paying for the health and welfare of the American people, we certainly have to pay for our operations overseas."

Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said yesterday that it would not be possible to increase taxes on the middle class in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, but that the nation's wealthiest could be asked to pay more.

"There should have been, as far as I'm concerned, tax increases long ago on upper-bracket folks who did so well during the Bush years," he told CBS's "Face the Nation," a reference to the Bush administration's decision to lower taxes on the wealthy, while borrowing money to finance two wars.

"That should have happened some time ago," Levin said. "But in the middle of this recession I don't think you're going to be able, successfully or fairly, to add a tax burden to middle-income people."

Partisan wrangling aside, the cost of the war in Afghanistan has become an increasing focus of the American public.

Chris Helman, director of research at the National Priorities Project, a Northampton-based national organization that calculates the costs of the nation's wars, says that 2.5 million people each month log on to view the group's steadily increasing "cost of war" clock at www.costofwar.com. "As wars grow in their duration, costs become an increasing concern, particularly when you see an erosion of public support," Helman said.

The clock, based on figures obtained from the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan research arm of Congress, shows that the United States has spent more than $937 billion on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001, roughly the same amount that health care bills in Congress are expected to cost over a period of 10 years.

The bulk of the war costs - $704 billion - was spent on Iraq, while just $232 billion was spent on Afghanistan. But next year, for the first time ever, Afghanistan is slated to be more costly than Iraq.

The Pentagon has requested $130 billion for the two wars in 2010, about $65 billion for Afghanistan and $61 billion for Iraq, where troops are due to begin coming home.

That budget request included the deployment of the 21,000 additional troops that Obama ordered to Afghanistan this year, but not the 30,000 additional troops that he is expected to announce tomorrow.

Even the most optimistic budget estimates predict that the US government will spend hundreds of billions more on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even if they draw to a close in coming years. Helman said the costs are likely to be financed as they were under the previous administration, by borrowing.
[...]

5) Jason Chaffetz: Bring home Afghan troops
Daniel Libit, Politico, November 29, 2009 11:01 PM EST http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1109/29962.html

Saying it's time for Republicans to do more than "take pot shots at ACORN," freshman Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz will call on President Barack Obama on Monday to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan.

Chaffetz's push for a troop withdrawal - to be unveiled in a speech at the Hinckley Institute of Politics in Salt Lake City - runs counter to the position of House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and other leading Republicans in Congress. But it also reflects the divisions within the conference about the question of Afghanistan. Chaffetz told POLITICO the issue "has been probably the most difficult one as a freshman in the minority."

"So much of this is easy, black and white, but Afghanistan is very different and very difficult," he said.

Chaffetz said he thinks he will "suffer" for the decision and that it would be safer for him politically to stay the course he's been on. "I can take pot shots at ACORN all day long, and I'm good at it," Chaffetz said. "But even though I am probably going against where the party is on this traditionally, I just think we need to stand up and support the notion that it is time to bring our soldiers home."

Earlier this year, Chaffetz traveled to the region and said that, since then, he's "become more engrossed in my conviction it is time to bring our troops home."
[...]

6) State Department Backpedals on Landmine Treaty
Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service, 26 Nov
http://ipsnorthamerica.net/news.php?idnews=2704

Washington - One day after the State Department announced that the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama will not sign the 10-year-old treaty banning anti-personnel landmines, it insisted that Washington's policy on the issue was still being reviewed.

Human rights and disarmament activists had reacted with outrage Wednesday to Tuesday's announcement by State Department spokesman Ian Kelly that the review had concluded and that Washington "would not be able to meet our national defence needs, nor our security commitments to our friends and allies if we sign the [landmine] convention".

"The administration is committed to a comprehensive review of its landmine policy," Kelly said in a written statement issued by the State Department press office Wednesday afternoon. "That review is still ongoing."

The statement did not make clear whether Tuesday's announcement had been made in error or whether the anger provoked by it had persuaded the administration to reconsider. The fact that Kelly was reading from guidance prepared in advance and presumably cleared at higher levels, however, suggested that the latter explanation was more likely.

The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines (USCBL), a coalition of scores of activist groups, had called the Tuesday's announcement "shocking", while Human Rights Watch (HRW) described it as "reprehensible".

