Monday, June 29, 2009

Military Coup in Honduras. President Beaten, Kidnapped, Forced Into Exile. Questions Raised Whether The U.S. Is Behind This Coup.

President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras was overthrown in a military coup on Sunday. The military attacked his residence in the early morning hours while he and his wife were sleeping, beat him, bundled him, kidnapped him, and removed him from the country and against his will out of the country and into exile in Costa Rica. The military coup is supported by the right-wing in that country that wants to have a dictatorship to control the nation. President Zelaya is a leftist/liberal, aligned with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia. Most countries in the world have demanded that the the President be allowed to return to office. The new dictatorship claims that they are now the government, and that they will refuse to step down.

In a bizarre move, President Obama (or is it Orwell) declared, through his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that it wasn't really a "coup." This position was not supported by any other nation in the world but then again, no other nation is so likely the sponsor of the coup. Apparently by claiming it wasn't really a coup, the U.S. remains free under existing law to funnel millions to the military dictatorship so they can secure their right-wing control over the entire nation.

The United States and some of its well-funded fascist thugs from the Reagan era, the Iran-contra and death-squad folks, have continued their efforts to install military and fascist dictatorships throughout South and Central America. They have on several occasions attempted to have a coup against Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

President Zelaya was elected in 2005, and his term would expire in 2010. The primary government in Honduras was set up under the military dictatorship which governed, at Reagan's direction, in the early 1980s. It is designed to keep control of most issues in the hands of the few, and prevent the citizens from having much input. Zelaya wanted to have a referendum to ask the people whether they want a constitutional convention to change some aspects of how the government is run. It is believed that Zelaya wanted to change the constitution so that he could run for a second term. The military, the Congress, and the Supreme Court in Honduras are all right-wing, and they have joined together in supporting the military coup, and installation of a military dictatorship.

The Supreme Court of Honduras just ruled that Zelaya's efforts to have a referendum to ask the people if they wanted to convene a constitutional convention was illegal. Zelaya was backed by a majority of the labor unions and social movements in the country, who have been demonstrating in the streets ever since the Supreme Court's ruling.

Below are excerpts from an article at Z-Net titled
Obama's First Coup d'Etat: Honduran President has been Kidnapped.
June 29, 2009 By Eva Gollinger

"President Zelaya's wife, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, speaking live on Telesur at approximately 10:00am Caracas time, announced that in early hours of Sunday morning, the soldiers stormed their residence, firing shots throughout the house, beating and then taking the president. "It was an act of cowardice", said the first lady, referring to the illegal kidnapping occurring during a time when no one would know or react until it was all over. Casto de Zelaya also called for the "preservation" of her husband's life, indicating that she herself is unaware of his whereabouts. She claimed their lives are all still in "serious danger" and made a call for the international community to denounce this illegal coup d'etat and to act rapidly to reinstate constitutional order in the country, which includes the rescue and return of the democratically elected Zelaya."

"Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela have both made public statements on Sunday morning condemning the coup d'etat in Honduras and calling on the international community to react to ensure democracy is restored and the constitutional president is reinstated."

"Reports coming out of Honduras have informed that the public television channel, Canal 8, has been shut down by the coup forces."

"Just minutes ago, Telesur announced that the military in Honduras is shutting down all electricity throughout the country."

"Those television and radio stations still transmitting are not reporting the coup d'etat or the kidnapping of President Zelaya, according to Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas. "Telephones and electricity are being cut off", confirmed Rodas just minutes ago via Telesur. "The media are showing cartoons and soap operas and are not informing the people of Honduras about what is happening". "

"The situation is eerily reminiscent of the April 2002 coup d'etat against President Chávez in Venezuela, when the media played a key role by first manipulating information to support the coup and then later blacking out all information when the people began protesting and eventually overcame and defeated the coup forces, rescuing Chávez (who had also been kidnapped by the military) and restoring constitutional order."

"Honduras is a nation that has been the victim of dictatorships and massive U.S. intervention during the past century, including several military invasions. The last major U.S. government intervention in Honduras occurred during the 1980s, when the Reagan Administration funded death squads and paramilitaries to eliminate any potential "communist threats" in Central America. At the time, John Negroponte was the U.S. Ambassador in Honduras and was responsible for directly funding and training Honduran death squads that were responsible for thousands of disappeared and assassinated throughout the region."

[The OAS condemned the coup.]

[Honduras was devastated by Washington's dirty wars in the 1980s, which caused many Hondurans to flee to the United States for work. The money they send back to their families is one of the largest sources of income for the nation of Honduras. The country also receives a large amount of assistance through the program known as USAID, which in fact funds right-wing organizations in that country.]

[Conveniently enough, the United States already has a military base inside Honduras with 500 military personnel, so if we decide to intervene military to prop up the new military dictatorship, we're all set with accommodations.]

