Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Foggy Bottom Throwing Mel Under the Bus?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. policy on Honduras' political crisis is not aimed at supporting any particular individual, the State Department said in a new letter that implied softening support for ousted President Manuel Zelaya.

The letter to Republican Senator Richard Lugar contained criticism of Zelaya, saying the left-leaning former leader had taken "provocative" actions ahead of his removal by the Honduran military on June 28.

The State Department also indicated severe U.S. economic sanctions were not being considered against the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti, which took over in Honduras after Zelaya removed from office.

"Our policy and strategy for engagement is not based on supporting any particular politician or individual. Rather, it is based on finding a resolution that best serves the Honduran people and their democratic aspirations," Richard Verma, the assistant secretary for legislative affairs, said in the letter.

"We have rejected calls for crippling economic sanctions and made clear that all states should seek to facilitate a solution without calls for violence and with respect for the principle of nonintervention," he said. The letter was dated Tuesday and obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.

President Barack Obama has condemned Zelaya's ouster, refused to recognize Micheletti, cut $16.5 million in military aid to Honduras and thrown his support behind the mediation efforts of Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, whose proposals include Zelaya's reinstatement.

Last week the U.S. government announced it was revoking diplomatic visas for several members of Micheletti's administration.


But the State Department letter, while "energetically" condemning Zelaya's ouster on June 28, noted that the coup had been preceded by a political conflict between Zelaya and other institutions inside Honduras.

"We also recognize that President Zelaya's insistence on undertaking provocative actions contributed to the polarization of Honduran society and led to a confrontation that unleashed the events that led to his removal," it said.

Zelaya was pushing for constitutional reforms that included changing term limits for presidents. His opponents accused him of trying to seek re-election, but he denies the allegation.

The Supreme Court ordered his arrest and the Honduran Congress later approved his ouster.

In the letter to Lugar, the State Department also indicated the Obama administration has still not made a definite decision as to whether Zelaya's ouster constituted a coup.

"We have suspended certain assistance as a policy matter pending an ongoing determination under U.S. law about the applicability of the provisions requiring termination of assistance in the event of a military coup."

Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had asked the government to explain its policy on the Honduran political crisis, warning that Senate confirmation may be delayed for a diplomatic nominee for Latin America without it.

The letter appeared to be a response to this request.

Because of U.S. support for Zelaya, conservative Republican Senator Jim DeMint has threatened to delay a Senate vote on the nomination of Arturo Valenzuela to be assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs.

DeMint welcomed the State Department letter but said the Obama administration had not gone far enough.

"I'm glad to see the State Department is finally beginning to walk back its support for Manuel Zelaya and admit that his 'provocative' actions were responsible for his removal," he said through a spokesman.

"These admissions are helpful, but what is necessary is for President Obama to end his support for Zelaya who broke the law and sought to become a Chavez-style dictator," DeMint said, referring to Venezuela's socialist president Hugo Chavez, an ally of Zelaya.

Hat Tip: Honduras Fighting for Freedom

The Obama administration, via the United States State Department, is now, definitely, backtracking on their absolute, purist support for the defrocked socialist thug, Mel Zelaya.

It seems they are not inclined to push for enhanced, punitive economic sanctions and, apparently, are still debating internally whether the actions of June 28th constituted a “coup", in the legal sense.

What's next? Will "Ambassador" Hugo Llorens to be replaced??? God willing...


n1cnac said...

Honduran bishop says wealthy elite were behind ouster of president

EUGENE, Oregon (CNS) -- A Catholic bishop in western Honduras said members of the country's wealthy elite were behind the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya. Bishop Luis Santos Villeda of Santa Rosa de Copan also said the country needs a dialogue between the elite and Honduras' poor and working-class citizens. "Some say Manuel Zelaya threatened democracy by proposing a constitutional assembly. But the poor of Honduras know that Zelaya raised the minimum salary. That's what they understand. They know he defended the poor by sharing money with mayors and small towns. That's why they are out in the streets closing highways and protesting (to demand Zelaya's return)," the bishop told Catholic News Service. In a July 30 telephone interview, he said it is misleading to consider Honduras a democracy, either before or after the June 28 coup. "There has never been a real democracy in Honduras. All we have is an electoral system where the people get to choose candidates imposed from above. The people don't really have representation, whether in the Congress or the Supreme Court, which are all chosen by the rich. We're the most corrupt country in Central America, and we can't talk about real democracy because the people don't participate in the decisions," he said.

robert verdi said...

this would be good news.

somewhereintime said...

Well, it surely would be fantastic if LLorens is replaced.

The thing about ousted pres Zelaya is that most hondurans, rich and poor, don't like him. There are few that do and most have been payed or are being paid. His decision to join ALBA, and have Chavez as his buddy did him no good. As is well known Chavez screams about democracy but his country does not enjoy the freedoms he so says to stand for.

Zelaya, has so openly lied to the Honduran people and about what is going on in the country, that it will be hard for them to ever trust him. He has also done everything to put honduran lives in jeopardy. Power does strange things to people, it must be hard to be a Chavez wannabe.

christian soldier said...

You know my take on all of this--my friend..
The DOS was out of order before-- now it is in line with true US principles...FREEDOM!!!

Cheers to a Free Honduras...

Carlos Echevarria said...

N1cnac...Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez, my niece's grand uncle, utterly rebuts and counter-acts what you have cited.

Moreover, the Council of Bishops in Latin America are in solidarity with the Honduran Catholic Church (and Evangelical by the way) which not only reject Zelaya's return but also a blanket amnesty for his political and criminal crimes.

Although there are inhernet problems in Honduras, no doubt, especially with poverty to dismiss this as some sort of bourgeios coup d'etat is ridiculous.

There are major problems now in Honduras because of the fact he raised the minimum wage in such an egregious fashion, it leads to layoffs, less hours worked and less opportunity for wealth and job creation.....

By the way how about the hundreds of millions of dollars he stole?????? that we know about???

Robert, thanks for your steadfast support.

Somewhereintime, thanks for commenting, you are right about Zelaya being a Chavez clone which would have taken Honduras down the path of destruction.

Carol, you are correct about the DOS, at least in DC! But this Llorens character, the rogue friend of Mel, has to go either way...they should send him somewhere fun like Palau along with the Al Qaeda-Gitmo terrorists!!!!