"President Obama's decision to cling to anti-personnel mines keeps the U.S. on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of humanity," said Steve Goose, the director of HRW's Arms Division, who also noted that Washington stood alone among its NATO allies in refusing to sign the treaty.

"This decision lacks vision, compassion, and basic common sense, and contradicts the Obama administration's professed emphasis on multilateralism, disarmament, and humanitarian affairs," he added.

A leading Democratic lawmaker, who spearheaded the drive in the early 1990s to ban Washington's export of the weapon to other countries, also decried Tuesday's announcement.

Sen. Patrick Leahy said the decision constituted a "default of U.S. leadership" and charged that it appeared to be based on a review that "can only be described as cursory and half-hearted".
[...]

Honduras
7) Coup Security Forces Raid Campesino Organization Day Before the Elections
Laura Carlsen, Americas Policy Program, Nov 28, 2009
http://americasmexico.blogspot.com/2009/11/coup-security-forces-raid-campesino.html

Today, heavily armed members of the national police, military and criminal investigation units under the coup regime raided the Honduran farm organization COMAL (Alternative Community Marketing Network) in Siguatepeque, in Comayagua. COMAL is a coalition of 42 small-scale farming and women's organizations from throughout Honduras.

At 1:40 p.m. about fifty members of the security forces broke into the offices of COMAL. After breaking down the doors with their guns and intimidating the employees, they produced a search order a full twenty minutes later. The offices were ransacked, under an order that stated authorization to search for weapons and "materials that could threaten lives".

At 2:30 the raid spread to the training center of the organization. Security forces confiscated four computers, including the accountant's computer. They also took educational materials used in community workshops to analyze the current political situation and publications from the non-violent resistance movement. The soldiers referred to these materials as "proof" of subversive activities. Intelligence agents removed a list of all the people who had attended workshops in the organization and employees. They took the entire petty cash fund as well.

The offices were left in total disarray, employees were stripped of their cellphones and held in the offices during the raid. No one had been arrested at last report. Security forces continued to ransack the offices until 5:20 p.m.

Miguel Alonzo Macias, director of planning and projects for COMAL, stated that the police and soldiers entered heavily armed and nervous. Among the information they took from the offices were computer archives containing photographs of the peaceful marches where members of the organization demonstrated against the coup, "where they can see the faces of everyone of us who participated," and testimonies from communities describing violations of human rights under the coup. The group fears further persecution.

In a phone interview, Macias stated, "What just happened to us is evidence that basic guarantees of individual human rights and institutional rights do not exist in Honduras. As a result, the objective conditions in terms of the personal security for people to be able to vote freely don't exist either."

"It's important for the international community and international human rights groups to be aware that this is happening and of what kind of military actions are being carried out. These actions are clearly meant to intimidate the population that sees things differently than the de facto regime and that condemns the coup."
[...]

Afghanistan
8) U.S. Cool To Surge In Afghanistan's Own Force
White House Leaning Against Call to Double Nation's Police and Army, but Surge of Some 30,000 American Troops Is Likely Yochi J. Dreazen and Michael M. Phillips, Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2009
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125953301936168677.html

Washington - The Obama administration has soured on a call from its top commander to double the size of the Afghan police and army, reflecting the White House's continued skepticism about the Afghan government even as the U.S. prepares a surge of troops into the country, people familiar with the matter say.

At an address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on Tuesday, President Barack Obama is expected to announce that he will send roughly 30,000 American reinforcements to Afghanistan in addition to the 21,000 he deployed early in his administration. The escalation would bring total U.S. forces to some 100,000, the largest American troop deployment to Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion that toppled the Taliban government.
[...]
But the administration seems prepared to reject another of Gen. McChrystal's top priorities: his call to double the size of the Afghan police and army over the next few years.

The administration now favors an alternative plan that would seek to build a larger Afghan security force, but one that would be considerably smaller than what Gen. McChrystal had wanted, these people said. The president is likely to talk about Afghan troops Tuesday, without specifying a growth target for expanding their ranks.

"The president has a realistic view of how successful the training regimen can be, and that has helped inform his decision," a senior administration official said Sunday.

