Why are the children fleeing Honduras? Why are mothers sending their children across a foreign border?
They are fleeing gangster fascism where the poor are terrorized daily by gangs supported by the military dictatorship installed in June of 2009 by Obama and Clinton.
Eva Golinger gives a thorough and complete analysis of the events and names the major players. John Negroponte, the father of the death squads in Nicaragua, is there. Hugo Llorens, the architect of the coup against Hugo Chavez in 2002, is there. The School of the Americas is there. It’s a neo-con reunion, and the result is the destruction of a democratic government and the establishment of gangster fascism.
Please read the following analysis written by Eva Golinger in her blog “Postcards from the Revolution”:
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Washington and the Coup in Honduras: Here is the Evidence
• The Department of State had prior knowledge of the coup.
• The Department of State and the U.S. Congress funded and advised the actors and organizations in Honduras that participated in the coup.
• The Pentagon trained, schooled, commanded, funded and armed the Honduran armed forces that perpetrated the coup and that continue to repress the people of Honduras by force.
• The U.S. military presence in Honduras, that occupies the Soto Cano (Palmerola) military base, authorized the coup d’etat through its tacit complicity and refusal to withdraw its support of the Honduran military involved in the coup.
• The U.S. Ambassador in Tegucigalpa, Hugo Llorens, coordinated the removal from power of President Manuel Zelaya, together with Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon and John Negroponte, who presently works as an advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
• From the first day the coup occurred, Washington has referred to “both parties” involved and the necessity for “dialogue” to restore constitutional order, legitimizing the coup leaders by regarding them as equal players instead of criminal violators of human rights and democratic principles.
• The Department of State has refused to legally classify the events in Honduras as a “coup d’etat,” nor has it suspended or frozen its economic aid or commerce to Honduras, and has taken no measures to effectively pressure the de facto regime.
• Washington manipulated the Organization of American States (OAS) in order to buy time, therefore allowing the coup regime to consolidate and weaken the possibility of President Zelaya’s immediate return to power, as part of a strategy still in place that simply seeks to legitimate the de facto regime and wear down the Honduran people that still resist the coup.
• Secretary of State Clinton and her spokesmen stopped speaking of President Zelaya’s return to power after they designated Costa Rican president Oscar Arias as the “mediator” between the coup regime and the constitutional government; and now the State Department refers to the dictator that illegally took power during the coup, Roberto Micheletti, as the “interim caretaker president.”
• The strategy of “negotiating” with the coup regime was imposed by the Obama administration as a way of discrediting President Zelaya—blaming him for provoking the coup—and legitimizing the coup leaders.
• Members of the U.S. Congress—Democrats and Republicans—organized a visit of representatives from the coup regime in Honduras to Washington, receiving them with honors in different arenas in the U.S. capital.
• Despite the fact that originally it was Republican Senator John McCain who coordinated the visit of the coup regime representatives to Washington through a lobby firm connected to his office, The Cormac Group, now, the illegal regime is being representated by top-notch lobbyist and Clinton attorney Lanny Davis, who is using his pull and influence in Washington to achieve overall acceptance—across party lines—of the coup regime in Honduras.
The new form of diplomacy of the United States, known as “smart power,” has played a principal role before, during and after the coup in Honduras. During a press briefing on July 1, spokesmen for the Department of State admitted to having prior knowledge of the coup in Honduras, clarifying that U.S. diplomats had been meeting with the groups and actors planning the coup to encourage a different “solution” to their discontent with President Zelaya. The State Department also confirmed that two high level representatives from the Department, which included Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Craig Kelley, were in Honduras the week prior to the coup and maintained meetings with the civilian and military groups that later participated in the illegal overthrow of a democratically elected president. They state their mission was to “urge against” the coup, but evidently such verbal pressure was insufficient to discourage the actors involved in the coup, particularly considering the actions manifested by Washington contradicted those harsh words.
