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Schakowsky: Zelaya a Victim of Human Rights Abuses

9:50 AM, Nov 13, 2009 • By EMILY ESFAHANI SMITH
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Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) recently returned from a three day trip to Honduras where, according to her, human rights abuses are running rampant under the "coup regime" of interim president Michelletti.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) recently returned from a three day trip to Honduras where, according to her, human rights abuses are running rampant under the "coup regime" of interim president Michelletti. This list of human rights abuses that Rep. Schakowsky related during a 30 minute conference call Thursday afternoon includes: 21 political assassinations, 3,000 illegal detentions, and the repression of the press. But the congresswoman didn't stop there: according to Schakowsky, the ousted president Zelaya himself has suffered violations of his human rights. "I met with Zelaya who himself was the victim of severe human rights abuses including being kidnapped [and] prevented from returning" to Honduras. In fact, though Schakowsky held a conference under the guise of human rights abuses, she seemed more interested in defending the record of the deposed former president. It was "big business" that ousted Zelaya, she said. The business interests of Honduras feared Zelaya's populist economic measures, which included increasing the minimum wage. Could they, she was asked, have been motivated by Zelaya's desire to extend his term in office in violation of the country's constitution? "I think that the argument that it was his [Zelaya's] intention to extend his own term of office is not the case…I haven't seen any evidence for that." What she has seen evidence for is an illegal coup that begat an illegitimate regime that the current U.S. government does not recognize. And what about the official report, issued by the Library of Congress' legal experts, that concluded Zelaya's removal from office was constitutional? The congresswoman thinks that the "report is an outlier…the report was mistaken." To the congresswoman, the solution to Honduras's human rights abuses and constitutional woes is the restoration of President Zelaya to office prior to the November 29 elections -- or at least before the Israeli mercenaries get to him with their poison gas and radiation.