Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 39

Posted by Charles II on August 31, 2009

Thanks to Nell in comments from yesterday’s diary, Human Rights Watch translation of a Report by the Honduran National Human Rights Commissioneron Honduras Human Rights Violations printed in 1994.

The Steelworkers Women of Steel has asked Hillary to protect Honduran women

Magbana of Honduras Oye has an article about the US bases in Colombia from a source that I would normally take with a grain of salt, but it has this interesting paragraph

U.S. ambassador William Brownfield, interviewed on August 19 by the Colombian newspaper “El Tiempo”, provided details that raised the level of worry even higher. “Will U.S. troops be fighting the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)?” the reporter asked? “Yes” Brownfield replied, “without any doubt”. Brownfield promised neighboring states that they will be informed of U.S. troop movements close to their borders with Colombia, but added that respect for borders is conditional: “everything depends on the nature of the operations, on what intelligence or monitoring brings us”.

Elvin Santos wants the “San Jose Accords” to be signed. The Supreme Electoral Court met privately with all the presidential candidates except Carlos Reyes, who declined “for reasons of health.” The candidates are warned that there are limits on the use of children, on saying things that might offend women, and on defaming other candidates.

Mirna Castro, pretend-Minister of culchah, was ejected from the National Library.

Rafael Alegria to Gustavo of Radio Globo, at today’s noisy demo: OAS meeting. The next few weeks are critical. A third person as person would not be acceptable? No. Only JM Zelaya Rosales. A second interview (I missed who is being interviewed): Elvin Santos is betrayed the nation. A series of deaths. Two brothers Araujo Araujo shot and killed, found in Cortillo. A Padilla, shot. An unknown person of Choluteca. A Colombian. Interview of a guy from Paraiso, Maximo Pineral, who is in Tegicigalpa, asking for food and clothing. Carlos Paz regarding Don Pepe Lobo (The PN candidate). Lobos says “It’s a new era!” Much of the interview is difficult to follow. A leader of the taxi drivers interviewed, Don Roberto, complaining about the inhibition of travel by the coupistas leading to burning more fuel.

The European Union is discussing taking up the Treaty of Association, dealing with commerce, political dialogue, and cooperation with central America— minus the Micheletti pretend-government. Miguel D’Escoto says the United Nations needs to restructure/renew itself, because the system which it has doesn’t correspond to the reality experienced by the planet (presumably multipolarity vs. the top-down structure of the UN). He points out that the US promised to eradicate poverty by devoting 0.7% of GDP to that end. In reality, it hasn’t even devoted 0.2 %… while spending “trillions on genocidal wars” over resources.

Al Giordano has a lengthy piece on the emergence of Afro-Honduran leadership.

8 Responses to “Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 39”

  1. Nell said

    Just to clarify: the report I happened on (which is available at several spots on the web — GoogleBooks, Human Rights Watch, ) isn’t primarily the work of HRW, or an annual report.

    The Facts Speak for Themselves is the English translation, with some omissions and some added material, of a historic report issued by the (first?) Honduran Commissioner for the Protection of Human Rights, Leo Valladares Lanza, in 1994.

    It was the first serious and public investigation in Honduras into the wave of disappearances (kidnapings, incommunicado and unacknowledged detention, torture, murder, and secret burial) that began in 1981 and continued through the decade.

    The United States, which instigated and funded this horrific phenomenon as part of its regional dirty war against the left, has never conducted a corresponding investigation whose results are public. Closed Congressional hearings held in 1988 are still classified; a later report by Valladares in 1998 decries the failure of the Clinton administration to fulfil its promise to release relevant records, particularly a report by the CIA Inspector General on the agency’s involvement in Honduras.

    The research for The Facts Speak for Themselves was conducted during Pres. Rafael Callejas’ last year in office, and published as Carlos Reina’s term began. Reina had more of a human rights focus than almost any Honduran president before or since, and Valladares’ work continued during his term. The Reina administration greatly reduced the official role and size of the military and ended mandatory service. [The Carlos Reina who is a leader in Liberals Against the Coup is, I think, the former president’s son.]

    The English edition has an appendix of U.S. government contacts with Honduran actors that makes clear our role in the atrocities.

    Adding to my sense of fated serendipity was my discovery yesterday that August 30, the day I’d encountered the report by googling accident and spent the day reading and reflecting on it, is the Honduran day in memory of the disappeared. Because of that, COFADEH, the Committee of the Families of the Disappeared, was the principal organizer of Sunday’s resistance events, an account of which is here. [Sp.]

    • Charles II said

      I’ll amend my description to make it a little clearer, Nell. And I’ll see if I can get the time (it’s another busy day) to summarize that Honduras en Lucha piece, which looks very interesting.

  2. Nell said

    Supposedly Zelaya is coming to the OAS today, or at least this week. Insulza mentioned this at last week’s press conference after the report on the failed delegation, and it’s in his press statement.

