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According to the rightwing Honduran daily La Prensa, the US embassy in Tegucigalpa yesterday announced a suspension of aid that could amount to nearly $200 million.  La Prensa quotes heavily from what they say is a communiqué from the embassy, which I can't find on the embassy's website.  Here's a back translation from La Prensa's reporting:

The Government of the United States is conducting a complete review of all of its foreign assistance programs in order to determine how much of this assistance it could be legally obligated to suspend due to the events of June 28, the coup d'etat and the expulsion of President Manuel Zelaya.  This is a careful and deliberate process.

In other news, the racist Foreign Minister Enrique Ortez Colindres, forced to apologize yesterday for having called Barack Obama a "plantation n...," has been removed from his post.

More on the flip...

The foreign aid cuts announced in yesterday's communiqué are substantial and directly linked to the mediation efforts by Oscar Arias that begin today.  The cuts include $16.5 million in military assistance plus unspecified additional amounts in development aid, all of which has already been suspended.  The cuts announced yesterday include assistance in the areas of education, the environment, and family planning, and could amount to some $50 million.

In addition, the US is reviewing its commitments to Honduras under the Millennium Challenge Account, which currently add up to another $130 million.

Assistance in public health, specifically food assistance, HIV/AIDS support, and other infectious diseases, will continue.

The communiqué ends with a call for dialogue, a return to the constitutional order, and the desire that the talks in Costa Rica allow Hondurans to reach a national consensus.

While I haven't seen any press reporting directly linking the hardening US line with the antics of the racist buffoon Enrique Ortez, I can't help but think his utterly undiplomatic statements -- and ambassador Llorens's very harsh but very formal response to them -- contributed to Washington's decision to crack down on the de facto regime.  Clearly, the detonating event was the murder of Isis Murillo by soldiers at the Tegucigalpa airport on Sunday, but Ortez's intemperate comments, it seems to me, were also a contributing factor in delegitimizing the regime.

First, let's remember exactly how ugly his comments were (from cadejo4's excellent diary yesterday):

"He negociado con maricones, prostitutas, con ñángaras (izquierdistas), negros, blancos. Ese es mi trabajo, yo estudié eso. No tengo prejuicios raciales, me gusta el negrito del batey que está presidiendo los Estados Unidos."


"I have negotiated with queers, prostitutes, leftists, blacks, whites. This is my job, I studied for it. I am not racially prejudiced. I like the little black sugar plantation worker who is president of the United States."

Here's how ambassador Llorens responded:

As the official and personal representative of the president of the United States of America, I convey my deep outrage about the unfortunate, disrespectful and racially insensitive comments by Mr. Enrique Ortez Colindres about President Barack Obama.

Statements like this are deeply outrageous for the American people and for me personally. I am shocked by these comments, which I condemn in the strongest terms.

And here's what happened to Ortez yesterday:

President [sic] Roberto Micheletti yesterday named ambassador Roberto Flores Bermúdez as the new minister of Foreign Relations, in substitution of Enrique Ortez Colindres.

According to radio reports yesterday from the Presidential Palace, Ortez will take over as Minister of Government and Justice.

Flores Bermudez had been Zelaya's ambassador to the United States, but joined with the coup plotters after Zelaya was overthrown.  We could assume that his appointment to FM shows the coup government realizes they need to patch up relations with Washington.

The head scratcher here, though, is the appointment of Ortez to Government and Justice.  The guy is a troglodyte, criticized even by La Prensa for his "racist comments directed at the President of the United States."

The coup group must be a lot smaller than they would have us believe if they can't find a qualified lawyer -- one without this jerk's baggage -- to take over a key cabinet ministry...

Update: Huge h/t to Abbey Kelleyite, who after hours of searching finally came across the original communiqué in English on the US Embassy website.  Here's the full text:

Press Releases 2009

U.S. Aid to Honduras and Negotiations in San Jose, Costa Rica

July 8, 2009

TEGUCIGALPA - The United States Government is undertaking a comprehensive review of all its foreign assistance programs to determine how much of this assistance could be legally required to be suspended in light of the June 28 coup directed against and expulsion of President Manuel Zelaya.  This is a careful and deliberative process.

However, as a matter of policy, the USG has suspended military assistance programs (totaling US$16.5 million) and development assistance programs that provide support to the Government of Honduras (GOH).  In addition to military assistance, we are halting activities related to USG support to the GOH ministries in basic education, environment and family planning.  Letters of suspension have been or are being sent to the implementing agencies.  The timely release of new assistance funding for Honduran in 2009, totaling over US$50 million, could be in jeopardy, as well as the approximately US$130 million remaining in the Millennium Challenge Compact.

Programs that directly benefit the Honduran people are continuing.  All assistance supporting the provision of food aid, HIV/AIDS and other disease prevention, child survival, and disaster assistance, as well as election assistance to facilitate free and fair elections, is still being provided to the Honduran people.

At the same time, the U.S. Embassy is gratified by the announcement yesterday of negotiations to be held in Costa Rica facilitated by Costa Rican President and President of the Central American Association Oscar Arias, whose standing as a mediator and peace-maker is of the highest level.  The Embassy encourages the pursuit of this regional dialogue to seek a return of the legitimate Honduran government and a restoration of the constitutional and democratic order.  Secretary of State Clinton and OAS Secretary General Insulza both worked very hard to promote this dialogue and to seek a consensual way of addressing the serious problems of political polarization in Honduras.  The Embassy calls upon the people of Honduras to continue the open, peaceful pursuit of consensus and dialogue.

Originally posted to litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 05:06 AM PDT.

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  •  Tip jar (171+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DeminNewJ, chrississippi, LeislerNYC, AggieDemocrat, hannah, Odysseus, deben, gogol, AlanF, miasmo, nihilix, Powered Grace, whataboutbob, DebtorsPrison, bread and roses, LuvSet, lysias, eeff, Matilda, object16, MarkInSanFran, BillyZoom, bara, Gustogirl, TheMomCat, Justina, bronte17, missLotus, BlackSheep1, sfgb, mkfarkus, wader, DustyMathom, psnyder, mwk, Dallasdoc, pat bunny, grannyhelen, GN1927, defluxion10, betson08, tomjones, nailbender, marina, radarlady, Jim Hill, capelza, wmc418, wsexson, mjd in florida, sc kitty, PBen, corvo, kamarvt, Simplify, Brooke In Seattle, Jules Beaujolais, Frank Palmer, pasadena beggar, Inland, Geekesque, The Raven, bruised toes, begone, esquimaux, gwilson, Pinko Elephant, cybersaur, borkitekt, KenBee, dougymi, Marcus Tullius, tecampbell, gpoutney, lao hong han, imabluemerkin, tapestry, NC Dem, Pager, el cid, totallynext, BarbaraB, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, HGM MA, blueintheface, mariachi mama, tegrat, Red Sox, dotsright, Tom J, threegoal, power2truth, Steve In DC, heathlander, newpioneer, cadejo4, jnhobbs, uciguy30, Korkenzieher, sable, Neon Mama, Terra Mystica, Empower Ink, MKinTN, davidseth, kayfromsouth, Abby Kelleyite, Involuntary Exile, lineatus, beltane, Lujane, pamelabrown, mofembot, codairem, Gemina13, James Kresnik, BYw, dont think, jonnie rae, legendmn, Louisiana 1976, DontTaseMeBro, cantelow, Notus, velvet blasphemy, cjenk415, DefendOurConstitution, foreign obesver, brushysage, catilinus, Words In Action, lompe, Amber6541, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, sulthernao, henlesloop, Alec82, marabout40, p gorden lippy, TFinSF, ArtSchmart, LaughingPlanet, amk for obama, VirginiaMom, FrankCornish, dissonantharmony, ypsiCPA, HartfordTycoon, DrFitz, sharonsz, rja, DudleyMason, Actbriniel, al ajnabee, renbear, gobears2000, Colorado is the Shiznit, RepTracker, Lost Left Coaster, BardoOne, croyal, mikejay611, abgin, susanala, BarackStarObama, minachica, Fire bad tree pretty, whoknu, stevie avebury, Big Sky Dem, Huginn and Muninn

    for the restoration of democracy in Honduras.

    Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

    by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 05:06:37 AM PDT

  •  Honduran ambassador, making friends. (13+ / 0-)

    Apparently he's not as well studied for the post as he would have us believe.

    Gov. Sanford is hiking the Appalachian Trail, and Franco is home nursing a head cold.

    by Inland on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 05:23:39 AM PDT

  •  good diary, but (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, Red Sox, vets74, Lujane

    how exactly DOES a diary get on the Rec list with one comment and six recommends?

    Or am I missing something?

    We need to get back to bedrock American values like torture and secession. - Josh Marshall

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 05:26:42 AM PDT

  •  Very interesting. (27+ / 0-)
    1.  That the replacement winds up being Zelaya's guy is the real take away.
    1.  Ortez would make fine GOP state Senator.  Get that man a Twitter account!

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 05:29:53 AM PDT

  •  The actions of the current Obama administration (7+ / 0-)

      have almost been overcompensating on this coup. The corporate right that supports the coup have been pushed back on their heels but are now digging in to show their support.
      I almost think that the Cheney team "B" of the CIA may have had something to do with the coup and Panetta is trying desparately to get out in front of it. The prayer meeting of Panetta with the House Intelligence Committee came on June 24th. I would like to know if this meeting was a called meeting by Panetta or if it was a regular meeting that had been planned for some time.
       We know that the State Department had been working behind the scenes for several weeks trying to resolve this issue. However, there are some aspects of Lloren's background that are troubling to me. Most Central American ambassadors from the US are pawns of our multi-nationals and often offer cover to corporations to rape resources from Latin America. I am more familiar with Bolivia but the trend is apparent.

    •  I really don't know much about Llorens (31+ / 0-)

      other than he is career Foreign Service (1981) and a Bush appointee.

      His behavior in this entire crisis, however, has been irreproachable.  He helped negotiate a political settlement before the coup that Zelaya thought had resolved the issue, but that the golpistas reneged on, he gave amnesty to Zelaya's wife and son, and he royally slapped down the troglodyte.

      The thing about Zelaya's wife is pretty interesting.  I don't have a link handy, but I remember reading she'd been living in the woods, without electricity and running water, for three days after the coup until Llorens found out about it and offered her the embassy.  Since then, she has been leading public protests against the coup.

      I kind of like having ambassadors like that on my side of an issue.

      Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

      by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 05:59:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Litho, I agree that his actions within the last (9+ / 0-)

          few weeks have been beyond reproach. However, when I read his bio and saw his deep connections to security, FBI, drug trafficking, the banking industry and support for trade ageements in his past, I didn't feel comfortable. You can read his State Department bio.
           His appointment by Bush to the post only last year is also troubling. Please note that most of his work has been with Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezeula where our involvement in the past three decades has all been pro American corporations and rape of the workers in those nations. No where in his background do we see any support for workers, unions, social network support, or motivation of political involvement by the masses.
           Knowing that the actions of Zelaya government were taking a more populist path to Democracy, I understand the rationale behind the Bush/Cheney appointment of Hugo Llorens. As a career diplomat who may be near retirement, he may have shifted slightly toward center since the Obama administration took over. For me, this paragraph from his bio tells me more than I need to know.

        He has earned three Superior and six Meritorious Awards. He is a past recipient of the prestigious Cobb Award for excellence in the promotion of U.S. business and trade policy, was runner-up for the Saltzman Award for distinguished performance in advancing U.S. international economic interests, and was runner-up for the James Baker award for the best DCM.

        •  Well.......... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I read his bio and saw his deep connections to security, FBI, drug trafficking, the banking industry and support for trade ageements in his past.....

          That's what professionals do for a living.

          Angry White Males + DSM IV Personality Disorder delusionals + sane Pro-Lifers =EQ= The Base

          by vets74 on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 07:15:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Interesting, but (0+ / 0-)

          As long as he faithfully carries out the new administration's policy, unlike what the dead-enders in the Department of Justice are doing, I have no problem with him.

          The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

          by Korkenzieher on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 10:41:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You want a career diplomat to be an activist? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          No where in his background do we see any support for workers, unions, social network support, or motivation of political involvement by the masses.

          Nor should you!

          "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

          by Skeptical Bastard on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 11:41:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The fact that he is a Bush appointee (5+ / 0-)

        is irrelevant.  He is career Foreign Service.  That makes the President who appointed him of no consequence.  If he had been a political appointee (rare for countries like Honduras, but it happens once in a blue moon), he would have had to resign on January 20.  Career Ambassadors stay on for a full three-year term (unless appointed to another position earlier).

        His bio is here

  •  Wow! (11+ / 0-)

    Are we going to support democracy?  I can hardly believe after 10 years of cowboy diplomacy!

    They will label Obama as "Carter like" watch and see!

    •  Well, we ARE being dragged (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MindRayge, Fire bad tree pretty

      kicking and screaming into doing so . . .

    •  Not so fast (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Zelaya has been trying to get around constitutional term limits, to make himself an elected dictator for life.  Honduras' courts and congress support his ouster.  I'm sure the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but when Hugo Chavez blindly supports Iran's Ayatollahs and Ahmedinejad, and also blindly supports Zelaya, he isn't exactly in great company.

      No on Prop 8::Sometimes I get to hitch a ride on the Democratic Bus--they let me stand on the back bumper.

      by steve04 on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 09:01:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Zelaya's efforts to get himself reelected (11+ / 0-)

        have been vastly overstated.

        There's a good discussion of the legal background to the coup, and particularly how the opposition to Zelaya was twisting the law against him, here.

        Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

        by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 09:10:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hugo Chavez (12+ / 0-)

        Isn't the world's most savory leader, but he's also far from the worst and serves as a poor international boogeyman. And in any case, this isn't about Chavez, it's about Zelaya.

        Even if Zelaya's non-binding resolution had passed it would have needed to be followed up by a binding resolution that would not have taken place until after Zelaya was out of office.

        Was he planning on expanding term limits? Perhaps. But the possibility that he might have tried to expand term limits at some point in the fairly distant future seems far less threatening to the constitutional order and good government than a military coup. That's why folk from all ends of the political spectrum in Central and South America are aghast at this.

        •  Very nicely put. - n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mariachi mama

          "I had seen the universe as it begins for all things. It was, in reality, a child's universe, a tiny and laughing universe." Loren Eiseley

          by cadejo4 on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 09:29:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  What kind of coup was it? (0+ / 0-)

          The whole thing is a mess--without the mechanisms of impeachment, they relied on rather sloppy alternatives.  The military enforced them, but the current "president" was the head of congress, not some military general.  It's not exactly a cut-and-dried military coup.

          No on Prop 8::Sometimes I get to hitch a ride on the Democratic Bus--they let me stand on the back bumper.

          by steve04 on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 12:17:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Daniel Altschuler answered your question (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            steve04, el cid

            better than anyone else I've seen on the internet:

            Honduras is a case of a coup. The military seized the president at gunpoint and spirited him away to another country. It then imposed curfews, repressed journalists and blocked popular protest to win the battle of perceptions. This may have been a different type of coup - in which the military acted less autonomously and more in concert with actors defending the existing Constitution - but it was still a coup. And coups undermine the military's subservience to civilian authorities, a central tenet of democracy.

            I'd take issue with Altschuler's contention the coup makers acted to defend the Constitution, because in my estimation they violated it as much as, if not more than, Zelaya did.  Orellana Mercado remains an excellent source for that point.

            Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

            by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 01:13:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Total B.S.; stop repeating zombie lies (6+ / 0-)

        Read the posts at Greg Weeks' and the documents and translated articles posted at Honduras Coup 2009, especially the article by a member of Zelaya's cabinet who didn't even agree with the Cuarta Urna poll to read the kinds of issues that Hondurans supporting constitutional reform are concerned about.

        This 'extending his term' (much less 'dictator for life'!) b.s. has been debunked over and over and over here.  Repeating it is trollishness. Please stop.

        •  Whatever. (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not repeating zombie lies, I'm repeating what I've been told by a family friend who lives in Honduras half the year, whose neighbors serve in Honduras' equivalent of Congress.  Certainly, the information I get from that source is biased, but I have trouble believing that a man who seized ballots (Zelaya) intended to conduct an honest election.

          Don't call me a troll.

          No on Prop 8::Sometimes I get to hitch a ride on the Democratic Bus--they let me stand on the back bumper.

          by steve04 on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 12:16:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  well we kicked their asses in the Gold Cup (4+ / 0-)

    last night. 2-0 with our C- squad. Watched it on Spanish TV...

    •  Really? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      capelza, Geekesque, cadejo4, Terra Mystica

      It was on Fox Soccer where I live.  Did you see any political signs?  Fox studiously avoided any discussion of Honduran politics.

      Honduras played well in the first half, but ran out steam in the second.

      Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

      by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:00:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Watched that (0+ / 0-)

      Second half was a great showing by the U.S. side. Honduras looked kerfuffled.

      •  It was, Kyle Beckerman is trying his hardest to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        be on this US team next summer. It's going to be some tough decisions to make for Bradley, especially in the midfield.

        •  yeah, Beckerman and maybe Quaranta (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AggieDemocrat, litho, KenBee

          i did not see any political statements on Spanish TV, but my understanding is limited to Spanish for corner kick, handball, freekick, and of course goooal! it was a clean game as far a Concacaf goes, though this style of play would have seen multiple cards, even reds, in a World Cup. Adu has been a disappointment and is apparently being released back to Monaco for the rest of the tournament. The real test will come when the US plays in Tegucigalpa this fall in the away qualifier; beat them in 2001 there but that was when Clint Mathis looked like the savior of American soccer before he took up the drink...hopefully political situation will calm down by then.

          •  I agree Beckerman and Quaranta (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            were the class of the US side, but it's also true the dynamic of the game changed quite a bit when Feilhaber and Davies came in -- and both of them were involved in the critically important first goal.

            I'd never seen Adu play before.  You can see his skills with the ball on his feet, but does the kid have any soccer sense?  I was shocked.

            There were plenty of cards handed out in this game.  If I remember right, a total of five yellows overall.  There were only a copy of plays where I thought a card should have been handed out and wasn't, but I've never seen a game where that hasn't happened.  litho, jr., who played U11 last season and is signed up for U12 in the fall, thought the play was pretty dirty...

            Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

            by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:59:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Adu does have soccer sense. He is just still (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AggieDemocrat, vets74

              really rusty still from not getting any time like he should have gotten at Monaco this season. He never partnered with Ching before until last night.

              Another guy who performed well last night was Chad Marshall. He really helped his causes last night.

            •  By CONCACAF standards (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AggieDemocrat, litho

              that was a relatively clean one got their leg broken.  Yes Feilhaber and Davies were game changers, but Benny is only in for this game and goes back to Denmark, from what I hear. Adu was stellar against Spain in 08, but has been rusty from not playing at all. Americans get bought up and then sit on Euro benches. Hope Onyewu finds playing time at AC Milan, that would be huge for US soccer. Sorry for off topic here. As for Honduras, they were without some key players including former NY player Amado Guavara. It will be interesting to see the kind of reception the US gets there this fall in an away stadium with all this stuff going on. National teams in Central America are known to have fans who can be quite vocal, to say the least, in their support, and have in the past thrown cows blood, piss, beer and nachos on US players during corner kicks. They also sit outside the team's hotel and blast horns and such all night. Hostile venues, indeed! I have seen referees make calls out of fear of the crowd, like a phantom handball PK in Costa Rica ( look it up ) and a goal scored by Ruiz off a foul on Keller in Mazatanengo, Guatemala, that the ref started to waive off but counted after looking up at the crowd. Our players suffer the hatred of US foreign policy, no doubt.

              •  Honduras has greatly underrated in many eyes (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                litho, jerseydan

                There quality of players playing in England, Italy, Spain, and the rest of Europe is better than both the U.S. and Mexico stunningly....but they have never put it together.

                They don't have the depth of course of the two sides, but they need to make a World cup this time around. This side has too many great players in it "A" roster.

          •  I didn't think Adu was bad at all in the first (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AggieDemocrat, litho, mariachi mama

            two matches. He was a little rusty.

            He has never worked with Ching before ever and did well being the second forward, a position he should never, EVER play.

            Just like Landon Donovan, Adu needs two forwards in front of him, a fast forward as one of them, and be the playmaker in the middle. That's where you see his strengths truly show.

            By the way, isn't it Benefica and not Monaco that he is going to return to.

          •  Adu (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I have watched him on and off since he first started with DC United ... he's good, but needs to get better. Tries to do a bit too much at times - I don't know if it's selfish play or what, but many times he tries too much when a simple pass would do better.

            See the passing bonanza that preceded our first goal. In heavy traffic, the ball movement was brilliant. And Ching's pass to Quaranta was a great unselfish move. Ching could have taken a shot, but he lined up Quaranta perfectly for a better look.

  •  No more military aid to honduras! (12+ / 0-)

    Looks like they would just as soon use it against their own people as defend their nation with it.

    That passed by; this can, too. - Deor

    by stevie avebury on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:03:38 AM PDT

  •  Obama Asst Sec State Nom Testifying Yesterday (25+ / 0-)

    Arturo Valenzuela, a famed Chilean-American academic political scientist specializing in the study of the stability and breakdown of democracy in Latin America, is now the Obama administration nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs.

    Yesterday in Senate testimony he remarked (via La Jornada, liberal newsdaily of Mexico City):

    Agregó que "cada vez que los militares, siempre respaldados por sectores civiles inconformes, intervenían para resolver una ‘crisis’ política o revertir el mandato del electorado, se minaba la posibilidad para fortalecer el régimen de ley y las instituciones de gobierno. Recurrir a soluciones inconstitucionales y antidemocráticas no puede resolver los problemas de la democracia; tienen que ser resueltos acorde con los principios constitucionales".


    [Valenzuela] added that "each time that the military, always backed by dissident civilian sectors, intervene to resolve a 'political crisis' or reverse the mandate of the electorate, one dangerously  damages the possibility of strengthening the rule of law and institutions of governance.  Returning to solutions which are un-Constitutional and anti-democratic cannot resolve the problems of democracy;  they have to be resolved according to Constitutional principles.

    He was talking about Honduras.

    Valenzuela's scholarly pursuit was in how various institutions, including elected governments, might act in such ways as to threaten the stability needed for genuine basic liberal democratic institutions to continue functioning.

    He has no love for elected leaders who he feels pushes their systems to the brink;  and he certainly has a broad and detailed grasp of the factors which influence democratic stability.

    I find myself mostly in agreement with this classic political science / sociology approach in studying democratic stability;  however, I'd hasten to say what Valenzuela couldn't in testimony like that to remind that a huge part of the problem in places like Honduras is that the military and oligarchy exert such power as to make genuine change and reform often impossible without the provocation of such crisis, even had the leader been someone less ham-handed than Zelaya.  

    What sort of honored 'democracy' is it which continually must avoid solutions important for and desired by a majority of its people but which cannot risk it for fear that the military and oligarchy will just destroy civilian government in response?  

    I.e., 'you may have your democracy and your elections, but if you tread where we in the military leadership and the oligarchic upper classes don't wish, we in the military will just do what we've done dozens of times before and throw you out?'

    It's clearly one better than the alternatives, but not something which should be discussed as a system which is honorable and worthy in and of itself, but a situation to be dealt with in the real world.  

    It is a moral necessity to push these systems farther and farther to act in the interests of the majority of poor and working class citizens and small & peasant farmers, but it takes true skill to do so in a way which actually helps improve peoples' lives and which doesn't merely crumble their world into another fake civilian government run by military permission.

    •  I spent half of grad school (16+ / 0-)

      it sometimes seems -- reading Valenzuela's work on transitions to democracy in the Southern Cone.  I have a lot of respect for him, and I didn't know he'd taken a position at State.

      My experience in Chile suggests to me that if you start with real democracy -- the kind Valenzuela is talking about here -- eventually you make possible the kind of social change you're talking about.

      In fact, my understanding of the Salvadoran civil war was that it started precisely in popular movements seeking to use existing democratic institutions to improve their own lives.  When the oligarchy realized what was going on, it closed down those institutions -- and began murdering anyone who dared to demonstrate peacefully against oligarchic rule.

      Start with real democracy.  The poor outnumber the rich, and will eventually vote their own interests.

      Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

      by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:13:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Didn't he also serve under Clinton? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        litho, el cid

        I knew him a long time ago, and it's funny to see that he still has that youthful look.  He'll probably still have it when he's 80.

        Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

        by Rich in PA on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:25:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not everybody can survive "eventually" (15+ / 0-)

        In fact, my understanding of the Salvadoran civil war was that it started precisely in popular movements seeking to use existing democratic institutions to improve their own lives.  When the oligarchy realized what was going on, it closed down those institutions -- and began murdering anyone who dared to demonstrate peacefully against oligarchic rule.

        Start with real democracy.  The poor outnumber the rich, and will eventually vote their own interests.

        There's a real problem here, and not that it's unknown or unacknowledged, but it's all well and good for the elite and comfortable to urge those presently suffering to please cast their gaze to more generational struggles, to remind them that they're working with fragile institutions and cannot achieve change at the rate desired by those on the lower end, but you may find that in the meantime, those suffering the downside of that potential yet not guaranteed transition may get tired of suffering, starving, and dying.

        There's a whole tradition of expert academic and consultancy studies which basically inquire into the top half of this question -- i.e., how to advise elite leaders about the pace of pro-majority population reform they can get away with without risking lower class disorder, and the idea is to see how slowly you can do it and how many reforms you can defer.

        If only the poor and working classes and peasants and smallholders had as many experts advising them on strategies for maximizing beneficial returns within the time periods sustainable by fragile institutions.

        And if only that latter group tended to get the most international political, diplomatic, economic, and aid support, rather than the former group, then maybe this presumed necessary pace of change might accelerate.

        •  Yeah, I don't disagree with anything there (6+ / 0-)

          I do kind of like the stuff Muhammad Yunus is up to, because it promises people the opportunity to improve their lives right now, even in the absence of the kinds of institutional change we're talking about.

          The fact of the matter is that broad institutional change doesn't happen everyday, even though when it does happen is sometimes occurs overnight.  Life sucks, sometimes.

          Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

          by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:40:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A good place to thank (0+ / 0-)

            you for the link in the diary to the Millenium Challege Account.
            Some day we will have the mainstream news liberated from tittilation and these kinds of activities will be on the front page instead of being hidden in the internet ether. It might be called "social journalism".
            M.Y.'s book,"The End of Poverty" is a must read. Imagine corporations that are designed with return on investment being measured in terms other than cash. Preposterously wonderful!

        •  Nicely stated, el cid (6+ / 0-)

          reminds me of Keynes' comment to the dullard economists who supported the 'working of the market' through thick and thin, arguing that "in the long run the market will work itself out"

          His reply: "In the long run, we're all dead."

          Another favorite of mine...

          "Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone."

          DelicateMonster a slightly left of center reading experience

          by DelicateMonster on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 08:58:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  How soon before the American poor start (11+ / 0-)

        voting their interests?

        Or do we need to get a real democracy first?

