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Hillary’s Debacle as Honduran Democracy is Served Up

November 28th, 2009 · 17 Comments

One issue that has been of recent concern on this blog is the coup and pending elections in Honduras tomorrow. It has been five months since the de facto rulers of Honduras have ousted the democratically elected Mel Zelaya with the military, illegally exiling him. In following due process, Zelaya should have been charged through a court of law via regular legal procedures. The purported issue at stake was whether Zelaya, in scheduling a non-binding poll, was going in for a power grab to secure another term as president, but evidence of Zelaya’s intent to do so was not examined publicly. In essence, Zelaya was accused of doing something that the current government thought he would do, not something that he had actually done.

In the meantime, the de facto leaders of Honduras have waged a war at home against any opposition to its rule and one abroad with a successful public relations effort, led by Lanny Davis, a Clinton supporter in 2008 and pro-Israeli spinmeister. Lanny Davis has ties to the pro-Isreali lobby, is the treasurer of a pro-Lieberman PAC, and has even referred to himself as a “good friend” of George W. Bush. With credentials like these, it is no wonder that the current government in Honduras tapped Davis to run its PR effort. He is firmly planted in the neocon political establishment, and in doing so, he made it more plausible to connect Zelaya to South American, socialist boogeyman Chavez, even though evidence from the Millennium Challenge Scorecard, utilizing data from the World Bank, UNESCO and Heritage Foundation, shows that the country had relatively high scores for economic freedom. And if the connection of Zelaya to Chavez wasn’t enough to earn the minds of people on the fence in supporting the coup, Davis could also connect Zelaya to Ahmadinejad in Iran, citing Chavez’s support of the Iranian President in his own election woes this spring, which fits nicely with his pro-Israeli portfolio.

Back in Honduras, there have been mass arrests, illegal detentions, violations of women’s rights and the blocking of media that is not favorable to the de facto government. Groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have documented these abuses, which have yet to be investigated or prosecuted by the Honduran attorney general’s office. Furthermore, many candidates who are running for public office, including one presidential candidate, have removed their names from the ballots for tomorrow in protest against the existing government, likely producing lopsided results. And the current state is coercing workers into participating in the election by informing them that they must show documentation indicating that they have voted or else they may lose their jobs. So far only Panama, Costa Rica, and Peru have indicated that they will recognize the election results, along with the US, as signaled by State Department official Thomas Shannon earlier this month.

The US should reconsider recognizing tomorrow’s elections in Honduras not only because of the widespread abuses of the existing government but to show that things can be different in the region – that there can be full participation in elections by all factions, not just the elite or the usual suspects. Additionally, Secretary Clinton should pay closer attention to the situation and not merely assume that her pal Lanny Davis has it under control. Lanny Davis has credibility issues and is too tied to business interests and neocon factions. If the current government truly represents democracy, it would not abuse those who disagree with it and would allow freedom of the press. Last month a US polling firm surveyed Hondurans and found that 54 percent of the respondents favored a constitutional assembly to resolve the current crisis. This is what ousted President Zelaya was calling for: a constitutional assembly. The US could support dialogue that would lead to a constitutional assembly and not recognize the new government until they restore civil liberties and human rights, while promoting more transparency. Doing so could help restore the credibility and faith that many hoped would accompany the Obama administration, instead of the business as usual approach that the US has taken for decades, contributing to the distrust and skepticism that our neighbors have of US intentions. We wouldn’t tolerate elections under these oppressive conditions, why should we expect the Hondurans to do so?

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Tags: Barack Obama · Civil Rights · Foreign Policy · Hillary Clinton · Latin American Foreign Policy · Presidential Elections · Voting Rights

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 El Cholo // Nov 29, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    It looks like Hillary’s running her own type of Third World democracy down there in Honduras. Complete with mass exploitation and the murder of poor people. How Bush of you Hillary.

  • 2 Anna // Nov 30, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Hillary works for Obama. Funny how nobody ever holds him accountable for anything.

