Thursday, September 03, 2009

Ousted Honduran Leader Seeks Tougher U.S. Stance Against Coup~ NY Times + Comment

September 3, 2009

Ousted Honduran Leader Seeks Tougher U.S. Stance Against Coup

WASHINGTON — Manuel Zelaya, the deposed president of Honduras, called on the United States to match its strong words of condemnation for the coup that ousted him with actions — asking the Obama administration to cut off tens of millions of dollars in assistance to the de facto government and freeze the visas and assets of those
involved in plotting his overthrow.

Mr. Zelaya said he appreciated the numerous statements President Obama had made in his defense since June 28 when Honduran soldiers rousted him from bed and loaded him, dressed in his pajamas, onto a plane leaving the country.

Yet without tougher actions, he said, Mr. Obama's statements had begun to ring hollow, hardening the intransigence of those who deposed him, and signaling to Latin America that the United States put politics above democratic principles.

"He's risking his prestige in Latin America," Mr. Zelaya said. "We are not asking him to intervene. We are asking him to be consistent with democratic principles. And if he does that, Latin America will applaud."

His remarks came moments after a speech at George Washington University and a day before he was scheduled to meet Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

A senior State Department official rejected Mr. Zelaya's criticism, saying that the United States had exerted more pressure than any other country to restore Honduran democracy.

The administration has cut some $22 million in government assistance, including $16 million in military aid, the official said. It has also revoked a handful of diplomatic visas from members of the de facto government, and it recently stopped issuing all nonimmigrant visas at the American Embassy in Honduras.

"I would contest that this situation can be resolved with easy formulas," the official said. "This situation is complex. If it weren't it would have already been resolved."

So far, the reviews of Mr. Obama's handling of the Honduras crisis have been mixed. Initially, the administration won praise throughout the hemisphere for condemning the coup in no uncertain terms and collaborating with other countries in the region to
resolve the crisis rather than taking unilateral action.

But with talks on restoring Mr. Zelaya at an impasse, there have been charges that the United States was sending mixed messages, publicly saying that it supports Mr. Zelaya's return but refusing to use all its economic influence in Honduras to force the de facto government to resign.

"If they can't get the cast of characters in Honduras to behave the way they want them to," said Julia E. Sweig of the Council on Foreign Relations, "how are they going to deal with Afghanistan or Iran?"

The longer the political crisis in Honduras continues, the more of a conundrum it
threatens to create for Mr. Obama. A handful of Congressional Republicans, backed by a well-connected group of lawyers and lobbyists, have mobilized in support of the de facto government, accusing Mr. Zelaya of illegally trying to change the Constitution so that he could run for another term.

They have held up crucial State Department appointments to pressure the administration not to impose sanctions against Honduran leaders.

A clash also appears to be brewing between the administration and some Latin American countries over whether to recognize the Honduran election scheduled to take place this autumn. Several countries, including Brazil, Mexico and Chile, have said they would not recognize an election overseen by the de facto government.

The United States, Canada and Caribbean countries have so far not taken a formal position, saying that an election may be the only peaceful way to end the conflict
that has polarized Honduras.

Presidential campaigning began on Tuesday there, and in a televised address the head
of the de facto government, Roberto Micheletti, said the contest would show the world that democracy was alive and well in Honduras.

"This process will serve to categorically show that we appreciate democracy, that we are a people who want to live in harmony," Mr. Micheletti said, according to The Associated Press.

Mr. Micheletti, who is not a candidate, added that an election was the "only and definitive solution to the political crisis."

But Mr. Zelaya said the coup undermined Hondurans' faith in democracy and in the rule
of law.

"Any elections without my presence would not end the crisis in my country," he said. "They would only deepen the crisis."

Mr. Zelaya said that in his State Department meetings on Thursday he would ask Mrs. Clinton to clarify several issues. He said he would ask why, two months after he was forced from power, the State Department had not formally determined that his ouster fit the legal definition of a military coup, which would require the United States to definitively cut aid currently considered "on pause."

He also said he would ask the United States to formally condemn the human rights abuses, including attacks against union leaders, journalists and others who support him, that have been reported by groups like Amnesty International and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The State Department official, who was granted anonymity because he was not allowed
to speak publicly, acknowledged that tens of millions of dollars, including development and humanitarian aid, had not been interrupted because of concerns about the impact
on a country where more than half of all people live in extreme poverty.

Officials close to both Mr. Zelaya and Mr. Micheletti said that although formal negotiations seemed to be going nowhere, informal talks between Mr. Zelaya and his opponents had begun, raising hopes that a settlement could be reached.

The State Department official said, however, that the de facto government had used talks to stall for time, and he warned that the United States was prepared to take tougher measures if it still refused to relent.

Next week, the board of directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which is headed by Mrs. Clinton and financed by the United States, will meet to decide whether
to cut off its aid to Honduras, which includes $215 million over four years.

Ousted Honduran Leader Asks U.S. to Act

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted from the Honduran presidency in June, is in Washington for meetings with American officials.
Comment: So it will be another successful coup in Latin Amerika. Chicanos here
not inside the United States are powerless to do anything about it, despite our
POTENTIAL POWERS! Where is the liberation movement inside the United States?

Memories will fade, events will become historical background for those who remember
and it will be business as usual for the fascist corporate state!

By his very position President Obama is a fascist in dark face. Now the U.S.A.

is getting caught up in Afghanistan... another fascist fiasco. The Amerikan
Dream has become a nightmare for many millions inside the United States
and continues to play the bad cop on a global scale, creating more enemies!
Another 911 is right around the corner! Stay alert, stay alive!

Education for Liberation! Venceremos Unidos!
Peter S. Lopez ~aka ~Peta-de-Aztlan~
Sacramento, California, Aztlan
Yahoo Email: 
Come Together! Join Up! Seize the Time!


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