Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Honduran coup:

Honduras Quagmire: An Interview with Zelaya
By Tim Padgett Saturday, Sep. 26, 2009


Honduran President Manuel Zelaya believes he put his
adversaries' backs to the wall this week. He may,
however, have painted himself into a corner as well. By
sneaking back into Honduras on Sept. 21 and taking
refuge inside the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, the
exiled leader -- deposed in a June 28 military coup --
hoped to turn up pressure on the de facto government to
negotiate a settlement that would put him back in
office until his term ends in January. But in a
telephone interview with TIME on Friday, Zelaya
complained of noxious tear gas wafting into the
embassy, the scene this week of deadly clashes between
his supporters and Honduran security forces. And he
seemed to acknowledge that he's also turned up pressure
on himself to get Hondurans and the international
community fervently enough behind him to end the
standoff. "We want this to end soon," he says. "But I
may have to summon all my spiritual strength to get
through it."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Latino Groups demand CNN drop Lou Dobbs

Latino Leaders Across U.S. Demand CNN Drop Controversial
Host Lou Dobbs for Extremist Ties

Dobbs’ participation in event organized by hate group FAIR sparks Latinos nationally to launch unprecedented bilingual campaign using email and text messaging

Text Message: BASTA or ENOUGH to 3-0-6-4-4

Washington, D.C. – Citing his links to extremist groups and his ongoing promotion of dangerous anti-Latino and anti-immigrant rhetoric, organizations from the 25 U.S. cities with the largest Latino populations today joined forces to mount a national technology-driven campaign to demand that CNN drop Lou Dobbs from its program offering.

The campaign launches as Dobbs broadcasts his radio show this week from a national lobbying conference sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which was founded by white nationalist John Tanton and is designated as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Earlier this year, FAIR was linked to a woman in Arizona now charged with killing a 9-year-old Latina girl and her father. Recent studies have tied anti-immigrant hate speech to increased violence against Latinos in America.

“Enough is enough. CNN has allowed Dobbs to spout hate on its network for too long, and his alignment with a hate group like FAIR should be the last straw,” said Roberto Lovato of Presente.org, the national online group that is organizing the effort. “We are calling on CNN President Jon Klein to drop Dobbs if he and his network are to maintain any semblance of credibility in the fast-growing Latino media market.”

The appearance at this year’s FAIR event is the latest in Dobbs’ long career of aligning with white supremacist groups and using his platform on CNN to spread lies and conspiracy theories about Latinos and immigrants.

“Dobbs isn’t simply attending the FAIR rally – by broadcasting his show from there he is endorsing everything this group stands for,” Lovato added. “It can’t be tolerated from a news personality associated with a supposedly unbiased network like CNN.”

Presente.org and its partners are using a combination of traditional and new media in English and Spanish to educate Latinos across America about Dobbs’ anti-Latino history. Efforts will include Spanish-language radio PSAs that connect to a text-message campaign, email petitions and a bilingual website hub.

The campaign includes local partner organizations in the 25 U.S. cities with the largest Latino populations, listed below. These same cities account for more than 75 percent of the Hispanic television audience in the country. Latinos are the fastest-growing demographic group in the nation at 44 million, representing about 15 percent of the total U.S. population.


List of Groups & Cities

Accion America (Dallas, TX)
Alma de Mujer Center for Social Change (Austin, TX)
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) (San Diego, CA)
CARECEN (San Francisco, CA)
Center for Media Justice (Oakland, CA)
Centro Presente (Boston, MA)
Chicano Consortium (Sacramento, CA)
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA)(Los Angeles, CA)
Coalicion de Derechos Humanos (Tucson, AZ)
Colorado Latino Forum (Denver, CO)
CRECEN (Houston, TX)
and many more

English Language Media Contact: Brandon Hatler

Spanish Language Media Contact: Natali Fani
Telephone: 301.442.8459 / natali@mateagroup.com

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No cooperation with the Census

