Cuba: Gardening its Way Out of Crisis

14 August, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Sunlight brightens the paved streets and historic buildings of Havana, Cuba, bouncing off the tents of vendors and the tin drums of a street band. Once stricken by poverty and inequality, the city has slowly blossomed as a result of the bustling enterprise of urban agriculture. Between buildings and behind street walls, in every green space available, locals have cultivated crops, utilizing the techniques of sustainable urban farming. After years of isolation from the United States and the former Soviet Union, Cuba has independently fostered development of urban agriculture and now provides an environment of growth and structure for its economic, social and political policies.

Cuba is the only country in the world that has developed an extensive state-supported infrastructure to support urban food production. Functionally, this system was established in response to acute food shortages in the early 1990s, which occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the island was forced to find an alternative manner of cultivating crops. Havana has established and expanded on this innovative model since this time, and it continues to lead the island nation in its quest for self-sufficiency. The increasing prevalence of urban agriculture benefits the economy, environment, community and health of Cuban citizens.

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Tons of Imperial Fun: Hellfire Hillary Pours Oil on Somalia's Fire By Chris Floyd

14 August, 2009 — Atlantic Free Press

SomaliaThere is apparently no path blazed by George W. Bush that Barack Obama will not eagerly follow. Surges, assassinations, indefinite detention, defense of torture, senseless wars and rampant militarism — in just a few short months, we’ve seen it all.

To this dismaying record of complicity and continuity, we can add an increasing direct involvement in the horrific, hydra-headed conflict in Somalia, whose latest round of fiery hell was instigated by the American-backed invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia in late 2006. Under Bush, U.S. forces were deeply and directly enmeshed in the murderous action, dropping bombs on fleeing refugees, ‘renditioning’ other refugees to the tender mercies of Ethiopia’s notorious prisons, and even sending in death squads to clean up after missile strikes and bombings. (For background, see ‘Silent Surge: Bipartisan Terror War Intensifies in Somalia.’)

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Honduras: Attack on Peaceful Protestors Escalates By Jenny Atlee, Quixote Center

The repression is escalating.  Crackdowns are occurring in San Pedro Sula as well as Tegucigalpa.

Micheletti decreta de nuevo  el toque de queda

Vergonzosa intimidación policial y militar en el STIBYS

Our delegation is accounted for and unharmed.  They are now accompanying Honduran human rights workers and sending alarming reports.  Police and military are rounding up people and taking them to places used for torture in the 1980s.  Ambulances full of people with their faces smashed in and bodies beaten are racing to hospitals — among them is Marvin Ponce, a Honduran member of Congress who just met with State Department officials in Washington to denounce to coup.

The Universidad Pedagogica and the STIBYS [Brewery Workers’] union hall (a private building which has served as the organizing center for the Anti-Coup resistance front) have been taken by the military and large numbers of people are reported detained.  Human rights organizations fear they are being tortured.

Please call the State Department (202-647-4000) and the U.S. Ambassador Llorens in Tegucigalpa — 011-504-236-9320 ext. #4268.  Tell them that violence is escalating and that members of our International Delegation, including U.S. citizens, are currently accompanying human rights workers to locations in which people are being detained.


The Quixote Center is a band of “impossible dreamers” who joined together in 1976.  We are a multi-issue, grassroots social justice organization with roots in the Catholic social justice tradition.  Independent of church and government structures, the Center operates with an understanding that an educated and engaged citizenry is essential to making social change.  For over 30 years, the Quixote Center has gathered together people of faith and conscience to organize highly effective campaigns for systemic change.

Ramzy Baroud – Fatah: A New Beginning or an Imminent End?

13 August, 2009 — Palestine Think Tank

ArafatThis is hardly the rational order of things. An overpowering military occupation was meant to be resisted by an equally determined, focused and unyielding national movement, hell-bent on liberation at any cost and by any means. This is the unwritten law that has governed and shielded successful national liberation projects throughout history. The Fatah movement, under Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, however, wants to alter that order, meeting Israeli colonialism with ill-defined ‘pragmatism’, extreme violence with press statements laden with endless clichés that mostly go unreported, and a determined Israeli attempt at squashing Palestinian aspirations with political tribalism, factional decay and internal divisions.

