The national congress has just unanimously approved the destitution of Manuel Zelaya as president of Honduras. The President of the Congress, Roberto Micheletti, will assume the position of President of the Republic of Honduras.
La Prensa, Honduras: The Supreme Court explains in an official statement that the actions of the armed forces was legal. President Manuel Zelaya was violating a judicial order of the Supreme Court. The article has received more 500 reader comments if you would like to see a sampling of Honduran opinions on the action. (Please use a translator if you need one, I just don't have time to summarize the article!)
The Washington Post was one of the few major U.S. papers whose initial reaction was to condemn the [2002 Venezuelan] coup outright. Though heavily critical of Chavez, the paper's April 14 editorial led with an affirmation that "any interruption of democracy in Latin America is wrong, the more so when it involves the military."
Curiously, however, the Washington Post took pains to insist that "there's been no suggestion that the United States had anything to do with this Latin American coup," even though details from Venezuela were still sketchy at that time.*
...progressive leaders enter power on a wave of popular support only to find their hands bound by constitutions written by their neoliberal predecessors of the 1990s under the tutelage of Washington. The new leaders then face the choice of playing by the very limited rules of the neoliberal constitution or writing up a new charter. Even the proposal of new rules enrages the local oligarchy which, of course, was behind the neoliberal constitution in the first place, and the opposition to constitutions aimed at democratizing power has grown with each successive process.
Castillo also denied that Ham has been detained and said that he remains in a secure location, faced with the possibility of repression by the coup leaders.
...while condemning the overthrow, U.S. officials did not demand the reinstatement of Zelaya. The administration left its ambassador to Honduras in place, while several governments in the region recalled theirs.
And despite control over millions of dollars in American aid and massive U.S. economic clout, the administration did not threaten sanctions or penalties against Honduras for the formation of a new government the day after Zelaya was dragged from his bed and removed from the country Sunday.
Chavez has, justifiably, cast the coup as an overt threat to his regime. He has charged the US with complicity, alleging involvement by Otto Reich, a long-time anti-Castro operative and favorite of anti-Castro exiles in Miami. Reich played a key role as a Reagan administration State Department official in the Iran-Contra conspiracy, in which Reagan authorized secret funding for the anti-Sandinista Contras, in violation of the Boland amendment which had been passed by Congress banning US aid to the Contra death squads.
Reich was one of a number of Iran-Contra veterans who were appointed to government posts in the administration of George W. Bush, serving as assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs.
The US used southern Honduras as the base of operations for its proxy war in the 1980s against the left nationalist, Cuban-allied regime in neighboring Nicaragua.
But what did the Canadian government say following the first rumblings of a potential military coup against the moderately left wing Honduran president, Jose Manuel Zelaya, on June 25? Nothing. As of the evening of June 29, it had issued one rather tepid press release late on June 28, more than 12 hours after the coup became known outside Honduras.
And what did the Canadian government say when over 50 indigenous activists in Peru were gunned down on June 5th by military and police forces for protesting their government’s free trade policies? Nothing. The massacre of indigenous protesters in Peru, many of whose bodies were then dumped by police in a river, didn’t rate any mention at all.
So why does Iran rate a sharp rebuke, but a military coup in Honduras and brutal repression in Peru inspire cautious condemnation and silence respectively?
Honduras is a deeply unequal country, with the richest 10% of the population taking home 43.7% of the National Income. In contrast, the poorest 30% take just 7.4%, and just under 40% of the population live in poverty (defined as earning less than double the cost of the basic food basket). Only 4.7% of Hondurans have access to the internet, which might go some way to explaining the social background of Honduran coup cheerleaders on English-language websites such as the BBC’s.
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