Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 20/Updated

Posted by Charles II on August 12, 2009

Members of Congress who expressed concern to President Obama regarding Honduras policy, thanks to Nell of ALovelyPromise, who credits Greg Weeks. The text of the letter is here:

Raul Grijalva James McGovern Jose Serrano
John Conyers Chaka Fattah Mike Honda
Barbara Lee Jesse Jackson James Oberstar
Dennis Kucinich William Delahunt Jan Schakowsky
Donna Christenson Sheila Jackson Lee Linda Sanchez
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Final update. Very few newspapers have been following the coup in any detail. In the Guardian, Seumas Milne had an OpEd.

From Adrienne Pine:

Military sharpshooters shot into a crowd of protesters in an incident apparently initiated by the president of the de facto Congress, Congressman Marvin Ponce viciously beaten and shot at (currently being treated for two bullet wounds and internal injuries, Congress turned into virtual concentration camp.

She doesn’t give a source. Honduras Oye says that the president of the Congress verbally insulted protestors, they responded in kind, and the police and military were given the order to “mop up”:

The mopping up consisted of mass detentions, tear gas (sometimes directly sprayed into eyes of detainees), shooting with rubber bullets, shooting with live rounds, and reports of torture in the basement of the Congress building.

And the helpful Deputies in the Congress must have gotten themselves “deputized” because they ended up assisting the police-military with interrogations and verbally terrorized the detainees.

Members of the press were in for the worst beatings and perhaps torture (although I’m not sure what kind).

The Congressional building used for torture. One can hardly imagine a better image for the death of a democracy. AP and Reuters did not see fit to mention it.
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Amy Goodman did an interview with Jeff Sharlet, who wrote a book called The Family. The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. The interview is fascinating from a dozen angles, including the fact that this group was formed primarily to bust unions. Theologically, it’s fascinating because the Family’s belief is that Power = God, one of many heresies directly contradicted by the gospels.

The primary acolytes of the Family are, of course, Republicans. But my ears went up when Sharlet described the Democrats on which the Family has some degree of influence. One was Senator Mark Pryor, who famously said, “Jesus didn’t come to take sides. He came to take over.” And a second was… Hillary Clinton.

Caption: The US supports dialogue and negotiation to seek peace in Honduras

Blessed are the peacemakers

Image from Guillermo Fuentes, Rebelion.

Furthermore– and this was something that came as a surprise to me despite 15 years of studying the Christian Right– the Family recruits even among non-Christian foreign leaders. There has always been a firewall for heresies (like Power = God) within the Christian Church, namely the tendency toward sectarianism. If the Protestants were doing it, the Catholics could be counted on to be against, and vice-versa. Pentecostalism was the one break in the firewall, since it brings people together across all divides.

And this brings us to Honduras.

I can’t remember where I stumbled on this first. Perhaps BoRev. More likely from Al Giordano (from whence the video below). But Romeo Vasquez is a member of a very odd Pentecostalist group called MigaPartners.

Now, as Richard Grabman says in speaking of MigaPartners “prophet” Jaime Chavez,

I keep wanting to spell “Prophet” as “Profit”… and maybe for good reason. Setting up the Kingdom Government costs money. Profeta Chavez’ group… MIGA Partners seeks “partners” willing to pony up a thousand to five thousand U.S. Dollars in return for which Profeta Chavez will bless your region, nation or economic zone… or something like that.

MigaPartners is not exactly a well-known organization. There are only 1060 hits for it on Google. Yet it was able to host the Fourth conference, no charge to participants, in Miami? The Fifth conference is in Geneva (also free)! And it asks people for a $5,000 donation? And what does this name Miga mean? In Spanish, it means “crumb” or “marrow.” But in English?

Now, there is another Miga. It is the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency of the World Bank, which does development projects in Honduras.

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EDIT, 8/15: THE FOLLOWING SHOULD BE TAKEN WITH EXTREME SKEPTICISM. AFTER SOME RESEARCH, I HAVE COME TO SUSPECT THAT THIS IS MORE LIKELY TO BE DISINFORMATION THAN INFORMATION. EPHeidner, who I don’t know and certainly can’t vouch for, says there is a connection:

One curious connection between the World Bank and the coup in Honduras comes with role of former Honduras Banco Futuro President Jaime Chavez, who on two occasions has hosted religious revivals in Miami, and used General Romeo Vasquez – the leader of the coup – as a guest speaker.7 Banco Futuro was absorbed by the Bank Latin American Financial Services (Lafise) Group, owned by close friend of the Bush family Roberto Zamora. Zamora and Jaime Chavez have their names sprinkled across a range of World Bank meetings and seminars. Zamora is also a middle man for the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corp. Through Lafise, he gets loans from OPIC, makes loans to Central American developers, and does well off the interest. Zamora helps developers build five star hotels with OPIC loans8 – Hugo Chavez and Manuel Zelaya use oil revenues to help farmers, build infrastructure, raise minimum wage. LAFISE is a major holder of Honduran debt.9 Jaime Chavez also operates as a ‘consultant’ on money-laundering.10 Another pundit associated with this bank crowd is Octavio Sanchez, former Minister and defender of the takeover.