Placing less emphasis on Afghan forces risks irking Democrats leery about an extended and expensive escalation. On CBS's "Face the Nation," Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D., Mich.) said the president needs to show how a surge would speed the training and deployment of Afghan soldiers to ensure Democratic support. "The key here is an Afghan surge, not an American surge," he said
[...]
In the bleak war assessment that he delivered to Mr. Obama earlier this year, Gen. McChrystal called for expanding the Afghan army to 240,000 and the Afghan police to 160,000, roughly twice the size of their current growth plans. The proposal initially found support within the administration, where senior officials have talked openly about wanting to quickly transfer security responsibility to Afghan forces.

But as the months-long administration strategy review has worn on, Vice President Joe Biden and other senior administration officials have become skeptical that the Afghan central government could retain, train and support so large a force, even with considerable Western support.
[...]

Iran
9) White House Moving Toward New Iran Sanctions
Margaret Talev and Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers, November 28, 2009
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/251/story/79632.html

Washington - The United Nations nuclear agency blasted Iran in a resolution Friday for obstructing investigations into its suspected nuclear-weapons program and demanded that the Islamic Republic stop construction of a once-secret facility.

In response, the Obama administration suggested that world powers might be moving closer to imposing international sanctions on Iran. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called a 25-3 vote on the resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency "overwhelming" and said it "demonstrates the resolve and unity of the international community with regard to Iran's nuclear program."

"Our patience and that of the international community is limited, and time is running out," Gibbs said. "If Iran refuses to meet its obligations, then it will be responsible for its own growing isolation and the consequences."

On Thursday, Mohamed ElBaradei, the outgoing head of the IAEA, issued an unusually blunt public statement, saying that Iran has refused to give his investigators information about its efforts to design a nuclear weapon and that the agency's efforts to discover the truth had "effectively reached a dead end."
[...]
Two senior Obama administration officials who spoke Friday from Vienna, where the IAEA is headquartered, emphasized that any decision on sanctions is weeks away.
[...]
This was the IAEA's first such vote against Iran in nearly four years. Cuba, Malaysia and Venezuela voted no, and six nations abstained.

Gary Sick, a Columbia University expert on Iran who once served on the staff of the National Security Council, said the vote could be significant enough to convince Iran to return to the table for renewed talks, despite a defiant initial response.

"I think the Iranians will hear this very clearly, the fact that both the Russians and Chinese voted yes, that you can't just count on them to be your perpetual supporters," Sick said. "It's conceivable they might come back with a counteroffer of some sort. I hope very much that this will lead to another round of discussions."

However, Sick said, "The vote by the Russians and the Chinese should not be taken as an indicator they're now prepared to go to really severe sanctions."

Even if they are, and if all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus one - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.S. - do agree to any sanctions, Sick predicted that it "will after a lot of negotiation turn out to be a tightening of the financial screws. And if it's simply a tightening of the financial screws, I don't think it will make much difference. In other words, the bark is much worse than the bite."

"The Iranians don't like sanctions and they also don't like being singled out for public criticism," Sick said. "That doesn't mean they're going to turn around and change their whole policy."

Israel/Palestine
10) Israel to Recruit More Building Inspectors to Enforce a Freeze on West Bank Construction
Isabel Kershner, New York Times, November 30, 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/30/world/middleeast/30mideast.html

Jerusalem - Israel's defense minister, Ehud Barak, instructed his staff on Sunday to recruit dozens of new building inspectors to supervise the government's temporary construction freeze in West Bank settlements, while some settler leaders vowed to defy the building ban.

Mr. Barak's hurried efforts and the settler threats illustrated both the government's seriousness and the difficulty it could face in carrying out its decision to halt new housing starts in the settlements over the next 10 months.

The government announced the construction halt on Wednesday, under pressure from the Obama administration to take steps to help revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. But Palestinian leaders said the moratorium did not go far enough because it did not include East Jerusalem and allowed for the completion of up to 3,000 housing units that are already under construction.

The government decision also allows for some public buildings, and Mr. Barak has given approval for 28 new educational and other public institutions to be built during the moratorium.

To enforce the construction freeze, Mr. Barak called for 40 new inspectors to be recruited and trained within two weeks, with dozens more to be recruited later. There are currently only 14 building inspectors working in the West Bank, where some 300,000 Israelis live in about 120 official settlements and scores of unauthorized outposts among about 2.5 million Palestinians.

According to Mr. Barak's office, the freeze will be enforced jointly by the police, the border police and the military's Civil Administration in the West Bank.

