Cracks in the Honduran Coup Regime Grow Wider
Posted by Al Giordano - August 18, 2009 at 10:49 am
By Al Giordano
We've previously noted that some key members of the coup regime power structure – notably business magnate Adolfo Facusse and Liberal Party presidential nominee Elvin Santos – had begun waxing aloud to find a scapegoat for the illegality of the June 28 coup d’etat. They had both settled on the Armed Forces, and the “original sin” of all that has gone awry since, according to them, was that the military shipped elected President Manuel Zelaya out of the country instead of arraigning him to face prosecution.
Coup regime “president” Roberto Micheletti has just added his voice to the cacophony, Bloomberg reports:
“There was an error by a certain sector,” Micheletti said today in an interview in Tegucigalpa. “It wasn’t correct. We have to punish whoever allowed that to happen. The rest was framed within what the constitution requires.”
…A mistake was made when Zelaya, still wearing pajamas, was put on a plane to Costa Rica instead of being held for trial, Micheletti said.
That is indeed rich coming from Micheletti who has fumbled two opportunities since the coup to walk his talk and arrest Zelaya as he keeps claiming he wants to do. The first came on July 5 when Zelaya attempted to fly into the Toncontin International Airport in Tegucigalpa but Micheletti ordered the same Armed Forces to litter the runway with trucks and soldiers to prevent the plane from landing. The second came on July 19 when Zelaya briefly stepped into Honduran territory from the Nicaraguan side of the border and again the military and police had orders not to arrest him.
Micheletti is in fact declaring the military a scapegoat for doing just once what Micheletti himself has ordered them to do a second and third time. He doesn’t really want Zelaya to stand trial because, first, the so-called evidence against the President is flimsy and falsified, and, second, because the regime fears that the very people of Honduras might assemble to break down any wall that might hold their elected president.
In that context, Micheletti’s words constitute an admission that the coup has been legally flawed from the start.
Meanwhile, Liberal Party candidate Santos – under criticism for the multi-million dollar highway construction contracts his company has from US taxpayers, thanks to the Millennium Challenge Corporation chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – has determined that the best defense is to go on offense. Yesterday, he accused exiled Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, elected in 2005 on the Liberal Party line, of a “political alliance” with National Party presidential candidate Pepe Lobo to sabotage his chances in the planned November “election.”
And adding to the clown show was the coup regime’s make believe “foreign minister,” Simian Council member Martha Lorena Alvarado, who yesterday charged that the delegation currently in Honduras from the Inter American Human Rights Council, affiliated with the Organization of American States (OAS), is “infiltrated by Latin American leftist movements.” (The delegation is made up of human rights officials from elected governments throughout the hemisphere.) She insisted that “the first violation of human rights” in Honduras is that caused by striking schoolteachers whom, she accused, are violating the rights of the children to go to school in the summer months. As she spoke those words, out in the streets of the capital National Police were busy beating up a reporter for Channel 36 television who had the temerity to try and film what are now daily violent attacks against peaceful demonstrators.
This business of “working the refs” – the regime daily makes statements aimed at discrediting an OAS delegation of foreign ministers that will arrive next in Honduras to try and broker the return of the elected president - is clearly intended to deflect from the continued heavy-handed violation of the most basic democratic rights by an unelected regime.
And in Washington DC yesterday, a member of the coup regime’s own delegation to the US admitted to the Argentina news agency TELAM that the coup was illegal. Delegation member Arturo Corrales (speaking, in the photo above) of the Christian Democratic Party, is contradicting not just the Armed Forces but also the man who sent him to Washington: Micheletti himself:
“In Honduras, we are clearly convinced that the military participation in this process is zero. Its participation is limited to guard the electoral process,” said Corrales who added that President Zelaya’s rights “were violated… Every Honduran citizen has the right to live in Honduras and the State is obligated to do everything it can to guarantee that.”
“It’s true that Mr. Roberto Micheletti nominated us to represent the executive branch (in Washington) but we all represent a longing for a resolution in Honduras.”
The layers of the onion around the Honduran coup regime continue to peel and flake away from its core. The statements and actions of its own key players contradict the regime’s daily insistence that there is normality in the country.
“We (the members of the Micheletti appointed delegation) are convinced that the San José accord (to reinstate Zelaya to the presidency) is worthwhile and continues being the focus of an agreement to come before the (November 29) elections, “said Corrales. “This has come to the point of maturity. I believe that the visit by the (OAS) foreign ministers (to Honduras) is going to provoke the final stage of this dialogue and the implementation stage will begin.”
