Honduras Coup Regime Suspends Constitutional Rights, Closes Media, Threatens Brazil: Will Obama Administration Break Its Silence?

For Immediate Release

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Dan Beeton, 202-239-1460

Honduras Coup Regime Suspends Constitutional Rights, Closes Media, Threatens Brazil: Will Obama Administration Break Its Silence?

WASHINGTON - The
Honduran de facto regime suspended constitutional guarantees to civil
liberties, including freedom of assembly and freedom of the press, for
45 days on the eve of mass protests planned to mark the three-month
anniversary since the coup d'etat against President Manuel Zelaya took
place. The regime has also shut down
Radio Globo, a prominent independent media outlet that has covered
anti-coup activities and that reportedly has a journalist inside the
Brazilian embassy where Zelaya is staying, and TV station Channel 36.

"After
90 days and not one word from the Obama administration on the abuses in
Honduras, it looks an awful lot like a tacit endorsement of the
repression by the U.S. government,"
said Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

"Certainly
the de facto regime must have gotten the idea that they have a blank
check from the Obama administration for any crimes that they commit.
That's one reason they're doing this."

The suspension of civil liberties would last at least until just a few
weeks before the scheduled November 29 elections, and is likely to
further call into question the elections' legitimacy.

The regime also issued an ultimatum to Brazil over the weekend, warning
the Brazilian government that it has 10 days to decide what to do about
Zelaya, and a regime spokesperson warned that since Brazil broke off
diplomatic relations with the coup government, it could remove the flag
and shield from the Brazilian embassy, making it a "private office."
Brazilian President Lula da Silva rejected the threats, saying that his
government "doesn't accept ultimatums from coup-plotters."

In the three months since President Manuel Zelaya was overthrown, the
coup regime has committed numerous human right abuses, including
thousands of arrests and detentions, beatings, and the closing down of
independent media. This has been documented, reported, and denounced by
major human rights organizations throughout the world: Amnesty International, the Center for Justice and International Law, Human Rights Watch, the Inter American Commission on Human Rights
and others. Some opponents of the regime have also been killed,
tortured, and raped, and Honduran human rights groups have accused the
government of responsibility for these crimes.

The Obama administration has not commented on any of these crimes or human rights violations.

Also, on Friday, the UN Security Council passed a resolution that
"condemned acts of intimidation against the Brazilian Embassy and
called upon the de facto government of Honduras to cease harassing the
Brazilian Embassy and to provide all necessary utilities and services
including water, electricity, food and continuity of communications.
Respect and protection of the inviolability of diplomatic premises is a
universally accepted principle of international relations," according
to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.

This was in response to the Honduran regime's violations of
international law in its attacks on the Brazilian embassy with tear gas
and other chemicals, cutting off food, water, and electricity, and
other abuses.

The U.S. government has not criticized the de facto regime for its
violations of international law with respect to the Brazilian embassy.

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