On the day of the coup, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton published a statement regarding the situation in Honduras. Despite the fact that governments around the world were quickly condemning the actions as a coup d’etat, Clinton’s statement did not recognize the events in Honduras as a “coup d’etat” and also did not call for the return of President Zelaya to power. Curiously, Clinton’s statements from day one have referred to “all parties” of the situation, legitimizing the coup leaders and somehow placing blame— publicly—on President Mel Zelaya for provoking his own overthrow: “The action taken against Honduran President Mel Zelaya violates the precepts of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and thus should be condemned by all. We call on all parties in Honduras to respect the constitutional order and the rule of law, to reaffirm their democratic vocation, and to commit themselves to resolve political disputes peacefully and through dialogue. Honduras must embrace the very principles of democracy we reaffirmed at the OAS meeting it hosted less than one month ago.”
And ever since, despite different references to a “coup” having occurred in Honduras, the Department of State has refused to legally classify what took place as a coup d’etat. By doing so, the U.S. government would be obligated to suspend economic, diplomatic and military aid to Honduras, which apparently they are unwilling to do, since such a measure would substantially affect U.S. interests in the Central American nation and the region. On July 1, the spokesmen for the State Department explained their wavering on the coup question: “In regard to the coup itself, I think it would just—it would be best to say that this was a coordinated effort between the military and some civilian political actors. Obviously, the military was the entity that conducted the forcible removal of the president and has acted as the securer of public order during this process. But for the coup to become more than an insurrection or a rebellion, you have to have an effort to transfer power. And in that regard, the congress—the congress’ decision to swear in its president, Micheletti, as the president of Honduras indicates that the congress and key members of that congress played an important role in this coup.”
This position of ambiguity, that condemns the events in Honduras as a violation of constitutional order but doesn’t go as far as classifying the situation as a coup d’etat and also doesn’t call for the reinstatement of President Zelaya to the presidency, was ratified again after the meeting held between Secretary of State Clinton and President Zelaya on July 7. Clinton made the following statement, “I just finished a productive meeting with President Zelaya. We discussed the events of the past nine days and the road ahead. I reiterated to him that the United States supports the restoration of the democratic constitutional order in Honduras. We continue to support regional efforts through the OAS to bring about a peaceful resolution that is consistent with the terms of the Inter-American Democratic Charter … We call upon all parties to refrain from acts of violence and to seek a peaceful, constitutional and lasting solution to the serious divisions in Honduras through dialogue. To that end, we have been working with a number of our partners in the hemisphere to create a negotiation, a dialogue that could lead to a peaceful resolution of this situation.”
Now it was clear, after this meeting, that Washington would no longer consider Zelaya’s return to the presidency as a necessary solution but rather would lobby for a “negotiation” with the coup regime, that, in the end, favors U.S. interests. Sources that were present at the Organization of American States (OAS) meetings that took place after the coup affirm that the presence of a high-level U.S. delegation intensified the pressure against other States to urge for a “negotiated” solution that didn’t necessarily imply the return to power of President Zelaya.
This method of circumventing the main issue, manipulating the outcome and attempting to appear as though one position has been assumed when in reality, actions demonstrate the contrary, forms part of the new Obama doctrine of “smart power,” which purports to achieve imperialist objectives without demonizing the government. “Smart Power” is “the capacity to combine ‘hard power’ with ‘soft power’ to achieve a victorious strategy. ‘Smart Power’ strategically uses diplomacy, persuasion, capacity building, military power and economic and political influence, in an effective way with a political and social legitimacy.” Essentially, it’s a mix of military force with all forms of diplomacy, with an emphasis in the use of “democracy promotion” as a principal tactic to strongly influence the destiny of societies, instead of a military invasion. [Note: Beware that “smart power” places an emphasis on the use of agencies like USAID and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to do the ‘dirty work’ of silently penetrating and infiltrating civil society organizations in order to promote a U.S. agenda. This explains Obama’s call for an additional $320 million in “democracy promotion” funds for the 2010 budget just for use in Latin America. This is substantially a higher sum than the quantity requested and used in Latin America for “democracy promotion” by the Bush administration in its eight years of government combined.]
