The following is the speech given by Mitch Cummins at the Peace March on Roatan yesterday.
I want to thank everyone who came to the rally yesterday. The turnout was
quite impressive. Angela, your pictures were great! I've had a few requests
for the text of the speech I gave yesterday, so I thought I would post it
I moved here to Roatan because I loved what I saw here. Of course the island
itself is beautiful - anyone can see that, but what struck me more than the
natural beauty was the strength of the people. I saw a culture that was laid
back and easy going on the surface, but had such a strong core. I believe
that the culture here was one that allowed new people and new ideas to grow
and blossom. The people here invite and encourage others to improve
themselves as long as you move the island forward as well. I love that about
Roatan and her people. I want to publicly thank all of the Hondurans and
especially the people of Roatan for allowing me to become a part of your
As we all watched the events unfold over the last few months, I became
concerned. At first I wasn't seeing much opposition to what Mel wanted to
do. First we saw ALBA ratified and then as we got closer to the "Cuardo
Urna" vote on June 28, I was scared - REALLY SCARED. The last week or so
before the "poll" I saw things begin to turn around. I started hearing not
only the politicians and the judges and the attorneys talk against moving
Honduras to be a puppet for Hugo Chavez I also started hearing common folks
talk against it as well. But in the final couple of days before the "poll",
I was VERY impressed with what I saw. I think that the Honduran authorities
handled a difficult situation very well.
On Sunday, June 28, my phone rang a little before 7AM to tell me that Mel
had been removed from office. I couldn't believe it! I don't have local TV
at my house, so I got on the internet and started gathering as much
information as possible. I have to tell you, that I had to be a horrible
sight - just roused from my bed, sitting on my couch - hunched over my
laptop, reading every piece of news I could find - and crying. Yes, I was
shedding tears that morning. They were not tears of sadness - not even tears
of joy. I was so proud of what I was seeing Hondurans doing, I couldn't help
myself. I'm not really a touchy-feely kind of guy, but I was so moved that I
Ladies and gentlemen of Honduras - in my opinion what your country did on
Sunday was nothing short of a miracle. While the world is being very
negative towards Honduras at the moment, they are just beginning to learn
the truth about what happened and WHY things were done as they were. I'm not
saying that mistakes weren't made, but in that kind of a situation, you have
to do what you think best and live with the consequences. The world will
learn that what Honduras did was to maintain their democracy!
As most of you know, I'm an American. I am fiercely proud of my country -
usually. I have to tell you that I am embarrassed by my country's response
to Honduras so far. I thought that Obama's initial statement was very good:
"I am deeply concerned by reports coming out of Honduras regarding the
detention and expulsion of President Mel Zelaya. As the Organization of
American States did on Friday, I call on all political and social actors in
Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the
Inter-American Democratic Charter. Any existing tensions and disputes must
be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference"
That was a good statement. He didn't call anything illegal, he didn't ask
for anyone to be put back in office - he said "Hey, we're concerned here,
but it's an internal Honduran issue and we all need to make sure that the
rules of democracy are followed". That's nearly a perfect statement.
But what followed, especially by Hillary Clinton, has been so wrong. They
have since backed off some of the initial strong statements that she made.
They've not pulled their ambassador; they've carefully not called the
actions a coup - because if they call it a coup that will affect some of the
foreign aid that Honduras receives from the United States. But they've not
come around to backing what Honduras has done - YET.
We are now seeing Senators and Congressmen speak out in favor of Honduras.
One of the first and strongest voices came from Congresswoman Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen from Florida. Ms. Ros-Lehtinen is originally from Cuba. She and
her family fled the communist regime of Fidel Castro. She KNOWS what it's
like to live in the type of system Mel had in mind. She has been a very
vocal supporter of Latin American issues and serves as the ranking member of
the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Here's part of what the Congresswoman stated:
"The U.S. and other responsible nations must render their full support to
the efforts of those in Honduras who are standing up for freedom and
defending democratic principles and institutions."
Just this morning two other prominent politicians, Congressman Connie Mack
also from Florida and Senator Jim DeMint from South Carolina have issued
similar statements. Senator DeMint said "Americans should support the
Honduran people and their legitimate leaders in their brave and heroic stand
for freedom and the rule of law."
Connie Mack said "Manuel Zelaya trampled the Honduran constitution by
pushing for his illegal referendum to allow him to rule indefinitely, and by
firing the top military official, Gen. Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, when he
refused to comply with Zelaya's unconstitutional orders". He added "There is
little doubt that Zelaya, in his blatant power grab, has moved Honduras down
a dangerous path toward less freedom, less security, and less prosperity. .
The United States and our allies in the region must now stand with the
Honduran people to ensure the respect of freedom, the rule of law and
I must say, I've always liked Connie Mack's blunt speaking habits. There's
never a doubt about what he thinks about a subject!
Now THOSE are the types of responses that we need to be seeing from the US
and the rest of the world. I have to believe that in the coming days as more
and more of the world learns the truth of what happened, we will see more
and more support from around the world.
There's one thing that you must know. The foreigner community of Roatan is
standing right here with you. I think that I speak for all of us when I say
that Honduras is doing something brave enough and strong enough that it
should be held as an example for young democracies around the world.
Tomorrow is July 4th. That day holds a very special meaning for Americans.
That's the day my country gained its independence 233 years ago. In the not
too distant future, the world will recognize June 28, 2009 as the day
Honduras cemented democracy and freedom into their history.
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Here are some great photos taken at the march:
Angela Agnew's uploaded a bunch of photos of this afternoon's peace rally
on her photography website, _www.RoatanImages. com_
(http://www.RoatanIm ages.com) under 'client slideshows' - 'Roatan peace march'. There was a great
_:: Roatan Peace March AKA Photography ::_
(http://www.photobiz .com/slideshowbi z/slideshow. cfm?slideshowID= 70148&photograph erID=7409)