New Lab for US-Americas Policy

Special Report from Rel-UITA

Honduras today. Photo: Giorgio Trucchi, rel-UITA
Honduras today. Photo: Giorgio Trucchi, rel-UITA

HAVANA TIMES, Dec 21 (Rel-UITA) – It’s increasingly clear that what has occurred in Honduras marks a setback – whatever might happen before January 27.

Taking office on that date will be Porfirio Lobo Sosa, the right-wing winner of the dubious presidential elections that left this Central American country with almost no country in the world recognizing it.

Lobo Sosa will begin his term in the aftermath of the June 28 coup that turned the clock back on the consolidation of the democracy on the Latin American continent.

In this context, one cannot overlook the evident responsibilities that the new US administration is faced with in its offensive to reposition itself on the continent.

With the coup d’état of June 28, powers in Honduras who control the economy and politics of that nation -along with repressive military forces and their international allies- were able to stop an emancipation process.

This had been one in which the active forces of the people were cooperating with the executive for the first time in the history of Honduras to conceive and plan a different future; they had hoped to bring about an inclusive and markedly popular National Constituent Assembly.

Prior to the coup, Honduras had begun traveling along a road to strengthen Central American and Latin American unity; it had joined the Central American Integration System (SICA), PetroCaribe and the ALBA.

This was too much for the retrograde forces of the country and the continent, who saw this as threatening their historical interests as well as the status quo of privilege; these had been preserved for decades thanks to the violence and repression of military forces at the service of the controlling economic groups and their international allies.

Clinton’s Statements No Surprise

In this context we should not surprised -though indeed outraged- by the recent statements of the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her report on relations between the United States and Latin America.

Hypocritically, she asserted, “We worry about leaders who are elected in a free, fair and legitimate manner, but who after being selected begin to undermine the constitutional and democratic order, the private sector and the rights of citizens to live free of harassment, repression and the ability to freely participate in their societies.” Clinton pointed an accusatory finger at Venezuela, Nicaragua and -without mentioning them- all governments that do not faithfully follow Washington’s “advice.”

It would be interesting to ask to Mrs. Clinton and the recent Nobel Peace Prize recipient (President Obama) what they really mean by such pronouncements.

Perhaps they didn’t notice that there was a coup d’état in Honduras, and that the legitimate president of this country remains barricaded in an embassy?

As Clinton reflected in her speech, “What I worry about is how we will get back on the correct road, one on which it is recognized that democracy is not a matter of individual leaders but of strong institutions.”

How can one describe the Obama administration which immediately recognized the legitimacy of an electoral process that was held without observers; one which was corrupted by having taken place amid repression and violence, and one that was carried out within the framework of a constitutional breakdown in which the Supreme Electoral Tribunal itself played a part.

The US administration has effectively ignored the state of terror in which a good part of the Honduran population live after having rejected the current de facto government and refusing to be accomplices to its crude maneuvers to legitimate and support the coup?

Speaking in relation to Honduras, the head of the US Department of State said that her country had worked to achieve a “pragmatic approach, a principled and multilateral one aimed at restoring democracy.”

No one had noted this because the only achievement of that “pragmatic approach” was an attempt to annihilate all of the initiatives and achievements made in the last several years. That approach was behind the positioning of key players (Costa Rican President  Oscar Arias above all) to take the reins of the situation and derail those efforts made from the very first moment by the OAS, the UN, the SICA countries, the ALBA and other institutions of the Latin American continent.

In response to the complete farce staged by the de facto government, the United States is now asking for compliance with the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Agreement, which calls for the installation of a unity and reconciliation government that fails to foresee the participation of Manuel Zelaya, his principal ministers or his advisors (most of whom have been forced to live in the exile).  At the same time, Roberto Micheletti’s de facto government sent an amnesty bill to the National Congress to absolve all those who have systematically violated human rights over the past five months.

This is a new pantomime that aims to definitively legitimize the coup d’état and which seeks to set an example for the rest of the continent.  This is a manual for the perfect 21st-century-style coup d’état, one that sends a clear message as to what Obama’s position will be toward Central America and Latin America.

It appears that the US will not pursue a direct war like in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Nor will it use threats such as the deployment of the Fourth Fleet in the Atlantic, the installation of military bases in Colombia or direct words such as those from Hillary Clinton (directed at those who dare to maintain relations with Iran). Instead, it will wage a surreptitious war of “low intensity,” as it pulls on the “darker” strings of diplomacy and the chains of “special agencies” prepared to infiltrate countries, governments, elections and movements.

This is a “necessary and justifiable war,” President Obama would say.

The Resistance: a necessary bastion

There is one element that the ceremonial powers and the United States itself didn’t calculate: The impressive capacity of the Honduran people to respond.

Following January 27, Honduras will inevitably enter to a new stage in its painful history.  After concluding the period of Manuel Zelaya’s presidency, it will be Porfirio Lobo’s turn.

He will be at the head of an extremely weak government in the midst of a violent economic crisis.  Receiving scant recognition at the international level, he will be tied to the commands dictated by the prime movers behind the coup, including the United States.

Faced with this situation, the resistance that opposed the coup forces has transformed into the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), which must now prepare for a new phase of the struggle. The difficulties are already being faced.  Constant and selective repression, which is being denounced at the world level by human rights organizations, and which is a clear sign of the fear that this process is generating.

The past December 4-5, delegates from organizations making up the FNRP from across the entire country assembled to begin a historic second phase of the struggle.  Their aim is to strengthen the organizational process leading toward the formation of a political alternative to the traditional parties, one able to push for a Constituent Assembly.

During those two days, they formed several commissions and thematic circles that studied the path to be traveled over the next several months.  Upon concluding those activities, Juan Barahona (a union leader and the coordinator of the Bloque Popular) explained, “Now we will move forward with a clear ideological-political position so that all organized sectors will know where we’re heading.”

“We need to know our course of action.  We need a methodology to reach those sectors using the technique of the snail -from the bottom up- then we will have a movement that thunders. It’s necessary to maintain our spirits,” Barahona continued, “We intend to take power peacefully, before or in the next elections.”

“However, it’s necessary to work, relentlessly, putting this project in our daily agendas,” he concluded.

A new stage of the struggle of the Honduran people has begun.