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Honduras -- Fighting for Democracy
October 2009

October 30th, 2009
Political Agreement Signed
The committees today signed the final agreement that seeks to end the political crisis.
"The agreement is fully signed," said the representative of the delegation for Zelaya, Rodil Rivera, without giving details on the timing of the restitution of Zelaya to power.
Congress is in recess, therefore in order to rule on the re-institution of Zelaya, an extraordinary session would have to be convened.
"With the negotiation of outstanding issues, delegates of the two commissions have just signed the Agreement of Tegucigalpa-San Jose", announced the Secretary of Political Affairs of the Organization of American States (OAS), Victor Rico, at the Tegucigalpa hotel where the event took place. more:

October 30th, 2009
Possible Agreement Reached in Honduras Political Crisis
Both sides of the negotiations are meeting this morning at 8:30 a.m.
The committees of President Roberto Micheletti and Manuel Zelaya signed an agreement last night, in which Congress decides on the return to the Presidency of former President Zelaya, after hearing the opinion of the Supreme Court.
Victor Rico, OAS delegate, made the announcement. "With satisfaction, a settlement was reached" he began. Rico confirmed that the credit belongs to the Hondurans and that the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza had been informed. more:

Fri Oct 30, 2009 -- Hugh Bronstein Bogota - Reuters
Colombia, U.S. sign military cooperation deal
Colombia and the United States signed a pact on Friday increasing U.S. access to military bases in the South American country, deepening its standing as Washington's main ally in the region.
Left-leaning leaders in neighboring countries object to the deal, which gives U.S. troops access to seven bases in an effort to boost anti-drug and counter-insurgency operations.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says the pact will destabilize the region and could set the stage for a U.S.-led invasion of his oil-rich country, a claim that Bogota and Washington dismiss. more:

October 29, 2009
Briefing on the Situation in Honduras
Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
Via DVC from Tegucigalpa, Honduras
MODERATOR: Assistant Secretary Shannon, thanks very much for joining us today and briefing our Washington-based press corps. We understand you'll start off with a brief statement and then give it back to us for the first question.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHANNON: Thank you very much. I'm delighted to be talking to you all from Tegucigalpa. As I stated previously, our delegation here Ambassador Craig Kelly, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Dan Restrepo, the Special Assistant to the President for Western Hemisphere Affairs were sent we were sent to Tegucigalpa by Secretary Clinton and President Obama to underscore U.S. interest and support for the national dialogue which is underway now and to underscore the necessity of an agreement within that national dialogue in order to win broad support in the international community for the elections that Honduras will face on November 29th.
From our point of view, an agreement within the national dialogue opens a large space for members of the international community to assist Honduras in this election process, to observe the elections, and to have a process that is peaceful and which produces leadership that is widely recognized throughout the hemisphere as legitimate. This will be important as a way of creating a pathway for Honduras to reintegrate itself into the inter-American community, to not – and not just the OAS, but also the Inter-American Development Bank and its other institutions, and to access development funding through the international financial institutions.
At the end of the day, we respect Honduras's sovereignty, we respect its democracy and its constitutional institutions. And at the end of the day, a solution to this crisis, which is Honduran in origin, will be Honduran also. But we believe the solution will be more enduring and more peaceful if it is accompanied by the larger inter-American community and other members of the international community that are interested. Secretary Clinton and President Obama instructed us to come down and try to ensure that this national dialogue continues, that it continues on a sound basis, and to reassure the Honduran people and Honduras’s political leaders that the United States is prepared to work with members of the international community to provide the guarantees and incentives necessary to ensure that any agreement reached in the national dialogue is implemented in a transparent and effective fashion. more:

October 27, 2009 - By Kevin Bogardus
Kerry, Berman want controversial Honduras report to be retracted
Senior congressional Democrats want a report on the ouster of Honduran president Manuel Zelaya to be retracted.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) made the demand in a letter dated Tuesday to James Billington, the Librarian of Congress. They asked the Law Library of Congress to withdraw and correct the August 2009 report titled "Honduras: Constitutional Law Issues."