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:37:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Very perceptive! (7+ / 0-)

         For too long we have trained the military for Latin America and continued our support for them as long as they adhered to our "support corporates and the elite" at all costs.
         Some of the principles you describe here could also relate to our democracy in the US as our Congress continues to debate the "public option" in healthcare.

  •  Anyone else see parallels to the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, James Kresnik

    1991 Haitian coup, where Raoul Cédras and allies took military control of the country from the democratically elected-turned-autocratic Aristide government?

    -1.50, -3.95 | VA 2009: Deeds / Wagner / Shannon

    by Red Sox on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:15:40 AM PDT

    •  Ummm, except Zelaya hasn't (11+ / 0-)


      Green with envy looking at Iran's response to electoral fraud.

      by catilinus on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:27:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And Aristide was better than Cédras (11+ / 0-)

        And in fact the best (and the least dictatorial) leader Haiti had since gaining independence.

        But since he actually gave a damn about the poor, he had to go.  Jesse Helms demanded it.

        Visit for Minnesota news as it happens.

        by Phoenix Woman on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:31:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, (0+ / 0-)

        there was that whole ignoring the judiciary thing in Zelaya's "opinion poll." He intermittently complied with and disobeyed judicial orders.

        That's not to say that the coup is legitimate or that Zelaya shouldn't be returned to office--he should--but I believe he has more in common with Jean-Bertrand Aristide than you might think.

        -1.50, -3.95 | VA 2009: Deeds / Wagner / Shannon

        by Red Sox on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:34:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Aristide was a better politician (12+ / 0-)

          and had more organic ties to the popular class.

          Zelaya has a tin ear politically, and was linked in his youth to a massacre of peasant leaders that his father had organized.  Zelaya, they say, drove a care full of kidnapped protesters to the site where they were executed.

          Aristide, as a priest, led popular resistance to the Duvalier dictatorship, and therefore came into the presidency with a degree of credibility and legitimacy Zelaya will never have.

          Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

          by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:43:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, Zelaya was a well-respected member of the (9+ / 0-)

            elite...until after being elected he began making traitorous moves to help the lower classes. Apparently, the backers of the coup felt betrayed by someone who had been one of their own.

            Green with envy looking at Iran's response to electoral fraud.

            by catilinus on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:54:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do you have a source for that? (0+ / 0-)
              Because Zelaya has made any number of moves in the autocratic "elected" dictator direction, not least showing complete disregard for parts of the constitution that he doesn't care for, or the laws passed by congress, or the judgments of the supreme court.

              No on Prop 8::Sometimes I get to hitch a ride on the Democratic Bus--they let me stand on the back bumper.

              by steve04 on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 09:05:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, Zelaya's background in a rightwing (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                steve04, betson08, cadejo4, minachica

                ranching family is pretty well-known.  Here's a bit from a commentary on the History News Network:

                Given his background as a member of the landed elite, Zelaya’s moves to the Latin American left have caught everyone off guard. The public persona of "Mel" is rooted in Olancho, a notoriously rowdy region of the country dedicated to ranching and harvesting lumber. And although he wears a cowboy hat and speaks as if he just came out of Honduras’s Wild West, he hails from an extremely wealthy family with vast holdings of land. And the one strong social movement that he could have fallen back on, the peasant movement, was not only disarticulated by the Reagan-backed repression of the 1980s but its remnants were also deeply wary of him.

                On June 25, 1975, at the height of the agrarian reform movement, the National Peasant’s Union (Unión Nacional de Campesinos -- UNC) led a nationwide hunger march to Tegucigalpa. As a group from Olancho reached Juticalpa, the army moved in to stop it. With the help of local cattle ranchers, the soldiers attacked the peasant activists when they were meeting at their training center. Five peasant leaders, two students, and two foreign priests were shot dead and nine peasants were forcibly disappeared. Their dismembered bodies were found a week later in a dynamited well of a local landowner, the father of President Zelaya. This incident became known as the "Los Horcones" massacre, after the name of the ranch where the bodies were found. The mid-1970s massacre at Los Horcones reverberated throughout Honduran society, deepening fissures between the military government and popular movements, between Catholic traditionalists and progressives. The memory of the brutal killing of these peasants resurfaced during Zelaya’s 2005 presidential campaign. Nevertheless, we could be looking at a very different Honduras had Zelaya sought to ground his actions in a discourse that resonated with the social and economic cooperatives that are one surviving legacy of the peasant movement.

                I'm not finding the link right now, but I read recently that Zelaya himself was implicated as an accessory to the murders at Los Horcones.

                Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

                by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 09:18:14 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hi litho, I think this is (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  litho, steve04

                  the link. It was a great article, and I think you were the one who originally found it.


                  •  That's it! (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    steve04, betson08

                    Thanks.  I was searching in English, which is why I couldn't find it.

                    De hecho algunos detractores han llegado a señalar que un joven "Mel" era uno de los conductores de los vehículos en los que secuestraron y "desaparecieron" a los dirigentes, pero eso nunca se ha podido probar y, aunque su padre fue condenado, después fue favorecido y no estuvo preso.

                    In fact, some detractors even point out that a young "Mel" [Zelaya's nickname] was one of the drivers of one of the vehicles in which they kidnapped and "disappeared" the leaders, but that has never been proven and, even though his father was convicted he was later amnestied and was never jailed.

                    Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

                    by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 10:58:23 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks...not my question though (0+ / 0-)

                  I was asking catilinus what those "traitorous moves to help the lower classes" were...I never doubted for a second he was a corrupt and connected individual.

                  No on Prop 8::Sometimes I get to hitch a ride on the Democratic Bus--they let me stand on the back bumper.

                  by steve04 on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 11:53:12 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  From the same HNN link (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    steve04, KenBee, catilinus, minachica

                    but the previous paragraph:

                    the author documents what the ruling elite might see as his traitorous behavior:

                    This cacophonous composition, in which the coup is merely the crescendo, started to play within elite circles of the Liberal Party just one day before Mel Zelaya was sworn in as president in 2005. Although he ran his presidential campaign as a traditional Liberal Party candidate, refusing to say whether or not he would withdraw Honduran troops from Iraq and declaring that the free market economic policies that the country had dutifully enacted to the detriment of its legions of poor would not be modified. But after winning the election, Zelaya gradually began to confront the main power blocks in the country. It was then that he gave Roberto Micheletti Bain, who was at the time the President of the Honduran Congress, an ultimatum: either sign a law widening the scope of the citizenry’s participation in the affairs of its government or he would not take office the next day. Micheletti signed the Law of Citizen Power (La Ley de Poder Ciudadano; the government website explaining this law has been shutdown by Micheletti’s interim government). In 2006, Zelaya pushed through the Law of Transparency, giving the public unprecedented access to the information produced by and for the Honduran government. In January 2009, he increased the minimum wage from $132 per month to $290 per month, infuriating the elite and small business owners. Shortly after, he joined ALBA. Spearheaded by Hugo Chávez, ALBA is an economic development initiative that is intended as a counterweight to U.S.-backed development initiatives in the region. Each of these steps to the left alienated the right wing of his own Liberal Party, not to mention the already hostile opposition in the Nationalist Party. Furthermore, given Honduras’s tiny and rather ineffectual left, along with his inability to ground his discourse of Citizen Power (Poder Ciudadano) in the social movements of the country, Zelaya found himself more isolated than ever, with a rapidly dwindling power block.

                    Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

                    by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 11:57:25 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Nothing autocratic in promoting a non-binding (6+ / 0-)

          referendum where people vote.

          Autocratic behavior would be more like...well..."golpes" to democratically elected governments directed by autocratic leaning members of the elite who were aghast that the minimum wage was raised to...what? .60 cents an hr?

          Green with envy looking at Iran's response to electoral fraud.

          by catilinus on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:48:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I will support an economic block like in Haiti (0+ / 0-)

    Bill Clinton was rigth about Haiti in the 90's.

  •  They just want to make it till November. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xyz, Kingsmeg

    That way they can preside over the scheduled elections and make sure the Left doesn't win.  I suspect they'll succeed.

    Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

    by Rich in PA on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:26:22 AM PDT

  •  it's great to see that even rogue governments (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, cadejo4, xpatriotvet

    can fire overtly racist foreign ministers. promising.

    "The sword of murder is not the balance of justice." Mom's Day Statement

    by Tom J on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:27:11 AM PDT

  •  Coup plotters are now discussing Zelaya's return (8+ / 0-)

    Up until yesterday, they refused to even consider it:

    Visit for Minnesota news as it happens.

    by Phoenix Woman on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:29:04 AM PDT

  •  the US is being forced to not support the coup (3+ / 0-)

    i truly think that the US would have supported or at least accepted the coup had it not been for the overwhelming pressure brought against it by all Latin American nations... the US had no choice, it would have alienated almost the entire central and south america for a very long time.

    therefore it is leaving its military friends, the ones trained in the US at the infamous "school of the americas" high and dry.

    thank god.

    "The sword of murder is not the balance of justice." Mom's Day Statement

    by Tom J on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:32:55 AM PDT

    •  My reading of it is a little different (15+ / 0-)

      I think Obama really does have a different approach to foreign relations, and he really does prefer to promote democracy to dictatorship.

