Both parties came together to approve HR4587, the Venezuela Human Rights and Democracy Protection Act. Read all about it at Da Tech Guy Bog, and please hit Pete’s tip jar.
Press release from U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen,
Legislation To Award The Congressional Gold Medal To ‘Borinqueneers’ Soldiers From Puerto Rico Who Fought During Korean War Garnering Support In US House Ros-Lehtinen Proud To Support It & Honor Valor Of Patriots Who Helped Save South Korea From Communism
“For most of the Korean War, the legendary 65th Infantry Regiment served as a segregated unit, consisting almost entirely of soldiers from Puerto Rico. Despite facing prejudice, ‘the Borinqueneers’ repeatedly excelled on the fields of combat in Korea. The unit played an essential part in some of the fiercest engagements throughout that war, thereby saving the people of South Korea from the scourge of Communist rule. By war’s end, the 65th was one of the most highly decorated units of the conflicts, having received 10 Distinguished Service Crosses, about 250 Silver Stars, over 600 Bronze Stars, and nearly 3,000 Purple Hearts.
Soldiers from Puerto Rico have demonstrated their valor and loyalty to our nation in the many wars that the United States has fought in the name of freedom and democracy. The ‘Borinqueneers’ stand out for doing so at a time in which they also had to fight the prejudice of racism from within the Armed Forces they so loved.
Their Congressional Gold Medal = Very good news.
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee (MENA) released the following statement,500-Page Indictment by AMIA Bombing Prosecutor Reveals Troubling Extent of Iran’s Infiltration into Latin America, Says Ros-Lehtinen,
This indictment reaffirms the fact that Iran’s dual use of diplomatic and cultural offices is utilized to deepen its infiltration into the Hemisphere
“I’m deeply troubled by the findings by Alberto Nisman, whose 500-page indictment cites extensive evidence of Iran’s ‘intelligence and terrorist network’ in various Latin American nations. This report shows clearly that the 1994 AMIA bombing was not an isolated event, but rather that it was part of a larger and still ongoing scheme by the Iranian regime and its proxies to expand their influence in the Western Hemisphere and threaten U.S. security interests in the region.
“This indictment reaffirms the fact that Iran’s dual use of diplomatic and cultural offices is utilized to deepen its infiltration into the Hemisphere. In particular, the indictment implicates the fugitive Mohsen Rabbani, the mastermind behind the AMIA bombing, as the primary coordinator of Iran’s nefarious activities in the region. Another disturbing example cited in the indictment which demonstrates the scope of Iran’s activities is that of the two Guayenese men who were convicted in 2010 for conspiring to carry out a terrorist attack on JFK airport in New York. These examples underscore the danger that the Iranian regime presents not only through its nuclear program, but also through its unrelenting efforts to export its violent radicalism to our own Hemisphere
I may remind you that Iran’s Minister of Defense is the mastermind of the AMIA attack.
With nearly 50 percent of voter support and an 18-point lead over his nearest challenger in the most recent poll, Ortega could end up with a mandate that would not only legitimize his re-election but allow him to make constitutional changes guaranteeing perpetual re-election.
Ortega’s well on his way – readers of this blog may remember that last year he insisted that the Nicaraguan Supreme Court declare term limits unconstitutional.
Over in Guatemala, a Retired general sweeps to power in Guatemala election
A retired right-wing general promising a crackdown on violent crime won Guatemala’s presidential election on Sunday and will be the first military man to take power since democracy was restored in 1986.
Otto Perez had 54.2 percent support with results in from 98 percent of polling stations while his rival, wealthy businessman Manuel Baldizon, trailed with 45.8 percent.
Guatemala’s electoral tribunal declared Perez the winner late on Sunday, and his supporters began celebrating in the streets.
It was a clear move to the right for Central America’s largest economy and came after leftist President Alvaro Colom failed to contain violent crime or protect the country from Mexican drug cartels using it as a key smuggling route.
The LA Times writes on how the Elections in Nicaragua, Guatemala underscore threats to democracy.
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Condemns Ortega’s Manipulation of Election, Democratic Process in Nicaragua
“Sunday’s so-called ‘election’ in Nicaragua was a complete sham. Daniel Ortega made sure of it.
“According to the Nicaraguan constitution, Ortega was not eligible to run for another term as President. But he forced his way onto the ballot through a corrupt scheme that trampled over Nicaraguan constitutional mandates.
“And once he forced his way onto the ballot, Ortega pulled out more tricks to make sure that he would win. He denied countless Nicaraguans the right to vote in order to stack the deck in his favor. He has clearly learned from his dictatorial buddies in the region, like Chavez, who is an expert at trampling democracy.
“Last month, I sent a letter to the Department of State urging the Administration to stand up to Ortega’s scheme to cling to power. The U.S. and other responsible nations cannot recognize the outcome of this stolen election.”
Welcome, Instapundit readers!
Cross-posted in The Green Room.