7. http://www.jaimechavez.org/,

8. Zamora Lafise Group Built Hotel in Honduras, Agency ACAN-EFE, January 8, 2007. http://www.radiolprimerisima.com/noticias/8272&ei

9. Lafise bank was concentrated in Panama, PrensaNews, Translated from http://www.prensa.com – CITY OF PANAMA (DPA).

10. A Torrent of Dirty Dollars (How the Dutch do offshore banking. Forget about Panama for stashing away unreported money. From Netherlands Antilles, funds under a Dutch company can find their way back to the US tax-free. ), JONATHAN BEATY AND RICHARD HORNIK, June 24, 2001, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,150811,00.html

Now, there was a Jaime Chavez Almendares who was President of the Banco Futuro. He was at the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI). But I don’t have any evidence that he is the “Prophet” Jaime Chavez of MigaPartners. But we have an allegation. So far I can’t disprove it. And if (IF) it were true, it might just connect to the Family. It’s certainly in their style.

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Update: Via Adrienne Hermano Juancito translated the Bishops’ 7/3/09 statement, which makes for depressing reading. They are going to claim the coup was legal, but the expulsion of Zelaya “deserves an explanation.” (Spanish version here. Lay people are not impressed.

RAJ has a statement from Julieta Castellanos, Rector of the National University in Tegucigalpa, and principal man-handlee of the the recent disturbances.

Al Giordano has some fun with the reporting on the burning of a fast food restaurant (characterized as a “luxury restaurant” in yesterday’s dispatch). He has a photo that shows that the “horde” of people attacking the restaurant was three young men, points out that the attack occurred after the march, and shows that Agence France Press quoted its own reporter as an anonymous source! Belen Fernandez adds that the people, again a small group, who burned a bus claim that it was trying to run them down. That’s not justification, of course, but it puts the media’s salivation over violence in context.
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Update2: Radio Globo is talking about detentions and woundings of protestors. As usual, it’s difficult to follow. According to TeleSur, this came down about 1:30PM Tegucigalpa time. Radio Globo says people were run over, beaten until they were unrecognizable, and the military forces at the Garifuna (Afro-Indian) Hospital were vicious. Honduras Oye has the story. The news ticker at Honduras Oye has the following:

  • August 12, 2009 (as of 6:30 PM EDT) Frente Nacional is reporting that the police are savagely attacking members of the media who cover violations of human rights…
  • August 12, 2009 (as of 5:30 PM EDT)According to an email alert from the Qixote Center in Washington, DC… the Honduran military is …encircling large groups with metal wire, throwing tear gas inside causing the protesters to run at which time the protesters are fired upon
  • August 12, 2009 (as of 4:55 PM EDT) According to Honduras Resistencia, all hell is starting to break loose in front of the Congress and in the whole Central Tegucigalpala area. It appears that Marvin Ponce, a deputy in the Congress, has been wounded. … [The] president of the Congress, Sr. Nasser, provoked demonstrators by saying very derogatory things to them; the protesters yelled back, and suddenly the sharpshooters began to unload their guns on the crowd. It appears many people are hurt
  • Thanks to a commenter at Mexico Files, I found the exact text prohibiting the US from funding Honduras. This is Public Law 110-161 passed in December 2007 (Division J, Section V) [Added 8/23: Current law is Public Law 111-8, which is very similar]

    SEC. 608. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made
    available pursuant to titles II through V of this Act shall be obligated
    or expended to finance directly any assistance to the government
    of any country whose duly elected head of government is
    deposed by military coup or decree: Provided, That assistance may
    be resumed to such government if the President determines and
    certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that subsequent to
    the termination of assistance a democratically elected government
    has taken office: Provided further, That the provisions of this section
    shall not apply to assistance to promote democratic elections or
    public participation in democratic processes: Provided further, That
    funds made available pursuant to the previous provisos shall be
    subject to the regular notification procedures of the Committees
    on Appropriations.

    6 Responses to “Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 20/Updated”

    1. I’ve known of Hillary’s involvement in this group at least since the time she was running for the Democratic nomination, and it was one of several reasons that I would never have voted for her, not in the primary, not in a general election.

    2. Nell said

      I’m sickened and feel in a bit of shock about the horrific events at the Congress. So please forgive me for focusing on a concrete detail that’s beside the point:

      Isn’t the president of the Congress, the man who was voted in to succeed Micheletti, Jose Alfredo Saavedra? He was one of the coup participants who had his diplomatic visa revoked two weeks ago. Who is Nasser?

    3. My post last night, “Repression Wednesday . . .” referenced two sources — Frente Nacional and Globo Radio. Both of these sources reported that Mr. Nasser, president of the Congress, provoked the crowd verbally causing the protesters to respond in kind and then the police-military moved in. Both sources stated that protesters are certain that Nasser’s provocation was deliberate in order to instigate an incident which would bring on an attack by police-military.

      • Charles II said

        Right, that’s why I linked your piece without comment, HCV. I accepted your sourcing and the reader can follow the link back and learn more. The point of gathering many many links into one place is not so that people will read my blog, but so that they will get curious and read the blogs that are linked.

        In the case of Adrienne Pine’s piece, there was no source for the assertion that an elected representative had been shot and gravely wounded. While I have no doubt that Professor Pine had a sound source, the reader deserved to be warned that her report has be regarded as unconfirmed.

      • Nell said

        For readers who may see this post but not a following one, Adrienne Pine’s correspondent Oscar clarifies that the Congressional official involved was

        Ramón Velázquez Nazzar, secretary of the National Congress and one of the most repugnant figures in it. His attitude, as I mentioned in an earlier note, was one of contempt, provoking the protesters. But this time there was no one there to control the youths, who furiously accepted the old man’s invitation, grabbing him by the hair and dragging him a couple meters, kicking him just as the police immediately proceeded to do to them. This was the excuse the police needed to initiate a nationwide repression with all the force they know how to use when their reins are loosed.

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