By: Nativo Vigil Lopez, National President of the
Mexican American Political Association (MAPA)
After thirty years of dutifully cooperating with the census count, and even enthusiastically promoting and organizing for a successful enumeration in 1990 and 2000, I have decided this year to sit it out and not comply with the federal law. I do so very conscious of the implications of such noncooperation and noncompliance, but this is more than just a statement of protest; not a whim nor a lark.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Zelaya returns to Honduras; what will U.S. do

Zelaya's Return to Tegucigalpa Brings Coup Closer to its End
* Calls for face-to-face dialogue, without mediation
* Coup "betrayed and made a mockery of" the Arias process
* Zelaya building public international support and meeting with resistance leaders
* Calls for Hondurans from around the country to gather in Tegucigalpa

At midday today, 86 days since the military coup d'etat in Honduras, President Zelaya returned to join the resistance movement in the final stretch of the long fight to restore constitutional order. As a spy helicopter buzzed the demonstrators and police poured into the area, thousands of supporters gather outside the Brazilian embassy to receive the President. (Telesur has continuous coverage here in Spanish.)

In his first comments, Zelaya declared a "day of celebration." Zelaya called on everyone to gather at the Brazilian Embassy, and reasserted the commitment to non-violence. "I'm not afraid of the judicial process," he affirmed and added he would face any accusations but that so far all the coup had produced was calumnious statements.

Zelaya is lining up his support and his strategy in these moments. He announced that he was waiting for communication from President Lula, the OAS, the United Nations, the European Union and others in an interview with Telesur. He said his plan is to initiate internal dialogue and that the idea is to demonstrate the support of the international community without involving it in the dialogue. He added that he has not spoken with de facto government and was meeting with his cabinet and resistance groups.

The legitimate president of Honduras called on the Armed Forces to maintain the calm. "The Armed Forces are part of the people, they come from the villages and neighborhoods and should never point their guns at their own people," he stated. He urged a process to "recover peace and tranquility" in the country.

Although the police are deploying to control the growing crowd, resistance leaders are maintaining control. In a Telesur interview, Juan Barahona, a leader of the National Front Against the Coup, expressed his opinion that the "Army cannot launch an offensive here—there are too any people."

A visibly shaken Roberto Michelleti appeared before on CNN, denying that the Zelaya was in the country and claiming that the news was an invention of "media terrorism" to stir people up and provoke a huge mobilization. "It's not true. He (Zelaya) is relaxing in a suite in Managua," Micheletti told the press with a chuckle. He later added that if the news turned out to be true, Zelaya would be arrested.

By that time, Zelaya's return had already been confirmed. As the coup chief went into denial, Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom confirmed the news, stating that he hoped this would mean the end of the coup. US State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly confirmed the presence of Zelaya in Honduras in a brief statement calling for all sides to avoid violence, and President Chavez of Venezuela praised Zelaya for what he called his "peaceful and courageous" return. Zelaya is reportedly meeting with resistance leaders at this moment.

By showing up without violent confrontations at the Brazilian Embassy before thousands of cheering supporters, Zelaya plays his strongest cards. As most eyes were on the Obama adminsitration—and with good reason given its power in affecting economic and political sanctions—Brazil has been a low-profile but high-impact actor in the drama. Its power as a regional leader carries clout not only with other nations throughout Latin American but also with the United States, which cannot risk strained relations with the South American giant.

Hondurans are expected to continue to arrive in Tegucigalpa from all over the country. This massive display of support also strengthens Zelaya's hand. His most important base and chance for restoration has been in the popular mobilizations that have not missed a day since June 28.

Zelaya's peaceful journey and bloodless return also underline the non-violent character of the resistance movement since the beginning. The president gained the capital without provoking confrontation, thus taking the wind out of the sails of the State Department's previous reasons for opposing his return. Now he is back in the capital, close to a return to power—a condition of the San Jose Accords. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has no excuse for not supporting Zelaya's return and efforts at internal reconciliation.
Posted by Laura Carlsen at 11:13 AM
The Americas blog.

Todos somos hijos- video

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lula blames the rich countries

By Americo Martins
BBC World Service

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has heavily criticised the "rich countries", the G8 and other international bodies over the global economic crisis.

