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Magical Realism: A Coup in Honduras ... So Twentieth Century!

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:30 AM
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Magical Realism: A Coup in Honduras ... So Twentieth Century!
Weekend Edition
January 15-17, 2010

Magical Realism
A Coup in Honduras ... So Twentieth Century!

I dont see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people.

- Henry Kissinger, June 26, 1970

Ive heard many in this room say that they will not recognize the elections in Honduras. What does that mean in the real world, not in the world of magical realism?

-- W. Lewis Amselem, US Representative to the Organization of American States, Nov. 11, 2009

For US magical realists, a coup becomes a coup after Washington defines it as such. On March 10, 1952 Cuban General Fulgencio Batista grabbed power and sought to legitimize his coup by holding fake elections. Magically, the coup makers won; Washington recognized Batista.

In 1964, Brazils military removed President Joo Goulart and covered naked crime with electoral fig leaves, as if coups came with routine republicanism.

In 2009, few imagined military goons taking orders from a corrupt supreme court, kidnapping a President and exiling him to Costa Rica. Fewer imagined Costa Rican President Oscar Arias cooperating with kidnappers, and instead of charging them with major felonies, allowed them free return in their military plane. More 21st Century Magical Realism surfaced when Arias evolved from collaborator to mediator with US and OAS blessing.

Washington could have frozen the plotters assets, or denounced the coup-supporting Honduran congressional hooligans for producing a fake resignation letter by President Manuel Zelaya, one he had not signed and with the wrong date.

In stead of the State Department labeling the blatant heist a coup, officials studied the absurd allegation that Zelaya had violated Honduras Constitution by calling for a referendum (consultation) with his people -- to see if they wanted to change the document. Indeed, a 2009 State Department human rights report had labeled as corrupt the very Supreme Court that ordered Zelaya arrested but not kidnapped and exiled.

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:39 AM
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1. From Coup-Lite to Truth-Lite: 10 Ways the U.S. Fought Democracy in Honduras
From Coup-Lite to Truth-Lite: 10 Ways the U.S. Fought Democracy in Honduras
Posted on Jan 13, 2010

By Andrs Thomas Conteris

In his essay Top Ten Ways You Can Tell Which Side the United States Government Is On With Regard to the Military Coup in Honduras, Mark Weisbrot correctly illustrates U.S. backing for the coup regime and the lack of U.S. support for democracy. For more than 100 days, I have been holed up with President Manuel Zelaya inside the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa, covering the story for Democracy Now! and other independent media. In case Weisbrots points were not convincing, here are another 10 ways the U.S. has undermined democracy in Honduras.

10. The resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on June 30 strongly condemned the coup in Honduras. The United States, however, prevented the U.N. Security Council from taking strong measures consistent with the resolution.

9. When President Zelaya returned to Tegucigalpa and took refuge in the Brazilian Embassy on Sept. 21, Lewis Amselem, the U.S. representative at the Organization of American States (OAS), called his action foolish and irresponsible. Amselem, whose background is with the U.S. Southern Command, is known in the halls of the OAS as the diplomator. He led the charge for validating the Honduran elections, while many other countries opposed recognition of elections held under the coup regime.

8. The U.S. Southern Command sponsored the PANAMAX 09 joint maneuvers, conducted Sept. 11-21 off the coast of Panama with military forces from 20 countries. Even though the U.S. publicly stated that ties with the Honduran military had been severed, the invitation to Honduras to participate in these maneuvers was not rescinded. The Honduran armed forces finally said they would withdraw, but only after several Latin American countries threatened to boycott the exercises.

7. Key members of the Honduran military involved in the coup received training at the School of the Americas (which changed its name to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, WHISC), including Gens. Romeo Vasquez and Luis Javier Prince. Even after the June 28 coup, the Pentagon continued training members of the Honduran military at WHISC, in Ft. Benning, Ga.

6. The negotiating teams for both sides of the conflict reached an accord Oct. 30. Days later, when the U.S. made it clear it would honor the Nov. 29 election whether or not he was reinstated as president, Zelaya declared the accord to be a dead letter. The Obama administration claimed it would recognize Zelaya as the president of the country but refused to accept his withdrawal from the accord. That Washington is ignoring the Honduran president is also evidenced by the failure of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama to respond to his letters.

5. U.S. officials continue to sing the praises of the accord, but they have been cherry-picking which parts of the agreement to underscore and which to ignore. The Verification Commission mandated by the accord came together only on one occasion, for a photo op. The accord stipulates international aid for the commissions work, but the U.S. provided no economic or political support. Had the Verification Commission been activated, it would have denounced the Nov. 5 deadline passing without the formation of a government of national unity. It would have had to consider rebuking coup leader Roberto Micheletti for assuming he would preside over this new government. Given the violations by coup leaders, the commission would have had to rule whether the Nov. 29 elections should have proceeded, or been recognized.

4. The U.S. supports a comprehensive amnesty, a component intentionally left out of the accord. The coup regime filed 24 criminal charges against President Zelaya, and he says he is willing to face all of them in an impartial court of law. He has called for an independent international tribunal and rejected the option of amnesty for himself and the coup perpetrators. If amnesty is declared, impunity will be enshrined for the golpistas, as well as for the U.S. Pentagon and civilian officials complicit in the crimes of the coup.

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Derechos Donating Member (892 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 06:19 PM
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2. See also An Electoral Defeat for Democracy: The Regional Implications of the Honduran Vote
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