Honduras: Coup Leaders Hire Top Democrat Lobbyists to Justify Their De Facto Government

July 13, 2009

Things are getting worse each day inside Honduras.  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, 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 that the curfew 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 last night to Venezuela, while Telesur is still trying to find a way to maintain its correspondents on the ground.  For now, they are all in Nicaragua after being forcibly expelled from the country.  This means few, if any, international media are left in Honduras covering the reality on the ground of a coup d’etat now 15 days in the making.

Honduran media, which supports the coup, reported on the journalists’ detention stating that the police arrested and deported them due to “car theft.”  The massive censorship inside Honduras by the media and coup government is already taking an extraordinary toll on the people of Honduras who each day are finding it more difficult to resist.

Meanwhile, the coup government has hired top-notch Democrat lobbyists in Washington to make their case before Congress and the White House and convince the US people to recognize them as a legitimate government.  The New York Times has confirmed that Clinton lobbyist Lanny Davis, former Special Counsel for President Bill Clinton from 1996-1998, and close advisor to Hillary’s campaign for president last year, has been hired by the Latin American Business Council — an ultraconservative group of Latin American businesses — to represent the coup leaders in the U.S.  Davis arranged a series of meetings with Congress last week, including a hearing before the House Foreign Relations Committee, where he testified in favor of the coup government alongside Iran-Contra propaganda man Otto Reich, as well as several private meetings in the State Department and interviews with U.S. media.  Another lobbyist, Bennett Ratcliff of San Diego, another close friend and advisor of the Clintons’, was also hired by the coup government in Honduras to advise them on the negotiations taking place in Costa Rica.

Ratcliff actually accompanied the coup representatives and dictator Roberto Micheletti himself to Costa Rica, presenting the “conditions” of a negotiated return for President Zelaya to Honduras.

So what’s up with the Clinton advisors and lobbyists hanging out with the coupsters?  Obviously, it’s a clear indication of Washington’s support for the coup regime in Honduras, despite the rhetoric we heard last week “condemning the coup” and blah, blah, blah.  The real actions show just the opposite: clear, undivided support for Micheletti and a definite rejection of President Zelaya’s return to the presidency in Honduras.

Ratcliff’s conditions for the negotiation — approved by Secretary of State Clinton in Washington — included the following five main terms:

  1. Zelaya can return to the presidency, but not to power.  The presidency and the exercise of power are two different things.
  2. Zelaya must not pursue any plans to reform the Constitution or promote polls or referendums that give voice to the people.
  3. Zelaya must distance himself substantially from President Chávez.  “This is essential,” they said.
  4. Zelaya must share governance with the Congress and those in the coup regime until the elections in November.
  5. Zelaya must give amnesty to all those involved in the coup.

Well, there you have it!  Obama’s first coup and Hillary’s first use of “smart power” to achieve the ouster of a left-leaning president that was further opening the doors of Central America to Latin American integration and sovereignty.  There is no doubt that this coup has been executed to cease the expansion of socialism and Latin American independence in the region.

Eva Golinger is the author of The Chávez Code and Bush vs Chavez.  This article was first published on her blog on 13 July 2009.  Visit her blog Postcards from the Revolution: <www.chavezcode.com>.