It remains to be seen whether the coup that can’t shoot straight will be able to come to agreement among its own conspirators, much less with the rest of Honduras and the hemisphere named América. But there is a sense that in this game of musical chairs the tune is drawing to a close and the coup plotters are nervously eyeing the seats in the hopes on not being left the last ones standing alone and abandoned
Too Cute by Half on Honduras, Mr. President
Posted by Al Giordano - August 11, 2009 at 8:29 am
By Al Giordano
The President of the country whose seal is emblazoned on your correspondent’s passport took some heat from the right during his 2008 presidential campaign when his bride, Michelle Obama, said, “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”
The statement was far from a spontaneous gaffe: It was very smart politics and from the moment it happened I marveled at the genius of David Axelrod, the Obama advisor who I suspected had orchestrated it. Michelle’s admission was a clarion call to tens of millions of US citizens who knew their government had betrayed its founding principles more often than not in recent decades and who had generally stayed away from the ballot box over the past 28 years. If there’s anything the United States of America has fostered in so many of its citizens, it is a healthy ambivalence about a “democracy” that hasn’t usually walked its talk.
The higher voter turnout that allowed Barack Obama to overwhelm the Clinton machine in the primaries and achieve a punishing victory last November was largely the result of citizens that do not regularly vote – young people, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, community organizers and others that know what I’m talkin’ about here –turning out and doing so because Obama presented the possibility that we might be able to be proud again.
Many of the causes of that long national ambivalence by a significant swathe of the US population could be found in Washington’s historic behavior in this hemisphere: from the 1955 US-backed coup d’etat in Guatemala to the 2002 US-backed coup attempt in Venezuela (turned back in three days by the Venezuelan people), the global power of the North - the first land to lead the hemisphere an a wave of insurrectionist rebellions against European colonialism - had become the hemisphere’s colonizing empire, and utilized shamefully brutal and violent methods to do so.
In that context, President Obama ought to think twice before bandying about the word “hypocrisy” again in the way he did last weekend while in Mexico. Asked about the widespread perception in Latin America that Washington hadn’t backed its words against the Honduran coup d’etat with deeds, the President said:
“The same critics who say that the United States has not intervened enough in Honduras are the same people who say that we're always intervening and the Yankees need to get out of Latin America. You can't have it both ways.”
“If these critics think that it's appropriate for us to suddenly act in ways that in every other context they consider inappropriate, then I think what that indicates is that maybe there's some hypocrisy involved in their -- their approach to U.S.-Latin American relations that -- that certainly is not going to guide my administration's policies.”
As with all falsehood, there is a kernel of truth in what the President said: It would be hypocritical to repeat the dastardly deeds of the past. Counting only the actions since Barack Obama was born, the list is long and shameful enough: The 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, the 1965 US occupation of the Dominican Republic, the 1966 Green Beret intervention against rebels in Guatemala, the 1973 US-backed coup d’etat in Chile, the 1975 US launched Operation Condor to install and back military dictatorships in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay, the dirty wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua in the 1980s (which included well-documented official US cocaine-trafficking to pay for it), the 1983 US invasion of Grenada, the 1987 US military “drug war” intervention in Bolivia, the 1988 US-backed electoral fraud in Mexico, the 1989 US invasion of Panama, the multi-billion dollar US intervention of Plan Colombia launched in 2000 (which continues through the present), the 2002 US-backed coup attempt in Venezuela, the 2004 US-backed coup in Haiti, the 2006 US-backed electoral fraud in Mexico, and the 2008 US launch of Plan Mexico among them.
As you can see from the above (and partial) list, this is not a matter of ancient history. Some of this crap continues through to the present day.
When in April of this year the US President went to the Summit of the Americas and promised a new beginning in US-Latin American relations, his counterparts to the South took him seriously and gave him much benefit of the doubt. That the US voted with the rest of the Organization of American States (OAS) to lift the ban on Cuba’s membership, while its Justice Department finally indicted ex-Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles and Washington took its first baby steps to ease the embargo on the island, contributed to what could have been that new hemispheric order based on mutual respect that Obama waxed so poetically about.
US policy toward its closest neighbors had begun to turn the corner from dysfunctional to functional.
But suddenly, less than seven months into the Obama administration, all that promise of progress is now at risk, because of its ham-handed response to the June 28 military coup in Honduras.
I worry not for Latin America. As Narco News has documented for nine years, most of them while the US suffered under a tinhorn tyrant named Bush, the people of this hemisphere have been untying the colonial knot just fine even as Washington opposed them. And as I documented last week from distinct regions of Honduras, the civil resistance there will triumph sooner or later and topple the coup d’etat and its illegitimate regime with or without support or opposition from the United States.
