MACHETERA: Otto Reich and the Honduran Coup D’Etat:The Provocateur, his Protege, and the Toppling of a President-Parts One and Two
July 30, 2009
The story of Otto Reich’s role in fomenting the June coup d’etat in Honduras is not a brief one. This report will be posted over two days.
OTTO REICH AND THE HONDURAN COUP D’ETAT:
The Provocateur, his Protégé, and the Toppling of a President (Part One)
The very same day that the coup d’etat in Honduras began, in an emergency session of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington D.C., Roy Chaderton, the Venezuelan ambassador to the OAS, spoke with a simmering fury as he looked directly at Hector Morales, the U.S. Ambassador to the OAS.
“There’s a person who’s been very important within U.S. diplomacy, one who has re-connected with old friends and colleagues and helped encourage the coup perpetrators,” he said.
“The gentleman’s name is Otto Reich, former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs during the government of George [W.] Bush. We in Venezuela have suffered this man, as the U.S. Ambassador in Venezuela, as an interventionist, we suffered him later in his position as Assistant Secretary of State…we had the First Reich, later, the Second Reich, now unfortunately we’re facing the Third Reich, moving within the Latin American ambit through an NGO [non-governmental organization], to fan the flames of the coup.”
Following Chaderton’s furious denunciation, Reich penned a strange non mea-culpa opinion piece which the Miami Herald obligingly printed, complete with Reich’s deliberate misspellings of Chaderton’s name. He said that he was not the coup’s “architect,” which is quite some distance from a total denial.
Shortly thereafter, news reports began to circulate about an unusual guest making the rounds in Tegucigalpa. He had checked into the Plaza Libertador Hotel under the pseudonym Armando Valladares, and was seen making frequent visits to the Presidential Palace and the National Congress. Armando Valladares was the Cuban prisoner who faked paralysis to gain worldwide support for his release, and went on to become chairman of a CIA-linked non-profit front group in New York: the Human Rights Foundation, until he resigned this July, angry that the Foundation had not supported the coup. The man traveling under his name was actually Robert Carmona-Borjas, Reich’s protégé and the notorious figurehead for yet another “non-profit” front group: the Arcadia Foundation. This was the NGO Chaderton was talking about. Until now, a detailed summary of Arcadia’s activities in Honduras has not been reported outside Latin America.
August 2, 2009
OTTO REICH AND THE HONDURAN COUP D’ETAT: The Provocateur, his Protege, and the Toppling of a President – Part Two
(continued from Part One)
The Circling Sharks
“What is going to happen in this country if the government no longer receives the important revenues that are going to be generated through Hondutel? We’ve come to this company with one mission from President Manuel Zelaya Rosales: We have to go out and defend this company, because they want to eat it like sharks, and that’s what we’re doing, defending it tooth and nail and only with the collaboration of certain friends who are opening this kind of space for us.”
– Marcelo Chimirri, Hondutel Director, September 13, 2007 (From an interview conducted 5 days after Arcadia’s corruption accusations were first reported.)
Arcadia would wage its “grey traffic” crusade in Honduras from September 2007 until the present. Carmona-Borjas first targeted the Rosenthal media family, but his focus and passion quickly began to shift to the fertile territory offered by Marcelo Chimirri Castro, Hondutel’s director.
If you were to look for the colorful personification of a character from a Latin telenovela, it would be hard to find a better candidate than Marcelo Chimirri. Born in Sicily to an Italian father and Honduran mother who later returned to Honduras, he bears a passing resemblance to Antonio Banderas and has a fondness for thoroughbred horses, luxury vehicles, Harley Davidsons and beautiful women. He did appear in Arcadia’s original report, in a deeply slanderous way: “despite having been considered innocent, [Chimirri] remains the object of attention by the Honduran chim2attorney general for the death of his ex-girlfriend Yadira Miguel Mejia, and for threats and aggressive behavior toward journalists.” Another man was convicted for that crime, and there are no indications new evidence exists, yet Arcadia had no qualms about trying to connect him to a brutal murder. Chimirri is also the nephew of Zelaya’s wife, Xiomara Castro.
Like Zelaya, he is plainspoken, and appears to have a sense of humor. After many months of being hounded by Carmona-Borjas, Chimirri finally told El Heraldo that the reason Carmona-Borjas could not stop talking about him was that he was fatally attracted to him.
Arcadia’s contacts within the Honduran justice system may have been unusual but they were trivial compared with its connections to the U.S. Justice Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The rest of Part Two: