President Obama innocent of the events occurring in Honduras,
specifically the coup launched by the Honduran military resulting in
the abduction and forced deportation of democratically elected
President Manuel Zelaya? Obama has denounced the coup and demanded that
the rules of democracy be honored. Still, several troubling questions
First, almost all the senior Honduran military officers active in the
coup are graduates of the Pentagon's School of the Americas (known to
many of us as "School of the Assassins"). The Honduran military is
trained, advised, equipped, indoctrinated, and financed by the United
States national security state. The generals would never have dared to
move without tacit consent from the White House or the Pentagon and CIA.
Second, if Obama was not directly involved, then he should be faulted
for having no firm command over those US operatives who were. The US
military must have known about the plot and US military intelligence
must have known and must have reported it back to Washington. Why did
Obama’s people who had communicated with the coup leaders fail to
blow the whistle on them? Why did they not expose and denounce the
plot, thereby possibly foiling the entire venture? Instead the US kept
quiet about it, a silence that in effect, even if not in intent, served
as an act of complicity.
Third, immediately after the coup, Obama stated that he was against
using violence to effect change and that it was up to the various
parties in Honduras to resolve their differences. His remarks were a
rather tepid and muted response to a gangster putsch.
Fourth, Obama never expected there would be an enormous uproar over the
Honduras coup. He hastily joined the outcry against the perpetrators
only when it became evident that opposition to the putschists was
nearly universal throughout Latin America and elsewhere in the world.
Fifth, Obama still has had nothing to say about the many other acts of
repression attendant with the coup perpetrated by Honduran military and
police: kidnappings, beatings, disappearances, attacks on
demonstrators, shutting down the internet and suppressing the few small
critical media outlets that exist in Honduras.
Sixth, as James Petras reminded me, Obama has refused to meet with
President Zelaya. He dislikes Zelaya mostly for his close and
unexpected affiliation with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. And because
of his egalitarian reformist efforts Zelaya is hated by the Honduran
oligarchs, the same oligarchs who for many years have been close to and
splendidly served by the US empire builders.
Seventh, under a law passed by the US Congress, any democratic
government that is the victim of a military takeover is to be denied US
military and economic aid. Obama still has not cut off the economic and
military aid to Honduras as he is required to do under this law. This
is perhaps the most telling datum regarding whose side he is on. (His
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is even worse. She refuses to call
it a coup and states that there are two sides to this story.)
As president, Obama has considerable influence and immense resources
that might well have thwarted the perpetrators and perhaps could still
be applied against them with real effect. As of now he seems more
inclined to take the insider track rather than an actively democratic
stance. On Honduras he is doing too little too late--as is the case
with many other things he does.