What the US will get from its betrayal of its initial good statements against the Honduras coup will be a civil revolution that erases the institutions – executive, legislative and judicial – that existed until June 28 in Honduras and that replaces them with a more Latin American kind of democracy. I really don’t worry about Latin America. I’ve listened and learned too much to think that it needs Washington’s hand to do for itself what its majorities desire.
No, I worry for the United States of America.
Right now, the cadre of foreign policy bureaucrats to whom President Obama unwisely delegated hemispheric relations while he pursues lofty priorities like national health care have wrought their own special kind of coup d’etat in Washington. In the end, he can’t escape ultimate responsibility because he put them there. The buck stops at his desk. There’s no ultimate way for my fellow community organizer to wiggle around it. He’s the one that will stand for reelection in 2012 and perhaps be left wondering why folks like Michelle Obama who want to feel proud of their country may end up sitting on our hands and go back to our non-voting ways.
At the center of that coup in the United States is the Clinton machine that in some kind of macabre power sharing agreement has taken US policy in this hemisphere hostage and off the track of what the President promised when running against Secretary Clinton for president in 2008.
Not only have we now got Clinton attorney Lanny Davis lobbying on behalf of the Honduran dictatorship before an administration whose central promise was that it would end the undue influence of lobbyists, but as journalist Bill Conroy documented this past weekend for Narco News, the US-funded Millenium Challenge Corp. – whose board of directors includes Secretary Clinton – poured $17 million into Honduras oligarch interests between April and July of this year.
While DC apparatchiks told us they had cut almost $20 million (about ten percent) of US aid to Honduras and put the rest on pause, Clinton’s Millenium Challenge Corp. (MCC) has been quietly replenishing those funds through the back door.
A Narco News review of deposits to the Honduran Central Bank reveals that since the June 28 coup d’etat – in a little over a month – MCC has subsidized the coup forces in Honduras with $6.5 million dollars.
Those payments arrived on these dates and in these amounts:
July 9: $0.9 million
July 16: $0.3 million
July 23: $3.7 million
July 30: $1.6 million
While it’s possible that the US President doesn’t know about this sabotage of his stated policy – a small Central American nation with a population smaller than that of New York City might not exactly be front and center of his attention – his Secretary of State is on the frickin’ board of directors of the entity that, we now know, has been quietly funding the coup even after it was consummated.
So while I wholeheartedly agree with part of what the President said in Guadalajara this weekend – that it would be “hypocrisy” for the US to respond to the Honduras coup with military invasion, assassination, traditional covert black ops, electoral fraud, and the rest of the bag of tricks that have defined US-Latin American relations for all of Obama’s 48 years – the real hypocrisy at work comes, rather, when Washington tells us it has put funding for the coup regime “on pause” when it is now demonstrably true that it has not.
Last week, Obama told reporters that he couldn’t “push a button” and make the coup regime go away. That was also too cute by half, because there are buttons left unused through which it could do what it falsely claims it has already done: stop the flow of US dollars to the Honduran oligarchy and its coup regime.
At very least, his Secretary of State could make a motion on the board upon which she sits to stop that meddlesome anti-democracy funding.
The fact remains that giving that money to the regime or the private sector interests behind it are themselves the kind of US intervention that Latin American peoples have long struggled against.
Shutting down that money flow to the criminal enterprise that is the coup regime and its private-sector sponsors is not the kind of “Yankee intervention” that the region opposes: it is the continuance of that dollar spigot that constitutes the dirty intervention.
And that’s why the President’s statements – on hypocrisy and previously on the lack of a button to push – are too cute by half.
Again, I don’t worry or weep for Latin America or Honduras. The people united will never be defeated, and our authentic journalists, myself included, will be there alongside them reporting their every step in community organizing and civil resistance to win back what basic democratic principles establish is rightfully theirs. It really doesn't matter how much money or oxygen Washington gives to the Honduras coup regime: that baby is going down, and will go down hard, at the hands of an organized people.
But I’m looking at the faded gold ink on my 2001-issued US Passport and flipping through the pages right now: Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela, the United States, multiple indentations and earmarks for most of them… I recently had to go to a US embassy to get additional pages woven into its book because the Brazilian consulate had demanded two blank pages to graffiti and the original ones had overflowed with entry and exit stamps. And I’m feeling sorry not for Honduras but for us, the pro-democracy citizens of conscience of the United States who, like Michelle Obama, want to be able to be “proud of our country for the first time in our adult lives,” but who see that dream slipping away once more.
Spread widely and bring down the coup. General Joe
This hemispheric awakening is being fostered by independent media artists/sources who you can easily follow. Some are:
Join this struggle for justice and true freedom. Our brothers and sisters across the Americas are doing their parts from conditions of extreme hardship and danger. Surely it is time for us to “step up” from here. We may be on the verge of an historic victory. Spread the news everywhere. jamie