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July 17, 2009 - No. 140

Honduras

What Must Be Demanded of the United States


July 12, 2009: Rally in central square of Tegucigalpa. Banner reads: "Comrade Mel, the peoples are with you."

What Must Be Demanded of the United States - Fidel Castro
President Zelaya en Route to Honduras as Resistance to Coup Gathers Strength
Massive Repression by Coup Regime
Telesur and Venezuelan TV Journalists Arrested in Honduras - Tamara Pearson, Venezuelanalysis.com
Shame on Canada, Coup Supporter - Ashley Holly, TheTyee.ca
Hugo Llorens, U.S. Ambassador to Honduras: An Eloquent Pedigree - Jean-Guy Allard, Granma International
U.S. Continues to Train Honduran Soldiers - James Hodge and Linda Cooper, National Catholic Reporter
Honduran Oligarchy: "The War Is Against Chavez" - Ricardo Daher, Aporrea


Honduras

What Must Be Demanded of the United States

The meeting in Costa Rica did not lead and could not lead to peace. The people of Honduras are not at war; only the coup perpetrators are using weapons against them. They should be called on to end their war on the people. Such a meeting between Zelaya and the coup leaders would only serve to demoralize the constitutional president and wear down the energies of the Honduran people.

World public opinion knows what has taken place in that country via footage circulated by international television, fundamentally Telesur which, without losing a second, faithfully transmitted each and every one of the events that took place in Honduras, the speeches given and the unanimous agreements against the coup by international agencies.

The world was able to see the blows rained down on men and women, the thousands of teargas grenades fired on the crowds, the gross gestures with weapons of war and live rounds to intimidate, wound or kill citizens.

The idea that Hugo Llorens, the U.S. ambassador in Tegucigalpa, was unaware of or discouraged the coup is absolutely untrue. He knew about it, as did the U.S. military advisors, who didn't stop their training of Honduran troops for one minute.

It is now known that the idea of promoting a peace move initiated in Costa Rica emerged from the offices of the State Department in order to contribute to the consolidation of the military coup.

The coup was conceived of and organized by unscrupulous individuals on the extreme right, dependable officials of George W. Bush and promoted by him.

All of them, without exception, have a bulky file of anti-Cuba activities. Hugo Llorens, the ambassador in Honduras since mid-2008, is a Cuban-American. He is part of a group of aggressive U.S. ambassadors in Central America comprising Robert Blau, ambassador in El Salvador; Stephen McFarland in Guatemala; and Robert Callahan in Nicaragua, all appointed by Bush in the months of July and August of 2008.

The four are continuing the line of Otto Reich and John Negroponte who, together with Oliver North, were responsible for the dirty war in Nicaragua and the death squads in Central America, which cost the peoples of the region tens of thousands of lives.

Negroponte was Bush's representative at the United Nations, czar of U.S. intelligence and finally assistant secretary of state. In distinct ways, both of them were behind the Honduras coup.

The Soto Cano base in that country, headquarters of the Joint Task Force Bravo belonging to the Armed Forces of the United States, is the central support point of the coup d'état in Honduras.

The United States has the sinister plan of creating five further military bases around Venezuela, on the pretext of replacing the Manta one in Ecuador.

The ridiculous adventure of the coup d'état in Honduras has created a really complicated situation in Central America, which will not be resolved by traps, deceptions and lies.

Every day, new details are emerging of the implication of the United States in that action, which will also have serious repercussions in all of Latin America.

The idea of a peace initiative based in Costa Rica was transmitted to the president of that country from the State Department, when Obama was in Moscow and when he stated, in a Russian university, that the only president of Honduras was Manuel Zelaya.

The coup perpetrators were in a difficult situation. The initiative transmitted to Costa Rica sought the objective of saving them. It is obvious that every day of delay has a cost for the constitutional president and tends to dilute the exceptional international support that he has received. The Yankee maneuver does not increment the possibilities of peace, but exactly the opposite, it reduces them and the danger of violence is growing, given that the peoples of our America will never resign themselves to the fate programmed for them. When Micheletti, the de facto president, proclaimed yesterday that he is prepared to resign from his post if Zelaya resigns, I knew that the State Department and the military coup leaders had agreed to replace him and send him back to Congress as part of the maneuver.

The only correct thing to do at this point is to demand that the government of the United States ends its intervention, stops lending military support to the coup perpetrators and withdraws its Task Force from Honduras.

What is being demanded of the Honduran people, in the name of peace, is the negation of all the principles that have been fought for by all the nations of this hemisphere.

"Respect for the right of others is peace," said [Benito] Juárez.

Fidel Castro Ruz
July 16, 2009
1:12 p.m.

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President Zelaya en Route to Honduras
as Resistance to Coup Gathers Strength

On July 16, Honduran Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas announced that President Manuel Zelaya is en route to Honduras to reunite with the people in resistance to the coup regime, news agencies reported.

Eva Golinger writes: "On [July 14], President Zelaya issued an 'ultimatum' to the coup regime, warning that if they do not step down by Saturday -- during the next scheduled 'mediation' meeting in Costa Rica -- then he will consider the dialogue process, imposed by Washington, as a failure. And he will return and rescue constitutional order, along with the masses in the streets, by any means necessary."

Rodas did not divulge how or when President Zelaya planned to enter Honduras. "Our president will be in Honduras at some point and some moment. He is already on his way. God protect him and the people of the Americas who are with him," Rodas told reporters in La Paz, Bolivia.

"The establishment and installation of an alternative seat of government will be to direct what I will call the 'final battle' against leaders of the coup that toppled Zelaya," she said.

Delegations representing legitimate President Zelaya and the coup leaders' so-called president, Roberto Micheletti, are expected to engage in a second round of "mediation" talks tomorrow in Costa Rica.

Meanwhile, the Honduran people's organizations have completed their 20th day of resistance to the coup d'etat; huge marches are being planned in the two main cities of the country.

The leadership of the National Front against the Coup d'Etat ratified that the struggle in the streets would not stop until the constitutional order is reestablished and Manuel Zelaya is restored in power, as the president elected by the people.

"Are you tired? Are you afraid?" Workers' Unitary Federation President Juan Barahona asked the people in a rally on Tuesday July 14 and a powerful crowd answered "NO" in unison.

"Carry on, there is a constant struggle!" the demonstrators said in unison, marching along important avenues in the capital Tegucigalpa and other cities to demand the restoration of democratic order.

The union centrals held a meeting to analyze the preparations for a general strike to hit one of the sectors that support the military coup: the business sector, sources said.

Student organizations also agreed on July 12 to brush aside their differences and unite in vigorous action against pro-coup factions and agreed to occupy the universities and schools in rejection of the coup.

Honduras' traditional Liberal Party rank and file, together with that of the National Conservative Party, agreed on July 12 in a national plenary to label as illegal the organizations' echelons for being accomplices to the coup.

Those sectors repudiated the de facto government president, businessman Roberto Micheletti and presidential candidate Elvin Santos who they demanded must renounce the coup.

Constitutional President Manuel Zelaya, whom they recognized as leader of the Liberals, sent a message to the meeting, ratifying his decision to return to the country as soon as possible to replace the coup leaders.

Meanwhile, Press TV reported that the coup leaders' so-called President Roberto Micheletti said he would only step down so long as the legitimate President Manuel Zelaya does not return to Honduras as president.

Micheletti expressed willingness to leave "at some point that decision is needed to bring peace and tranquility to the country, but without the return, and I stress this, of former President Zelaya," he said.

He went on to accuse 'unspecified' rioters of scheming to stage an armed uprising in the capital Tegucigalpa in a concerted attempt to "topple the interim government," Press TV writes. "This morning we were informed that they were handing out some guns," he said.

(Prensa Latina, Press TV, www.ChavezCode.com, Associated Press)

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Massive Repression by Coup Regime

In a July 15 update, Eva Golinger reports: "Over the weekend, two well-known social leaders were assassinated by the coup forces. Roger Bados leader of the Bloque Popular & the National Resistance Front against the coup d'etat, was killed in the northern city of San Pedro Sula. Approximately at 8pm on Saturday evening, Bados was assassinated and killed immediately by three gun shots. Bados was also a member of the leftist party Democratic Unity (Unificación Democrática) and was president of a union representing workers in a cement factory. His death was denounced as part of the ambience and repressive actions taken by the coup government to silence all dissent.

"Ramon Garcia, another social leader in Honduras, was also killed on Saturday evening by military forces who boarded a bus he was riding in Santa Barbara and forced him off, subsequently shooting him and wounding his sister. Juan Barahona, National Coordinator of the Bloque Popular & the National Resistance Front against the coup, stated that these actions are committed by the coup government 'as the only way to maintain themselves in power, by terrorizing and killing the people.

"Despite statements made by representatives of the coup government, the national curfew remains in place. Different social organizers from Honduras have been denouncing the curfew which is still in effect and that the coup government is lying about lifting it, so as to seem less repressive to the international community.

"However, over the weekend, foreign journalists from Telesur, Venezolana de Televisión (VTV -- Venezuelan State TV) and EFE, were detained by military forces and expelled from Honduras. The Venezuelan journalists returned [...] to Venezuela, while Telesur [continued] trying to find a way to maintain its correspondents on the ground. [...]

"Honduran media, which supports the coup, reported on the journalists' detention stating that the police arrested and deported them due to 'car theft.'"

In a July 16 update, Golinger points out, "The Committee of Family Members of Detained and Disappeared in Honduras published a report today detailing more than 1155 cases of Human Rights violations committed by the coup regime since June 28, 2009. Of those, there have been 4 political assassinations, 6 gravely injured, 16 threatened with death, 59 injured, 13 media outlets closed or censored, 14 journalists detained, of which the majority have been expelled forcefully from the country, and 1046 arbitrary detentions."

(www.ChavezCode.com)

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Telesur and Venezuelan TV Journalists
Arrested in Honduras

The coup government of Honduras arrested Telesur and Venezuelan TV (VTV) journalists on Saturday night [July 11]. The two channels, based in Venezuela, are the only channels globally to transmit ongoing coverage of the 28 June coup outcome, anti-coup demonstrations, and the constant regional meetings around the issue.

Since Honduran president Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped by the military and taken to Costa Rica on 28 June, whilst there have been daily protests against the coup, most Honduran media have allied themselves with the coup government and have been broadcasting only regular programming.

The arrested journalists were released at about 3:30am, after the police checked their documents and told them to leave the country, Venezuelan pro-government media reported.

VTV producer Pedro Quesada reported that the police in the headquarters where they were taken were hooded and their excuse for the detention was that the vehicle Telesur had been using was supposedly wanted by the police.

"Get out of here, you all have to go, you don't have anything to do in this country," one of the police reportedly said.

Telesur journalist Madelein Garcia reported that a police detachment, under orders from the coup government, had entered the hotel where the Telesur team was staying, and detained them without explanation. She said she had information that the government immigration department would continue checking their documents today.

The hotel where they are staying was still surrounded this morning by police, with the journalists restricted from leaving unless they were accompanied by police.

VTV journalist Eduardo Silvera told the press from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, that, "This is a violation of freedom of expression, under the supposed justification that it was preventative detention, they arrested us and threatened to take away our telephones."

Silvera said after a long interrogation, the police said, "You can thank your President Chavez for this, get out of this country, this is going to turn ugly."

According to Venezuelan government media reports, the journalists were eventually released due to negotiations by the Venezuelan Foreign Relations Ministry.

Quesada said the VTV crew were transported to the airport to leave Honduras, accompanied by representatives from the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (CIDH) and the Venezuelan Embassy in Honduras.

The CIDH denounced the detention and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that the government of Honduras had "detained the journalists...and I hold [current coup president Roberto Micheletti] Goriletti and his little gorillas responsible."

José Insulza, general secretary of the Organisation of American States said the whole thing was "very dangerous" as "the international community is [only] being informed by CNN and Telesur." The Latin American Federation of Journalists (Felap) also condemned the arrests, saying they violated the region's right to information.

"Honduras is in danger of a political and historic setback... so it is fundamental that there are journalists there, fulfilling their work as witnesses of history," Ernesto Carmona, executive secretary of Felap said.

A range of other Honduran media also publicly expressed their disapproval of the arrests. During the coup, Channel 36 of Honduras was also taken off the air for a few days. Eldras Lopez, the director of that channel expressed his solidarity with the Telesur and VTV journalists.

"I'm in solidarity with you, as you have been with us. You provide balanced coverage and aren't inciting anyone," he said.

This is the second time Telesur journalists have been detained in Honduras. On 29 June pro-coup military used force to detain the team which was at that time filming the military repression of a peaceful protest against the coup. The journalists were also beaten.

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Shame on Canada, Coup Supporter

For the first time in decades, the world's eyes are on Honduras, a tiny country many Canadians know for those little stickers on exported bananas and the surplus of coffee it floods onto the global market each year. The world is less aware of the ongoing role that the Canadian government and Canadian mining companies play in pushing many Hondurans further into poverty.

Now that the world is watching, it's a good time to reveal these secrets.

On Saturday, July 4, at the impromptu meeting of the Organization of the American States, Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas Peter Kent suggested President Jose Manuel "Mel" Zelaya not return to Honduras. It's an interesting stance for Canada to assume, considering that most of the international community has condemned the coup in Honduras.

Moreover, following violent clashes between the military police and demonstrators awaiting Zelaya's return this past Sunday, Kent held Zelaya responsible for the deaths of two demonstrators by the military government.

Prior to these comments, Canada had remained relatively silent on this issue. But while most other counties have cancelled their aid to Honduras in protest of the coup, Canada has not. Why is our democracy suddenly in the business of supporting a military coup?

Capitalizing on Hurricane Devastation

The answer begins with Canada's reaction to the last crisis in Honduras.

In 1998, Hurricane Mitch swept through much of Central America and especially ravaged Honduras, where thousands of people were killed and millions were displaced. Already the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Honduras was now struck with over $3 billion in damages, a loss of social services such as schools, hospitals and road systems. Seventy per cent of its agricultural crops were destroyed. Nothing so devastating had ever hit Honduras.

Canada was quick to respond to the cries for help following Hurricane Mitch, with a 'long-term development plan.' Canada offered $100 million over four years for reconstruction projects. These grandiose aid packages made Canada look like a savior. However, attached to this assistance was the introduction of over 40 Canadian companies to Honduras to assess opportunities for investment. This hurricane offered a strategic economic opportunity for Canadian investment in Honduras.

The Canadian government, as it officially stated this year, considers mineral extraction by Canadian mining companies one of the best ways to "create new economic opportunities in the developing world." Shortly after Hurricane Mitch weakened the Honduran state, Canada and the United States joined to establish the National Association of Metal Mining of Honduras (ANAMINH), through which they were able to rewrite the General Mining Law. This law provides foreign mining companies with lifelong concessions, tax breaks and subsurface land rights for "rational resource exploitation."

'We Have Lost Everything'

"They crave gold like hungry swine," Uruguayan journalist Eduardo Galeano has written of multinational mining firms. I thought of those words on a recent drive through the open pit San Andres mining project, recently sold by the Canadian company Yamana Gold to another Canadian company, Aura Minerales. When I'd finished my tour, I was convinced the social, economic, environmental and health costs of open pit mining practices far outweigh the supposed benefits, and that the resource exploitation practiced by certain Canadian companies is anything but rational.

I got chills driving through the abandoned village of San Andres. What were once homes and schools had been bulldozed into mounds of crushed adobe and rock. Where ancient pine trees stood, there now were deep craters, accessible by the nicest highways I had seen in Honduras.

But a local resident at the end of one of those roads told me: "We have lost everything." The mine had displaced him from his home, and he was now without clean water to drink or fertile land to sow.

Currently, Canadian companies own 33 per cent of mineral investments in Latin America, accumulating to the ownership of over 100 properties. Export Development Canada contributes 50 per cent of Canadian Pension Plan money to mining companies, which offered upwards of $50 billion in 2003. Goldcorp alone has received nearly one billion dollars from CPP subsidies. Although EDC is responsible for regulating Canadian industry abroad, it has been accused of failing to apply regulatory standards to 24 of 26 mining projects that it has funded.

In February 2003, nearly five hundred gallons of cyanide spilled into the Rio Lara, killing 18,000 fish. The mine in San Andres uses more water in one hour than an average Honduran family uses in one year. In that same year, mining companies earned $44.4 million, while the average income per capita in Honduras in 2004 was just $1,126USD.

Zelaya's Anti-Mining Stance: Payment Due

As the man at the end of the road tried to explain to me, mining is not development for people who live around these mines. He speaks for thousands of others -- a base of support aligned with the ousted President Zelaya. In 2006, Zelaya decided to cancel all future mining concessions in Honduras.

Which would appear to explain, at least in large part, why Canada stands virtually alone in the hemisphere in supporting the Honduran military's ousting of Zelaya. The Canadian government, and its friends in the mining industry, are using the coup as an opportunity to plant their feet deeper into the Honduran ground.

In his role as minister of state for foreign affairs, Peter Kent once declared that "democratic governance is a central pillar of Canada's enhanced engagement in the Americas."

Apparently, his instructions from Ottawa have been revised.

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Hugo Llorens, U.S. Ambassador to Honduras:
An Eloquent Pedigree

Hugo Llorens, U.S. embassador to the Honduras who acknowledged having participated in meetings in which plans for a putsch were discussed before the kidnapping of President Zelaya, is a U.S. citizen of Cuban origin, who emigrated to Miami under the CIA's Operation Peter Pan.

A specialist in terrorism, he was head of Andes Affairs at the National Security Council in Washington at the time of the coup d'Etat against President Hugo Chavez in April 2002.

In the course of his early years of diplomatic activity, he went to Honduras for the first time as an economic counsellor, then went on, under the same standing, to La Paz in Bolivia. He pursued his career as Trade attache in Paraguay under the Stroessner dictatorship and later in San Salvador as narcotics coordinator, another of his specialties.

In an unsuspected passage to another part of the world, this Llorens of many faces was sent to the Phillipines as a simple consular desk worker. Back in the North America, he became General Consul for the U.S. in Vancouver, in Canada, where he set up a "multi-agency" platform which oversaw the opening, within the consulate itself, of FBI offices, of an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms office and a U.S. Border Services office, not to mention offices of the Secret Service and the State Security Department. All this under cover of the struggle against terrorism and international crime.

Ambassador Llorens presented his credentials to President Zelaya on September 19, 2008. A few days earlier, President Zelaya had refused to receive him, as a gesture of solidarity towards Bolivia who had just expelled [U.S.] ambassador Philip Goldberg.

At the Sides of Elliot Abrahms and Otto Reich

The White House under George W. Bush appointed the sly Llorens in 2002 to none other than Head of Andes Affairs within the National Security Council in Washington, D.C., which made him the main advisor to the President on Venezuela.

It so happens that the coup d'Etat in 2002 against President Hugo Chavez took place while Llorens was under the authority of Sub-Secretary of State for Hemispheric Affairs, Otto Reich, and of the very controversial Elliot Abrams [who had been Chief Advisor for the Near East within the National Security Council and ...to numerous services in Central America -- Pedro da Nobrega].

Reich, who is also a U.S. citizen of Cuban origin, protector of chief terrorist Orlando Bosch [Cuban anti-castroite, involved in numerous criminal activities, such as the bombing of civilian flight Cubana 455 in 1976 -- Pedro da Nobrega], had been U.S. embassador to Venezuela for three years, from 1986 to 1989, and claimed to "know the terrain."

Reich, from his position in the State Department, had hastily brought his support to the Venezuelan Micheletti (Micheletti who was named President of Honduras by the military putschists, note), Pedro "Le Bref" Carmona [derogatory nickname given to him for vainly having tried to replace Chavez in 2002 only for a few days -- Pedro da Nobrega] and to the ... military.

Otto Reich, full-time member of the circle of the former, now plucked, hawks, remains one of the most influencial persona of the Miami mafia underworld. His name has been mentioned as a possible conspirer in the Tegucigalpa putschist camarilla.

In July 2008, Llorens is appointed embassador to Honduras in replacement of Charles "Charlie" Ford, an individual having the ungrateful task of proposing that Honduras host Posada Carriles (another Cuban expatriate involved in a number of assassination attempts against civilians, such as the Cubana bombing, note). Zelaya had answered with a definite no and "Charlie" had to inform his bosses that they would have to keep their "hot potato" [the character had become embarrassing for the Bush administration who was in the middle of his "anti-terrorist" campaign -- Pedro da Nobrega].

General Vasques Was Already Being "Coaxed"

When Llorens arrived in Tegucigalpa on September 12, 2008, President Zelaya, taking into consideration the fact that Bolivia had expelled the U.S. diplomatic representative for reasons of interference, in a gesture of solidarity, had refused the credentials of the new ambassador.

Eight days later, Zelaya met with Llorens to express his government's uneasiness because of "what the most impoverished country in South America is going through."

It is important in this respect to recall an event which took place at the time. On September 22, at the same moment that Zelaya was expressing his "uneasiness," the Chief Joint Commander of the Honduras Armed Forces, General Romeao Vasquez, the same putschist leader now supporting Micheletti, had declared to the local press that "some people were interested in destituting President Manuel Zelaya."

The fascist military chief added that the President "was subject to criticisms because of the treaties signed with Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua", and that "we have been approached to overthrow the government."

"But we represent an institution which is serious and respectful, therefore we respect the President as Commander-in-chief and we comply with the law," making himself underhandedly reassuring as he is presently the one ordering his troops to shoot at the people [Pinochet had held the same discourse in 73 before the coup d'Etat -- Pedro da Nobrega].

Last June 22, La Prensa newspaper revealed that the night before, a meeting of politically influent people, of military chiefs and ambassador Llorens was held under the official pretext of "looking for a solution to the crisis," the one provoked by the popular consultation organized by Zelaya.

The New York Times would later confirm that the Joint Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Thomas A. Shanon, as well as ambassador Llorens, had "had talks" with high-ranking officers of the Armed Forces and heads of the opposition on "how to destitute President Zelaya, how to stop him and to define what authority would deal with it."

(Spanish to French Translation by Pedro da Nobrega. Edited by Fausto Giudice for Tlaxcala. French to English Translation by TML Daily.)

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U.S. Continues to Train Honduran Soldiers

A controversial facility at Ft. Benning, Ga. -- formerly known as the U.S. Army's School of the Americas -- is still training Honduran officers despite claims by the Obama administration that it cut military ties to Honduras after its president was overthrown June 28, NCR has learned.

A day after an SOA-trained army general ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya at gunpoint, President Barack Obama stated that "the coup was not legal" and that Zelaya remained "the democratically elected president."

The Foreign Operations Appropriations Act requires that U.S. military aid and training be suspended when a country undergoes a military coup, and the Obama administration has indicated those steps have been taken. However, Lee Rials, public affairs officer for the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, the successor of SOA, confirmed Monday that Honduran officers are still being trained at the school.

"Yes, they're in class now." Rials said

Asked about the Obama administration's suspension of aid and training to Honduras, Rials said, "Well, all I know is they're here, and they're in class."

The decision to continue training the Hondurans is "purely government policy," he said, adding that it's possible that other U.S. military schools are training them too. "We're not the only place."

Rials did not know exactly how many Hondurans were currently enrolled, but he said at least two officers are currently in the school's Command and General Staff course, its premier year-long program.

"I don't know the exact number because we've had some classes just completed and some more starting," he said. "There's no more plans for anybody to come. Everything that was in place already is still in place. Nobody's directed that they go home or that anything cease."

The school trained 431 Honduran officers from 2001 to 2008, and some 88 were projected for this year, said Rials, who couldn't provide their names.

Since 2005, the Department of Defense has barred the release of their names after it was revealed that the school had enrolled well-known human rights abusers.

The general who overthrew Zelaya -- Romeo Orlando Vásquez Velásquez -- is a two-time graduate of SOA, which critics have nicknamed the "School of Coups" because it trained so many coup leaders, including two other Honduran graduates, General Juan Melgar Castro and General Policarpo Paz Garcia.

Vasquez is not the only SOA graduate linked to the current coup or employed by the de facto government. Others are:

* Gen. Luis Javier Prince Suazo, the head of the Honduran air force, who arranged to have Zelaya flown into exile in Costa Rica;

* Gen. Nelson Willy Mejia Mejia, the newly appointed director of immigration, who is not only an SOA graduate, but a former SOA instructor. One year after he was awarded the U.S. Meritorious Service Medal, he faced charges in connection with the infamous death squad, Battalion 3-16, for which he was an intelligence officer.

* Col. Herberth Bayardo Inestroza Membreño, the Honduran army's top lawyer who admitted that flying Zelaya into exile was a crime, telling the Miama Herald that ''In the moment that we took him out of the country, in the way that he was taken out, there is a crime," but it will be justified.

* Lt. Col. Ramiro Archaga Paz,the army's director of public relations, who has denied harassment of protesters and maintained that the army is not involved in internal security.

* Col. Jorge Rodas Gamero, a two-time SOA graduate, who is the minister of security, a post he also held in Zelaya's government.

The ongoing training of Hondurans at Ft. Benning is not the only evidence of unbroken U.S.-Honduran military ties since the coup.

Another piece was discovered by Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois, the founder of SOA Watch, while on fact-finding mission to Honduras last week.

Bourgeois -- accompanied by two lawyers, Kent Spriggs and Dan Kovalik -- visited the Soto Cano/Palmerola Air Base northwest of Tegucigalpa, where the U.S. Southern Command's Joint Task Force-Bravo is stationed.

"Helicopters were flying all around, and we spoke with the U.S. official on duty, a Sgt. Reyes" about the U.S.-Honduran relationship, Bourgeois said. "We asked him if anything had changed since the coup and he said no, nothing."

The group later met with U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens, who claimed that he had no knowledge of ongoing U.S. military activity with the Hondurans, Bourgeois said. The ambassador also said that he himself has had no contact with the de facto government.

That has apparently changed. Christopher Webster, the director of the State Department's Office of Central American Affairs, said Monday that Llorens has in fact been in touch with the current coup government, according to Eric LeCompte, the national organizer for SOA Watch.

LeCompte met with Webster Monday along with other representatives of human rights groups and three Hondurans -- Marvin Ponce Sauceda, a member of the Honduran National Congress, Jari Dixon Herrera Hernández, a lawyer with the Honduran attorney general's office, and Dr. Juan Almendares Bonilla, director of the Center for the Prevention, Rehabilitation and Treatment of Victims of Torture.

Webster told the group that Llorens and the State Department are engaging the coup government to the extent necessary to bring about a solution to the crisis.

Webster "told us that military aid had been cut off, and that the return of Zelaya as president is non-negotiable although the conditions under which he returns are negotiable," LeCompte said.

Herrera Hernández, the lawyer with the Honduran attorney general's office, told Webster that the coup government has disseminated misinformation by claiming the coup was legal because the court had issued an arrest warrant for Zelaya for pushing ahead with a non-binding referendum on whether to change the Honduran constitution.

However, the order to arrest Zelaya came a day after the coup, he said. And contrary to coup propaganda, Zelaya never sought to extend his term in office, and even if the survey had been held, changing the constitution would have required action by the legislature, he said.

Whatever legal argument the coup leaders had against Zelaya, it fell apart when they flew him into exile rather than prosecuting him, the attorney said. The legal system has broken down, he added, for if this can happen to the president, who can't it happen to?

* Linda Cooper and James Hodge are the authors of Disturbing the Peace: The Story of Father Roy Bourgeois and the Movement to Close the School of the Americas.

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Honduran Oligarchy: "The War is Against Chavez"

The Honduran de facto government and private media insist on denying the coup d'etat and say that they accept the mediation of Costa Rican president Oscar Arias, but exclude any conversation over the return of Zelaya to the presidency. At the same time they sustain that they are the spearhead of a "war" against the "dictatorship of Hugo Chavez."

The daily newspapers, Heraldo, Tribuna and La Prensa, lead the way in defending the coup d'etat and repeat, almost in the same words, the accusation against the Venezuelan president for his supposed interference. They also promote the withdrawal of Honduras from the ALBA accords, because they claim, "it has only benefited the left."

The headlines of these newspapers and the declarations of the current leaders of the State are a copy of the anti-communist manual of the press campaigns in the decades of the sixties and seventies in the last century.

With contrived arguments, the Honduran media promotes a campaign accusing the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez of interfering in the country and provoking the confrontations last Sunday near the surroundings of the Tegulcigalpa International Airport, when 200,000 people waited for the return of the constitutional president.

By extension, they maintain that the UN and the OAS are manipulated by Chavez, and that the presidents of Argentina, Cristina Fernández, of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega and the Honduran president himself, Manuel Zelaya, also obey the orders of the Venezuelan president.

Even the highest authorities of the Catholic Church have joined the campaign.

The Honduran oligarchs continue ignoring the demand of the people for a return to institutionality and to allow Zelaya to finish his term. "We have communicated with president Arias to tell him that we are prepared for any dialogue, always and when it is not for the return of president Zelaya, but rather when it is to hand him over to the justice tribunals," Roberto Micheletti, the defacto president, said. He insisted, "we are not going to negotiate anything, we are going to dialogue."

"We are clear that everything that has happened here was within the framework of the law and the Constitution of the Republic, here what there was, was a constitutional situation," the dictator concluded.

At the same time, the de facto president continued naming new authorities in the cabinet and substituting governors and mayors.

Legislator, Mauricio Reconco, of the Liberal Party, defended the legality of the overthrow of Zelaya, "we know what was done was best, if not we would have been in a worse situation," he said. Immediately he went on to attack Chavez, "in this moment we are seeing internationally that Honduras has shown it is a country that has put a block the path of Hugo Chavez. The war is no longer against ex-president Zelaya, but against Hugo Chavez."

"It is lamentable that in organisations such as the UN and the OAS, Hugo Chavez continues have strength and power, he has chess pieces -- such as these presidents, Correa, Lugo, Kirchner, Mel Zelaya and Daniel Ortega -- who he manouvres at his whim," he concluded.

Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez, after defending the coup d'etat and critising the protests calling for the return of the constitutional president, attacked the Venezuelan president;

"We totally reject the interference of the Venezuelan president, we are a small but sovereign country, since he came to insult us in the month of August, that Mister has been trying to put his hands in here, he should leave us in peace, he should dedicate himself to governing his own country."

Meanwhile, the rightwing movement Generation for Change, continues holding mobilizations in support of the coup, as they did previously against president Zelaya, and they repeat the same arguments of the old rulers. Luis Colindres, one of the youth leaders said during an event on Tuesday, that a dictatorial system exists in Venezuela, and that "if Zelaya Rosales returns the same thing could happen in our country."

The Retired Officials of the Armed Forces Association mobilized together with the "youth" of the Generation for Change. At the same time as they defended what they claimed was a legal presidential substitution, they criticised the OAS, which they considered to be biased in favor of Zelaya and through a communiqué condemned the intervention in internal affairs by said organization.

(Translated by Kiraz Janicke for Venezuelanalysis.com)

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