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Honduras: Washington’s role in the coup

Eva Golinger wrote this article on her blog Thanks to Green Left Weekly.

The United States state department has admitted it had prior knowledge of the military coup that overthrew President Manuel Zelaya on June 28.
The state department and the US Congress funded and advised the actors and organisations in Honduras that participated in the coup. The International Republican Institute, a US-government funded US Agency for International Development and National Endowment have funded organisations that took part in the coup by as much as US$50 million a year for “democracy promotion”.

The Pentagon trained, schooled, commanded, funded and armed the Honduran armed forces that perpetrated the coup and continue to repress the people of Honduras.
The Honduran military are funded, trained, schooled and commanded by the US military. They have been indoctrinated with the anti-leftist, anti-socialist, pro-empire mentality since the beginning of the Cold War.

The generals and high level officers involved in the coup in Honduras have publicly stated that they were “obligated” to remove President Zelaya from power because of the “threat” he posed with his “leftist” ideology and alignment to socialist nations in the region such as Venezuela and Cuba.
One Honduran colonel said: “We fought the subversive movements here and we were the only country that did not have a fratricidal war like the others ... It would be difficult for us, with our training, to have a relationship with a leftist government. That’s impossible.

“I personally would have retired, because my thinking, my principles, would not have allowed me to participate in that.”
The US military presence in Honduras, that occupies the Soto Cano (Palmerola) military base, authorised the coup d’etat through its tacit complicity and refusal to withdraw its support of the Honduran military involved in the coup.

The US ambassador in Tegucigalpa, Hugo Llorens, coordinated the removal from power of Zelaya, together with assistant secretary of state Thomas Shannon and John Negroponte, a former ambassador to Honduras during the 1980s who now works as an advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In a piece for Radio Mundial on July 10, journalist Jean-Guy Allard said Llorens is “a specialist in terrorism … In 2002, George W. Bush’s White House strategically placed the astute Llorens as Director of Andean Affairs at the National Security Council in Washington, D.C., which converted him into the principal advisor to the President on Venezuela.

“The coup d’etat in 2002 against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez occured during Llorens’ tenure, who was working together with Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Otto Reich, and the very controversial Elliot Abrams.”

From the first day the coup occurred, Washington has referred to “both parties” involved and the necessity for “dialogue” to restore constitutional order. This legitimises the coup leaders by regarding them as equal players instead of criminal violators of human rights and democratic principles.

The state department has refused to legally classify the events in Honduras as a “coup d’etat”, nor has it suspended or frozen its economic aid or commerce to Honduras. It has taken no measures to effectively pressure the de facto regime.
Washington manipulated the Organisation of American States to buy time, therefore allowing the coup regime to consolidate and weaken the possibility of Zelaya’s immediate return to power. This is part of a strategy that simply seeks to legitimise the coup regime and wear down the Honduran people resisting the coup.

Clinton and her spokespeople have stopped speaking of Zelaya’s return to power after they designated Costa Rica’s president Oscar Arias as the “mediator” between the coup regime and the constitutional government.
Now the state department refers to the dictator that illegally took power during the coup, Roberto Micheletti, as the “interim caretaker president”.

The strategy of “negotiating” with the coup regime was imposed by the Obama administration as a way of discrediting Zelaya — blaming him for provoking the coup — and legitimising the coup leaders.

Members of the US Congress — Democrats and Republicans — organised a visit of representatives from the coup regime in Honduras to Washington, receiving them with honors in different arenas in the US capital.

It was orginally Republican Senator John McCain who coordinated the visit of the coup regime representatives to Washington through a lobby firm connected to his office, The Cormac Group. Now, however, the illegal regime is being representated by top notch lobbyist and Clinton attorney Lanny Davis, who is using his pull and influence in Washington to achieve overall acceptance — cross party lines — of the coup regime.

No one doubts the fingerprints of Washington are all over the coup d’etat against Zelaya. Many analysts, writers, activists and even presidents, have denounced this role.

Nevertheless, the majority excuse the administration of US President Barack Obama from any responsibility in the Honduran coup, blaming instead the lingering remains of the Bush-Cheney era and the war hawks that still pace the halls of the White House.

The evidence demonstrates that, while it is certain the usual suspects who perpetrate coups and destabilisation activities in Latin America are involved, ample proof exists confirming the direct role of the new administration in Washington in the Honduran coup.

The new form of diplomacy promoted by Obama for the US, known as “smart power”, has played a principal role before, during and after the coup in Honduras.

“Smart power” aims to achieve imperialist objectives without demonising the government. It aims to combine “hard power” (military action) with “soft power” (use of diplomacy and more subtle forms of pressure) to achieve a victorious strategy.

All of the above evidence — and certainly more to come in the future — proves the undeniable role of Washington in the coup d’etat aginst Zelaya in Honduras.