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Honduras: the Venezuelan connection and Richard Nixon

19 July 2009

Despite continued resistance (nearly all major highways are blocked), the coup has continued to hold on, and thanks to obvious Venezuelan interference (though not from the Venezuelan government), and U.S. support, the coup is “winning” simply by staying in power long enough to force acceptance of the status quo.

Roberto Carmona Borjas, a Venezuelan whose shady Arcadia Foundation (the group’s website: arcadiafoundation.org only has an introduction screen, and no information) has been pushing claims that deposed President Mel Zelaya was corrupt (which is an after the fact justification for the coup) describes himself as an academic (at both American University and George Washington University, both in Washington, D.C.).  The GW Hatchet (an independent student newspaper at George Washington University) wrote about Carmona’s graduate course in Political Management last October:

The class, which meets Tuesdays from 7:10 p.m. to 9:40 p.m., already boasts an impressive list of speakers, including Colombian President Alvaro Uribe; U.S. ambassador to Venezuela Otto Reich; Leopoldo Lopez, a Venezuelan politician; Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutiérrez and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has also been invited.

Reich is misidentified as the Ambassador to Venezuela .  He WAS Ambassador during the Reagan Administration, during which time he arranged for the release of wanted terrorist Orlando Bosch, who was involved in blowing up a civilian airliner, though, being a Cuban airliner, has never been pursued by the United States government, despite Bosch’s residence in the U.S.  More importantly, as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs during George W. Bush’s administration, Reich attempted to build support for the attempted 2002 coup in Venezuela among other nations in the Hemisphere.  That coup, like the 28 June coup in Honduras, started with the military removal of the elected President, followed by a statement (the Carmona Decrees) which claimed consitutionality for the action.  Carmona Borjes is said to have authored that document, which is confused by the fact that the President of the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce (who was installed as president — supposedly under constitutional procedure) is another Carmona:  Pedro Carmona Estanga.

Leopoldo Lopez was the municipal president of Chacao (a borough of Caracas) and an anti-Chavez politico of note.  While there is some controversy over his removal from office, there is no question that his party received illegal funds from the Venezuelan oil company (where he was employed and where his mother was head of public affairs) before the coup, and was the legal reason for removal from office.

Carlos Gutiérrez and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are both active in right-wing Cuban exile politics.  Alvaro Uribe is, of course, the President of Colombia (which has its own anti-Venezuelan biases) and Hillary Clinton is… oh, somebody of importance in the Obama Administration.

As in Venezuela, the modus operandi seems to be coup first, justification later.  Unlike in Venezuela, where opposition to the coup forced the leaders to retire within 36 hours, the Honduran coup is now in its third week.  The “de facto regime” today presented three scenarios for their own retirement, (link to Processo [Tegacigalpa]– in Spanish) all of which absolve them of responsiblity for the coup (basically, justifying the action and setting a precedent for  such actions elsewhere in the Hemisphere) and locking into place the status quo.

All the legalistic back and forth is, of course, important, but doesn’t address the most basic of human rights.  Hemano Juancito wrote today about a small Spanish-funded project that would held the poorest of Hondurans set up gardens.  In going over the applicants for grants, Juancito noted:

There were small and large families, Catholics and Protestants. But two things struck me. First, many of the houses had dirt floors. But, worse, many of the people’s diets were almost completely restricted to corn tortillas, beans, and eggs, with meat maybe once a week. Some ate almost no vegetables, though some occasionally included potatoes in their diets. No wonder there is so much malnutrition.

In 1958 United States Vice-President Richard M. Nixon tried to lecture Mexican President-elect Adolfo López Mateos on the dangers of Communism in Latin America. López Mateos, it’s said, gave Nixon an impromtu tour of the slums of Mexico City in his own car, just the two of them, then told Nixon, “The threat to stability and growth in Latin America is not from Communism, but from ‘Hungerism’.”

The “de facto regime” in Honduras — even if by some chance the justifications created by a Venezuelan exile are accepted — will never be legitimate, nor will it create stability or anything else — while it attempts to turn the clock back, and return to a system that forces  hungerism on its people.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Timo permalink
    19 July 2009 6:23 pm

    WHy do you say the US is supporting the coup in Honduras, when it has officially condemned it?

    WHy do you say the government of Venezuela is not interfering, when it is the only country that has threatened military action against the current government in Honduras if Zelaya is not reinstated?

  2. 19 July 2009 6:57 pm

    The U.S., unlike every other nation in the hemisphere, did not even refer to the event as a “coup” for nearly a week after the event, and even then, continued relations with a government every other nation considers illegitimate.

    I can see where it looks like I said the Venezuelan government did not also make threats (which the Venezuelan president did, though he’s known to engage his mouth with the brain still in gear), and could have said it better… the point being that Venezuelan exiles are more involved with this event than otherwise acknowledged.

  3. Timo permalink
    19 July 2009 7:45 pm

    President stated the following on June 29th:

    “President Zelaya was democratically elected. He had not yet completed his term. We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the President of Honduras, the democratically elected President there. In that we have joined all the countries in the region, including Colombia and the Organization of American States.”

    The coup in Honduras occurred the previous day, June 28th. How does this constitute a gap of a week in the US’s calling the coup a coup?

    And how can Obama’s statement possibly be construed as supporting the coup?

    As for Venezuela: We both agree then that both Venezuelan chavistas and conservatives have been attempting to meddle in and influence the outcome of the Honduran situation, not just the conservatives? Agreed?

  4. 19 July 2009 10:54 pm

    Thanks for the link Richard. These guys are real scum and more and more information is going to come out about them and their sleazy, hypocritical roles in the coup. Knew Carmona, Reich and Ros-Lehtinen were buddies, but interesting to find out that Hillary was already an associate of Carmona.

    Arcadia’s website does have some more shady/funny information on it, including a bio about Carmona. You just have to click through the first page by allowing the godawful video to play and then clicking on it, or by skipping it and then clicking.

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