Nov 17, 2009

AFL-CIO Letter to Clinton Opposing Honduran Elections

The AFL-CIO, the 11-million member labor federation, has joined human rights groups and others in urging the U.S. State Department to oppose the elections in Honduras scheduled for Nov. 29 unless "President Manuel Zelaya is reinstated and free and fair electoral conditions are guaranteed."

The unions' stand is a confirmation of their position to impose the June 28th coup in Honduras and a recognition that the political and human rights situation in the country make any semblance of fair elections currently impossible. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka notes that at least twelve trade unionists have died in the context of the coup amid an atmosphere of violent repression of political opposition.

Read the full text of the letter below:

November 13, 2009

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
United States Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Madame Secretary:

On behalf of the over 11 million working women and men represented by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organization (AFL-CIO), I want to express our appreciation for your commitment to include international labor and human rights standards in U.S. foreign policy. In the near future I look forward to discussing these subjects with you, including the future of U.S. labor diplomacy.

I also want to express our concern with the democratic, labor and human rights crisis in Honduras. The AFL-CIO passed a resolution on the situation at our national convention in September, which is enclosed. It asks our Government to maintain its suspension of military aid to the de facto regime of Roberto Micheletti, as well as taking other critical measures, "until President Manuel Zelaya is restored to his democratically elected office and human and trade union rights have been restored." I hope that you give it the most serious consideration.

Our position on the crisis had been developed in consultation with the Honduran labor movement, which is unequivocally opposed to the June 28 coup, to the continuation of the de facto government, as well as to any future elections conducted by the Michelleti regime.

We are troubled that the agreement to reinstate President Zelaya by November 5th (the Tegucigalpa/San Jose accords), in preparation for the November 29th elections, has now unraveled. The failure of the Honduran Congress, in consultation with the Supreme Court and with other institutions, to approve President Zelaya's reinstatement, has created an unstable and untenable situation. Roberto Micheletti's announcement of an interim unity government without the representation of President Zelaya invalidates elections planned for November 29th.

The current environment in Honduras, including an illegitimate government in power makes free, fair and open elections impossible. The violent and coercive repression of political opposition to the de facto regime, including trade unionists, has continued. At least twelve trade unionists have died since June 28th. National and international human rights organizations report ongoing human rights violations committed by state security forces, including killings, severe beatings, sexual violence, the imprisonment and torture of activists, as well as the arrest and detention of President Zelaya's supporters.

For these reasons the AFL-CIO asks our Government to make clear its opposition to the conduct of national elections in Honduras November 29th, unless President Zelaya is reinstated and free and fair electoral conditions are guaranteed. We also ask the United States Government to implement the recommendations contained in the resolution passed at our convention in September.

Looking forward to hearing from you on all of these matters.


Richard L. Trumka

cc: Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon
Ambassador Arturo Valenzuela

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