Journalist Jean-Guy Allard has revealed the origens of the current U.S. ambassador in Honduras, Hugo Llorens. According to Allard, Hugo Llorens, a Cuban national from birth who arrived in the United States as part of Operation Peter Pan, is “a specialist in terrorism … In 2002, George W. Bush’s White House strategically placed the astute Llorens as director of Andean Affairs at the National Security Council in Washington, D.C., which converted him into the principal advisor to the President on Venezuela. The coup d’etat in 2002 against Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez occured during Llorens’ tenure, who was working together with Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Otto Reich and the very controversial Elliot Abrams. In July 2008, Llorens was named ambassador to Honduras.”
On June 4, 2009, just weeks before the coup d’etat against President Zelaya, Ambassador Llorens declared to the Honduran press that “… One can’t violate the Constitution in order to create another Constitution, because if one doesn’t respect the Constitution, then we all live under the law of the jungle.” Those declarations were made in reference to the national opinion survey on the possibility of convening a constitutional convention during 2010 that would have taken place on June 28 if the coup d’etat against President Zelaya hadn’t occurred. The commentaries made by Llorens evidence not only his position against the survey, but also his interference in the internal affairs of Honduras.
Just one month before the coup against President Zelaya occured, a coalition of different organizations, business associations, political parties, high level members of the Catholic Church and private media outlets was formed in opposition to Zelaya’s policies. The coalition was called the “Democratic Civil Union of Honduras.” Its only objective was to oust President Zelaya from power in order to impede the future possibility of a constitutional convention to reform the constitution, which would allow the people a voice and a role in their political process.
The “Democratic Civil Union of Honduras” is composed of organizations including the National Anticorruption Council, the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduran Council of Private Enterprise (COHEP), Council of University Deans, Worker’s Federation of Honduras (CTH), National Convergence Forum, National Federation of Commerce and Industry of Honduras (FEDECAMARA), Association of Communication Media (AMC), the group Peace & Democracy and the student group Generation for Change.
The majority of these organizations have been the beneficiaries of the more than $50 million annually disbursed by USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for “democracy promotion” in Honduras. In fact, a USAID report regarding its funding and work with COHEP, described how the “low profile maintained by USAID in this project helped ensure the credibility of COHEP as a Honduran organization and not an arm of USAID.” Which basically means that COHEP is, actually, an arm of USAID.
The spokespeople for the Democratic Civil Union of Honduras representing, according to them, “civil society,” declared to the Honduran press on June 23— five days before the coup took place against President Zelaya—that they “trust the armed forces will comply with their responsibility to defend the Constitution, the law, peace and democracy.” When the coup took place on June 28, they were the first to immediately claim that a coup had not occured, but rather “democracy had been saved” from the hands of President Zelaya, whose crime was to attempt to give voice and visibility to the people. Representing the biased middle and upper classes, the Democratic Civil Union has qualified Zelaya’s supporters as “hordes.”
The International Republican Institute (IRI), an entity that receives funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), received more than $1.2 million in 2009 to work with political groups in Honduras. IRI’s work has been dedicated to supporting “think tanks” and “pressure groups” to influence political parties and “support initiatives to implement political positions during the campaigns in 2009.” This is a clear example of intervention in the internal politics of Honduras and evidence of NED and IRI funding to those groups involved in the coup.
Republican Senator John McCain helped coordinate the visit of a coup regime delegation to Washington last week. McCain is well known for his opposition to governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and other countries in the region considered “anti-imperialist.” McCain also maintains very close ties to the Cuban exile community in Miami. McCain is also chairman of the Board of the International Republican Institute (IRI), which has funded the coup participants in Honduras. McCain offered the services of a lobby firm in Washington, closely tied to him, the Cormac Group, that organized a press conference for the coup regime delegation at the National Press Club on June 7. McCain also helped set up several meetings in Congress with the traditional Cuban-American representatives and those general “Chávez-haters,” such as Connie Mack, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mel Martinez.
