Honduras

A quick overview of the present situation in Honduras would start with the military coup on June 28, 2009 which overthrew the  legally elected president,  Manuel Zelaya. Subsequently, the speaker of Congress, constitutionally second-in-line to the presidency, Roberto Michelettiwas sworn in as interim leader.

The nominal explanation for the military coup was the claim that Mr. Zelaya was seeking to remove the constitutional limit of one term on holding the presidency as a means of running for president again. According to the BBC, “Mr Zelaya planned to hold a non-binding public consultation on 28 June to ask people whether they supported moves to change the constitution..

The BBC continues, saying that Mr. Zelaya denied that he was seeking to remain in office and that commentators say that the timing of the forthcoming elections and the proposed consultation would have precluded the possibility that Mr. Zelaya could have stayed in office.

The international condemnation of the coup was immediate. The Organization of American States, the Rio Group and the U.N. General Assembly called for Mr. Zelaya’s reinstatement, the World Bank suspended financial aid. Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela recalled their ambassadors, while the presidents of Argentina and Brazil denounced the coup and called for Mr. Zelaya’s reinstatement. All EU countries withdrew their diplomats from Honduras.

The U.S. reacted carefuuly, stressing that Mr. Zelaya was legally elected “but also that the crisis needs to be resolved peacefully through dialogue between the two sides.” as the BBC put it.

The Obama administration has waffled, seemingly unable to reconcile opposing influences within itself. According to an article by Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, “Why such reluctance to openly call for the immediate and unconditional return of an elected president, as the rest of the hemisphere and the United Nations has done? One obvious possibility is that Washington does not share these goals. The coup leaders have no international support but they could still succeed by running out the clock – Zelaya has less than six months left in his term. Will the Obama administration support sanctions against the coup government in order to prevent this? The neighboring governments of Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador have already fired a warning shot by announcing a 48-hour cut-off of trade.

By contrast, one reason for Hillary Clinton’s reluctance to call the coup a coup is because the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act prohibits funds going to governments where the head of state has been deposed by a military coup.”

For behind the looks at who is supporting the coup in Washington, a group seemingly centered in the Hillary Clinton camp, look at Who’s in Charge of Obama’s Foreign Policy where he among other things says, “… it turns out that two of the Honduran coup government’s top advisors have close ties to the Secretary of State. One is Lanny Davis, an influential lobbyist who was a personal lawyer for President Bill Clinton and also campaigned for Hillary. G. Gordon Liddy, the man who organized the infamous Watergate break-in in 1972, once said of his friend Lanny Davis that “he can defend the indefensible.” He is doing that quite well lately, testifying for the coup government at a Congressional hearing last week, and spinning the media on their behalf.

The other hired gun for the coup government that has deep Clinton ties is Bennett Ratcliff. “Every proposal that Micheletti’s group presented was written or approved by [Ratcliff],” a witness told the New York Times on Sunday. Who is Bennett Ratcliff? He was a senior executive for Bob Squier, known as the father of the modern political campaign. At his funeral in 2000, which was attended by some of the most powerful Democrats in the country, Squier was eulogized by then President Bill Clinton. Speaking on behalf of himself and Vice President Al Gore, also at the funeral, Clinton said, “But for him [Squier], we might not have been here today.” And not only them: in 1992, Squier’s firm represented about a third of the Senate’s Democrats.”

Weisbrot also says, “Perhaps most disturbing of all is that President Obama has remained silent in the face of repression by the coup government. They have shot and killed demonstrators, closed down radio and TV stations, and arrested journalists.”

See also lobbying.

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On Sunday Nov. 29, 2009 elections will be held for the presidency. Most of the world sees these elections as illegitimate and will not recognize their validity. See update

Reactions and analysis of the ‘elections’ can be seen here.

Further analysis can be heard/seen on Democracy Now and on KPFA’s The Morning Show at the 12.30 minute mark.

Dec. 2010: Update based on Wikileaks documents.