"The rich countries are more to blame because they did not have any regulation for their financial system," he said in an exclusive interview with the BBC on the global downturn.

President Lula has positioned himself as a kind of informal spokesperson for the developing world since the beginning of the crisis.

He has been defending what he perceives as the interests of the poor in places such as Latin America, Africa and Asia and asking for changes in the global financial system.

President Lula told the BBC that the governments of rich countries "knew how to give their opinion about everything related to the economy of the developing countries.

"But, when they felt the pain, they did not know how to act."

His criticism was also directed at the international economic institutions.

"The IMF didn't have a solution, it wasn't sure and didn't have an answer," he said.

"The World Bank didn't have a solution, it wasn't sure and didn't have an answer. And the governments also didn't!"

'Blue-eyed bankers'

President Lula also insisted that the crisis was the creation of "white, blue-eyed bankers" in the rich world.

That expression first caused controversy in March, when the Brazilian leader used it while standing next to Gordon Brown during the UK prime minister's visit to Brasilia.

He was criticised for using the expression, considered by some to be inappropriate and bordering on racism.

During his recent interview, however, he was unrepentant.

"What I wanted to say is more noteworthy today than it was then. What I wanted to say was that it wasn't the indigenous or the black population who should pay the bill [for the crisis] but those really responsible, the blue-eyed bankers.

"It was the rich who were responsible for the crisis. And we weren't going to allow them to put the blame on the poor people of the world, as always happens when there is an economic crisis", President Lula said.

The president, however, seemed confident that the leaders of the G20 group of developed and emerging countries could find solutions if they kept working together.

They will meet again to discuss the crisis in the US city of Pittsburgh on 24 and 25 September, and Brazil is hoping to influence the debate, calling for further changes to the financial system.

'No legitimacy'

President Lula defended the group, arguing that the G20 was becoming an important forum for debating and finding solutions for the economy.

But he also argues that the group should widen its goals and start implementing policies to speed up development.

"I hope... that the poor of the world, the emerging countries, are not only called upon to resolve the problem of the crisis and then, when the crisis is over, the G20 will be dissolved and we go back to the G8," he said.

According to the Brazilian president, the G8 does not have the credibility to deal with the global economic challenges.

He said the G8 was "a closed club" which had "no legitimacy" to debate the current crisis.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/09/13 22:57:43 GMT


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Honduran grass roots organizing grows

The political crawl space that Honduran coup leaders packed themselves into on June 28 would appear to be running out of air.

A burgeoning grassroots movement from below and continued pressures from the international community above have reduced the space, although the coup-mongers continue to control access to the state apparatus and use the Armed Forces to support their stand-off with the world and the Honduran people. They stubbornly insist that they will run their illegal government, stage their unrecognized elections, spend out the coffers of their impoverished and divided nation—no matter what anybody says or does. From their basement stronghold, the strategy of hunkering down relies on military forces in the streets to fend off challenges and reliable sources of outside supplies. With grassroots challenges growing throughout the country and outside supplies being cut off, the question the world is asking is: how long can this last?

Pressure or Simulation from Above?

Measuring the coup's current air supply is a tricky undertaking. There are few, if any historical precedents. South America's military dictatorships lasted decades, but at a huge human cost in assassinations and repression, without the international opprobrium and sanctions and with support from the U.S. government.

One part of the task at hand is to evaluate the real impact of current sanctions against the Honduran coup. On Sept. 3, the State Department announced the termination of $33 million dollars, including $11 million in Millennium Challenge Funds and approximately $22 in State Department funds. The State Department finally broke down these numbers for reporters in a teleconference: $9.4 million from USAID (including $8.7 million in development assistance and Economic Support Funds and $2.7 million in child survival and health), State Dept. money at $8.96 million ($6.5 million in Foreign Military Financing, $361,000 in International Military Education and Training, and $1.72 million in global peacekeeping operations) and $1.7 in 1206 security assistance. This is added to the $16.5 million in military aid suspended in July.