But beyond the Republican connection to the Honduran coup regime, there is an even more damning link to the current Democrat administration in Washington. Lawyer Lanny Davis was hired by the Business Council of Latin America (CEAL) to lobby in favor of the coup regime and convince the powers in Washington to accept and recognize the de facto government in Honduras. Lanny Davis was special counsel to ex President Bill Clinton from 1996-1998 and he is a close friend and advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Davis is organizing a diplomatic offensive and public relations blitz in favor of the coup regime, including the strategic placement of advertisements in important U.S. media that seek to legitimize the de facto Honduran government, and he is organizing meetings and hearings with members of Congress, the State Department and the White House. CEAL represents the conservative business community in Latin America, including those that have promoted and participated in previous attempts to oust democratic governments via coup d’etats and/or other forms of sabotage. For example, the Venezuelan representative of CEAL is Marcel Granier, president of RCTV, the television station that heavily participated in the 2002 coup against President Chávez and that consistently has violated Venezuelan law in order to promote its political agenda.
As part of this offensive, Lanny Davis arranged a special hearing before the House Foreign Relations Committee, attended by high level members of Congress and overseen by Democrat Elliot Engel (congressman from New York). Testimonies were given at the hearing by representatives of the coup regime from Honduras and others who have supported the coup—directly and indirectly—such as Michael Shifter from the InterAmerican Dialogue, Guillermo Pérez-Cadalso, ex Honduran foreign minister and Supreme Court judge, and the infamous Otto Reich, a Cuban-American well known for his role in the majority of destabilization activities against leftist and progressive governments in Latin America throughout the ’80s. Reich, who was named special advisor on Latin America to President George W. Bush, also played a key role in the 2002 coup against President Chávez. As a result of this hearing, the U.S. Congress is currently trying to pass a resolution that recognizes the coup regime in Honduras as a legitimate government.
Many analysts and specialists on Latin American have speculated on the role of former Ambassador to Honduras John Negroponte, who directed the paramilitary forces and death squads known as the “Contra” against leftist movements in Central America during the 1980s. Negroponte held various high level positions during the Bush administration, including U.S. ambassador to Iraq, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, national director of Intelligence and lastly, subsecretary of state, second only to Condoleezza Rice. After leaving the Department of State in January 2009, Negroponte entered the private sector, as is the custom amongst former top government officials. He was offered a job as vice president at the most influential and powerful consulting firm in Washington, McLarty Associates. Negroponte accepted the job. McLarty Associates was founded by Thomas “Mack” McLarty, former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton and also Clinton’s special envoy to Latin America. Since the end of the Clinton administration, McLarty has managed the most powerful strategic consulting firm in Washington, which until just last year, was called Kissinger-McLarty Associates due to the merging of Thomas McLarty and Henry Kissinger. This partnership clearly evidenced the bi-partisan unions that truly craft the most important policies in Washington.
In his new role, John Negroponte presently works as advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Remember, the current U.S. ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, has worked closely under Negroponte’s domain during the majority of his career. So it would not be a far jump to consider that John Negroponte, expert in crushing leftist movements in Central America, has played a role in the current coup against President Zelaya in Honduras.
The United States maintains a large military presence in Honduras in the Soto Cano (Palmerola) base, located about 50 miles from the capital, Tegucigalpa, that has been actively operating since 1981, when it was heavily occupied by the Reagan Administration and used for its operations in Central America.
During the ’80s, Soto Cano was used by Colonel Oliver North as a base of operations of the “Contra,” the paramilitary forces trained, armed and funded by the CIA, and charged with executing warfare against all leftist movements in Central America, with particular focus on the neighboring Sandinista government in Nicaragua. From Soto Cano, the “Contra” launched terrorist attacks, psychological warfare, death squads and special covert missions that resulted in the assassination of tens of thousands of farmers and civilians, thousands of disappeared, tortured, wounded and terrorized all throughout the region.