As you may recall, a couple of months ago Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic was invited by the Cuban Communist regime to interview Fidel Castro. Surprisingly – as Goldberg himself noted – Castro said that Iran should stop slandering the Jews.
The timing of the article coincided with the Jewish holidays, and also came at a time when the Cuban regime is more broke than it’s ever been.
However, Castro’s statements quoted by Goldberg regarding Israel’s right to exist, and Castro’s admiration for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s father, Ben-Zion Netanyahu, renowned historian of the Spanish inquisition, did not fall on deaf ears in Israel, where Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres welcomed Castro’s remarks.
Castro’s remarks also came at the same time that dozens of Cuban political prisoners are forcibly exiled to Spain, without any easing of the dictatorship.
Considering Cuba’s support of the PLO, Lybia, Syria, Iran, and Venezuela (where increasingly, anti-Semitism is official policy), Castro’s recent remarks are opportunistic at best.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen called Netanyahu, who apologized. The NY Sun explains
Israel is a small, beleaguered democracy in need of all the help it can get. The exiled Cubans who have been holding out for democracy on their native island are logical allies. And vice versa. How tragic it would have been were Israel to have made a separate peace with the communist regime, all on the notion that a dictator who has for two generations oppressed his own people and joined in the war against the Jews had suddenly come down with a change of heart.
Cross-posted at Hot Air. Hat tip: Joe Lima
Here is the text of the speech,
Madam Speaker, last week the Cuban tyranny sunk to an all new low as the communist thugs brutally attacked a procession of mothers, daughters, and wives of Cuban political prisoners collectively known as the “Ladies in White.”
Their crime? Walking to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the dictatorship’s March 2003 crackdown against human rights and pro-democracy activists—a grim event known as the Black Spring.
Many of those imprisoned at that time continue to languish in squalid jail cells and endure unspeakable suffering at the hands of their oppressors.
The procession of the “Ladies in White” was led by Reyna Luisa Tamayo, whose son, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, died only a few weeks ago at the hands of the Castro regime.
Carrying flowers and wearing their white clothing as symbols of peace, they were suddenly and viciously confronted, beaten, and some, temporarily detained, by agents of the dictatorial regime.
Reyna described the confrontations, explaining: “They dragged me, I am all bruised. They beat me…They cannot be forgiven.”
Further reports indicate that nearly a third of the Ladies in White marching that day had to seek hospital treatment for the attacks.
The cowardice of the regime’s agents could not be more obvious in the wake of this attack.
Confronting the nonviolent actions of these women in such a vicious and hateful manner makes it clear: The dictatorship fears these women because the regime officials fear the truth.
The repression by the regime knows no boundaries.
Now, they are even attempting to deny the people of Cuba the right to mourn the loss of their loved ones.
For anyone who had doubt, these attacks make it clear – the regime has no conscience.
There is no limit to its abuse and indecency.
I was pleased however to see the European and Chilean Parliaments deliver strong statements of condemnation and reproach following the regime’s actions last week.
However, responsible nations must do more.
The newly inaugurated President of Chile understands this moral obligation.
He recognizes the suffering of the Cuban people must come to an end and free nations must lead the charge.
President Sebastian Piñera said: “The government of Chile will do everything it can…so that in Cuba there is a process of peaceful recovery of democracy and a full restoration of respect for human rights and individual freedoms.”
But where is the rest of the world?
Why are regional leaders silent on the Cuban regime’s gross human rights violations and the abuses of power?
Where is the Organization of American States?
On the wrong side of history.
It was almost a year ago when the OAS voted to reincorporate the Cuban tyranny into the Inter-American system.
The U.S. made a mistake then by shepherding such an effort.
But it’s not too late to do the right thing by the Cuban people and take up the cause of freedom for the island nation.
The U.S. Ambassador to the OAS should immediately call for consideration of a resolution condemning the Cuban tyranny’s attack on the Ladies in White and demanding that all political prisoners be immediately released.
The U.S. should call on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to immediately convene a meeting to hear testimony on the systematic violations of human rights and universal freedoms by the Cuban dictatorship.
The U.S. must request an investigation by the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression in the Western Hemisphere on the assaults against independent journalists.
It is time for the world to admit the full brutality of the butchers in Havana and provide the people of Cuba the solidarity and support they deserve.
It is time for the people of Cuba to have the rights and liberties they deserve and for which they fight everyday.
Let this Congress pave the way.
I ask my colleagues to support H.Con.Res. 252—a resolution I introduced to recognize the life of Orlando Zapata Tamayo and calling for a renewed focus on the promotion of human rights and democracy in my native homeland of Cuba.
Thank you, Madame Speaker, for the opportunity to speak on this important cause.
The right move, at the right time, since it prevents them from being deported in this time of crisis:
Obama administration grants TPS to Haitians
The Obama administration announced Friday that it would grant tens of thousands Haitian nationals Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, an immigration benefit sought for years by Haitian activists, immigrant advocates and South Florida lawmakers.
