Friday, November 27, 2009

New Diving Friends

A couple of videos I made with footage taken while diving with people I met in Bonaire this past October.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Legalizing Coups d’Etat by Means of Spurious Electoral Processes Divides the Unity of the Nations of America

A Letter to the Presidents of the Hemisphere

By Manuel Zelaya Rosales
President of Honduras

November 22, 2009

Honorable Presidents
Nations of America
Dear Presidents,

I write you in my role as President of Honduras, valuing the excellent relations between our countries and in defense of the democracy violated in Honduras as consequence of the Military Coup d’Etat perpetrated June 28 of this year, when soldiers invaded my home and at gunpoint kidnapped and took me to Costa Rica.

The National Congress forged my resignation letter and, abusing its power, emitted an illegal decree which “separated me from the charge of Constitutional President” without Constitutional backing to do so. The same was the case for the arrest order that the Court had emitted without having received any legal complain and without my having been cited to appear before any tribunal or trial. It has been condemned and described by all the countries of the world as a violent and surprising rupture of democratic order, a Military Coup d’Etat.

At this moment in Honduras we are in a de facto State. There is no Constitution. Nor are there Constitutional powers because they have been destroyed by force by the military Coup d’Etat on that ominous day of June 28, 2009.

The Constitution of the Republic establishes in Article 3: “No one owes obedience to an usurper government, nor to those who occupy public positions or jobs by the force of weapons or using means or procedures that bankrupt or fail to recognize what the Constitution and the law establishes. Those actions by so-called authorities are null and void. The people have the right to insurrection to defend the Constitutional order.”

In reading that article, you can understand that the Honduran people are legally empowered to act using all means, styles and forms that they consider necessary to restore democracy. We have consciously taken the path of peaceful resistance, with the goal of establishing noncooperation and nonviolence like methods of civil disobedience and twenty-first century popular struggle against the rise of military force.

We thank the entire international community for your support for our labor to reconstruct the State of Law, that being the last effort of the poorly reached Tegucigalpa-San José Accord, backed by the OAS and the US Department of State. Its letter and spirit has as its proposal the “return of the title the executive branch to what it was prior to June 28.” And it was openly violated by the de facto regime which in which Mr. Micheletti pretends to head a government of reconciliation, refusing to convene the National Congress, in definitive noncompliance of the timeline and text.

Now, unilaterally, he seeks to utilize the aborted accord by convening the National Congress on December 2, a date upon which the political actors of the accord will have been substantially modified, in the sense that by then they will have already been submitted to the opinion ofthe voters without having restored Constitutional order.

The elections of November 29 and their use of public funds under a de facto regime, without having previously restored democracy and the State of Law as OAS and UN resolutions demand, without even having installed the government of unity and reconciliation, are illegal, illegitimate, and constitute a criminal act.

At the moment that the de facto regime with its soldiers convenes a spurious electoral process under repression, without legal guarantees, and without a political agreement, in which the military dictatorship is the guarantor of the law, it only strengthens its actions of force and impunity.

Precisely today, Channel 36, property of journalist Esdras Amado López, the only television chain that has opposed the regime, has had its signal blocked and taken off the air by the dictatorship.

The de facto regime has frontally disregarded the resolutions of the OAS, the UN and the European Union. It has also violated the Democratic Charter of the OAS and its resolutions while some of Honduras’ friends among countries demonstrate ambiguity and support for the electoral process without having restored democratic order and without political dialogue. That permits the de facto regime to impose its will by force.

As President of Honduras, I communicate with you to say that below these conditions I will not back the electoral process and will proceed to challenge it legally in the name of the men and women of my country and of hundreds of community leaders that suffer the loss of democracy, the repression, the unfair circumstances and the suppression of freedom.

These elections have to be annulled and rescheduled to when the sovereign will of the people is respected.

In these difficult moments for our brother countries of America, we ask for your solidarity with Honduras.

That you accompany us based on the facts that you know, reiterating the position of not supporting a unilateral intent to give validity to an accord that was quickly rescinded by the violations consummated by the dictatorship.

Reaffirming the condemnation of the coup d’etat of the military State and not supporting a de facto regime whose existence today shames all the peoples of Latin America Latina, that after all the attempts by the international community to reverse the coup d’etat have ended in a total failure for everyone.

Appealing to maintain your firmness in the execution of the resolutions passed by the OAS and the UN and not adopting ambiguous and imprecise positions like those displayed today by the government of the United States of America, with whose final posture has weakened the process of reversing the coup d’etat, demonstrating division in the international community. By feeding this coup d’etat the democratic security in the hemisphere and the stability of the Presidents of América is put at risk, with the resurgence of military castes over civil authority. Legitimizing coups d’etat by means of spurious electoral processes divides and does not contribute to the unity of the nations of America.