      I do believe there are forces within the US government that were willing to recognize the coup government and that the democratic forces allied with Obama had to overcome their resistance.  As time goes on, though, the US response is becoming stronger and stronger in opposition to the coup.  That to me reflects the fact that, yes, the US is reacting to the strong and unified Latin American rejection of the coup, but also that the pro-democratic forces in the administration are consolidating their position.

      Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

      by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:36:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe I'm just jaded,... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skywriter, mariachi mama

        ...but I suspect there's a recognition that installing/supporting "our kind" of pro-corporate democracy is a more stable platform for business rapine than the less regulated, less socially responsive, but also less enduring pattern of successive military dictatorships.  Empathy with the people, the poor, is deemed good when it also serves the bottom line.

        Maybe I'm too cynical, maybe not.

    •  Again, look at the risks (10+ / 0-)

      One of the big dangers of this coup d'etat, and which helps explain the solid opposition of right wing pro-oligarchs Calderon of Mexico and Uribe of Colombia, nobody wants the precedent set that the army or maybe an aspiring general can overthrow the government based on a supposed request received from a high court or a vote in Cognress declaring a certain action un-Constitutional.

      Imagine that the Honduran precedent stands.  Imagine how much more carefully a lot of Latin American leaders will have to keep an eye out on their own military.

    •  Why would you think that? The US thwarted a coup (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, minachica

      coup attempt a few days earlier.

      Honduras's Zelaya says US helped thwart coup-paper

      MADRID, June 28 (Reuters) - Honduran President Manuel Zelaya told Spain's El Pais that a planned attempt to wrest power him was thwarted after the United States declined to back the move.

      "Everything was in place for the coup and if the U.S. embassy had approved it, it would have happened. But they did not ... I'm only still here in office thanks to the United States," he said in the newspaper interview published on Sunday.

      "Last (Friday) morning, at around 1 or 2 a.m., Congress was passing a decree to incapacitate me and the armed forces were mobilised. But phone calls were made -- I can't say by who or from where -- but these calls stopped the coup," he said.

      You really think that Obama would favor a coup?  For what reason?  Or is it just that the US is that evil? Some around here read too much Chomsky.  There is absolutely no evidence from Obama's or Hillary's actions before or since the coup that would indicate that the US would favor such a thing, quite the contrary, yet yours is not the first Kossack's post I've read that says that the US government really wants to back the coup, but is only not doing so due to international pressure.  There's no evidence of this whatsoever, and plenty of empirical evidence to the contrary.  The US isn't inherently evil, contrary to the Chomsky doctrine.  The current administration is not like the previous ones, contrary to the beliefs of the "Obama = Bush" Kossacks.

  •  Interesting, litho. (5+ / 0-)

    You should write more diaries like this, I think.

    People who speak in metaphors should shampoo my crotch. - Jack Nicholson

    by MBNYC on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:34:17 AM PDT

  •  the US funded groups that now support the coup. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, esquimaux, FrankCornish

    including the group with the Orwellian name -"Peace and Democracy Movement" (MPD).

    but now that the coup has happened, and the total opposition it has received in Latin America (probably due to grassroots pressure from below in many cases) the US cannot support it.

    "The sword of murder is not the balance of justice." Mom's Day Statement

    by Tom J on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:41:53 AM PDT

  •  Ortez will make a lovely Justice Minister (8+ / 0-)

    I'm sure he will dole out impartial justice.

    Unless of course you happen to be a "queer, prostitute, leftist, black, or white"

  •  Is aid really "cut" or "suspended"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Read your main quote carefully:

    The Government of the United States is conducting a complete review of all of its foreign assistance programs in order to determine how much of this assistance it could be legally obligated to suspend due to the events of June 28, the coup d'etat and the expulsion of President Manuel Zelaya.  This is a careful and deliberate process.

    "Conducting a review"..."could be obligated to suspend"..."deliberative process". I don't see anything there that says aid has been suspended, only that they're "thinking about it." If the aid has indeed been suspended, this quote certainly doesn't prove it.

    Eli Stephens
    Left I on the News

    by elishastephens on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 07:30:57 AM PDT

    •  Here's the part I left out (6+ / 0-)

      Cartas de la suspensión han sido o están siendo enviadas a las agencias para su implementación. La liberación a tiempo de nuevos fondos para asistencia a Honduras en 2009, un total de más de 50 millones de dólares, podría estar en peligro, así como los aproximadamente 130 millones de dólares restantes en el Compacto de la Cuenta Desafío del Milenio.

      In English:

      Letters of suspension have been or are being sent to the agencies for implementation.  The timely release of new assistance funds for Honduras in 2009, a total of more than $50 million, could be in danger, as well as the approximately $140 million remaining in the Millennium Challenge Account Accord.

      I interpret that to mean the funds are being held up right now, and will be until the political situation is resolved.  If the crisis comes to an end quickly, then the funds can still be released in a "timely" fashion.

      Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

      by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 08:27:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The "whole truth" (0+ / 0-)

        is not as simplistic as some would assume by reading the words reporters use like "turning off the faucet". The forms of aid are not bags of cash being unloaded from sailing ships. Military aid will end up at Halliburton or other suppliers of military goodies.
        Some forms of aid are "mandated" to be stopped in the event of a "coup d'etat", which has to be clearly defined. That takes some time.
        While it is true that the people are the losers, it should be the people who determine that the military leaders will not wrest power from the elected leaders. It is sad that a kid had to be killed during this process, but that is the "training" we provide at the SOA. Perhaps the Honduras experience will toss another ball in the air for Obama to deal with, as if the air isn't already filled. Closing the SOA will take longer than closing Guantanamo. Scholarships to the SOA are part of "military aid". One could hope that it isn't considered part of the "education" funding.

      •  Unlike some, (0+ / 0-)

        I have dutifully read to the current bottom of this and can now feel free to comment.
        I really appreciate learning the whole truth of any issue and gradually am piecing it together for this situation. I'm of the impression now that only one Supreme Court judge issued the arrest warrant for Zelaya, but that judge acted as a result of an unanimous delegation by the rest of the judges. How typical of political manipulation.
        I also suspect that the warrant was issued at the request of the head of the military who was fired by Zelaya but refused to leave.
        This is a different issue from the referendum, which seems to have been written incorrectly at first but was then corrected (and sent to a printer in Venezuela?)
        It also seems that the Obama restraint and willingness to allow the other Latin countries to run the show has given Hugo Chaves enough stress relief to reduce his intrusive involvement. He must envy Arias for the international admiration of his calm intelligence.
        It was thanks to clues on blogs that I was able to locate the former vice president in Guatemala City, who has managed to remain invisible to the mainstream press through all of this. I hope the press corp is using lots of sunscreen.
        While blogs tend to bounce off the walls and require considerable sifting of unrelated and confusing rhetoric, the whole truth is eventually included. I can't understand why any intelligent person would think they can tell a lie like "Mission Accomplished" or photoshop a picture and think we won't notice. Are we that far ahead?

      •  and.. (0+ / 0-)

        ..I'm getting the impression that being able to speak something other than monolinguistic 'merican is perhaps not a barrier to employment by the State Department.
        necesito estudio mas

  •  State Dept. Press Release July 7 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nell Lancaster, litho, betson08

    This has probably already been pointed out but here it is:
    U.S. Assistance to Honduras

    "Yours for Humanity" Abby Kelley

    by Abby Kelleyite on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 08:03:52 AM PDT

    •  Two earlier US State releases (0+ / 0-)

      Some of the quoted language may have come from these earlier releases or the daily press briefings:
      Background Briefing on the Situation in Honduras
      Taken Question: U.S. Assistance to Honduras

      "Yours for Humanity" Abby Kelley

      by Abby Kelleyite on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 08:11:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That July 7 press release definitely (3+ / 0-)

        contains language included in the embassy statement, but the embassy statement includes language and information not included in any of the three documents you linked to.

        It's interesting that whoever put the communiqué together down in Honduras used Kelly's language word for word.

        Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

        by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 08:33:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The background briefing does not anywhere include (0+ / 0-)

        the word "court," meaning nobody asked, and nobody discussed, the role of the Honduran Supreme Court in ordering Zelaya's removal from office.  That's a stunning omission.  

        •  That's because the Honduran Supreme Court (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          betson08, mariachi mama, minachica

          never ordered Zelaya's removal from office.

          A single judge of the Court did order the military to detain Zelaya and present him to the court for trial.  Instead, the military -- acting on its own authority -- chose to depose Zelaya and deport him from the country.  Only after the military acted did Congress vote to depose Zelaya, but it appears Congress exceeded its constitutional authority in doing so.

          Essential background here, but I believe I've already sent you that link.  At this stage in the game, you should know better.

          In an interview with The Miami Herald and El Salvador's, army attorney Col. Herberth Bayardo Inestroza acknowledged that top military brass made the call to forcibly remove Zelaya -- and they circumvented laws when they did it.

          It was the first time any participant in Sunday's overthrow admitted committing an offense and the first time a Honduran authority revealed who made the decision that has been denounced worldwide.

          ''We know there was a crime there,'' said Inestroza, the top legal advisor for the Honduran armed forces. ``In the moment that we took him out of the country, in the way that he was taken out, there is a crime.

          Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

          by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 10:25:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The facts you provide are relevant (0+ / 0-)

            And should have been discussed in the briefing.

            Yes, you and I have discussed this before, and I thought had come close to the same conclusion, which is that the next step should be a trial.  But that is not the U.S. position.  In fact, the U.S. seems to be ignoring the court's role.  Either the court's actions were valid, in which case Zelaya should be out of office, or they were not, in which case the court as an institution should come under scrutiny.  But you can't just ignore its role.

            Also, was it really just one justice?  That I had not seen, and would appreciate a link.  

            Further, you know from my prior posts that I am not defending the military's removal of Zelaya from the country. In fact, I posted that very same link myself the other night.

            •  The Honduran judicial branch (4+ / 0-)

              published a file with all the documents relevant to the case, but they since seemed to have scrubbed it.

              You get a 403 error now when you try to access the page:


              According to page 52 of the .pdf file, on June 26 the judge José Tomás Arita Valle issued an order to Lieutenant Colonel René Antonio Hepburn Bueso of the Honduran General Staff:

              proceder en el momento pertinente al allanamiento de la vivienda del señor Ciudadano Presidente de la República de Honduras: JOSE
              MANUEL ZELAYA ROSALES, ubicada en la colonia Tres caminos, Cuarta Avenida, segunda casa mano izquierda, sin número de esta ciudad entre las
              seis de la mañana y las seis de la tarde y ponerlo a la orden de la autoridad correspondiente

              to proceed at the appropriate moment to search the home of the Citizen President of the Republic of Honduras: José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, located in the Tres Caminos neighborhood, Fourth Avenue, without a street address but being the second house on the left hand side, between six in the morning and six in the evening and place him at the disposition of the corresponding authority.

              Arita claims to be acting on behalf of the Supreme Court, and he notes that he was assigned to the case by a unanimous vote of the Court, but the order carries his signature alone.

              As can be seen, his order was simply to detain Zelaya, not depose him.  You could search the entire file and not find anywhere in it a judicial order deposing Zelaya.

              The Honduran Supreme Court did not remove him from office.  The Armed Forces did.

              Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

              by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 10:51:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  According to a different SCt justice (0+ / 0-)

                The military was acting pursuant to the court's order when it arrested him (again: not the exile).  

                Honduras’s military acted under judicial orders in deposing President Manuel Zelaya, Supreme Court Justice Rosalinda Cruz said, rejecting the view of President Barack Obama and other leaders that he was toppled in a coup.

                "The only thing the armed forces did was carry out an arrest order," Cruz, 55, said in a telephone interview from the capital, Tegucigalpa. "There’s no doubt he was preparing his own coup by conspiring to shut down the congress and courts."


                So to my prior point: if this was a coup, the SCt participated in it.  The U.S. has to deal with that issue.

                •  They're lying after the fact (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  betson08, minachica

                  to justify their own illegal actions.

                  That's not hard to figure out...

                  Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

                  by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 11:00:52 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  again, that's my point (0+ / 0-)

                    I don't know whether they were lying or not.  Maybe you are right; maybe the court is itself acting illegally.  The scrubbing of the website certainly seems odd (although the documents have to exist somewhere else).  But either way, the U.S. cannot ignore the role of the court.  That's what's happened so far.  What happens if Zelaya is reinstated?  The court could issue the same order again.  This issue must be dealt with.  

                    •  No, the US doesn't have to deal with it at all (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      betson08, minachica

                      But it is something Arias, Micheletti, and Zelaya need to address in their discussions.

                      Both sides need to walk back from the institutional conflict that's developed over the last six months or so.

                      You can argue that point, which is about politics, without resorting to the false legal argument presented by the coup plotters.

                      They have clearly been lying.  Their shifting stories only account for part of the evidence.  There are other stories -- like Custodio's absurd claim the soldiers at Toncontín only used rubber bullets -- that are clearly at odds with the known facts.

                      Look, it's not hard for us to understand when the GOP lies and distorts our positions on the issues.  Why is it so hard to understand that their even more extreme coreligionists in Honduras do the same thing?

                      Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

                      by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 11:24:03 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Lies and distortions (0+ / 0-)

                        Abound.  Of that I have no doubt.  I'm not prepared to attribute all of them to the Micheletti crowd, but neither do I think they have clean hands.

                        Agree about the need for these issues to be addressed in the Arias discussions.  But I still think that when the U.S. purports to explain what happened, it should not omit the actions of the court (or the AG) as if those things never happened.  

                        Not that this will be our last exchange (ojala?), but I do appreciate the manner in which you have engaged with me on this issue.  

              •  not sure if this is the same link (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                litho, KenBee

                but it just worked for me, though it has gotten overwhelmed at other times.


                "Yours for Humanity" Abby Kelley

                by Abby Kelleyite on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 11:23:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  False either-or (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              litho, minachica

              The president of the Supreme Court himself has floated the proposal of an amnesty on the eighteen charges the Court drew up against him, so it's not a matter of the U.S. overlooking Honduran law or the court's role.

              And there's plenty to disdain in the court's reasoning.  Please do read the relevant (recent) posts at and

              •  According to the website (0+ / 0-)

                you provided (link next time, please), here is what the Court authorized:

                Finding sufficient merit concerning the commission of the actions, an order of capture is that [the military] will place under judicial authority [President Zelaya], and once having done so take the statement of the accused.

                I have posted many times that I believe the military was wrong in throwing Zelaya out of the country.   The military has admitted as such as well.  So that's not a point for debate.  But I do contend that when Zelaya returns--and he should be allowed to return--it is to the status he would have been in had the military complied with the court's order.  That means he returns under detention, presumably with a trial to follow.  It does not mean he returns to office as if the Supreme Court had never acted.  

                Here is the link:

                •  That's what they're negotiating right now (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  in Costa Rica.

                  If Zelaya returns to Honduras, he will return as the constitutional president.  In exchange, he will almost certainly agree to drop his efforts to call a Constituent Assembly and he will not pursue criminal charges against those who distorted the law to remove him from office.

                  It's called a compromise, and it's the only way out of this mess.

                  Unfortunately.  Because the slugs who deposed him are really, really bad actors.

                  Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

                  by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 12:05:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  In a system of laws (0+ / 0-)

                    Which is what Honduras should aspire to be, decisions aren't made on the basis of the character of the actors involved.  There must be reliance on the actions of legitimate institutions.  If the Supreme Court is determined to have acted illegitimately, its orders should be disregarded.  Otherwise they should be followed.  I have not seen anyone make a factual + legal argument as to why the actions of the SCt were illegitimate (vs. just wrong).  The fact that the military did not adhere to the court's order is not an attack on the legititmacy of the court's order.  Members of the military and anyone else who exceeded their legal authority should face some consequences.  However, the court's order should stand unless, again, somebody can prove it was illegitimate (exceeded jurisdiction, product of fraud, etc).

                    The compromise you suggest eliminates the role of the judiciary entirely.  You might be right--that might be the result.  But it would be a purely political result rather than a legal one. I prefer law to politics.

                    •  You haven't been paying attention (3+ / 0-)

                      Edmundo Orellana, who resigned as Zelaya's Minister of Defense days before the coup, wrote a long letter to Congress explaining exactly why he thought their actions in deposing Zelaya were illegal.

                      On the order prohibiting the June 29 plebiscite:

                      The poll was not declared illegal; nonetheless, it was ordered judicially that it not be carried out, in virtue of the fact that in an incidental ruling the suspension of the effects of the law was declared and, in a clarification-- that, unusually, resulted in a new ruling-- all the future acts of the Executive Power to that end were included.... the judicial decision involved a legal absurdity, derived from a total lack of knowledge of elementary concepts of procedural law,

                      On Congress's actions the day of the coup:

                      Last Sunday, in the National Congress decisions were taken that in my judgement were glaringly contrary to the Constitution of the Republic. First, a supposed resignation of the President of the Republic was read, when it is well known that he was taken violently from his house and sent against his will to the brother Republic of Costa Rica; second, a legislative decree was adopted by means of which the President of the Republic was dismissed, alleging supposed criminal deeds, which if they exist should be specified and judged by competent tribunals, not by the Legislative Power, in respect to a basic principle of the division of powers, that our Constitutions always have recognized; and, finally, that the dismissal of the President was adopted without the Constitution recognizing any power for the National Congress to take a decision of this nature.

                      Orellana saves his most severe criticism for the legislative branch, but he does not spare the courts.  His conclusion is strong and forceful:

                      my position in the face of the acts described is that they violate the Constitution of the Republic and they perpetrated a Coup d'Etat

                      Orellana, by the way, does not agree with you that if the Supreme Court acted illegitimately its orders should be disregarded.  Zelaya, however, does, and it was his decision to ignore the wrongly decided ruling blocking the June 28 plebiscite that led both to Orellana's decision to quit the Cabinet and to the military's decision to depose the president.

                      Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

                      by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 01:27:10 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I get that there are people who disagree (0+ / 0-)

                        With the court's ruling.  It might be a very close case.  But my hard head cannot get past the point that a ruling of a court cannot be disregarded--even if it is "incorrect"(in the eye of the beholder, of course).  It can be disregarded only if the ruling is illegitimate.  

