US Revokes Diplomatic Visas of Honduran Coup Members
By Al Giordano
Well, this is a start:
Revocation of Diplomatic Visas
Department Spokesman, Office of the Spokesman
BUREAU OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
July 28, 2009
The Department of State is currently reviewing the diplomatic (A) visas of individuals who are members of the de facto regime in Honduras, as well as the derivative visas for family members of these individuals. We have already revoked diplomatic visas issued to four such individuals who received their diplomatic visas in connection with positions held prior to June 28 under the Zelaya administration, but who now serve the de facto regime.
Update: There was a strange set of contortions in today's State Department press briefing in which spokesman Ian Kelly claimed he couldn't reveal the names of those whose visas were revoked. (I doubt very much he has any legal footing for that argument because immigration laws give zero rights to foreign citizens on US soil.)
Anyway, the New York Times has two of the names of the soon to be dearly deported:
State Department spokesman, Ian Kelly, declined to identify the officials but Honduran officials identified two of them as Tomás Arita, a Supreme Court justice who signed the detention order that led to Mr. Zelaya’s removal by the military, and José Alfredo Saavedra, president of Congress.
If true, that's a hopeful sign, given the centrality of the Supreme Court judge and Micheletti's replacement in Congress to the coup. At first glance, it sounded more like the revocation of visas of lower level functionaries. But these guys are the scum de la scum of the coup and making an example of them is exactly the right move.
Update II: The other shoe that falls with the expulsion of coup collaborators from Washington is that representatives of the legitimate Zelaya government are re-taking the Honduran Embassy. Elizabeth Dickinson of Foreign Policy reports that Zelaya's Communications Minister Enrique Reina has come to Washington to take on the role of Honduran Ambassador to the US:
When Honduras's minister of communications, Enrique Reina, learned that his president had been ousted in a coup, he immediately tried to get to the state television station to send the people a message. He never made it -- but he did make it to the United States, where I spoke to him tonight, and where he has just been nominated to be ambassador of Honduras here in Washington. His predecessor's visa was revoked by the State Department today, due to his having supported the coup.
Update III: Add four major apparel manufacturers with factories in Honduras to the mounting voices that Washington can and should do more to isolate and boycott the coup regime. This Open Letter to Secretary Clinton was signed by Nike, The Gap, Adidas and Knights Apparel. Here's an excerpt:
While we do not and will not support or endorse the position of any party in this internal dispute, we feel it is necessary in this case to join with the President of the United States, the governments of countries throughout the Americas, the Organization of American States, the UN General Assembly and the European Union in calling for the restoration of democracy in Honduras.
We are also very concerned about the continuation of violence if this dispute is not resolved immediately, and with restrictions on civil liberties under the July 1 Emergency Decree. We urge for an immediate resolution to the crisis and that civil liberties, including freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association be fully respected.
It's interesting that they directed their letter to the Secretary. Clearly, they too can see that Clinton has been the most problematic and double-talking member of the US administration regarding restoration of democracy in Honduras. And over at Foggy Bottom and the rest of Clinton Inc., they're starting to feel the blowback.