Sunday Roundup


[Roundup, western style.]

I can’t believe it’s going to be close to 60 degrees today (Fahrenheit, not Celsius). While that may not seem warm to my west coast readers, it is positively balmy for the end of November here in NYC. I can think back to years past when it had already snowed a few times by now.

Since it’s so pleasant outside I am thinking about busting out the bbq and grilling some ahi tuna steaks. Some pineapple and bell peppers with a little jasmine rice on the side…makes me hungry just thinking about it. Get out and enjoy the day before it gets to cold. But read these posts first:

Kellie (Airforce Amazons) on Afghanistan

Bob from Brockley debates anti-Zionist numbskulls here.

Contentious Centrist on “Jew Flu

Elder of Ziyon debunks the myth of the starving Gazans.

Flesh is Grass on bloggers and the comments we leave.

Congratulations to Roland (But, I am a Liberal!) Dodds for getting a Normblog profile.

Martin in the Margins discusses education

Mod remembers the Mumai Attacks

Poumista on Kronstadt

Snoopy (Simply Jews) on Hugo Chavez’ Support for Carlos the Jackal

Sultan Knish critiques the dead-end quest for peace

Added Safed-Tzfat, a nice mixture of arts and politics, to my blogroll. If you can read Spanish–or even if you cannot–definitely check this blog out.

I’ll post something on the elections in Honduras soon, in the meantime here are some reports from around the web:

The U.S., Peru, Panama and Costa Rica and Israel have announced they will recognize the results of the election. At this time, Porifirio Lobo of the conservative National Party holds the lead in most polls. The Liberal Party candidate, Elvin Santos, trails by double-digits.  Santos resigned his post as vice president in protest of Manuel Zelaya’s policies. When asked if a coup had occured in Honduras he replied, “It can’t be qualified that way.”

Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela remain behind Zelaya whose supporters have called for a boycott of the elections. The Miami Herald reports, “members of what has been dubbed the ‘Resistance Movement’ have taken to placing small explosive devices at courthouses and media outlets to menace voters, but not injure them.” But what happens after the elections? Will they increase the frequency of their attacks and the potency of their devices?

One can find a fairly predictable “liberal” perspective on the elections from George Vickers (Open Society Institute) who gets taken to task in the comments section of his post at Foreign Policy. Unfortunately, I have many friends and even more associates who agree with Vickers.

Regardless of who wins, I hope things improve for Hondurans and they do not find themselves as isolated as they have been since the end of June.

8 responses »

  1. Honduras. Do you have any other sources for the explosive devices story? I’m not saying I disbelieve it, but I am a little skeptical. For a start, who “dubs” what as “the Resistance movement”? The Frente Nacional de la Resistencia (National Resistance Front) is the only notable Honduran organisation with “resistance” in its name, to my knowledge. While the Frente Nacional has condemned explosive devices, the slippery linkage int he Herald article makes them guilty by association. (You make this even worse actually. The Herald says “other members”, making it clear there is a continuum, whereas you simply say “members”.) I think the Frente has suggested that they are planted by provocateurs, which seems plausible to me, as there is no motive for Zelaya’s supporters to do it.

    And I think the pretty heavy repression by the coup government should also be mentioned. The blocking of Canal 36, the violent attack on peaceful protestors in San Pedro de Sula, the raids on and military cordons around leftist, indigenous and campesino organisations, the blanket militarisation of the country on polling day, and so on.
    I left some links at FiG on these:

    Oh, and thanks for the link, and glad you’re back!!

  2. Bob, not sure I see such a big difference between the use of “other members” versus “members”. For example, if someone referred to “members of the Republican Party” as opposed to “other members of the Republican Party” the meaning is not significantly different, is it?

    I can think of one major motive for Zelaya’s supporters to engage in this sort of political violence. They are the ones calling for a boycott of the election. If these attacks lead to low voter turnout, Zelaya’s supporters will say the low turnout proves the elections are not legit, that the new government has no mandate, etc. etc. etc.

    The possibility of right-wing provocateurs crossed my mind as well. But I think in this case, the political forces that want to repress voter turnout are those who are afraid of losing. When I posted this roundup, the conservative candidate was ahead by double-digits. So I don’t think they are behind this.

    The emergency decree that shut down Canal 36 was lifted by interim president Micheletti on Oct. 6. A week and a half after being implemented (Sep. 26):

    We are not talking about anything long-term (or even medium-term) it was a short-term measure that the interim government thought was necessary given the political climate in the country after Zelaya was removed from office.

    And speaking of the political climate, how peaceful have these protests been?

    Police have been attacked with stones and molotov cocktails, private businesses were looted, and all sorts of mayhem has occurred at these non-violent protests.

    Moving away from obvious examples of violence, how about shutting down roads? Is that peaceful? What happens when someone disobeys the blockade? They get a brick or rock thrown at their window.

  3. OK, am convinced there have been some explosive devices. Some of the reportage seems a little dodgy though, with these shadowy Nicaraguans, the Russian and Chinese weapons, and the Guatemalan passenger plane… It seems wrong to me to attribute them to the “resistance movement”; there seems little or no evidence for that. I think there is a big difference between saying “members of what has been dubbed the ‘Resistance Movement’ have taken to placing small explosive devices at courthouses and media outlets to menace voters, but not injure them” – which sounds like that is what the movement is doing in general – and “Zelaya’s supporters are boycotting, while other members of what has been dubbed the “Resistance Movement” have taken to placing small explosive devices at courthouses and media outlets to menace voters, but not injure them” – which makles it clearer that it is only one current. Semantics, yes, but important.

    My son’s demanding some attntion, so I’ll be back later!

  4. I also think “have taken to” is slightly misleading, given the very low numbers of incidents.

    On the wider points in your second response, certainly there has been some violence from anti-coup protestors. I am not saying that this is a black and white issue and the coup regime were purely baddies and the pro-Zelaya forces purely goodies. The anti-coup movement has taken a variety of forms, and some of them are unsavoury. But the acts of violence have been fairly marginal – the disturbios youTubes show small numbers of masked up young people and could be countered to any number of youTubes showing purely non-violent protests involving large numbers of people of all sorts.

    I also think that the illegitimacy of the coup regime changes the terms, and a blanket condemnation of all kinds of violence against it is therefore not necessarily right.

    I also think that the repression should not be whitewashed as a temporary measure to restore order. The closure of media outlets, temporary or not, and the miltiarisation of public space are NOT conducive to democracy. We condemn these things when Chavez does them. (The media outlets Chavez closed were involved in the coup there; his justification exactly mirrors that used by the coup regime.)

    For these reasons, the election’s validity was completely undermined.

  5. (Snatching moments while my son eats breakfast)

    The elections were characterised by assassinations, dissappearances, detentions, politically motivated arrests, blockades of opposition buildings.

    It seems to be hard to find reliable figures about turnout, with some news sources giving figures like 66% (typical in Honduran elections) but others more like 35%. As far as I can tell, less than 2 million people voted in an electorate of over 4 million.

    I think that’s me for now!

  6. No problem, Bob. I copied and pasted most of your comments from today (12/5) and added them to the bottom of my post on the elections. Feel free to reply.

    I thought there would be an easy way to move your comments from here to there but it requires a plug-in and does not allow me to upload it to my blog.

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