State Department officials closed the door on determining legally that a military coup took place in Honduras and requiring application of Section 7008 of the Foreign Operations law. They assured reporters that all funds that could be suspended under Section 7008 have now been suspended. This is a highly debatable contention that requires further research.

In any case, the sanctions imposed are dwarfed by the money that continues to go to the illegal regime. The State Department has admitted that $70 million in aid—over twice the amount suspended—will still flow to the coup. Following its meeting, the Millennium Challenge Fund declared on Sept. 9 the formal suspension of the $11 million. But Bill Conroy at Narco News reports that the Millennium Challenge Fund plans to sustain an estimated $100 million in funds to Honduras from now through the end of 2010. Funds that have already been disbursed are not even under review.

Then there are the international financial institutions where the U.S. has a controlling vote. Although the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and International Monetary Fund announced in early July a freeze on loans to Honduras, not all disbursements on approved loans are halted. The Americas Program has found that the IDB approved four loans in the four days before the coup—when the press was already reporting an imminent rupture. This was the highest concentration of approvals in recent history and total over $70 million dollars. IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno stated that the bank would not be providing any new credits, meaning disbursements on these loans continue.

Diplomatic sanctions have been equally ambiguous. The refusal to issue the official designation of a military coup is an unjustifiable omission in legal and moral terms, regardless of the sanctions imposed. One reporter asked: "But for the lay person, it’s very hard to understand, I think, why you wouldn't view it as a military coup when the military was clearly so intimately involved in his removal from office and exile." State Department Officials One and Two both eluded the question, stating only that an "important signal" was being sent through the actions. The move has more bark than bite though, since all the aid terminated had already been suspended. Now with the seeming refusal to ever declare the military coup, the State Department has taken a step backwards in opposing the coup and cut Congress out of any process of reviewing all U.S. aid to the coup regime or deciding on when suspensions are lifted.

Sending mixed messages appears to be the official U.S. policy on Honduras these days. The press reported that the U.S. Department of Defense invited the same Honduran Armed Forces that carried out the coup to participate in the regional PANAMAX exercises this week. A flurry of confusion ensued, with SouthCom stating that Honduras will not participate, the Honduran ambassador to Panama stating that Honduras is participating, and a Panamanian spokesperson for the exercises stating that Honduras was invited but will not send warships. Ambassador Juan Alfaro, loyal to President Zelaya, threw more fuel on the fire by adding, What seems odd to me is that military aid was suspended right after the coup and this shows that the Pentagon acts in one way and Obama in another. In another contradiction, School of the Americas Watch reports that the U.S. training facility linked to coup-mongers and torturers continues to train Honduran military personnel.

Some other measures announced by the U.S. government may be more effective in cutting off air supply to the coup than the weak sanctions and contradictory military cut-off. Visas were revoked for coup members, including leader Roberto Micheletti, business supporters and the 14 members of the Supreme Court. Perhaps most significant is the announcement that the U.S. government will not recognize the results of the November elections if they occur under the de facto regime. This announcement, followed by a similar announcement by the OAS, isolates the coup regime in its efforts to stage elections in a militarized country.

However, the U.S. has still not frozen the assets of those responsible for the coup. Questions exist about continued funding through democracy-promotion programs. These measures, or lack of measures, provide a continued air supply to the de facto regime. Support from international rightwing organizations also sustains the Honduran coup, although details of material and training support from these sources are scarce.

Hondurans Step up Grassroots Organizing

As all this goes on, the Honduran National Front Against the Coup is consolidating the movement for a return to constitutional order and a constitutional assembly. It decided to boycott the elections and candidates are being met by angry demonstrations throughout the country.

Through a combination of spontaneous local organizing and an explicit decision from the Front, organizing efforts have spread from the capital city of Tegucigalpa into the departments. A rotating national committee with regional representatives was formed. On the Atlantic coast, the city of La Ceiba has been particularly active. Groups have formed to defend teachers arrested for suspending classes two days a week to participate in the resistance in La Ceiba, El Paraiso and other parts of the country. New women's organizations have also formed to join the resistance to the coup in western Honduras, and poor neighborhoods in Tegucigalpa have created their own organizations to coordinate community actions.

The National Agrarian Institute has been in the hands of anti-coup organizations since June 28 and demonstrations have paralyzed other government institutions for periods of time since the coup. A lively debate exists on how to step up the pressure through these actions while maintaining the commitment to non-violence and avoiding situations that could lead to violent repression and conflict. The defense of human rights is an on-going pillar of the movement, as demonstrators are faced with repression and arbitrary arrests.

The battle to oust the illegal regime is far from over. Grassroots organizations in the United States have mobilized to support Honduran efforts for democracy. Lisa Sullivan of School of the Americas Watch is now touring major U.S. cities (see schedule here) and a Rights Action will also be touring in October (more information at info@rightsaction.org). U.S. citizens can attend these events to learn about what the press is not reporting and find ways to support democracy in our Hemisphere
Posted by Laura Carlsen at 7:11 PM
Americas Blog

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Immigration and scapegoating

Since September 11, 2001, immigration opponents have
honed their "immigrant as criminal" narrative, knowing
that the specter of the foreign terrorist works

Fifteen years ago, the nation's major newspapers
refused to use "illegal" because it was dehumanizing
and inaccurate. Today, the media employs the term in
the context of an immigration debate in which
immigrants themselves have little voice, and in which
their full humanity appears to have little value.

September 11th marked a shift in the politics of race
and immigration that prevents us from adopting a plan
for legalization, much less overhauling our very broken
system to benefit either the United States or
immigrants themselves.

Currently, the Obama administration is following a
purely enforcement approach to immigration, though they
have promised investigation into racial profiling and
human rights abuses in workplace raids and the 287(g)
program that deputizes and trains local police
departments in enforcing immigration law.

Last week, 500 organizations wrote to President Obama
urging him to end the controversial 287(g) program.
But, despite the national outcry against local
officials like Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Arizona official
accused of rounding up Latinos and checking papers
later, Homeland Security czar Janet Napolitano has
expanded the 287(g) program.

While promoting our book about the organizing of New
York City immigrant restaurant workers who lost their
jobs at the World Trade Center on September 11th, my
co-author and I met dozens of people who have suffered
from the enforcement-only approach.

There were the 18-year-olds brought to the country as
children who cannot now work or study legally. There
was the group in Minnesota working to keep open an
affordable housing complex whose best leader and his
wife were carted off at 5 o'clock in the morning,
leaving their 4-year-old son behind. There was a young
man desperately trying to find his friend who had been
taken by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to
an unspecified detention center.

Immigrants do more than work. They raise families; they
organize to improve life for the poor; they learn new
skills and build communities. Yet, they are typically
treated as expendably "illegal" even if they aren't.

Comprehensive immigration reform would leave the
enforcement approach in place, while changing the
status of millions of undocumented people. But a little
bit of legalization won't cancel out the negative
effects of enforcement. Twenty years from now, the
undocumented population will grow again, and we will
again debate how much legalization to offer.

The traditional pro-immigrant response to
restrictionists has been to characterize immigrants as
hard workers simply looking for a decent living. Though
more benevolent, this narrative suggests that
immigrants offer nothing more than a pair of hands
available for picking, cleaning and writing computer

The economic argument is not the only reason we need an
entirely new system. The one we have is terribly
broken, especially for the vast majority of poor
immigrants and immigrants of color. We need a system
that eases people's movement rather than restricts it
(thereby equalizing the power of immigrants in relation
to their employers), one that isn't fixated on
preserving some outdated notion of America as simply a
white, Christian country.

Until such time as immigration reform heats up again in
Congress, we must reclaim the debate and change our
language. For instance, we should be challenging the
criminalization of undocumented workers by labeling
them "illegal." Beyond this, we need to stand up for
full inclusion of immigrants in our educational, health
and labor systems. The struggle includes all
immigrants, including those who gave their lives at the
World Trade Center on September 11th.

