Friday, July 10, 2009

US talks, stalls, takes no action in Honduras

Clinton Announces Mediation of Honduras Conflict, Zelaya Says Talks to "Plan Withdrawal of the Coup" from AmericasMexico Blog

President Zelaya still continues to get the Obama treatment from the US. Lots of pretty talk, but little or nothing in terms of concrete actions.

"It is our hope that through this dialogue mechanism, overseen by President Arias, that there can be a restoration of democratic constitutional order, a peaceful resolution of this matter that will enable the Honduran people to see the restoration of democracy and a more peaceful future going forward.

Clinton affirmed the U.S. commitment to a "return to democratic constitutional order" in Honduras. She did not give details of the talks, saying the parties will determine the conditions and the issues.

When asked if the restoration of order meant the return to power of President Zelaya, she refused to confirm that position. "Now that we have a mediation process that we hope can begin shortly, I don’t want to prejudge what the parties themselves will agree to." State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly later dodged the question in the same way.

Sounds good on the surface. Until you realize this is just another way of blocking Zelaya from returning to office. His term of office expires in the fall. So, this looks suspiciously like a run-out-the-clock strategy.

On the critical issue of U.S. aid, Clinton stated, "We have paused in the aid that we think would be affected by the letter of the statute. There is humanitarian aid, and that is a concern for us—the well-being of the people of Honduras. But we’ve made the decision to basically pause on any further aid." The government has still not made the official designation of a military coup in Honduras, which would automatically mean a cut-off of certain types of aid.

Ian Kelly, when pressed, added:
"Basically, what we’re looking at is aid that would directly benefit the de facto regime down there, so obviously, that means military assistance programs. But we’re still – I mean, we’ve taken a policy decision to stop aid that might be subject to this – the statute. And so I think that’s kind of a broad definition. I mean, it’s still a fairly small percentage of our overall aid because most of our aid would not come under this statute. And this would be humanitarian aid, which goes directly to the people – it doesn’t go to the government – and any aid that would be construed as democracy promotion."

The US still refuses to do the obvious, which is to call this a coup. Which would mean a cut off of aid. Instead, they substitute this aid 'pause'. Its the last sentence that's stunning. In the past, the US has used 'democracy promotion' aid to fund the opponents of governments it doesn't like in countries like Honduras and Venezuela.

Read Honduran Destablization, Inc. by Nikolas Kozloff to see some of the tale-tale clues left behind by US support for the coup in Honduras. Note that this aid was all under the pretense of 'democracy promotion'. Now, reread that statement from the US State Dept that says this is the aid that is NOT suspended. Its a pretty good guess that the US 'democracy promotion' aid is not going to the Honduran people in the streets trying to fight for some democracy.

Kozloff cites Eva Gollinger, author of The Chavez Code, adds the following from The Role of the International Republican Institute (IRI) in the Honduran Coup

Hence, when the recent coup d’etat occured in Honduras, against democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya, there was little doubt of U.S. fingerprints. IRI’s name appeared as a recipient of a $700,000 Latin American Regional Grant in 2008-2009 from NED to promote “good governance” programs in countries including Honduras. An additional grant of $550,000 to work with “think tanks” and “pressure groups” in Honduras to influence political parties was also given by the NED to IRI in 2008-2009, specifically stating, IRI will support initiatives to implement [political] positions into the 2009 campaigns. IRI will place special emphasis on Honduras, which has scheduled presidential and parliamentary elections in November 2009.” That is clear direct intervention in internal politics in Honduras.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) also provides approximately $49 million annually to Honduras, a large part of which is directed towards “democracy promotion” programs. The majority of the recipients of this aid in Honduras, which comes in the form of funding, training, resources, strategic advice, communications counseling, political party strengthening and leadership training, are organizations directly linked to the recent coup d’etat, such as the Consejo Nacional Anticorrupción, the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, the Honduran Private Enterprise Council (COHEP), the Council of University Deans, the Confederation of Honduran Workers (CTH), the National Convergence Forum, the Chamber of Commerce (FEDECAMARA), the Association of Private Media (AMC), the Group Paz y Democracia and the student group Generación X Cambio. These organizations form part of a coalition self-titled “Unión Cívica Democrática de Honduras” (Civil Democratic Union of Honduras) that has publicly backed the coup against President Zelaya.

Mr. Kozloff adds this comment in his article
I was particularly interested to learn that one recipient of the aid included the Honduran National Business Council, known by its Spanish acronym COHEP, a long time adversary of the Zelaya regime.

Remember, 'democracy promotion' is the aid that the US is NOT 'pausing'. Meanwhile, the US is one of the few countries that won't withdraw its ambassador from Honduras. The US isn't calling this a coup, thus putting into place a more permanent legal ban on aid to this coup government. The US isn't even mentioning the word 'sanctions', which would have a huge impact on Honduras where trade with the US is 50% to 70% of their trade.

And, after SOS Clinton met with President Zelaya, what was her next meeting? Again from Ms. Gollinger's "Postcards from the Revolution" blog.

And the president of Globovision, the most rancid, anti-Chávez television station in Venezuela, also heavily involved in the April 2002 and ongoing media war (Globovision is a thousand times worse than Fox News Network, if you can fathom that), was received yesterday afternoon by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the State Department offices, just after she gave her press conference on her meeting with President Zelaya of Honduras. Alberto Federico Ravell, president of Globovision, together with Leopoldo Castillo, the moderator of the station's most biased, hateful program (like a million times worse than the O'Reilly Factor), were given a 20 minute interview with Clinton and a photo op, which they are drooling over and repeating nonstop. This meeting is clear evidence of the State Department's (Obama Administration's) support for hate-TV Globovision and the Venezuela opposition. Globovision has become the new political party of the opposition.

As always with the Democrats, watch actions instead of words. The Obama administration has none nothing concrete to try to restore President Zelaya to his rightful office. Their actions instead seem designed to stall. Their actions seem designed to treat the coup leaders with equal legitimacy as the elected President, calling for them to sit down together and talk as equals to resolve the problem.

Lets see how productive that first round of negotiations were. Again from the Postcards from the Revolution blog ...

President Zelaya was clear that the only "negotiation" he would engage in regarded how the coup leaders would step down and either leave the country or pay some form of justice. Meanwhile, coup leader and dictator Micheletti was also holding his own, stating he would negotiate all matters except for President Zelaya returning to power.

So things are pretty much where they were 12 days ago. And in the meantime, 12 days have passed and the people of Honduras are living in a dictatorship!! And their constitutional president, who is trying to return back to his elected position, is getting the brush away from the White House, which seems to be controlling the situation at this point. The people of Honduras are still living in a militarized state, with a curfew imposed and a suspension of constitutional rights. They are also still resisting in the streets, despite the dangers and risks, to try and force the coup government to step down.

Both Zelaya and Micheletti have left "delegations" in Costa Rica to continue "negotiating". The whole thing is getting pretty circusy and not looking good in the short time.

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