Category Archives: U.S. military aid
EXCLUSIVE: Hillary Clinton sold out Honduras: Lanny Davis, corporate cash, and the real story about the death of a Latin American democracy – Salon.com
Salvadoran General Deported from U.S. for Command Role in Human Rights Crimes During El Salvador Civil War
Violations Cited in Justice Department Ruling Include Torture of Salvadoran Citizens, Murder of Four American Churchwomen, Among Others
By Alexandra Smith
Thursday, April 9, 2015—Gen. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, former chief of El Salvador’s National Guard and then Minister of Defense from 1979-89, was deported from Florida yesterday as a result of a precedent-setting decision by the Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals, following 16 years of legal efforts by human rights groups against him.
In 1999, The Center for Justice and Accountability filed a case against Vides Casanova and another former defense minister, Gen. José Guillermo García, charging them with liability for the torture of three Salvadoran civilians under the “command responsibility” doctrine illustrating intellectual authorship. The case, Romagoza et al. v. Generals Garcia and Vides Casanova, cemented the legal authority of the command responsibility doctrine with a verdict demanding…
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Source: Walter Lippman
Translation from CubaNews, Walter Lippman:
“If I were Palestinian”
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Since 1948, the Palestinians have been condemned to live in never-ending humiliation. They can’t even breathe without permission. They have lost their homeland, their lands, their water, their freedom, everything, even the right to elect their own government.
When they vote for whom they shouldn’t, they are punished. Gaza is being punished. It became a dead-end mousetrap since Hamas won the 2006 elections fairly. Something similar had happened in 1932, when the Communist Party won the elections in El Salvador: the people atoned for their misbehavior with a bloodbath and lived under military dictatorships from then on. Democracy is a luxury deserved by just a few. The homemade rockets that the Hamas combatants cornered in Gaza shoot with sloppy aim at formerly-Palestinian lands currently under Israeli rule are born out of helplessness.
And desperation, the kind that borders on suicidal madness, is the mother of the threats that deny Israel’s right to exist with ineffective cries while a very effective genocidal war has long denied Palestine’s right to life.
Very little is left of Palestine.
Step by step, Israel is wiping it off the map.
The settlers invade, followed by soldiers who retrace the borders.
Bullets shot in self-defense consecrate the plundering.
No aggression fails to claim it’s purposes are defensive.
Hitler invaded Poland to prevent Poland from invading Germany.
Bush invaded Iraq to prevent Iraq from invading the world.
With each of its defensive wars, Israel swallows another piece of Palestine, and the feast goes on.
The following post about Palestine was written in 2012, but is just as relevant today. The United States continues to generously fund the Israeli war machine, and our leaders have only tepidly criticized the recent violence committed by the Israeli military. Activists must continue to call on Congress to ban military aid to Israel. I’m attaching an English translation of Galeano’s words.
Palestina.Cartel de NOAZ.
Por Eduardo Galeano
Para justificarse, el terrorismo de Estado fabrica terroristas: siembra odio y cosecha coartadas. Todo indica que esta carnicería de Gaza, que según sus autores quiere acabar con los terroristas, logrará multiplicarlos.
Desde 1948, los palestinos viven condenados a humillación perpetua. No pueden ni respirar sin permiso. Han perdido su patria, sus tierras, su agua, su libertad, su todo. Ni siquiera tienen derecho a elegir sus gobernantes. Cuando votan a quien no deben votar, son castigados. Gaza está siendo castigada. Se convirtió en una ratonera sin salida, desde que Hamas ganó limpiamente las elecciones en el año 2006. Algo parecido había ocurrido en 1932, cuando el Partido Comunista triunfó en las elecciones de El Salvador. Bañados en sangre, los salvadoreños expiaron su mala conducta y desde entonces vivieron sometidos a dictaduras militares. La democracia es un lujo que no todos merecen.
Son hijos de…
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June 28th marked 5 years since an illegal coup overthrew the democratically-elected President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya. Since the coup, politically-motivated assassinations, attacks on poor campesinos, violence against LGBT people, and an overall decline in the security situation have increased dramatically. Recently, the U.S. ambassador to Honduras, Lisa Kubiskie, congratulated the government of Honduras for fair and democratic elections, despite widespread evidence of fraud and voter intimidation. The U.S. continues to generously fund the Honduran security forces, who have been implicated in serious human rights violations.
The new President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez, has vowed to combat violence with an “iron fist” and has already made steps to further militarize Honduran society, outlaw civil society groups, among other anti-democratic acts. For more information, read Dana Frank’s article, “Who’s Responsible for the Flight of Honduran Children?”.
It is crucial that international solidarity organizations keep up the pressure on our own governments to cut off military spending to Honduras. We also need to continue to publicize the grave human rights situation in Honduras. There are many brave individuals and groups who continue to mount political resistance to the current repression, despite enormous risks.
