Friday, August 24, 2007

No Visa for You!

Thanks to fiasco by CUD North America for the past two years, the shameful infighting, corruption and insane alliance with active terrorist groups, U.S. administration has seen fit to deny (or delay) visas for released CUD leaders. Berhanu Nega, the only CUD representative on route to U.S., will now be confronted with three bickering CUD parties, all vying for his ear. God give him strength.

Free But Not Allowed to Roam
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1220 25/08/2007

Recently released from jail after asking for a pardon from Meles Zenawi, leaders of the opposition have been refused visas to the United States.

The U.S. embassy in Addis Ababa has refused to grant immediate visas to leaders of the opposition CUDP party who were recently pardoned by prime minister Meles Zenawi, and who wished to travel to Europe and the United States starting from Aug. 29. It appears the refusal will stand at least until Ethiopia celebrates its New Year in September. Only Berhanu Nega was able to fly to London via Kuwait and make his way to the U.S. He could quit Ethiopia because he has a valid Green Card granting him permanent residence in the States. In the U.S. he will seek to meet with Ethiopian exiles or even the leaders of other opposition groups in the hope of persuading them to renounce the armed struggle and their radical positions.

That fits in with American diplomatic strategy as well. The strategy consists of sidelining radical factions of the Ethiopian opposition (specially the ultra-nationalist Amharas) and to persuade others to talk with the Addis Ababa government. The American envoy to Ethiopia, Donald Yamamoto, lifted the veil on the strategy in an interview with the PBS network in Washington last week.

He admitted that the ruling EPRDF party has serious problems in governing the country and could only do so if it joined forces with opponents who call for reforms but are also ready to cooperate with the government.

The new political situation has exacerbated relations between various opposition movements. Radical elements in the EPRP and the CUDP faction headed by Taye Wolde Semayat and Hailu Shawel have come under attack, notably on the Internet, by more moderate wings of the Ethiopian opposition. In one instance, Gemoraw Kassa, secretary general of the Ethiopian Teachers Association (ETA) and close to the moderate opposition party EDP headed by Lidetu Ayalew - some of its members sit in Ethiopia’s parliament - launched a broadside against Taye, a former union leader living in the U.S. and heading the local CUDP faction linked to Shawel.

The Ethiopian Current Affairs Discussion Forum linked to Andargatchew Tsige - and by extension to Nega’s group - has done likewise. Taye’s critics accuse him of secretly being a member of the radical EPRP group.