    Crowley at State claimed last week to know nothing about it, and there’s been no English-language media coverage.

    The longer Clinton goes without signing the formal coup declaration, or taking any other action, the more it looks as if the leak was an internal effort to put pressure on her (and the less likely my initial take, that it was a heavy hint to the golpistas from the Obama administration).

    Either way, calls and emails to State are particularly urgently needed.

    • Charles II said

      I think the most effective contact is to write to one’s congressman urging a formal investigation of State’s handling of the Honduran crisis, cced to your person of choice in the State Department. The Congress was moving toward forcing State to declare this a military coup. My interpretation is that the professional staff, realizing what a long-term disaster it would be to have to have the Congress intervene, put out the word to the Congress to be patient a little longer and, as you suggest, pressure Clinton.

      But I think that this has escalated beyond the question of the specific policy in Honduras to whether State is functioning properly. For Zelaya to have been flown out through Palmerola, which has been effectively confirmed now by PJ Crowley, was a gratuitously stupid touch that denied State deniability in the event that things weren’t perceived as benignly as they had hoped. It’s time for Congress to get in and root through the cupboards and closets to find out whether supporting our stated foreign policy is what State is actually engaged in.

      • Nell said

        If you believe Boz, they still have deniability. ‘Cause they’re just guests at the airbase who get no notice of anything, and have to get permission from the Honduran AF for any flights in or out of their own…

        What a crock. Granted, there are some differences between a full-out base, and the arrangement U.S. troops currently have at Cano Soto/Palmerola, but it takes a special kind of willed naivete to believe that U.S. personnel are not aware at all times of what and who lands and takes off there.

      • Charles II said

        I think it’s possible for everyone except the base commander to be unaware of what traffic is passing through. It’s even possible for him to be ordered not to know things.

        But what’s highly unlikely is for US intelligence and the US ambassador to be unaware. We tap everyone’s phones (which may be part of what the coup was about: by Zelaya resisting privatization of Hondutel, we limited the ability of the US to wiretap absolutely everything). While there’s far too much information to make sense of in real time, I’m sure that national political and military leaders get their own private NSA minders.

        The most intriguing part of following this story is figuring out exactly what the role of the US was in the coup. The landing at Palmerola seems to have been an almost deliberate effort to inculpate the US. That suggests that whoever was in charge of the kidnapping wanted to make it difficult for the US to deny its imprimatur.

        As I see it, there are four levels of government officials who could have ordered or greenlighted the coup: the military, the US Ambassador, the Secretary of State, or the president. The senior military command is getting crazy enough to have authorized a coup, and it is behaving increasingly independent of civilian authority. The ambassador is a Cuban exile and possible CIA operative, meaning he has to be assumed to be crazy enough to authorize a coup independent of the Administration. Hillary is an independent power center, many of whose friends seem to be employed by the coup. And Barack… well, he’s the one person who could end this with a phone call, and hasn’t. It’s like an Agatha Christie.

  3. Nell said

    Oh, and a new low for disingenuous crap by Robert White, for whom I have always had less respect than many others in the Central America solidarity movement.

    The argument he chose to make for why the U.S. must act now to end the coup: to prevent a supposed military anti-coup effort by Chavez’ government.

    Wow. Way to legitimize the wild fantasies and prejudices of the right wing here and in Honduras, RW!

    • Charles II said

      I don’t read it that way, Nell.

      In rhetoric, you have to know your audience. All too few Americans view international law as more than aspirational. Most see the world through the lens of Kissingerian realpolitik, with the United States as the world hegemon. To make a successful argument to that mentality, one must appeal to base sentiments rather than noble ones, and there is no sentiment more base than projecting onto a poor country like Venezuela the behavior of which the United States is routinely guilty.

      White and Hurowitz are saying some remarkable things that have not been said anywhere else in the American media:

      * “the politicians and industrialists who backed the ouster had confidence that President Obama wouldn’t touch them”
      * The Honduran junta’s intransigence in negotiations …[is]… setting an extremely dangerous precedent for other areas of the world
      * “in response to the administration’s extremely generous concessions, the coup leaders responded with vicious attacks”
      * “they’ve [the coup has] hired well-connected Democratic lobbyists, such as Clinton administration veteran Lanny Davis”
      * “The State Department recently issued a statement on Honduras that undermined the president’s stated commitment”
      * “accommodation of the Honduran junta would … leave the country with an illegitimate and corrupt government”

      These are remarkable statements. They frame Obama as a weak leader, swayed by crony-lobbyists and unable to stand up to business interests. They present the State Department as inept. And they accurately paint the coupistas as corrupt. So, sure, I would rather that White had framed the argument positively, as the United States regaining its former, sainted (and entirely fictional) role as a moral lamp to the world. But it may be more effective rhetoric as it is.

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