In Chicago, social justice group La Voz de los de Abajo led a solidarity march. Other participating organizations included the Chicago Religious Leadership Network and Radios Populares. Photos by Miguel Vazquez of La Voz de los de Abajo:
The following day, La Voz de los de Abajo and CRLN marched with the Gay Liberation Network in the Chicago Pride Parade.
GLN’s contingent focused on LGBTQ immigrant and refugee rights. Many Honduran LGBTQ people have fled to the U.S. and other countries as violence against their community has increased. Gay activist Nelson Arambu of the Movimiento de Diversidad en Resistencia spoke at a GLN event about the harrowing environment in which gay and resistance activists must work in Honduras. Read more here.
School of Americas Watch has posted an online petition calling for U.S. Congress to cut off military aid. Please click here to sign the petition.
The National Security Archive is an independent U.S. NGO that founded in 1985 by journalists and scholars to check rising government secrecy. The Archive has been instrumental in uncovering “classified” govt info on U.S. covert activities, policies abroad and at home. They have also done a great deal of work on Guatemala, including analysis and dissemination of the secret National Police Archive.
Following is a post to the National Security Archive’s UNREDACTED blog – a wonderful blog that I highly recommend to anyone interested in U.S. foreign policy – about William Worthy, a founder of their institution.
William Worthy, a foreign correspondent who travelled to –and reported from– locations the US government did not want him to go, died this month at the age of 92.
Worthy traveled to places like the Soviet Union, Cuba, and China because he believed Americans “have a right to know what’s going on in the world in their name,” and it would be difficult to exaggerate his contributions both to investigative journalism and the founding of the National Security Archive.
Worthy’s intrepid reporting made him the subject of a landmark federal case concerning travel rights. He is perhaps most famous for his 1961 arrest after returning to the US from Cuba where he interviewed Fidel Castro. Upon return he was arrested, not for illegally traveling to Cuba, but for re-entering the US without a passport, which the…
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108 members of the U.S. House or Representatives have submitted a “Dear Colleague” letter to Secretary of State John Kerry re: human rights in Honduras. In the letter, the critical human rights situation in Honduras is outlined, and calls are made to evaluate the U.S. role in funding and supporting the Honduran security forces.
This important letter was made possible by the leadership of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL) and the advocacy of human rights and solidarity activists. Special credit is due to the Chicago Religious Leadership Network, who worked hard to educate members of U.S. Congress on Honduras and U.S. military aid. It’s always important to remember that without our activist efforts, elected officials may not take action on issues important to human rights and foreign policy in Latin America.
The following is an article by the New York Times on the Dear Colleague letter:
In the past few months, international organizations have raised renewed concern over the targeted killings of journalists and advocates for human and land rights.
The letter to Secretary of State John Kerry was signed by 108 members of Congress, led by Representative Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois. In it, the lawmakers argued that the government of President Juan Orlando Hernández has “adopted policies that threaten to make the human rights situation even worse” by promoting a militarized police force and using its army for domestic law enforcement.
The letter called on the State Department to evaluate Washington’s support and training for the Honduran police and military.
In its 2013 human rights report, the State Department acknowledged the severity of human rights abuses in Honduras. It described the “corruption, intimidation, and institutional weakness of the justice system leading to widespread impunity,” along with “unlawful and arbitrary killings by security forces, organized criminal elements, and others.”
The letter from House members mentioned the tear-gassing of opposition legislators and activists during a protest in the Honduran Congress building two weeks ago, as well as the killings of lawyers and human rights defenders, among others.
Other outbreaks of violence over the past few weeks have continued the pattern.
In April, Carlos Mejía Orellana, the marketing director of Radio Progreso, a Jesuit radio station critical of the government, was stabbed to death in El Progreso. His killing prompted a statement at the time from Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, saying, “Too often, Honduran officials have dismissed threats and attacks against journalists, and questioned whether the violence was connected to the victims’ profession.”
Other homicide investigations have been quick to assign personal motives or describe killings as tied to robberies.
Last week Aníbal Duarte, the popular mayor of the municipality of Iriona, was shot and killed in front of his family in a hotel swimming pool in Jutiapa, near the Caribbean port city of La Ceiba.
Mr. Duarte administered a vast and sparsely populated territory in northeastern Honduras where illegal logging and drug trafficking are rampant. Officials in the investigative arm of the national police told local reporters that they believed a personal dispute was behind his killing.
Three days later, a government forester was fatally shot in La Ceiba as he got off a bus. The victim, José Alexander González Cerros, 33, who worked in the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, had recently reported illegal logging in the area.
In another case, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a statement this month condemning the killing of Orlando Orellana, 75, a rights advocate who led a community in a property dispute outside the city of San Pedro Sula, in the northwest. No arrests have been made in these deaths.
The commission also expressed concern about the rising number of children and young people who have been victims of violence in Honduras. Casa Alianza, an organization that works with street children, presented a report last month showing that 270 children and young people throughout Honduras had been killed in the first three months of this year. Two weeks later José Guadalupe Ruelas, the director of the Honduras branch of the group, was beaten by the military police.