The move comes following intense pressure on the administration this week to approve Haiti for TPS in the aftermath of the country’s devastating earthquake.
TPS is granted to selected immigrants who cannot safely return to their homelands because of natural disasters, armed conflicts or other emergencies. Those eligible are allowed to remain here, obtain work permits and temporary stays for specific periods — a status often renewed indefinitely.
Three Republican legislators were behind the move,
South Florida’s three Cuban-American Republican members of Congress — Reps. Lincoln and his brother Mario Diaz-Balart, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, sent a joint letter to Obama requesting TPS for Haitian nationals along with immediate humanitarian aid for Haiti.
A group in Florida is seeking also to bring hundreds of Haitian orphans to the USA.
Micheletti y miles de hondureños marchan contra Chávez en cinco ciudades (Micheletti and thousands of Honduras march against Chávez in five cities).
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, was on the PBS News Hour. Here’s the video:
Mrs Ros-Lehtinen had a near-surreal discussion with Rep. William Delahunt (Dem.), who considers “Honduras and other Central American and Latin American countries” as being “banana republics.” Here’s the transcript:
REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN: I totally disagree with the way that the Obama administration has been mishandling this situation.
And I find it interesting that one of the statements that the State Department put out, it says that they recognize the complicated set of actions which led to the June 28 coup.
What complicated set of actions? Manuel Zelaya violated the — the Honduran constitution, violated the law that was passed by the Honduran congress, violated the decision, unanimous, 15-0, by the Honduran supreme court, went against every aspect of the rule of law. What’s so complicated about that?
What do you do with a president who wants to maintain himself into power at all costs, no matter if the legislative branch goes against him, if the judicial branch goes against him? And, so, the Honduran government took this action.
And the United States wants to divorce that complicated set of actions as if they didn’t happen. Zelaya was violating the law, violating the constitution. And I think that it’s the wrong-headed approach for the United States to punish the Honduran people and to say that they’re not going to recognize a legitimate election that’s going to take place in late November.
This is a man who won’t take no for an answer, and, yet, we’re supposed to say, let’s restore him to power, nonetheless.
MARGARET WARNER: So, Congressman Delahunt, explain why you think the United States should be supporting Zelaya, who did act certainly extra-legally, or so the supreme court and the congress and Honduras both said?
REP. BILL DELAHUNT: Well, Margaret, I find it somewhat amusing that many of my colleagues on the Republican side must have gone to law school in — in Honduras, because it would appear that they’re constitutional scholars.
But let me be very clear. The — the request or the initiative by Zelaya was not to extend his term. The question that was going to be on the ballot was a nonbinding referendum for the people of Honduras to decide simply this question: Should there be a constituent assembly?
That was it, pure and simple. I think we have to understand the context of Honduran politics. It’s been a country that has been ruled by an economic elite. And, with all due respect to the elections that have been held down there, that economic elite exercises disproportionate influence in that democracy.
In the past — and I dare say at times now — it would be fair to describe Honduras as a banana republic.
REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN: Oh, my gosh.
REP. BILL DELAHUNT: We can’t go backward.
REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN: What an insult. What an insult. That is…
REP. BILL DELAHUNT: We — well, you can…
REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN: Shame on you, Bill.
REP. BILL DELAHUNT: Ileana, let me — please, don’t say that.
REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN: A banana republic, that’s just great. What an insult to the Honduran people.
REP. BILL DELAHUNT: Well, you don’t think that — well, let me — let me ask you this, OK? You would not, in the past, describe Honduras and other Central American and Latin American countries as banana republics?
REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN: No, absolutely not. And I think that’s an insult to the people of Honduras.
REP. BILL DELAHUNT: Then I dare say that you don’t — you’re not that familiar with Latin America.
REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN: It’s an insult to everyone in Latin America to…
MARGARET WARNER: All right, let me interrupt.
REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN: … to — to label any country as a banana republic.
REP. BILL DELAHUNT: Well…
MARGARET WARNER: Let me ask you both a question. And I want to begin with the congresswoman.
This is a small, impoverished Latin American country, yet it — this issue has generated quite surprising passion on Capitol Hill. Why? Why is Congress so concerned about this tiny country, Congresswoman?
REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN: Well, I think that this is about the rule of law.
I don’t think that this is about economic distribution of wealth, whether it’s a large country or a small country, whether it’s a poor country or a rich country. This is a country that — that said very clearly, the president has violated the constitution. You don’t have to be a constitutional scholar or a graduate of a Honduran law school to know that the article of the constitution is quite clear.
You can call it a poll. You can call it a survey. You can call it a referendum. You can call it anything you want. But it was a violation of the Honduran constitution. And I’m not the one that says that. The supreme court, by a 15-0 unanimous decision, said this president is violating the law.
Now, what are the people of Honduras supposed to do…
Here’s a roundup of reaction to the US State Department cutting foreign aid to the country, and even more importantly, the statement that the State Department,
“at this moment, we would not be able to support the outcome of the scheduled elections.”