                        Orellana disagrees vehemently with the ruling, but he respects it (from what I can tell-that's a lousy translation). I don't know whether it was right or wrong, but I will respect it until someone can show that it is illegitimate.  Contrary to your last paragraph, that puts me in Orellana's camp, not Zelaya's.  And maybe, despite all of our exchanges on this subject, that's one thing you haven't understood about my position: I'm not saying the court was right.  I'm saying only that the ruling must be obeyed, absent proof of fraud, absence of jurisdiction or some other extraordinary factor besides the disagreement of others.  

                        Courts make rulings all the time that a majority of the people disagree with.  If we allowed majority rule to override court decisions, criminal defendants in this country would have very few if any rights.  Constitutional rulings are not supposed to be popularity contests.  

                        Also, Orellana was the defense minister.  They have a 15-member SCt that ruled unanimously in favor of removing Zelaya from office.  Your theory is that the entire SCt is corrupt but that the defense minister is wearing the white hat.  Maybe you are right, but without something more, I say the ruling of the 15 trumps.

                        •  Here's what you wrote (0+ / 0-)

                          If the Supreme Court is determined to have acted illegitimately, its orders should be disregarded

                          Correct me if I'm wrong, but that seems to put you in Zelaya's camp.

                          Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

                          by litho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 06:21:20 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  "Wrong" vs. "illegit" (0+ / 0-)

                            I disagree with lots of USSC decisions, but I don't know of any that I would consider illegitimate.  The best example is Bush v. Gore.  I would never have advocated a coup to avoid that decision, no matter how awful it was.  That's life under the rule of law.  Sometimes it sucks, but in the long run it is better than the alternative.

  •  Bravo, or something... (0+ / 0-)

    I guess it's good that the U. S. Ambassador protested Ortez Colindres' comments and that we're cutting foreign aid.

    As you point out, it's puzzling that he would get an apparent promotion to Government and Justice, an ominous appointment.  (And your observation that the coup is probably small, if they can't find somebody else, is excellent.)

    It's good that we're cutting off military aid.  But  ever puzzling is the U. S. cutoff of aid for "education, the environment, and family planning".  Do we think that turning the screws on the poor will lead to a revolution?  They'll be too busy finding food.  (And the food and medical aid we didn't cut has to go through the government - the coup we're trying to overthrow.)

    It reminds me of the sanctions against Iraq - no milk, no medicine - that were supposed to topple Saddam.  Why we somehow think that punishing the poorest people of a defenseless country will bring the dictatorship to heel is beyond me.

    Unless, of course, that isn't the goal of the cuts.  If, instead, the purpose is to look good, avoid international criticism and reinforce the coup by harrying the underclass, the State Department might have an achievable goal.

    So until this plays out, I suspend judgment, with prejudice.  If it returns Zelaya to his job, well and good.  If not, let's get some FOIA requests going to see what was really behind it.

  •  Moved to Minister of Justice with those views (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    toward anyone who he apparently disagrees with? What a joke...we certainly should ramp up the pressure. This is something Obama has stood firm on and I applaud him.

  •  Oh my, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, betson08, Escamillo

    I hadn't seen that comment by Ortez.  And he's still in government?

    Not a very good sign.

  •  Nice job, litho! (6+ / 0-)

    Great to see this diary up top. I'm tuning in late, but happily add my tip and rec.

    "I had seen the universe as it begins for all things. It was, in reality, a child's universe, a tiny and laughing universe." Loren Eiseley

    by cadejo4 on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 08:52:34 AM PDT

  •  Yay (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, imabluemerkin, cadejo4

    Yay Barack
    Yay Hillary.

    "I'm not opposed to all wars; I'm opposed to dumb wars." -- Obama in 2002

    by Frank Palmer on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 09:28:45 AM PDT

  •  Breaking: Enrique Ortez Colindres / Fox News Deal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SLKRR, betson08, minachica

    I'm kidding.

    Sort of.

    "Artificial Intelligence is no match for natural stupidity."

    by 7P on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 09:57:43 AM PDT

  •  Amy Goodman interviews Zelaya today (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, Wilberforce

    And Michael Parenti asks some badly needed questions about Obama here:

    Obama used to be for single payer before he came out against it.

    by formernadervoter on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 09:59:20 AM PDT

    •  Parenti's questions are a little over the top (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's unfair to expect Obama to control events in the way he suggests.  Zelaya didn't see it coming.  How could Obama have seen it coming?  Just because the U.S. trained the Honduran military leaders years ago?  Weak.

    •  From your link: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Fifth, Obama still has had nothing to say about the many other acts of repression attendant with the coup perpetrated by Honduran military and police: kidnappings, beatings, disappearances, attacks on demonstrators, shutting down the internet and suppressing the few small critical media outlets that exist in Honduras.

      Sixth, as James Petras reminded me, Obama has refused to meet with President Zelaya. He dislikes Zelaya mostly for his close and unexpected affiliation with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. And because of his egalitarian reformist efforts Zelaya is hated by the Honduran oligarchs, the same oligarchs who for many years have been close to and splendidly served by the US empire builders.

      These are the two items that are most troubling to me.  

      "The military industrial complex not only controls our government, lock, stock and barrel, but they control our culture." - Mike Gravel

      by Wilberforce on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 10:43:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How do they keep aid from going to wrong ppl? (0+ / 0-)

    That's one thing I've never understood about aid and sanctions. They say that they're only cutting off the government, and other aid to Honduras will remain unaffected, but how can you guarantee that? Money is fungible - Honduras either has that money or it doesn't - and if the people we like are taken care of with our money, that frees up more of Honduras' own money for the government.

    It's the same with North Korea: the aid is earmarked on our books for the people, but you know it all goes to the regime.

    This is the argument we used against so-called "faith-based initiatives": help out religious organizations' charity arms with public funds, and you've only freed up more internal money for their activists and proselytes.

    Our goal must be to eliminate all suffering from the world.

    by Visceral on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 10:28:06 AM PDT

  •  The fact that the old regime's ambassador to us (0+ / 0-)

    is choosing to co-operate with the new regime,
    is outrageous.  For that matter, the fact that Obama didn't just dis the new regime loudly and immediately is outrageous.  He acts like he doesn't know what the School of the Americas even was, or who was on which side of history, THROUGHOUT our 20th century history in Latin America.

    The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

    by ge0rge on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 11:32:41 AM PDT

  •  Finally found the right link (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, betson08

    "Yours for Humanity" Abby Kelley

    by Abby Kelleyite on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 03:19:24 PM PDT

  •  Afro Honduran group is suing over this comment (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, el cid, cadejo4

    Just got this in an email (sorry about the no translation)


    Barrio La Isla, 2da. Calle ½ cuadra al este de la Iglesia Filadelfia

    Apartado Postal # 538  La Ceiba, Honduras, C. A.

    TEL 443-36-51 /FAX 443-4642

    Sitio Web: ,

    E-Mail: , ,

    La Ceiba, Honduras 7 de Julio de 2009


    Luis Alberto Rubí Ávila

    Fiscal General de la República

    Tegucigalpa, M. D. C.

    Señor Fiscal General de la República:

    Me dirijo a usted en mi condición de Presidente y Representante Legal de la Organización de Desarrollo Étnico Comunitario ODECO, institución privada sin fines de lucro, organizada de acuerdo a las leyes de Honduras, fundada en la ciudad de La Ceiba, el 25 de enero de 1992, con Personalidad Jurídica 072-94. Uno de los objetivos de la ODECO, es: “h) Luchar por el respeto de los Derechos Humanos, la dignificación del hombre y la mujer en su mas amplia manifestación, de conformidad a la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos y la Constitución de la República”.  
    El día  lunes 29 de junio de 2009, fue sorprendida la opinión pública nacional e internacional, por una desagradable declaración manifestada por el Doctor Enrique Ortez Colindres, en el escuchado y visto programa FRENTE a FRENTE, que se transmite por la Corporación Televicentro y que es conducido por el periodista Renato Alvarez. Tal parece que el reconocido ciudadano, convertido ahora en ¨Canciller de República¨, al momento de referirse al Señor Barack Obama, Presidente de los Estados Unidos de América, dijo ¨el negrito no conoce donde queda Tegucigalpa¨, esa infortunada e inoportuna declaración muestra la conducta irrespetuosa y racista de un alto funcionario de un Gobierno surgido de la mayor crisis política que sacude a Honduras, en los últimos treinta años.
    Las infortunadas e irrespetuosas declaraciones del ¨Canciller¨ Ortez Colindres,  son una verdadera ofensa para la humanidad, especialmente a las personas descendientes de africanos (negritos). Si el “Canciller” se atreve llamar “negrito” al Presidente de la primera potencia mundial, ¿que trato podría esperarle a los pobres terrenales Afrohondureños?.  
    Como usted sabe, el flagelo del racismo y la discriminación no tiene fronteras territoriales, étnicas, raciales ni religiosas; es una flagrante violación de la Constitución de la Republica, que en su articulo 60, plantea las garantías de igualdad ante la Ley,  prohibición de clases privilegiadas, prohibición de toda forma de discriminación, igualdad de derechos.