John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador at the time in Honduras, together with Oliver North and Otto Reich, directed and oversaw these dirty operations. They later became involved in the Iran-Contra scandal once the U.S. Congress cut the funding for the paramilitary groups and death squads used by the Reagan Administration to neutralize the leftist movements in the region, and the Negroponte-North-Reich team sold arms to Iran to continue funding their covert operations.
The Soto Cano base houses the U.S. Joint Task Force-Bravo military group, composed of members from the Army, Air Force, joint security forces and the First Batallion Regiment 228 of the U.S. Air Force. The current total presence of U.S. forces on the base numbers approximately 600, and includes 18 combat planes, UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, used for special warfare operations. The Honduran Aviation Academy is also located on the Soto Cano Base. More than 650 Honduran and U.S. citizens also live inside the base installations.
The Honduran Constitution does not permit legally the presence of foreign military in the country. A “handshake” agreement was made between Washington and Honduras authorizing the “semi-permanent” important and strategic presence of hundreds—at times thousands—of U.S. military personnel on the base. The agreement was made in 1954, in exchange for the multi-million dollar aid the U.S. provides to the Honduran armed forces, which ranges from training programs, arms and military equipment and joint exercises and operations that take place on the ground in Honduras. The base was first employed by the U.S. military and CIA to launch the coup d’etat against Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954.
Each year, Washington authorizes hundreds of millions of dollars in military and economic aid to Honduras, which is the third poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, after Haiti and Nicaragua. This “exchange” securing the U.S. military presence in the Central American nation can be terminated at any time by the Honduran government, without much notice.
On May 31, 2008, President Manuel Zelaya announced that Soto Cano (Palmerola) would be converted into an international civilian airport. The construction of the airport terminal would be financed with a fund from the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA—of which Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Dominique, Honduras, Nicaragua, St. Vicents, Antigua & Barbados and Venezuela are members). This obviously was a huge threat to the future U.S. military presence in Honduras.
The two generals that have participated in key roles in the coup against President Zelaya are both graduates of the U.S. School of the Americas, famous for training dictators, torturers and repressors in Latin America, and they maintain very close ties with the U.S. military forces based in Honduras. The commander of the Honduran Air Force, General Luis Javier Prince Suazo, studied in the famous School of the Americas in 1996. The head of the Honduran High Military Command, General Romeo Vásquez, who was fired by President Zelaya on June 24, 2009, for disobeying the president’s orders, and later appeared as the principal actor in the military coup just days later, is also a graduate of the School of the Americas. These two high level military officers also maintain close contact with the Pentagon and the Southern Command.
The U.S. Ambassador in Honduras through September 2008, when Hugo Llorens was appointed to the position, Charles Ford, was transferred from Honduras to the Southern Command in Florida and charged with providing “strategic advising” to the Pentagon about Latin America, a position he holds today.
The Honduran military are funded, trained, schooled and commanded by the U.S. military. They have been indoctrinated with the anti-leftist, anti-socialist, pro-empire mentality since the beginning of the Cold War. The generals and high level officers involved in the coup in Honduras have publicly stated that they were “obligated” to remove President Zelaya from power because of the “threat” he posed with his “leftist” ideology and alignment to socialist nations in the region such as Venezuela and Cuba. Per one Honduran colonel, “‘We fought the subversive movements here and we were the only country that did not have a fratricidal war like the others … It would be difficult for us, with our training, to have a relationship with a leftist government. That’s impossible. I personally would have retired, because my thinking, my principles, would not have allowed me to participate in that.’’
All of the above evidence—and certainly more to come in the future—proves the undeniable role of Washington in the coup d’etat aginst President Zelaya in Honduras.
The Honduran children, political refugees from gangster fascism created by Obama and Clinton
Why are the children fleeing Honduras? Why are mothers sending their children across a foreign border?