"[T]he ambassadors of Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua in Honduras were reportedly kidnapped along with Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas. "

"Opposition forces in Honduras, led by a US-funded NGO Grupo Paz y Democracia, have stated via CNN that a coup has not occurred, but rather a "transition" to democracy. [Note how Obama and Clinton told the same lie -- it isn't a coup, it's a severe disruption in a democratic norm. This is a bullshit phrase and a lie.] Martha Diaz, coordinator of the NGO, which receives USAID funding, has just declared minutes ago on CNN that "civil society" does not support President Zelaya nor his "illegal quest" to hold a non-binding referendum on a potential future constitutional reform. She justified his kidnapping, beating and removal from power as a "democratic transition". Again, this is eerily reminiscent of the coup d'etat in Venezuela in April 2002, when so-called "civil society" along with dissident military forces kidnapped President Chávez and installed a "transition government". Catch live blogging at

"Dan Restrepo, Presidential Advisor to President Obama for Latin American Affairs, ... stated that Obama's government is communicating with the coup forces in Honduras, trying to "feel out" the situation. He also responded to the reporter's question regarding whether Washington would recognize a government in Honduras other than President Zelaya's elected government, by saying that the Obama Administration "is waiting to see how things play out" and so long as democratic norms are respected, will work with all sectors. This is a confirmation practically of support for the coup leaders. Restrepo also inferred that other countries are interfering in Honduras' international affairs, obviously referring to Venezuela and other ALBA nations who have condemned the coup with firm statements earlier this morning."

The Washington Post reported today that the Obama administration claimed the coup in Honduras was not a coup. I wonder whether Obama would say the same thing if an armed crowd of Marines burst into the White House in the early morning hours, threatened to kill him and his family unless he did what they said, then took him against his will out of the country and dumped him somewhere, warning him never to return to the U.S. Do we think Obama would understand, if it happened to him, that yes, Obama, it is a real coup.

Washington Post Headline: "Clinton: U.S. Not Declaring Events in Honduras a 'Coup' "
By Mary Beth Sheridan Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, June 29, 2009 5:15 PM

"Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said today the U.S. government is refraining from formally declaring the ouster of Honduras's president a "coup," which would trigger a cutoff of millions of dollars in aid to the Central American country. "

"Her statement appeared to reflect the U.S. government's caution amid fast-moving events in Honduras, where President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya was detained and expelled by the military yesterday. But the move could put Washington at odds with the rest of the hemisphere, which has roundly condemned the Honduran military's actions. "

"We are withholding any formal legal determination," Clinton told reporters at a State Department briefing. She acknowledged, however, that it certainly looked like a coup when soldiers snatched a pajama-clad Zelaya and whisked him off to Costa Rica.

Later in the day, President Obama said the U.S. government believed the takeover was "not legal" and that Zelaya remained the country's leader.

[This reminds me of that video I posted last week in which AG Eric Holder refused to answer Sen. Feingold's question of whether the warrantless wiretaps of the Bush administration were illegal. Sleazy, slippery, sneaky people we've got in the Obama administration. I thought we were going to get sunshine, opennness, honesty, but this looks like Reagan Part Duex. ]

"Gibbs called the military coup a "severe disruption in any sort of democratic norm" and said U.S. policy is aimed at returning to that norm. "

"U.S. foreign aid to Honduras totaled $43 million in 2009, according to budget documents the administration submitted to Congress. Under the Foreign Assistance Act, no U.S. aid can be given to countries whose elected heads of government are removed by military coups."

Honduras's New Government Vows to Maintain Power
By Juan Forero Washington Post Foreign ServiceMonday, June 29, 2009 4:04 PM
Venezuela, June 29 --
"Honduras's new government vowed on Monday to remain in power despite growing worldwide opposition to the military coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya."

"This coup will be defeated," [Hugo] Chavez said in the meeting in Managua, also attended by the leaders of Ecuador,
Bolivia, Nicaragua and other countries allied with Honduras. "We have to be very firm, very firm. This cannot end until Jose Manuel Zelaya is returned to power, without condition."

Another article quoted a Venezuelan representative as saying that an American named Otto Reich was involved in staging the coup. "We have information that worries us. These is a person who has been important in the diplomacy of the US who has reconnected with old colleagues and encouraged the coup: Otto Reich, ex sub-Secretary of State under Bush. We know him as an interventionist person... In 2002 he tried to deny the lawfulness of Pres. Hugo Chavez." Mentioning episodes of the dark history of Reich in the hemisphere, he concluded, "We suffered the First Reich, the Second Reich, and now we are suffering the Third Reich." He said Reich is operating under an NGO.

Otto Reich served in the Reagan, and both Bush administrations. He is a Gusano (Worm) -- a right-wing Cuban-American and was involved in the Iran-Contra scandals and death-squads sponsored during the Reagan administration. He was also allegedly involved in the U.S.-sponsored efforts to stage a coup to overthrow the democratically-elected presidency of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. He sits on the Board of Directors of the School of the Americas.

Here's an article that says two of the leaders of the Honduras coup were trained at the School of the Americas in Georgia. Nasty old U.S. fingerprints all over this thing.

The School of Americas is a torture school run by the U.S. government in Georgia. We pay to bring to that school the military and police squads from central and south America, and to train them to torture and murder. We then send them back to their own countries where they will eagerly await the call from the U.S. to tell them to start the coup. Venezuela claims that Reich is involved (through some phony front-organization) in this coup in Honduras. Reich sits on the Board of Directors of the School of the Americas, and reportedly the top general in Honduras leading the coup was trained at the School of Americas.

It is really critical that everybody oppose this coup. It could well be the beginning of a new era of U.S.-sponsored coups in Central and South America. the U.S. response is highly suspicious. Here the U.S. government has been crying big crocodile tears over an election in Iran, but they've got not much more than a yawn when a democratically-elected president is ripped from his home by an armed military force of 60 and forcibly removed from his own country under threat of death. This stinks.

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