    El crimen de racismo y discriminación racial es sancionado por el Código Penal, en su articulo 321, que a su letra dice: Serán sancionados con reclusión de  tres a cinco años,   con multa de  30 mil a 50 mil lempiras quien haga objeto de discriminación a otra persona por motivo de sexo, raza, edad, clase, religión, militancia partidista o política, adolescimiento de alguna discapacidad y cualquier otra lesiva a la dignidad humana. Si el responsable es extranjero se le expulsará del territorio nacional una vez cumplida la condena.  
    El Estado Hondureño, mediante Decreto Legislativo 61-2002, ratificó la Convención Internacional Contra Todas las Formas de Discriminación Racial. Además, Honduras, participó activamente en la Conferencia Regional Contra el Racismo, celebrada en Santiago de Chile, en el año 2000, como también en la III Conferencia Mundial Contra el Racismo celebrada en Durban, Sudáfrica en el año 2001, así como en las Conferencias Regionales contra el Racismo celebradas en Brasilia, durante los años 2006 y 2008, finalmente en la Conferencia Mundial de Revisión de Durban, celebrada en Ginebra, Suiza del 20 al 24 de abril de 2009.  

    Como consecuencia de las inoportunas declaraciones públicas ya conocidas, Ante el Señor Fiscal General de República, Presento Formal DENUNCIA EN CONTRA del Señor Enrique Ortez Colindres.  

    Pido al Señor Fiscal General de la República, realizar las diligencias necesarias ante quien corresponda y se proceda a castigar el DELITO DE DISCRIMINACION RACIAL que de manera conciente y en forma publica ha cometido el señor Enrique Ortez Colindres, en contra de la humanidad, especialmente de las personas Afrohondureñas. Las declaraciones del señor Ortez Colindres, promueven e incitan el racismo, el irrespeto y la intolerancia en franca violación de la Constitución de la República, las leyes y Convenios Internacionales.

    Finalmente, hacemos un llamado a los partidos políticos legalmente constituidos en nuestro país, para que reflexionen con respecto al asunto que ahora se denuncia, procurando integrar en su militancia a personas con altos valores éticos, morales, con cultura general y respetuosas de los derechos humanos.


    Celeo Alvarez Casildo

    Presidente ODECO

    CC.  Abogado Jorge Rivera. Presidente de la CSJ.

           Abogado José Alfredo Saavedra. Presidente del Congreso Nacional.

           Licenciada Jany del Cid, Fiscalía de las Etnias.

           Doctor Ramón Custodio López. CONADEH.

           Organizaciones de Derechos Humanos.

           Organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil.

           Organizaciones y Comunidades Afrohondureñas.

           Organizaciones y Comunidades Indígenas.

           Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos CIDH.

            Medios de Comunicación.

           Junta Directiva Central ODECO

           Asesoría Legal ODECO



  •  Honduran paper photoshops blood from coup victim (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, cadejo4

    France 24's "Observers" (H/T notes that La Prensa photoshopped a photo, the photoshopped version being now circulated by right wing Republicans in the U.S., to remove clear signs of injury inflicted by the military as part of the coup crackdown.

    Honduran newspaper photoshops blood from crackdown victim

    Left, photo published in La Prensa, right, original photo.

    These photos seem to prove that a pro-coup newspaper digitally removed bloodstains from the image of a protester shot dead by soldiers.

    Isis Obeth Murillo, 19, a young anti-coup protestor from ousted President Manuel Zelaya's home state of Olancho, died after being shot in the head at the airport during Zelaya's unsuccessful attempt to return to Tegucigalpa on Sunday.

    The image of his friends carrying him has become an iconic image for anti-coup protestors, who say that the army is enforcing a brutal crackdown in the country, largely covered up by the media.

    Highlighted by Cuban website CubaDebate, these two images seem to prove the protesters right. The original image, on the right, shows the youth bleeding from the head and covered in blood, while in the same photo which appeared in La Prensa (on the left), the blood has all but disappeared. Not surprisingly, the newspaper in question is a right leaning anti-Zelaya publication...

    FRANCE  24 graphic artists increased the saturation level of the image in the affected rectangular area, clearly showing that a cover-up tool has been used to cover over the stain.

    I can find no currently archived articles discussing Isis Oved Murillo in La Prensa save this Google cache of a page with an image of the family mourning his death.  It does not appear in the regular archives.  It could be a glitch, but I think that these sorts of things happen after a military coup d'etat.

  •  Tomas Borge echoes my / the obvious point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, cadejo4

    Above I noted that were the Honduran coup d'etat to pass into legitimacy, any aspiring general or officer who seeks to overthrow his elected government -- whether it be a right wing or left wing or neither wing leader -- would just have to make sure to include a little vapid court formalism or allege that a court asked them or promise that the post-coup vote by the legislature was totally legitimate.

    That's one reason every government in the region, including the right wing, Chavez-detesting regimes of Calderon's Mexico and Uribe's Colombia, condemned the coup d'etat for what it was -- a military coup d'etat.

    Here's former Sandinista leader Borge:

    What is critical about the military coup in Honduras is not the coup itself, but the dangerous precedent for new coups in Latin America and, do not be surprised, in other places in the world....

    ...The armies are no longer useful, not even for coups d'etat, we all said. A coup d'etat would have no viability, or hope of survival.

    This was a premature judgment. There are still gorillas who dare stage coups d'etat, as was shown in Honduras.

    Even though there, they are living it darkly due to their immense repudiation on a planetary level. They are, poor devils, disconcerted, all alone, big mouths, and groveling among themselves, between slobber and ridicule. They shout gibberish, swear that there was no coup and other idiotic nonsense...

    ...The great worry of the revolutionary governments and even of the right wing ones, is that, if the mutiny of Honduras is successful, it will unquestionably be a harbinger, encouraging the appetite of the tangled hair ones who are still quiet, for the moment, in some countries around the world...

  •  Looking to the Honduran Constitution (0+ / 0-)

    Interestingly, the Honduran Constitution of 1982 does provide for loss of citizenship for those who "incite, promote or aid in the continuation or re-election of the President"  (article 42):
    ARTICULO 42.- La calidad de ciudadano se pierde:  5. Por incitar, promover o apoyar el continuismo o la reelección del Presidente de la República.
    Further, Article 239 indicates that anyone who has held the office of chief executive cannot be president or vice president and anyone who proposes reform to that prohibition can be barred from holding public office for ten years: ARTICULO 239.- El ciudadano que haya desempeñado la titularidad del Poder Ejecutivo no podrá ser Presidente o Vicepresidente de la República. El que quebrante esta disposición o proponga su reforma, así como aquellos que lo apoyen directa o indirectamente, cesarán de inmediato en el desempeño de sus respectivos cargos y quedarán inhabilitados por diez años para el ejercicio de toda función pública.
    My educated guess on that provision is that it is aimed move at banning past military dictators from pursuing the office than it is a stricture contra re-election, per se.
    Additionally, Article 374 bars any amendments regarding the length of the presidential term (amongst other things:
    ARTICULO 374.- No podrán reformarse, en ningún caso, el artículo anterior, el presente artículo, los artículos constitucionales que se refieren a la forma de gobierno, al territorio nacional, al período presidencial, a la prohibición para ser nuevamente Presidente de la República, el ciudadano que lo haya desempeñado bajo cualquier título y el referente a quienes no pueden ser Presidentes de la República por el período subsiguiente.
    As such, it is pretty clear why the Supreme Court of Justice ruled against Zelaya’s plebiscite proposal in the first place. It also means that if the vote had been allowed to happen it would have had no legal standing.

    •  Zelaya, to the best of my knowledge (0+ / 0-)

      never proposed a specific reform to Article 239.  His initiative was for a Constituent Assembly in order to write an entirely new constitution.

      His enemies accused him of doing that in order to get himself reelected, but -- again to the best of my knowledge -- that specific charge was never ruled on by the court.

      The June plebiscite was non-binding, did not mention reelection, and called only for a second, binding referendum to be held concurrently with the presidential elections in November.  That second referendum could only have been conducted if it had been approved by Congress -- and as I recall Article 5 of the Constitution, it would have required a 2/3 vote by the Congress in order to happen at all.  If the second referendum had passed, then new elections would have had to have been organized for the Constituent Assembly, and by the time that happened Zelaya would no longer have been president.

      The reelection issue is a red herring, a false accusation raised by his enemies in order to discredit Zelaya.  The court ruling against the June plebiscite (see pp. 9-12 of the .pdf file) said only that if carried out the plebiscite would cause damage to the "juridical order," and the ruling did not include Article 239 in the constitutional provisions it based its decision upon.  (These Articles were cited: 5, 80, 82, 90, 245, 303, 304 and 305.)

      The rightwing thugs who overthrew the elected president of Honduras did such a good propaganda job they initially took in the entire international press, but they did not succeed in fooling the governments of the hemisphere who have universally condemned the illegal and unconstitutional coup.  It's unfortunate that even as the rest of the world has come to realize just what kind of scum we are dealing with in the de facto Honduran government, there are still people in the world -- even some who consider themselves progressive -- who continue to be taken in by the thugs' lies.

      Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

      by litho on Sun Jul 12, 2009 at 08:41:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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