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.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lies, Lies, and More Lies

RNS pointed me to an article published in today's issue of La Tribuna, attributed by them to ACAN-EFE, that "distinguishes the reality of the micheletti regime from the reality of the OAS and calls the Micheletti spokesperson's comments into subtle doubt." This is consistent with a pattern we have been noticing of dissonance even in the pro-coup press; at some point, keeping all the big lies in the air becomes too difficult and the stories fall apart. Read on for attempted white-washing of the OAS visit cancellation and rescheduling, and for the troubling claim of Micheletti regime access to the US State Department.

That this is at the very least an exaggeration, if not a truly big lie, is suggested by a current AP article, that clarifies that the delegation is meeting with the US representative to OAS, not, as implied, with other State Department officials:
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Sara Mangiaracina said Thursday that a group representing Micheletti was scheduled to meet with Lew Amselem, the U.S. representative to the OAS.

Mangiaracina did not know the names of the Honduran officials but said they were not part of the de facto government. She said OAS head Jose Miguel Insulza asked that Amselem meet with the delegation to further negotiations. She had no other details.

It would be interesting to know who counts as a member of the de facto government in the eyes of the US State Department, because the Honduran government thinks the delegation does represent them.

So, how did the same story play in the Honduran press? Repeat after me: "lies, lies, and more lies":
The government of Honduras affirmed today that the "suspension" last Tuesday of a visit by an OAS delegation to learn about the political crisis in the country "avoided putting at risk the security of the Chancellors" that would have made it up.
Comment: they would not have been in danger if the regime were not violently repressing the demonstrators; and oh yeah, what about the claims that there are no more than a few dozen demonstrators, or that everything is peaceful?
[Deputy Foreign Minister Marta Lorena] Alvarado said that the topic of the OAS delegation is "pending the conversations in that regard that... [a] Honduran mission that is visiting Washington will have". In addition, the suspension of the visit of the OAS envoys "impeded the registering of more acts of violence that, thanks to the prudence of the forces that maintain public order, did not lead to loss of Honduran lives, nor in major damages to property".

The protests by thousands of Zelaya followers Tuesday and Wednesday in Tegucigalpa ended in disturbances on coming face to face with the Police. The incidents left dozens wounded and detained, and the burning of a bus and a fast-food restaurant, among other material damages.
In other words-- lies, lies...
Alvarado also said today that the delegation of foreign ministers of the OAS that will come to Tegucigalpa to continue the dialogue over the political crisis that this Central American country is experiencing, had still not been selected.

The communique underlined that any information that had been issued up till now about the OAS delegation "by other sources, national or international", are not official.

This declaration contrasts with the announcement made by the OAS, to the effect that the mission of high level of this organization is composed of the foreign ministers or officials for Latin America of Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.
This is what we might call a big lie-- and it works in Honduras because they are cut off from international media and don't necessarily understand that the "other sources" being dismissed include the OAS itself.

Now we get to the contradiction of the very nice US State Department spokeswoman:
The representatives that traveled to Washington included three members of the commission of the Micheletti government that participated in the process of dialogue that was sponsored by the president of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias, for a peaceful solution to the political crisis in Honduras [Vilma Morales, Arturo Corrales and Mauricio Villeda].
I guess we can give Sara Mangiaracina this: they aren't exactly "in" the government; just "of" it.
The envoys to Washington... according to Alvarado, will establish "contacts with diverse dignataries, representatives of the private sector [read: lobbyists], media, and US centers of strategic thinking. [read: right-wing think tanks?]
They will also have "contacts" with officials of [OAS] to come to an agreement about "the composition of the mission of foreign secretaries that will visit Honduras, as well as the minor officials of OAS that will accompany them".
In other words: we are going to OAS headquarters to tell them if we do not like the delegation they propose, we will refuse to accept it again.
In addition "they will establish the agenda of the mission of the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights that has the intention of visiting Honduras, by invitation" of the de facto regime.
Could it be the Micheletti regime is concerned that outsiders won't understand that violence is a human right?

According to Tegucigalpa, "the bilateral relation of the OAS, subject to international law, in regard to Honduras is and should be that which corresponds to an organization of that kind in regard to a sovereign State, of non-interference and not inserting itself in its internal affairs, in conformity with the the principal of sovereign equality of the States that rules the Charter of the UN.
Final lie (or irony) of course: the UN also does not approve of the expulsion of the elected president, and does not see it as an "internal affair". Nor, we can devoutly hope, would that organization-- in which the regime has not yet renounced membership-- see human rights violations of the magnitude that are now everyday occurences in Honduras as "internal affairs" of a sovereign State.

We have been there too often. That is how we get to Rwanda, Bosnia, and a host of shameful failures of international will.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's an interesting angle to this. OAS was founded on the principle of non-interference largely because Latin America was tired of being the interferee. But Honduras was expelled from the OAS, so it's no longer protected from outside intervention under the OAS. True, the UN Charter is also based on non-interference. But I don't think it would take much for the UN to vote the coupistas off the island.