What changed Kerry in four months?
Chairman Kerry's Statement on Honduras Escalating Constitutional Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry (D-MA) today expressed concern about the growing tension in Honduras over an unofficial vote, scheduled for Sunday, intended to build public support for rewriting the Honduran Constitution.
America values its longstanding partnership with Honduras, but a push to rewrite the constitution over the objections of Honduras's top court, legislature, attorney general, and military is deeply disturbing,” said Chairman Kerry. "The people of Honduras deserve a democratic process that is legal, fair and transparent." source: October 27, 2009 - David Gollust - State Department
US Stepping up Role in Honduras Political Crisis
The Obama administration is sending a team of senior officials to Honduras Wednesday to try to expedite a settlement of the political crisis spawned by the ouster in June of elected President Manuel Zelaya. The deposed leader remains at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa.
The Obama administration had preferred to let the Organization of American States and its designated mediator, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, take the lead role in Honduran diplomacy. more:

October 23, 2009
Life as an Ex Pat in Honduras:
The Carter Center Position on the Honduran Crisis..

Can you explain briefly the constitutional crisis and military ouster of the Honduran president on June 28? more:

October 23, 2009 -- Brian Wagner -- Voice of America
Cuban-Americans Rally Support for Honduras Government
The ongoing political crisis in Honduras is drawing attention from Cuban-Americans in Miami, who are concerned about the spread of leftist governments in Latin American. Cuban exiles are backing the de facto government, even as Washington supports the ousted Honduran president.
Collecting food and medical supplies is a common tool for many Cuban-Americans to offer person-to-person assistance to people on the island. Community leaders say donating basic goods like milk powder and aspirin, which can be scarce in Cuba, has a major impact for Cuban families struggling to survive under Communist rule.
A new call for donations, however, is focusing on a different community altogether. Silvia Iriondo is president of the group Mothers and Women against Repression in Cuba.
Iriondo says her group wants to stop Honduras from suffering the same fate as Cuba, and it is seeking to defend democracy in Latin America. more:

October 20 2009 --
OAS Turns Zelaya Down
The Organization of American States has said it will not convene a special session to review the proposal Micheletti's side presented for Zelaya's team yesterday.
The adviser of the Secretary General of the OAS for Honduras, John Biehl, said that the body is confident Honduras can solve the political problem internally, although it is difficult. It is a matter for Hondurans to solve. more:

Oct. 18, 2009 - AP Cochabamba, Bolivia
Leftist LatAm bloc urges world to reject election being held by Honduras' coup government
Leaders of a bloc of leftist Latin American governments urged the international community Saturday to reject the presidential election planned by Honduras' interim government next month.
The leaders of the Boliviarian Alternative group also denounced Colombia's plan to give the U.S. military expanded use of bases in that South American nation, calling it a threat to the region's security.
In a joint statement issued at the end of the two-day ALBA meeting, the leaders criticized the coup-installed government in Honduras and urged the world's nations to continue pressing for the reinstatement of ousted President Manuel Zelaya. more:

October 17 2009 -- Written by Prensa Latina
Cochabamba, Bolivia.-
Mass Gathering Closes Bolivia ALBA Summit
A mass popular concentration at Cochabamba''s Felix Carriles Stadium will close the 7th Summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) Saturday.
The nearly 1,000 delegates to the First Summit of the ALBA Social Movements, and guests from the US, Europe, Africa, and Asia will present their conclusions to the presidents of the bloc's member countries.
Meanwhile, the meeting of representatives from Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Honduras, Dominica, Nicaragua, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines yesterday approved the Single Regional Payment Compensation System (SUCRE), to enter into force in 2010.
After deliberations at the Ministerial Council for Economic Complementation, comprising the ALBA economy ministers, the heads of State signed the financial mechanism, which will put an end to the US dollar dependency..
The meeting also agreed to revise ALBA military doctrines, and Bolivian President Evo Morales proposed the creation of a military school of dignity and sovereignty, as he called it.
A special resolution condemning the Honduras coup was also signed in the first session. The text demands the immediate reinstatement of constitutional President Jose Manuel Zelaya, and expresses strong support for the Honduran resistance. more:

October 17th, 2009
ALBA Proposes Creation of Military Forces
ALBA has instructed the commission to consider a draft policy for discussion at the next presidential summit.
The initiative came from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and was supported by colleagues from Bolivia, Ecuador and delegations from Cuba.
Chavez suggested a National Security Council of ALBA, and Bolivian Evo Morales took it further and suggested the creation of a "military school in the dignity and sovereignty of ALBA for the development of a new military doctrine" which would distance the ALBA nations from ideas promoted in the United States in past decades in terms of national security. more:

October 17, 2009 -- Jose de Cordoba -- 2009 PODER 360
What was really behind the removal of President Manuel Zelaya, and is he likely to be reinstated?
A year ago, President Manuel Zelaya surprised Honduran notables who turned up for the country's traditional independence day celebration when the sitting president shouted "Long Live Independence! Long Live the Republic!" It was supposed to be a moment of national unity.
But instead of unity, the president dished out division. Wearing his trademark white Stetson hat, Zelaya berated his audience of slack-jawed businessmen for 15 long minutes. "The businessmen and corrupt oligarchy are responsible for our country's two centuries of poverty because they support an unjust, neoliberal economic model that exploits humans and our natural resources," Zelaya declared. more:

October 15th 2009, -- Tamara Pearson --
Venezuela Nationalises Hilton Hotel
Merida, October 15th 2009 ( - The Venezuelan government nationalised the Hilton Suites and its assets, located on Margarita Island, a popular local and international tourist destination.
The nationalisation or "forced acquisition" was made by presidential decree and announced in the official government bulletin on Friday.
The nationalised hotel has 280 single rooms, 210 suites, the island's biggest casino, a large pool, shops, restaurants, meeting rooms and an adjoining coastal area of 26,000 square metres. more:

October 14, 2009 -- The Washington Times
EDITORIAL: Undermining Honduras
State rebuffs Congress to subvert democracy in Tegucigalpa

When Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh was chosen as chief legal counsel to the State Department, we editorialized that it was an "offensive nomination." We explained that "Mr. Koh's repeatedly stated agenda is contrary to the American tradition of law originating in the 'consent of the governed.' " Little did we know that Mr. Koh would trample on the consent of the governed in other countries, too.
Now we discover that it was Mr. Koh's legal opinion that supported the Obama administration's wrongheaded, and indeed immoral, decision to punish the nation of Honduras. The administration bizarrely objects to Honduran legislators and judges enforcing their own constitution against the would-be dictator, Manuel Zelaya, who tried to shred a key constitutional restraint against a Honduran president trying for a second term in office. more:

October 14th, 2009
Congratulations Catrachos!!!
Honduras Advances To World Cup

Honduras over El Salvador 1-0 FINAL SCORE
Honduras will be traveling to South Africa to compete in the 2010 Word Cup!! First time since 1982 :) more:

October 14, 2009 -- Angus Reid Global Monitor
Most Venezuelans want Chavez gone by 2012
Most people in Venezuela think Hugo Chavez' term in office should end no later than 2012, according to a poll by IVAD. 27.9% of respondents say Chavez should leave in 2010 after a recall referendum, while an additional 36.3% say he should only stay until the 2012 election.
Additionally, 15.3% of respondents say Chavez should not leave until 2021. Only 12.8% of respondents want him to remain in power indefinitely.
In the next election, 39.8% of respondents would vote for Chavez, while 42.4% would not. more:

October 12, 2009 -- Frank Jack Daniel -- Reuters
Honduras cocaine flights leap after coup
The number of airplanes smuggling cocaine through Honduras has surged since the United States suspended drug cooperation in the wake of an army coup, the Central American country's drugs chief said on Tuesday.
Honduras has been internationally isolated since soldiers exiled President Manuel Zelaya at gunpoint on June 28, and it lost $16.5 million of U.S. military aid after the putsch. more:

October 12, 2009 -- Alex Majthenyi
Seent to: Petrobras-Petroleo Brasil, Banco do Brasil, Banco Bradesco, etc., etc.
We have been investing in Brazil for years and profited from our relationship. Recent government changes are making us wonder if it is safe for us to continue.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva appears to be following in President Hugo Chaves's footsteps in his governing style.
Brazil is supporting Manuel Zelaya, the former president of Honduras. We consider Zelaya dangerous. He violated the law and attempted to change the Honduras Constitution. Zelaya has been allowed to use the Brazil embassy to disrupt the Honduras election process in violation of the OAS charter.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran is to planning to visit Brazil in November, and President Luiz Inacio Lula is planning to visit Iran in May.
Is Brazil turning into another Venezuela?     Alex Majthenyi

October 12, 2009 Abdon M Pallasch -- Chicago Sun-Times
Roskam, Schock want Obama to recognize Zelaya's ouster was for best
Two Republican congressmen from Illinois are urging the Obama administration to change course on Honduras after a visit there a week ago.
Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was shipped out of his country, then infiltrated his way back in and is now holed up at the Brazilian Embassy in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa.
He had been scheduled to leave office after the Nov. 29 presidential election. But because of his removal, the Obama administration now says it will not recognize the legitimacy of that election. It has cut off the $30 million-a-year foreign aid budget for Honduras.
U.S. Representatives Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) and Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) say the administration should side with the rest of the Honduran government, which believes Zelaya's ouster was for the best.
"The high court made it clear that in their view, they acted in consistency with their constitution," Roskam said after meeting with all 15 members of the country's supreme court. more:

October 12, 2009 -- Ecuador-Rising
Ecuador to seek defense deals with Russia
QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador's leftist President Rafael Correa said on Saturday he will travel to Russia late this month to strengthen ties aimed in part at enhancing his country's defenses.
Correa is a critic of Washington and an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is building up his military with Russian weapons.
Both socialist presidents object to a deal being negotiated between Colombia and the United States under which U.S. anti-narcotics operations will be launched from Colombian bases. more:

October 10, 2009 -- Jim Demint -- Wall Street Journal
What I Heard in Honduras
Our ambassador is the only person I met there who thinks there was a 'coup.' Let's release the State Department legal analysis.

In the last three months, much has been made of a supposed military "coup" that whisked former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya from power and the supposed chaos it has created.
After visiting Tegucigalpa last week and meeting with a cross section of leaders from Honduras's government, business community, and civil society, I can report there is no chaos there. There is, however, chaos to spare in the Obama administration's policy toward our poor and loyal allies in Honduras. more:

October 10th, 2009
Ridiculous! Arrogant! Stupid!
Zelay's representatives asked that if Zelaya is not reinstated, that the ballots in the November election be changed to include the option to vote for Mr. Zelaya as President of the Republic. source:

October 09, 2009 (Angus Reid Global Monitor)
Ecuador's Correa Loses Majority Support
For the first time since taking office as Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa has seen his popularity miss the 50 per cent mark, according to a poll by Cedatos/Gallup. 49 per cent of respondents approve of Correa's performance, down two points since August.
Correa, a former finance minister, ran for president as an independent leftist under the Alliance Country (AP) banner. In November 2006, Correa won a run-off with 56.69 per cent of the vote. He officially took over as Ecuador's head of state in January 2007. Correa's party nominated no candidates to the National Congress. source:

October 8th, 2009 -- Embassy of the US in Honduras
US Embassy Personnel Not Allowed at Soccer Match
From: American Citizens Services Unit, Consular Section
The U.S. Embassy advises all American citizens residing in and visiting Honduras that the State of Exception that was imposed by the defacto regime on September 27, 2009 is still in effect, despite announcements made earlier this week by the defacto regime that its abrogation was imminent. The Travel Alert issued on July 24, 2009 remains in effect and the U.S. Department of State continues to recommend that American citizens defer all non-essential travel to Honduras due to the unstable political situation. more:

What unstable political situation? The Brasil Embassy? Warning! Health hazzard! Don't go near the Embassy -- Alex

October 7, 2009
Excerpts of Micheletti's Speech to OAS
First, I wish to express unending thanks for the good will that you are showing . . . but we must speak out about something: the truth. You do not know the whole truth and, at times it appears that you do not want to hear it. Why don't we begin to investigate what happened before the 28th of June? We are being asked to reconsider certain things and we are willing, but I believe we have a right that the truth be heard. . . . more

October 7th, 2009 -- Heritage Foundation
Heritage Foundation Supports Elections
Heritage Foundation senior policy analyst Ray Walser said Tuesday that although the elections offer a solution to the three month-old crisis the Obama administration is fixated on Zelaya's return to the presidency.
Instead of allowing the Honduran people to speak through elections on November 29th and end the crisis, the administration makes Zelaya's restoration to presidential office its primary objective and the litmus test for 'a restoration of democracy,' he wrote on the Heritage blog. source
See also: Time for a US policy change

October 8th, 2009
Herlinda Nelson To Be Arrested
The court has issued an arrest warrant for the former chief of the Institute of Honduras Social Security, (IHSS). Herlinda Vallejo Nelson is to be arrested on charges of misappropriation of public funds and violation of his official duties.
Elvis Guzman, a spokesman for the prosecution, said the arrest warrant was issued after the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office presented sufficient evidence that he was involved in the loss of a batch of medicine valued at nearly two million Lempiras. source

October 7th, 2009
Zelaya Tells OAS Demand Reinstatement by 15th
The deposed president, Manuel Zelaya Rosales, made it clear today that he must be restored to power.
Mr. Zelaya asked that, the foreign ministers of the friendly countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, United States, Mexico, Ecuador, Canada, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Argentina, and the kingdom of Spain, who arrived today, to show solidarity with Honduras, and support democracy by demanding the return of the president elected by the people. source
See also: Friends and supporters of Manuel Zelaya

October 6th, 2009
Clinton Still Backs Zelaya's Reinstatement
US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, affirmed that Washington is backing the Costa Rican Accord that called for the reinstatement of ex-President Manuel Zelaya before the November elections.
We're working very hard to reach a conclusion in Honduras that will permit the elections to go forward, Clinton said.
The San Jose Accord would hopefully get Honduras back on the path to a more sustainable democracy, Clinton said.
The people in Honduras deserve that. They really have struggled hard to get to where they were before there was the disruption and the exiling of President Zelaya, she said. source

Why does Washington want a Socialist government in Honduras?

October 5, 2009
Three local Republican members of Congress are traveling to Honduras to meet with the interim president for a "fact-finding mission"
Three local Republican members of Congress are traveling to Honduras to meet with a caretaker government that has been snubbed worldwide after the Central America nation"s left wing-leaning leader was toppled in a coup earlier this year. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and brothers Rep. Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart, all R-Miami, left Monday morning for Honduras to speak with acting President Roberto Micheletti, Congress members and "all" political parties in what they called a fact-finding mission." The Republican trio has backed the Micheletti administration and opposed the return of ousted Manuel Zelaya because of his populist stance and ties to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. source

October 4, 2009 -- Marco Caceres --
I think that Mr. Zelaya and the Micheletti government are much farther apart than is being reported by the press and by the various foreign diplomats and politicians visiting Honduras of late. It seems to me that Mr. Zelaya and his supporters are saying that they will not proceed with their plans to set up a National Constituent Assembly this year if Mr. Zelaya is reinstated as president. This is being sold as some sort of "concession".
However, the idea of a National Constituent Assembly was never suppose to be a done deal. While it certainly may have been in Mr. Zelaya's mind and plans, officially the setting up of this body was to be based on the results of the "cuarta urna" referendum, which itself was also never a done deal, as the so-called "encuesta" (poll) that was to have determined whether or not to set up la cuarta urna on November 29 was never held (due to Mr. Zelaya's ousting on June 28). source

