Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Honduras Coup: Militarily-Installed Government Shoots And Kills Supporters Of Ousted President Zelaya

(Honduras citizens march towards airport in support of Zelaya)

The democratically-elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was kidnapped and forcibly removed from his own country last week by a gang of military thugs, under the direction of a U.S.-trained military person, graduate of the school of Americas. Working under the direction of the U.S.? That remains to be seen. Zelaya tried to return to his country yesterday, but the police and military stopped his plane from landing.

The coup seems to come down to this: the upper class and upper-middle-class have very comfortable lives precisely because most of the people in that country are kept in conditions of extreme poverty. Zelaya raised the minimum wage across the board to try to help the poor people and has proposed other programs to redistribute wealth. The wealthy do not want to help the poor. That's really the whole issue in dispute.

(Citizens march to airport)

President Zelaya attempted to return to his country yesterday. About 100,000 Hondurans peacefully marched to meet him at the airport where he was supposed to land. The dictatorship sent out the police and military goons to prevent the plane from landing. They also shot tear gas and then bullets at the unarmed civilians, causing several deaths.

(Honduras police mass to stop Zelaya from returning to the country)

The U.S. holds the purse strings because of significant money given to that country. Why doesn't the U.S. government simply instruct their well-trained goon to step down and let Zelaya return? Perhaps they want to make an example of him, to threaten and intimidate all other governments in Central or South America who dare to speak out against continued U.S. domination.

Here's a link to a bbc video which clearly shows the attack on the citizens and the police/military shooting.

The photos of the events at the airport are from this link:

(Zelaya's plane circles airport in Honduras; runways had been blocked by police and military so the plane was unable to land).

(Citizens and police headed towards the airport)

Michael Parenti has an article at ZNet today questioning whether Obama is "innocent" in the Honduras coup, and makes quite a few points suggesting otherwise, a few being listed here:

"First, almost all the senior Honduran military officers active in the coup are graduates of the Pentagon's School of the Americas (known to many of us as "School of the Assassins"). The Honduran military is trained, advised, equipped, indoctrinated, and financed by the United States national security state. The generals would never have dared to move without tacit consent from the White House or the Pentagon and CIA. "

"Second, if Obama was not directly involved, then he should be faulted for having no firm command over those US operatives who were. The US military must have known about the plot and US military intelligence must have known and must have reported it back to Washington. Why did Obama's people who had communicated with the coup leaders fail to blow the whistle on them? Why did they not expose and denounce the plot, thereby possibly foiling the entire venture? Instead the US kept quiet about it, a silence that in effect, even if not in intent, served as an act of complicity."

"Third, immediately after the coup, Obama stated that he was against using violence to effect change and that it was up to the various parties in Honduras to resolve their differences. His remarks were a rather tepid and muted response to a gangster putsch. "

(Citizen covered with blood after police shooting in Honduras)

(Citizen covered with blood after police shooting in Honduras)

Here's a link to Democracy Now, and a rush transcript of Amy Goodman's thoughtful reporting on the incidents yesterday and the situation in general inside Honduras.

A final note. Why does it matter? What difference does it make if the U.S. did set up this coup in Honduras? The U.S. has a long history of using our own and other countries' police and military forces to overthrow democratically-elected governments and install puppet regimes, then send in U.S. corporations to get corrupt contracts with the government that allow the corporations to steal all the resources. Why should U.S. corporations be allowed to steal the resources from our neighbors to the south? What about the capitalist's proclaimed embrace of "free" markets? The corporations use the U.S. military to kill the citizens of other countries and let them steal all the resources to increase their own wealth. Nothing free about that. The whole system is rigged, from Wall Street on down. See Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano, the book recently given to Obama by Hugo Chavez.

The resources of Central and South America should have been used for their own people, their own development, their own benefit. Instead, the U.S. corporations (and Europeans) have stolen those resources, and often left the countries with nothing, their people among the poorest in the world.

If Obama is really about "change," then now would be a good time for the U.S. to begin working with our neighbors instead of continuing to support military dictatorships and death squads to brutalize the people. Michael Parenti actually compares Obama to Ronald Reagan in his article referenced above. If we are really going to have a change government, we need to stop overthrowing other governments, stop supporting military dictatorships, stop using our strength and our military to oppress the other people of the world. This is the first test for Obama in the Americas. He's failing miserably in the promised "change" in the middle east. What will he do closer to home?

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