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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

We are Idiots

Yesterday in the OAS session about Honduras, the backup US ambassador to the OAS, Lew Anselem, and Bush era appointment, said "Zelaya's return to Honduras is irresponsible and foolish and it doesn't serve to the interests of the people nor those who seek the restoration of democratic order in Honduras. Everyone will be better if all parties refrain from provoking or inciting violence." He also said of Zelaya, "The president should stop acting as though he were starring in an old movie."

You can find an excellent review of just what a lowlife Lew Anselem is from Al Giordano.

The "foolish" comment became translated in Spanish as "idiot" in all the Honduran press and was widely covered. It has done irreparable harm to the US message in Honduras, if their desire, as stated, is a return to democracy. The question I increasingly find myself asking is: Are they really not aware of how their message is being received in Honduras? Do they not know how their convoluted words are being seized on as signs of support? Can they really not manage to be clearer?

I increasingly find myself concluding that they know what they are saying, that the Micheletti regime really does have the support of the US State Department, that they will support the results of the November 29 elections, whether or not democracy is restored to Honduras; that they just want all of this to end, to go away, a return to the status quo. That's not going to happen. Honduras will never be the same again.

I can parse a statement from the US State Department as an American, and I can parse the same statement the way a Honduran does. I have to think that the State Department can do both parsings as well. Ian Kelly's (State Department Spokesperson) statement yesterday basically ignored Anselem's vulgarities yesterday. Anselem's actually suggested in the OAS session that the US would recognize the results of the November 29 elections, whether or not anything changes in Honduras, and was part of a faction that included Canada, Panama, and Columbia that took that position and blocked an OAS resolution to not recognized the results. We aligned ourselves with the right wing governments of Latin America. The State Department and the Obama White House have not repudiated Anselem's actions in the OAS.

Hugo Llorens, US ambassador in Tegucigalpa, spent the morning trying to deliver a clearer message in Honduras. He said "We support democracy in Honduras and in any other country."

I wanted to include whatever statements Phillip Crowley made in the daily press breifing today, but the State Department website is so broken that they've posted a link to the video, but it doesn't seem to play on my computer, and of course, they don't post the full text transcript until many hours later, except for those willing to pay the subscription fee to the Federal Transcription Service.

Either our State Department is incompetent, or we are idiots for believing them. Either way, Honduras loses.


Anonymous said...

I posted Crowley's comments on my website and compared them to Ari Fleischer's press bafflings. If one wanted an argument for "incompetent," he'd be a good place to start.

As for Anselem,the Republicans in Congress are supposedly holding up his replacement. However, what he said was so blatant that I think it suggests an explanation of what is really going on.

My working hypothesis is that there are two factions within the US government, one (call it Active Overthow) representing the CIA and military, and one (call it Vulture Diplomats) representing career civil servants and the Obama Administration. Both are committed to gutting real reform in Honduras, but the latter recognizes the value of Zelaya in legitimating sham elections and hence the bastard government that would issue from them. The former is simply too crude to contain their hatred and indeed were probably involved in the coup. The Vulture Diplomats can never bring themselves to actually discipline people like Anselem, because they don't disagree with the content, just the tone.

Besides which, they're kind of afraid of the Active Overthrow wing. What was done to Zelaya, after all, could be done to Obama. And the US doesn't even have the deep civil movements to resist such an eventuality.

Obviously we're many a FOIA away from seeing how close that hypothesis is to reality. But it's at least consistent with the anti-Zelaya statements by Phil Crowley, Hillary Clinton, and now Anselem, coupled with the more moderate statements of Ian Kelly and the quiet gloating of Hugo Llorens.


Nell said...

A[m]selem's actually suggested in the OAS session that the US would recognize the results of the November 29 elections, whether or not anything changes in Honduras, and was part of a faction that included Canada, Panama, and Columbia that took that position and blocked an OAS resolution to not recognized the results.

It certainly seemed that way to me, but I haven't found anything that documents it. Can you point to something?

I ask because about a month ago when a commenter cited Mark Weisbrot saying this:

The next step would be for the Organization of American States, where all countries in the hemisphere – except Cuba – are represented, to take this position [official position that OAS will not recognize elections without restoration of Zelaya govt]. But it operates mainly by consensus, and the United States is reportedly blocking that move. Of course, Washington can’t be seen to be the sole opposition, so it has recruited some right-wing governments, according to sources involved in the OAS discussions: Canada and Panama, along with a couple of other small country governments that can be bribed or bullied into joining Washington’s rapidly shrinking regional coalition of the willing.

Greg Weeks' response was to dismissively compare Weisbrot to Mary Anastasia O'Grady for citing unnamed sources.

That struck me as uncharacteristically snippy and insulting, and I put it down to defensiveness: Weisbrot's report supported what I and others had been arguing with Weeks in response to his emphasis on the inadequate actions taken by Central and Latin American governments -- that it's misleading to discuss that in isolation from the actions the U.S. shows it's willing to take.

I'm sure Weeks doesn't really equate the two. Weisbrot's track record of being in touch with reality (and correcting the record when he's been inaccurate, as with the IMF "disbursement" report in early September) is in another league from MAOG's. She's an accountability-free pundit, one whose job is secure regardless of how many lies and delusions she peddles; that's what the WSJ editorial page pays her for.

Carlos the Jackal said...

Interesting blog, i'll be keeping my eye on it.

RNS said...

Nell, I couldn't find it anywhere in English, but its all over the Spanish language press. Here's a link to one such story:

Basically it says the US jointed with Canada, Costa Rica, the Bahamas, Peru to abstain from saying what its posture would be regarding the November 29 elections, and said this in the earlier, public, part of the discussions. Obviously there's no public record of what was said in the closed, afternoon session.

The session was in part to discuss a motion to declare that the OAS would not support the results of the November 29 elections under the current regime.

RNS said...

I've now read Phillip Crowley's waffling, basically a claim that Anselem's statements were consistent with things they've said before.

Dear State Department,