But when a Civil Administration representative went Sunday to present the freeze order to Gershon Mesika, the leader of the Shomron Regional Council for settlements in the northern West Bank, Mr. Mesika tore up the papers he received, according to David Haivri, a spokesman for the Shomron Council. Moshe Rosenbaum, the leader of another regional council, Beit El, tore up the orders he received on Friday, according to Israeli radio.
[...]
The government has stated that buildings that have been approved and whose foundations have been laid may be completed. The settlers, who have been wary of a freeze for months, have been laying as many foundations as they could, both Mr. Haivri and critics who monitor settlement construction have said.
[...]

Uruguay
11) Leftist Wins Uruguay Presidential Vote
Alexei Barrionuevo, New York Times, November 30, 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/30/world/americas/30uruguay.html

Montevideo, Uruguay - José Mujica, a brash former guerrilla fighter, was elected president of Uruguay on Sunday, further cementing the hold of a leftist government credited with improving economic conditions in one of South America's smallest countries.

With more than 90 percent of the vote counted Sunday night, Mr. Mujica, the candidate of the Broad Front coalition, was leading by about 10 percentage points in a runoff against Luis Lacalle, a former president running on the National Party ticket. Mr. Lacalle gave a concession speech on Sunday evening.

The victory of Mr. Mujica, 74, solidified the control the Broad Front has assumed over Uruguayan politics since the current president, Tabaré Vázquez, was elected in 2004. Mr. Vázquez pursued a pragmatic path of reforms with socialist and market-friendly elements that lowered unemployment and poverty while generating confidence among investors.

Uruguay's Constitution does not allow for re-election, but Mr. Vázquez's approval ratings in excess of 60 percent have strengthened the Broad Front, a polyglot movement that includes Communists and Christian Democrats.
[...]
The Broad Front, a leftist movement, has followed an economic path closer to those pursued by Brazil, Chile and Peru than to that of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, which have chased off foreign investors by nationalizing industries.

Mr. Mujica campaigned on pledges to be a consensus builder who would continue the policies of Mr. Vázquez. The race pitted him against Mr. Lacalle, a neo-liberal who favors privatizing state firms and sought to do away with the income tax.
[...]

-
Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy
www.justforeignpolicy.org

Just Foreign Policy is a membership organization devoted to reforming US foreign policy so it reflects the values and interests of the majority of Americans.

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The question now is what is the Organization of American States, the OAS, going to do about democracy in Honduras. Are they going to insist the previous elected President should stay in office past the time the just elected President is scheduled to take office in January ??? Are they going to insist the constitution of Honduras be changed ??? Are they going to refuse to send election observers and then claim the elections were not legitimate ??? Are they going to allow Cuba, who has not had a multi-party, election in almost 50 years into the OAS while insisting Honduras should be kept out because minor parties voluntarily boycotted an election ??? Are they going to insist that the former elected President has the right to veto any election for a President to replace him as required by the Constitution of Honduras ??? Are they going to declare the Honduran constitution's Presidential term limits invalid ??? If they are able to answer this, then we should give them some credit.

The comment before is well articulated. Allow me to add:
Point #1: Your continual use of the word "coup" to describe this is nothing but propaganda to support your argument. A coup implies the military takes power. In this instance the military never had taken charge of the government. The military was only acting on a supreme court order to defend the rule of law and the constitution.

Point #2: The commentary above goes on and on about a few isolated incidents and the interim government's censorship. When you mention the OAS, their 2008 they outright accused Zelaya of media censorship. Also, in 2007 the UN criticized the Zelaya regime for threats to journalists in Honduras. There is the true democrat you are supporting.

Point #3: The interim government is led by same party that Zelaya was a member of. This is not the opposition "stealing" power.

I have not done any detailed searching on this blog but you openly advocate boycotting Honduras' government while advocating engagement with the regime in Iran? In Iran there is video proof the world has seen regarding the violent suppression of demonstrators. If they treat their own population this way, I wonder what they would do with nukes? How can we have faith they will follow through on their commitments when they torture their own citizens to exact public confessions of wrong doing.

World Affairs Guy
www.worldaffairsguy.com

all troops out in 08, what a liar. Such stupid lies. We do forget, we forget you said out in 08 and you will get re-elected. It’s sad that he was’nt in the know b4 the election. None of us are in the know and it sucks, we’re all in the ass-umption of shit. We do KNOW LIES though, but that’s not enough. If blood is on our hands, then we have to KNOW.

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