democracy

The TV anchorwoman was conducting a split screen interview with a journalist who had volunteered to be a witness at the execution of a man on death row in Utah for 25 years.

“He had a choice”, said the journalist, “lethal injection or firing squad”. “Wow!” said the anchorwoman.

Cue a blizzard of commercials for fast food, teeth whitener, stomach stapling, the new Cadillac. This was followed by the war in Afghanistan, presented by a correspondent sweating in a flak jacket.

The people of Honduras are continuing their struggle for democracy more than one year after the June 28 military coup that overthrew elected President Manuel Zelaya.

The dictatorship tried to legitimise itself with fraudulent elections that brought President Profiro Lobo Sosa to power. The United States government, which was complicit in the coup, recognised the results despite almost no other government doing so. The US has since fully restored military assistance.

On July 6, the Thai government approved the extension of an emergency decree in 19 provinces, which includes many in the heartland of the pro-democracy Red Shirts in the country’s north-east.

The extension came a day after the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) recommended the government immediately lift the decree and hold fresh elections.

But Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajiva, who came to power through the army’s intervention, crushed hopes for new elections weeks ago.

The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) released a statement on June 28 reaffirming its commitment to the Honduran people’s struggle for a return to democracy one year after the coup that overthrew president Manuel Zelaya.

ALBA is an anti-imperialist alliance founded in 2004 by Cuba and Venezuela. Its members include Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda.

Under Zelaya, Honduras joined ALBA, which suspended Honduras’s membership after the coup. The regime has since withdrawn from ALBA.

A huge police crackdown on protesters at the June 26-27 G20 Summit in Toronto last week ended in the arrests of hundreds of primarily peaceful activists. Canadian group Socialist Project issued this statement on June 30 in solidarity with the protesters targeted by police. It is reprinted from The Bullet.

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The massive police presence in Toronto over this week has been officially justified on the basis of protecting the leaders of the G8 and G20 countries meeting in Huntsville and Toronto.

Indonesian military forces have stepped up their campaign of repression in West Papua in recent months. But leaders of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) continue to defy Indonesian demands to surrender.

The campaign for West Papuan independence has been amplified by the continuing repression and lack of improvement of living standards under the current “special autonomy” system.

An eyewitness report from West Papua Media Announcements (WPMA) posted on Pacific.scoop.co.nz on June 16 described a large military mobilisation in the mountainous Puncak Jaya region in central West Papua.

News from Thailand is alarming: hundreds of people detained for violations of the emergency decree, including children, injured people chained to their hospital beds and several assassinations of local leaders of the pro-democracy Red Shirt movement.

The country is moving deeper into an authoritarian and military regime. The elite are even considering postponing elections for six years, thus giving Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva the possibility of leading the country for ten years against the will of most Thai citizens.

On June 1, part-Peruvian US actor and indigenous rights activist Q’orianka Kilcher was arrested for “disorderly conduct” after chaining herself to the White House fence while Peruvian President Alan Garcia met with US President Barack Obama.

Garcia refers to the Amazonian indigenous peoples of his country as barbaric savages. Kilcher had doused her body in black paint, symbolic of the oil killing the Amazon and its people.

The United States has renewed military aid to Honduras with a donation of 25 heavy trucks valued at US$812,000, Spanish website infodefensa.com said.

On June 18, US ambassador Hugo Llorens also announced Washington would give Honduras $75 million through USAID for various development projects and $20 million as part of the Merida Program to enhance “security”.

On March 10 Veronnica Baxter, a 34-year-old Aboriginal woman from the Cunnamulla country, south-west Queensland, was arrested by Redfern police and held on remand. She dressed, appeared, and had identified as a woman for 15 years and was known by family and friends as a woman. Yet she was placed at the all-male NSW Silverwater Metropolitan Reception and Remand Centre. Six days later, after a 14-hour break between checking her cell, she was found dead, hanging in her single cell.

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