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Honduras: 2009 Coup — Obama and H. Clinton

In my post “Good Americans: Border/Refugee Chldren” I described some of the work being done by good and decent Americans to alleviate USG done damage to generations of Central American families. 

This particular post is a short description of the 2009 coup carried out in Honduras at first tolerated and then supported by the Obama Administration and the H. Clinton State Department. The USG is almost alone in its support of a neo-fascist Honduran government which has been condemned by the rest of the world. That coup has aggravated the refugee problem on our Southern border.

The Honduran case and the refugee children at our (and European) southern borders are a good example of the results of centuries, first of European colonization, and then USG policies in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The Bush and Obama administrations have continued those policies into the 21st century.

It is also a good example of the burden which past policies, intended to enrich US corporations and banks, have created for less wealthy American and European citizens living on the southern birders of “developed” northern countries. These are people of good will whose representatives try to pass laws which deal humanely and justly with refugees such as the children fleeing violence.

The US Republican party is the primary domestic political voice of US business. However when it comes to USG foreign policy, Republicans and Democrats always bow to US corporations and thus speak with one voice.

It is in deference to these forces that both US political parties behave as Obama and Clinton did in Honduras in 2009 and since. The quotes below are from a much longer excellent piece by Eric Zuesse, an investigative historian whose work I trust.

From Eric Zuesse published on Huffington Post and several non US MSM publications

On 28 June 2009, the Honduran military grabbed their nation’s popular democratically elected progressive President, Manuel Zelaya, and flew him into exile.

The AP headlined from Tegucigalpa the next day, “World Leaders Pressure Honduras to Reverse Coup,” and reported: “Leaders from Hugo Chavez to Barack Obama called for reinstatement of Manuel Zelaya, who was arrested in his pajamas Sunday morning by soldiers who stormed his residence and flew him into exile.”

…….

..the day after the coup, Hillary Clinton  “Remarks at the Top of the Daily Press Briefing”, refused to commit the United States to restoration of the democratically elected President of Honduras. She refused even to commit the U.S. to using the enormous leverage it had over the Honduran Government to bring that about. 

Reporter’s Question “:…the U.S. provides aid both under the Foreign Assistance Act and the Millennium challenge. So even though there are triggers in those; that countries have to behave – not have coups, you’re not going to cut off that aid?”

…….

Clinton: “We are working with our partners”.

(GMB Note: My limited experience with the communiques of State Department professional civil servants and Ambassadors back to headquarters, tells me that many of them (maybe most of them) often advocate for justice for the nation to which they are temporarily attached despite the risk to their careers. So… below is a section of the communique from the US Ambassador in Honduras).

Back to Zuesse:

“From: Ambassador Hugo Llorens, U.S. Embassy, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 24 July 2009.

To: Secretary of State, White House, and National Security Council.

SUBJECT: TFHO1: OPEN AND SHUT: THE CASE OF THE HONDURAN COUP”

“The actions of June 28 can only be considered a coup d’etat by the legislative branch, with the support of the judicial branch and the military, against the executive branch. It bears mentioning that, whereas the resolution adopted June 28 refers only to Zelaya, its effect was to remove the entire executive branch. Both of these actions clearly exceeded Congress’s authority. … No matter what the merits of the case against Zelaya, his forced removal by the military was clearly illegal, and [puppett-leader Roberto] Micheletti’s ascendance as ‘interim president’ was totally illegitimate.”

On the same day when the Ambassador sent that cable, AFP headlined “Zelaya ‘Reckless’ to Return to Honduras: Clinton,” and reported that our Secretary of State criticized Zelaya that day for trying to get back into his own country.

….

During the crucial next two weeks, Obama considered what to do. Then, on 6 August 2009, McClatchy newspapers bannered “U.S. Drops Call to Restore Ousted Honduran Leader,” and Tyler Bridges reported that Zelaya wouldn’t receive U.S. backing in his bid to be restored to power.

….

On 9 July 2009, The Hill bannered “Hondurans Lobby Against Deposed Leader,” and reported that Honduras’s equivalent of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ….. had hired “Lanny Davis, the former special counsel to President Bill Clinton,” and that, “The lobbying blitz began [6 July] Monday, one day before Zelaya met with Clinton as part of his push to be reinstated.”

———————————————————–

After Zelaya, ouster?

U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime: Honduras has the world’s highest homicide rate

Major Leslie Portillo grieves over the murdered body of her husband, Honduras' top anti-drug official Julian Aristides Gonzales. Photograph: Esteban Felix/AP

Major Leslie Portillo grieves over the murdered body of her husband, Honduras’ top anti-drug official Julian Aristides Gonzales. Photograph: Esteban Felix/AP

From the Guardian (May 2010):  Cocaine trade turns backwater into hideout for brutal assassins

Honduras… has become a haven for narco-traffickers and assassins. In recent weeks union leaders, political activists and priests have all been targeted..
The Central American nation is on the brink of becoming a fully-fledged narco-state.

Corrupt police and drugs gangs are blamed, with the government unable or unwilling to crack down on them. Before being shot dead in broad daylight last December – Julian Aristides, head of the drug control office, warned that Honduras risked becoming a narco-state.

It is no wonder the kids are fleeing.  Who bears the responsibility? Those with the power to change the environment which they are fleeing, namely the USG, now represented by Obama and Clinton.

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