October 2nd, 2009
DeMint Statement on Fact-Finding Trip to Honduras
WASHINGTON, D.C - Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, made the following statement after he returned from a fact-finding mission to Honduras. Senator DeMint led a delegation of U.S. Congressmen including Aaron Schock (R-Illinois), Peter Roskam (R-Illinois), and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado). They met with Honduran President Roberto Micheletti, members of the Honduran Supreme Court, leading candidates for the upcoming November 29 elections, election officials, and Honduran business and civic leaders.
"We had a very productive trip, and we will have more to say next week after we have briefed our colleagues in the House and Senate. But for now, I can say that we saw a government working hard to follow the rule of law, uphold its constitution, and to protect democracy for the people of Honduras. We are very encouraged by what we saw and we hope to be able to work with our administration to support the upcoming elections, said Senator DeMint. source

October 2nd, 2009
Six House members on Friday sent a letter to the president of the Honduran Congress warning that the Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and his travel delegation to Honduras do not represent the views of the White House or Congress, but are mere members of the minority party.
We understand that you received visitors from our Congress who represent the minority party, the Republican Party, who have expressed views that differ markedly from those of President Obama's administration and the Democratic Majority in the U.S. Congress, they wrote. source

October 2nd, 2009
U.S. Congressmen Avoid Press
The U.S. Congressmen visiting Honduras this afternoon did not attend the scheduled press conference following their meeting with President Robero Micheletti.
Peter Roskam, Aaron Schock, and Jim DeMint, representatives from the State of Illinois, as well as Colorado representatiave, Doug Lamborn, met with other important figures, such as candidates in the upcoming presidential election and supreme court justices, but chose not to meet with Manual Zelaya. source

October 2, 2009 -- (UPI)
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Friday officially backed Sen. Jim DeMint's trip to Honduras, DeMint's office said.
DeMint's office said in a release that McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, approved the South Carolina Republican's trip after Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., tried to block it, The Hill reported. source

October 2, 2009 -- Mary Beth Sheridan -- Washington Post
Kerry's Attempt to Block DeMint's Honduras Trip Reveals Policy Feud
A simmering feud over U.S. policy toward Latin America burst into the open Thursday when Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) tried to prevent a fact-finding trip to Honduras by a Republican senator who is blocking two important diplomatic appointments.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) denounced Kerry's move on the Senate floor and sought the intervention of the minority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The Republican leader appealed to the Defense Department to provide an aircraft for DeMint's trip and the Pentagon agreed to do so, according to the South Carolina senator's office. source

October 1st, 2009
Florida Congresswoman to Visit Honduras
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is responsible for the initiative started in the United States Congress called the "Ros-Lehtinen HR749" and will be in Honduras next week. The Florida Congresswoman introduced the initiative back on September 17th. She has asked for U.S. President Barack Obama to support the Honduran president appointed by Congress to replace Manuel Zelaya.
Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen is a member of the International Relations Committee of the House of Representatives, and plans to discuss how U.S. policy is undermining the democratic aspirations of the Honduran people, as well as commercial interests and the national security of the United States. source

October 1st, 2009
Illinois Rep. Schock to Visit Honduras
U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria, has canceled his scheduled appearance to throw out the first pitch at a Cubs game at Wrigley Field on Saturday to take a trip to Honduras with other members of Congress.
Schock was invited on the trip, being led by U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and will be leaving Friday, said Schock spokesman Dave Natonski.

October 1, 2009 -- Written by Newsroom
Venezuela's Chances in Mercosur Dim After Chavez Called Quasi-Dictator in Brazil Senate
Hugo Chavez Chances of Venezuela ever joining the Mercosur received a full blow this week when the Brazilian senate Foreign Relations committee rapporteur said the hopeful member-country is ruled by an "almost dictatorial" president Hugo Chavez
"Chavez rule is almost dictatorial, from the moment the Congress is totally submissive to his interests," said Senator Tasso Jereissati from the opposition Social Democrat party, in anticipation of the vote in the committee which is scheduled for the coming week. source

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