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REBELION: James Petras on Understanding the Coup in Honduras

August 21, 2009

I think that Petras has a concise, dead-on analysis about how and who in the US is managing the coup.  I agree that Reich and Negroponte are not making the policy, but I’m sure that Negroponte’s advice is solicited from time to time.  While Petras did not mention Ambassador Llorens, it should be noted that he was the point man in Honduras who served as the glue keeping the various components of the coup machine together long enough for the helicopter containing President Zelaya to get off the ground at  Soto Cano base and head to Costa Rica.

REBELION: Petras: Understanding the coup in Honduras (English)

James Petras from Rebelion Aug. 18, 2009


How to understand this coup d’etat in Honduras ? First is the integration of the Honduran army within the U.S. military system. I say that not as an ideological expression but based on many years of observation and empirical research. The whole official layer of generals down to lieutenants in Honduras is trained in the United States, under the tutelage of U.S. officials. The U.S. officials operate from the Honduran defense ministry. There are consultations not only on a daily basis but hour-by-hour they consult with each other on every military and political project of the United States in Central American and the Caribbean.

It is absolutely false that the military acts on its own. Also false that U.S. officials simply “knew” about preparations for the coup, as some rumors or reports say. That is they knew, consulted, planned and analyzed the consequences. For that reason when the coup occurs, and afterwards there is a great unanimous reaction from Latin America and countries outside the region, Mrs. Clinton immediately tries to distance the United States, but doesn’t take the position congruent with the rest which was to condemn the coup. She invented the phrase, “interim government,” as if it were just another transitional government. That is the best indication that Washington, in the face of the huge opposition of even its most servile allies who were condemning the coup, had to elaborate a two-track policy: one was the public one which was the criticism of the coup, but in practice opposing Zelaya’s return.

The operative policy was to see how any negotiation process could be dragged out in a less unfavorable space, because the OAS is unfavorable territory. The United States had to protect its client in Honduras, wedged between hostile governments. So another space was invented with Mr. Arias, a notorious supporter of Washington and the free trade agreement in Costa Rica who has earned points in the United States for his criticisms of Chavez. Clinton manages to change the site, marginalizing the OAS and at the same time strengthening support for the puppet government. Now Clinton has no commitments of principle with Micheletti, the coup government. She is willing to sacrifice him if another one comes along, another change, anybody except Zelaya.

This tactic of dragging out the negotiations is part Washington’s policy. Now a final point: Some misinformed people in Latin America say that Washington’s coup policy is the product of officials, what they call the “ultra-right,” such as Otto Reich, such as John Negroponte. This is absolutely false; it’s creation of their fantasies. They don’t make policy at the present time in the United States. They have no power over the armed forces. It’s Clinton, it’s Obama, it’s the Pentagon, the State Department, and the White House who make policy. These critics who go around inventing an “ultra-right” as authors of policy want to absolve Obama. They refuse to understand or they are ignorant of how U.S. policy works. At this time Obama carries out a two-faced policy: a friendly, amiable discourse and an aggressive, violent practice.

“If we do not bring an end to the capitalist system, it will be impossible to save the Earth.” Evo Morales

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