Responses to the Coup d'etat in Honduras on Sunday June 28, with special emphasis on producing English-language versions of commentaries by Honduran scholars and editorial writers and addressing the confusion encouraged by lack of basic knowledge about Honduras.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Advice for Hillary Clinton

The news service EFE is reporting that an anonymous State Department source told them that the US will make a decision on sanctions against the de facto government either Tuesday or Wednesday this week. Hillary Clinton is due back in the country tomorrow. The source indicated to EFE that she is waiting on the results of the latest round of discussions between the de facto government's negotiating commission and the OAS to see if it bears fruit.

In other news, the de facto government has denied that it offered to step aside if Zelaya also renounced his claim to office, in favor of a third person, as was widely reported on friday and over the weekend.

My advice to Hillary Clinton is to go ahead and sign the determination that this has been a military coup. Micheletti made it clear in countless interviews earlier this month that he believes that because you have not yet imposed sanctions, he has your tacit approval to continue. That's how he's reading the ambiguous signals from Washington, DC. You need to send him a clear message that he doesn't have your support if you want him to negotiate.

Update: Voice of America is now reporting that President Zelaya will be in Washington starting tomorrow, meeting with US State Department officials later this week.

Quoting a "senior State Department official" the article reports

The State Department says the Obama administration still intends to make a formal determination that Mr. Zelaya's overthrow was a coup. Such action means that a suspension of most U.S. aid to the Central American country would become permanent. The determination was to have been made last week.

The official said talks with the two sides in the dispute is a factor in the delay. The official said this is an inter-agency decision "that everybody has to be comfortable with."
(emphasis added)

At this point, a week is a long delay to allow for nothing new, especially since everything Micheletti supposedly "proposed" he has since rejected. At this rate, all Micheletti would need to do is propose the same thing every week, wait a few days, repudiate it, and repeat.

Let us hope that whoever is still not comfortable gets so quickly. Today was Day one of the election campaign season, and there is now no way to deny that the November election will be tainted by the effects of the coup.


Anonymous said...

On June 26th, in response to Kristin Bricker's post on Narconews warning that a coup seemed to be building, I posted that I hoped he was wrong, but in Latin America, paranoia is your friend.

Anyone in Latin America who has watched the peculiar behavior of our State Department over the last two months without concluding that the US has taken a turn back to the bad old days hasn't been paying attention. That doesn't mean that that's what's actually happened, just that it has always paid to assume the worst.

I cannot believe that the US would, against the express wishes of all of South America minus Colombia, would install additional military bases. Hillary might as well have gone down to Unasur personally to bare her teeth and growl.

--Charles of MercuryRising

PablitoSinPistola said...

I think YOU should be the Secretary of State!

Nell said...

The official said this is an inter-agency decision "that everybody has to be comfortable with."

That certainly creates the impression that some other agency than the State Dept. is not "comfortable" with it.

Defense Department?
(AF personnel at Soto Cano reported "no change" to SOAWatch delegation member on July 8 or 9, well after U.S. had supposedly cut cooperation with Honduran military. Given landing of plane/helicopter carrying Zelaya at base before flying on to Costa Rica, given closeness and strength of relationship, given that Gen. Vasquez and rest of high command still have their visas and unfrozen bank accounts, given retention of Gates and general willingness of Obama to cater to DoD on all but a few points... )

National Security Council?
(Roger Noriega hired to lobby them among others for coup-backing maquiladora owners. Doubtful that staff house has been fully cleaned since Jan. 20)

Or State Dept high official blowing smoke to cover exposed posterior of Secretary of State?

RAJ said...

I should let RNS respond, but cannot resist: the "interagency" comment seems like a slip of the tongue. It hints at some deep negotiations going on between the hawkish elements that, as you note, have not been replaced.

But it is hard not to see this as absolutely about the head of the State Department wanting not to take the side of a left-leaning government, especially when there are things deemed more importsnt on the government's agenda. I don't really think there is much strategic concern about losing the base in Honduras, or even maquilas. Honduras, even under Zelaya, was pro-maquila (they got exceptions to the raised wage law) and backed off on converting Palmerola to civilian use even in the wake of a serious air disaster.

And Zelaya was clearly not going to be succeeded by someone interested in pursuing even his relatively mild brand of populism, let alone more. The right-wing press foaming at the mouth about Chavez in Honduras ignores the fact that joining Petrocaribe was widely seen as an economic necessity, and the US is unlikely to misread that signal.

For me, this is like the feeling of finding out that the contra war was not even about Central America, really. US policy in Latin America seems always to be subordinate to US policy elsewhere; Honduras doesn't matter as such. Honduras as an obstacle to confirming State department appointments, maybe. But Honduras itself? I have never seen evidence that the US has a policy on Honduras. Honduras is at best a means to other ends; or at worst, once those ends are achieved, something to be comfortably ignored.