Circles Robinson Online

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Location: Havana, Cuba

is a blog to give a fresh angle on a fascinating and beautiful Caribbean Island country that, despite being relatively small and with only 11 million people, has been a major player in American and world politics for a half century. I also suggest you try

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Cristina Fernandez on Honduras Coup

By Circles Robinson

The June 28 military coup in Honduras has captivated a lot of people’s attention around the globe and especially in Latin America, and there’s plenty of reason why.

It wasn’t that long ago when many of the continent’s nations were ruled by ruthless leaders whose power stemmed from similar actions.

The 9/11/73 coup in Chile is one of the many that remains fresh in my mind as if it happened yesterday: Images too vivid to forget; too many lessons to be learned. The one most present was surely repeated in Honduras last Sunday.

A friend was on a train traveling from Chile to Argentina on Sept. 11, 1973, when she passed by a car where a group of businessmen were opening numerous bottles of champagne. They were so delighted that my friend couldn’t help but to knock on their door and ask what they were celebrating.

After hearing that President Salvador Allende was dead and his government overthrown, she was filled with terror. And it wasn’t for nothing; her children, husband and dreams were back in Chile and totally vulnerable to the reign of terror that would follow.

Late Saturday night July 4, and on into Sunday morning, the Organization of American States (OAS) held a special meeting to work out a common approach to the critical situation in Honduras.

Foreign ministers from most of the 34-member countries were present as well as the presidents of Argentina, Paraguay and Honduras: Cristina Fernandez Kirchner, Fernando Lugo and Manuel Zelaya.

I watched the entire session broadcast live on Telesur TV. By far the speech that caught my attention the most came from Cristina Fernandez Kirchner.

Today, I received the transcription thanks to the permanent OAS mission of Argentina. Wanting to share it with Havana Times readers we quickly went to work translating it.

To read the speech by Argentine President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner at the OAS click on:

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Honduras Showdown on July 4 Weekend

By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES, July 4 — The Honduran military and its civilian face that staged a coup last Sunday told the OAS Secretary General Manuel Insulza on Friday they have no intention of giving up power in the impoverished Central American country.

A state of siege —that here includes a curfew, strict media censorship and general deterioration of the human rights situation— is par for the course during such events. The Cuban media is giving around the clock coverage of the crisis.

The cold reception to Insulza and his call for turning back the clock a week, sets the stage for a larger conflict on Sunday July 5, if Insulza, joined by presidents Cristina Kirchner (Argentina) and Rafael Correa (Ecuador), accompany Zelaya back to Honduras as planned.

The military-civilian government says it will arrest Zelaya and charge him with 18 violations of the law.

The de-facto leaders’ reaction to Insulza reminds one of the Carter years (1977-1980) when cruel dictatorships controlled a good portion of Latin America and the Georgia peanut farmer campaigned publicly for respect for human rights.

Knowing full well that the US under Nixon and Ford and previous presidents had supported the violent takeovers and killings of center and leftwing opposition that followed, rulers like Pinochet in Chile, Videla, Viola and Galtieri in Argentina, Alfredo Stroessner in Paraguay and Somoza in Nicaragua, etc., gave the Carter rhetoric the thumbs down.

They rightly gambled that Washington was not going to take any concrete action that would reverse the coups and open the door to leftwing electoral victories. Kennedy had promised there would be no more Cuba’s in Latin America and that doctrine still prevailed.

If Micheletti and the Honduran military hold firm in the face of possible severe economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation, the ball will be in the court of the OAS, the UN and other regional bodies like the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) to up the ante or let the coup succeed by default.

As for the Obama administration —which like Carter in his time, has so far offered only rhetoric against the coup— the million dollar question is whether there are any teeth in Barack’s bite?

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