[News] Honduran Coup Over?

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jul 30 14:06:19 EDT 2009


July 30, 2009

Once Again South America Comes to Washington's Rescue

Honduran Coup Over?


Bloomberg is reporting that Honduran coup leader, 
Roberto Micheletti has accepted 
Arias plan, which means -- if true -- that Manuel 
Zelaya will be, with conditions, as president. 
Though Micheletti is still begging for time, 
saying he needs Arias’s help in convincing his co-coup leaders to agree.

The terms are unclear about what is covered in 
the Arias’ amnesty, but it is doubtful there will 
be any investigation or prosecution of the 
human-rights violations that have taken place, 
including nine, perhaps ten murders, all against 
Zelaya supporters, over the last month.

The very fact that there are conditions on 
Zelaya’s return, and that there were 
negotiations, granted legitimacy to the coup 
leaders. But, and this is a big but, the very 
fact of Zelaya’s return is important for three reasons:

1. The momentum building in Honduras could 
continue, including an emerging alliance between 
the traditional, organized left (unions, peasant 
organizations, politicians), new social 
movements, real democrats, and the 
long-suppressed reformist wing of the liberal 
part (of course, it could fizzle out; if this new 
alliance put its energies into backing a 
presidential candidate in the coming elections, 
which are presumably advanced from November to 
take place in October, and that candidate lost, 
it could effectively end any energy (but right 
now, social movements are saying that no matter 
what the Arias accords say, they plan to still 
push the idea of a constitutional amendment). .

2. Potential coup plotters in neighboring 
Guatemala, and possibly El Salvador, must be 
discouraged. They were hoping Honduras might 
offer a model to follow, what with peasants on 
the march in Guatemala (protesting, among other 
things, transnational mining and biofuels) and a 
center-left president in office who refuses to 
repress them, and the FMLN in power in El 
Salvador. If Zelaya returns, this is a set back for them.

3. Perhaps most important on an international 
level, it delays the maturation of the budding 
alliance between neoliberals like Lanny Davis 
(who stands in for the broader Clinton camp) and 
neo-cons like Reich and Roger Noriega, who have 
developed close ties with Colombia, Venezuelan 
self-exiles, and displaced neoliberals from 
Bolivia. It also strengthens the relatively more 
sane tendency within the Obama foreign-policy 
coalition. One underreported aspect of the coup 
is that Nike, Adidas, Gap, and Knights Apparel 
lobbied Washington to restore Zelaya. They have 
maquilas in San Pedro Sula and were afraid of 
further labor unrest, which I guess is what 
passes these days for the modernizing bourgeoisie

Also, the chronology of the diplomacy has been interesting:

1. coup

2. US responds tepidly, but when the rest of 
Latin America, the OAS, and the EU condemns the 
coup forcefully, Obama responds in kind.

3. South America, having solved without US help 
in a very impressive fashion two regional crises 
last year (Bolivia and Ecuador/Colombia) seems to 
let the US take the lead on this, since it is 
taking place in an area squarely in its sphere of 
influence; White House defers to State 
Department, which enlists Costa Rica and Oscar 
Arias to negotiate, despite the fact that OAS and 
most of South America opposed granting that 
degree of legitimacy to coup plotters

4. Coup government initially rejects Arias plan, 
indicating that US can’t even curb this client 
state, the third poorest in the hemisphere

5. Zelaya threatens to return over land, 
prompting State Department – embarrassed by the 
breakdown of Costa Rican talks – to call Zelaya 
“reckless.” But Zelaya’s presence on Honduras’s 
southern border ramps up pressure on coup regime, 
which begins to accuse Zelayas’ supporters of 
receiving money from Colombia’s FARC (the FARC 
must be brimming with money, for left politicians 
from Honduras to Ecuador are accused of being on its payroll).

6. At the same time, South America, both 
individual countries like Brazil, Chile, and 
Venezuela and collectively through Mercosur 
(which met last week in Paraguay), return to 
putting pressure on Washington to put pressure on Honduras.

7.Washington revokes visas of coup plotters, 
perhaps signaling that the game is over.

8. Micheletti – just days after publishing an 
in the WSJ probably ghost written by 
Reich or Lanny Davis– throws in towel, hopefully.

So once again, South America comes to Washington's rescue...

Greg Grandin teaches Latin American history at 
NYU and is the author of the 
Workshop: Latin America, The United States, and 
The Rise of the New Imperialism, from which this 
essay has been excerpted. He can be reached at: 
<mailto:gjg4 at nyu.edu>gjg4 at nyu.edu

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