Rinku Sen and Fekkak Mamdouh co-authored The Accidental
American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age of
Globalization (Berrett-Koehler 2008). Rinku Sen is the
executive director of Applied Research Center and
publisher of ColorLines. Fekkak Mamdouh is the co-
director of Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC)-
United. Mamdouh lost 73 friends on September 11th
alongside whom he worked at Windows on the World, the
restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Black Parallel School Board; Sacramento

Letter from the Chair

The African American youth in Sacramento are at a state of heightened emergency in relation to their academic pursuit yet, we are not truly outraged about this. With education being one of the fundamental keys to success we must make every effort to ensure the academic key fits correctly once its placed into the hands of our African American youth.

On Saturday, September 5, 2009, the Black Parallel School Board held its monthly meeting at the Oak Park United Methodist Church in Sacramento. The meeting started promptly at 10 am and adjourned at 12 pm. One of the key items we covered was standardized testing. Readers are you aware that within the Sacramento City Unified School District during the past school year of all the African American students they are serving only 8 children of African descent are in geometry and there are only 9 African Descent youth in Algebra II. African American students overall have made little to none standardized test improvements and the same is occurring with the high school exit exam test results. Our children's ability to articulate themselves in written form is declining astronomically too.

Children of African descent are not doing well when it comes to mathematics and language arts this is a fact. Together as a community, we have a job to do. This job goes beyond the band-aid approach. When the Black Parallel School Board meets monthly we are not there in large numbers along with our children, nieces, nephews, siblings, aunts, uncles, parents and the like, yet we wonder why our children are doing poorly.

We will come together in large numbers to support concerts, ball games, and other extra circular activities; however, we neglect to use the same energy and efforts to bring about constant change when it comes to our children’s academic minds in fear of rattling the chains.

We must call ourselves to a higher place of accountability by riding ourselves of the lackadaisical attitude and by not selfishly assuming that this doesn’t impact you. Our ancestors did not bleed, die, and be dehumanized for generations for us to stop fighting.

The battle doesn’t end until we are call home. This battle is not just an African American battle it is a battle that every race is responsible for fighting for their culture individually and for other cultures too. When one is not adequately educated they will lack the tenacity needed to be positive community contributors causing the cycle of poverty to continue to perpetuate from generation-to-generation. This in and of itself is one of the key ingredients that continues to feed racism.

STAR test results are our business even if it means holding all night tutoring sessions- so well be it. Being on a unified forefront is so essential. When we come to the table to discuss education we should be on one accord regardless of our level of achievements and the accolades associated with our name(s). Our skin color is also not an item that we should constantly focus our attention, but that isn’t to say it isn’t a vital area. Our primary focal point should always be those children who are not performing at their “True Potential” even if they aren’t in our neighborhoods. We are truly living in a world where we are constantly producing lost generations who are wondering around hopelessly looking and waiting for us to take charge of them- we appear to be asleep.

Most people are quick to play the, “race card” not too many of those same individuals are willing to come into a room and set aside differences to bring about true change. Politicians want you to hear them so they can be elected yet, when elections occur, you don't see them until its election time again. The fact that there is no funding truly doesn’t matter, what matters is that we all want the best for Sacramento children; that in and of itself is enough for us to work until we can see the change verses just thinking change is going to plop out of the sky into our laps- we have to go and get it.

Those who caused things to truly happen took care of business and they did it with so much passion where they didn’t even care if that meant that they lost their lives in the mist of the fight. Our children are doing poorly in Sacramento in terms of education; I asked when wills The Next Generations Academic Failures Be Truly Televised. Years ago, survival occurred academically, physically, and financially because there was a unified effort for everyone to, “Be There Brothers/Sisters Keeper At All Cost.”

Here is a link to the Black Parallel School Board Site-www.blackparallelschoolboard.com

(please see this site for the charts covered at our most recent meeting check and it in a couple of days you can visit it now for other information)

STAR test result site-

I am writing as a concerned citizen who is on the battlefield for our youth regardless of their ethnicity, social economic status, religion, and/or sexual orientation.

Lailah Ameerah Muwwakkil

Black Parallel School Board