I ask for your cooperation so that this Military Coup d’Etat its bloody violations of human rights do not go unpunished. Already, the International Criminal Court has received complaints and allowed them to proceed to trial to obtain justice for our people and apply the corresponding sanctions to those who committed treason to the Nation and crimes against humanity in Honduras.

We voice our energetic rejection of those who support the maneuvers to launder the coup d’etat, covering up for the golpistas to leave their crimes protected.

With our full attention, we invite all the nations to recognize our government and that they abstain from supporting the actions of the illegal regime that usurped power by force of weapons.

We cordially demand and exhort your representatives to the OAS and the UN to continue defending and supporting the rights of the people and of the legitimately elected governments, since when one of our nations suffers an assault it is an affront to all America; and, each time a government elected by the peoples of America is toppled, violence and terrorism win and Democracy suffers a defeat.

In wait of your response, I appreciate the invaluable support demonstrated until now for these principles and I send you greetings reiterating my esteem and my highest consideration.

President of the Republic of Honduras

cc: Sr. José Miguel Insulza, Secretario General de la OEA
Sr. Ban Ki Moon, Secretario General de la ONU
Sr. José Barroso, Comisión Unión Europea

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2012: A Review

The movie 2012 is one of the most chauvinistic movies I've seen in a very long time. Every main character in the movie that does anything other than looking after children and/or dogs is either a man or a boy. That's right; boys have more guts than women in this movie. Women's role is that of a prop: to scream, to worry, or to show their man how much they need their problem solving abilities and how grateful they are that their man is there for them even when he has to abandon them so that they can get things done.

The entire movie is a continuous litany of powerful men making life and death decisions or giving fatherly authoritative advice to youngsters: presidents, prime ministers, buddhist monks, etc. There is one token female prime minister which, as you may have guessed, is from some European country. I guess in its defense people would say that the movie is simply simply portraying the world we live in today, and while it is true that we live in a male dominated society, this movie takes such a state of affairs to an extreme that can only be characterized as misogynistic. For example, in one of the final airplane scenes the "boys," as grown men are referred to in this movie, are repeatedly summoned to the cockpit so that they can make the tough decisions away from women and children.

Another theme glorified in the movie is the role of the absent but for good reason father figure. This "sorry, but I got work to do" figure is exemplified in a scene where John Cusack tells his family that they will all sit together embracing each other until the plane they happen to be on lands safely. As he is uttering his last words, he gets summoned once more to the boys' room (the cockpit), and so he zaps away reneging on what he had just promised his wife and children a minute before. In a subsequent scene, Cusack talks to his son before embarking in a life or death mission. As he leaves, he tells his son that as long as he knows that his son is watching over his ex wife and daughter, he is confident they will be safe; in so many words, Cusack's character believes that his ex wife is not capable of taking care of herself, let alone their children.

Without need of going through every chauvinistic example, I would also like to mention the disturbing religious overtones that permeate this movie. In line with its male supremacy bent, all the religious figures depicted in the movie are, not surprisingly, men: buddhist monks, the pope, etc. Now, I understand that a movie about the end of the world must have some religious references, but as far as this movie is concerned, these religious figures seem to be there mainly to underlie a Christian male dominated worldview, with masses of clueless and frightened people needing to be led by strong, resourceful, yet compassionate elderly men. And while I don't wish to spoil the movie for anyone, let me just say that the ending is plucked right out of the Old Testament.

In conclusion, I really can't find a reason to recommend this movie other than as an example of the sorry state of today's Hollywood blockbusters. With movies like these, it's no surprise people don't go to the movies anymore. The underlying messages are horribly reactionary and unavoidably in your face; the special effects are overly digital and subpar overall; the acting is stiff and prosaic; and the plot is extremely predictable and uninteresting.

I went to see 2012 hoping to see something along the lines of Independence Day or even the not as good but still entertaining The Day After Tomorrow. Instead, I almost ended up walking out of the theater so that I could go home and watch the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still with Keanu Reeves on HBO On Demand. Not such a good movie either, but still far superior to this one. In the end, I opted for watching the entire movie, so that I could write this review and warn those of you who may be tempted to see it to save your money and, most importantly, your time. Unlike me, you still have a choice.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Where I stayed

A composite I made in Bonaire.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Life Is A Pool Table

I haven't been posting for a while; the main reason being that I was on vacation diving in Bonaire.

While on vacation, I had this though or, better yet, this "deep thought" that life is like a pool table where people are the balls. Just like a ball, one travels in one direction, unaware of when one will collide with another ball; and then, when that collision inevitably happens, one's direction changes as well as the direction of everyone else involved.

Such collisions are often slight, and thus they won't change one's direction by much. But sometimes, one hits another head on, and when that happens the consequences can be unpredictable. Occasionally, a whole lot of other balls get caught in the crossfire, and everyone ends up spinning in directions they never expected, let alone intended.

This is what life feels to me right now. And I can't help but wondering if the final purpose of it all is to end up in a hole. If so, I'd like to be the 8 ball.