It seems too awful or too good to be true, depending on how you look at it. But according to the Web site of "MIGApartners," which I gather is some flavor of Christian organization, General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, the military leader of the coup in Honduras, is going to be in Miami on Saturday morning July 25th, between 9:45am-10:45am, at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
I tried to confirm this by calling the numbers listed on the Web site but only got answering machines. The calendar of the Miami Beach Convention Center merely has "Christian Ministries" listed on its schedule for Saturday.
If it is true that General Vasquez is coming to Miami -- is he already in the U.S.? -- this raises a number of questions.
First: this guy is welcome in the United States? In an editorial on July 14, the Los Angeles Times called for the U.S. to consider canceling visas for coup leaders. Supporters of the democratically elected government in Honduras have made similar calls. If there is any coup leader who should be denied a visa to visit the United States, surely it is General Vasquez.
Second: If General Vasquez sets foot on U.S. soil, is there any legal basis for his detention by U.S. authorities? If he cannot be detained for his role in the coup, perhaps he can be detained on some other charge, such as abuses of human rights in Honduras following the coup. Narco News reported on July 4 that in 1993 Vasquez was charged in an auto theft ring. There is, to say the least, an air of criminality about the guy. If Henry Louis Gates can be arrested in Cambridge for breaking into his own house, can't General Vasquez be arrested in Miami for overthrowing his own president?
Third: If General Vasquez is permitted to enter the United States, and he is not detained by U.S. authorities, surely the good citizens of Miami will do their best to make him feel welcomed? United Students Against Sweatshops set a good example in their greeting to Lanny Davis, in response to his role as the Washington public relations voice of the coup regime.
Meanwhile, if you can't get to Miami, but you think it's outrageous that Honduran coup leaders could be welcomed in the United States, why not send a note to your Representative in Congress.
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