Indeed, the long delayed Fatah Congress, held in Bethlehem on August 4 has underscored the obvious: the all-encompassing movement which was meant to exact and safeguard Palestinian national rights has grown into a liability that, if anything, will continue to derail the Palestinian national project. This comes at a time when the Palestinian people are in urgent need of a collective response that is strong enough to withstand Israeli military pressure and coercion at home, eloquent enough to communicate the Palestinian message to a global audience, and astute enough to galvanize international support and sympathy to the benefit of Palestinian freedom and independence.

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Fact Checking Lanny Davis on Honduras By Greg Grandin

13 August, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Last Friday, I debated lawyer-turned-lobbyist Lanny Davis, now working for the business backers of the recent Honduran coup, on Democracy Now! It actually wasn’t much of a debate — in the way that word means an exchange of ideas — as Davis was fast out of the box, preemptively trying to taint host Amy Goodman and me as ‘ideologues.’

As Hillary Clinton’s major fundraiser during last year’s presidential primary, Davis is known for, among other things, leading the attack on Barack Obama for his association with Reverend Jeremiah Wright. ‘Why didn’t he speak up earlier?’ Davis asked in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, demanding to know why the candidate didn’t distance himself from Wright’s remarks. Recently, Davis has been hired by corporations to derail the labor-backed Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for unions to organize, all the while touting himself as a ‘pro-labor liberal.’

Davis was also the chief U.S. lobbyist of the military dictatorship in Pakistan in the late 90s and played an important role in strengthening relations between then President Bill Clinton and de facto president General Perez Musharraf.

Now Lanny Davis finds himself defending another de facto regime in Honduras that is engaging in ‘grave and systemic’ political repression, suspending due process, harassing independent journalists, killing or disappearing at least ten people, and detaining hundreds as ‘constitutional,’ all the while touting himself as a (Honduran) constitutional expert.

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Obama and the Honduran Crisis: Friend or Foe of Enlightened Change?

13 August, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs

As the OAS prepares to send a delegation to Honduras – basically on terms dictated by Roberto Micheletti, the head of the golpista government – one can be excused for questioning why this crisis in democratic governance has yet to be resolved. The hemisphere has been unusually united in its condemnation of the coup, as has the entire international community. The United States, in line with President Barack Obama’s stated commitment to adopt more of an equal partnership in regional affairs, took a back seat – almost to a fault – putatively encouraging all of Latin America to share responsibility. But the U.S.’ failure to share authentic solidarity with the rest of the Americas, and its reluctance to take the initiative to project its obvious preeminence when it comes to Western Hemispheric affairs, prevented the region from moving toward a resolution of the constitutional crisis affecting the Central American country. In fact, the dirty little secret known to all Latin American nations is that only Washington possesses the exercisable clout necessary to force outcome on its terms. By playing cat and mouse with the rest of the hemisphere, it has jeopardized, not only the restoration of democracy in Honduras, but also future ties between the U.S. and its now rambunctious former backyard.

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Ad Hoc Memorandum by Honduran Human Rights Activists

13 August, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs Forum

Attorney General of Honduras August 7, 2009
Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Luis Alberto Rubi
Attorney General

As the fourth consecutive International Human Rights delegation present in the country since the coup d’état, we are writing to express our deep concern regarding the grave and rapidly deteriorating situation of human rights in Honduras, beginning with the events which occurred early in the morning of June 28th. In the name of the human rights observation groups which have visited (The Bi-Regional European Network Linking Alternatives in Latin America and the Caribbean, The Human Rights Delegation Headed by Rigoberta Menchu, The Center for Justice and International Law, and the Quixote Center/Quest for Peace), we ask that you provide us information about the following cases, and indicate what your office has been doing regarding the troubling human rights situation in Honduras.

We are arranging a continuing presence of delegations for the foreseeable future, and among their principal roles will be following up on these cases on the national level with your office, as well as on the international level. They will monitor your response to this communication, as well as new cases of human rights abuses which may occur.