  • 3 Bearguez // Nov 30, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Hillary does what Hillary wants. Or maybe that’s too difficult for you to visualize. Her political relationship with Mark Penn helped disable her Democratic Presidential campaign. And even after she was mathematically eliminated from the race, she continued spending money that she didn’t have because she couldn’t accept the fact that she lost. Her political relationship with Tommy Boggs conflicts with the relationship the Obama Administration wants to have with Israel. Since he represents the Saudi Royal family and their political interests in DC, and abroad, this has given the Israeli governments pause in any mutual strategies in the region. And her political relationship with Lanny Davis, well we’ve all seen what that has done in Honduras. To be naïve enough to think that Hillary is representing the interests of the Obama Administration to its fullest, displays how little you know about political relationships, and how they are entwined.

  • 4 Xavier Cardenas // Nov 30, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Hillary does what Hillary wants. Or maybe that’s too difficult for you to visualize. Her political relationship with Mark Penn helped disable her Democratic Presidential campaign. And even after she was mathematically eliminated from the race, she continued spending money that she didn’t have because she couldn’t accept the fact that she lost. Her political relationship with Tommy Boggs conflicts with the relationship the Obama Administration wants to have with Israel. Since he represents the Saudi Royal family and their political interests in DC, and abroad, this has given the Israeli governments pause in any mutual strategies in the region. And her political relationship with Lanny Davis, well we’ve all seen what that has done in Honduras. To be naïve enough to think that Hillary is representing the interests of the Obama Administration to its fullest, displays how little you know about political relationships, and how they are entwined-Bearquez
    =====================

    In other words, Obama gets another free pass.

  • 5 Anna // Nov 30, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Exactly. Obama hired Hillary and she reports to him. He obviously has no problem with her policy in Honduras or with her many conflicts of interest.

    As for her staying in the race after she supposedly “lost” that was media spin. The fact is that Obama didn’t officially get the nomination until the superdelegates nominated him at the convention. He didn’t have enough delegates after the primaries to secure the nomination. If we still lived in a democracy there would have been a floor fight at the convention.

  • 6 webmaster // Nov 30, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    “Exactly. Obama hired Hillary and she reports to him. He obviously has no problem with her policy in Honduras or with her many conflicts of interest.”

    Anna you are correct, at the end of the day, the buck stops with Obama, but what I find so troubling about the Honduras situation is how quickly the US State Dept wanted to brush the coup under the rug and declare these elections fair and valid after all of the documented abuses.

  • 7 Bearguez // Nov 30, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    No one is saying Obama gets a free pass. I see you reprinted it, so its obviously clear I didn’t write it, despite your attempt to insinuate it. However, Obama is not King Obama, or Obama the Terrible, and he and Joseph Biden have to rely on their cabinet heads to manage and direct policy that adhere to the goals and aspirations of the Obama Administration. Hillary Clinton is the Secretary of State, at this moment. The entire world outside the United States is her domain. Sending the Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis to do her job because Lanny Davis was representing the opposition exposes how collusive Hillary Clinton’s political relationships with numerous lobbyists are. If you want to blame Barack Obama because the sun isn’t shining in your part of the world, then do it. But at least attempt to do it intelligently.

  • 8 Anna // Nov 30, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Re: “If you want to blame Barack Obama because the sun isn’t shining in your part of the world…”

    I am blaming him along with Hillary because he is the President. What kind of universe do you live in where the Secretary of State is more powerful than the President? Actually, maybe she is because, let’s be honest, Obama is in over his head.

  • 9 Xavier Cardenas // Nov 30, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    The policy is dictated by the POTUS. From the VP down to the newly minted Maine Corp PFC. They are all following his policies.

  • 10 Xavier Cardenas // Nov 30, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Whoa. That should be Marien Corp. PFC.

  • 11 Xavier Cardenas // Nov 30, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    O.K. I have a keyboard problem MARINE.

  • 12 Bearguez // Nov 30, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Ooo really…maybe you should’ve told Dick Cheney that, and Henry Paulson.

    Anna- Your planet exists in a democracy? Since when has San Gabriel emulated ancient Athens? You have the gull to refer to the last eight years as a democracy? You attack Gloria Molina for her lack of higher education, and yet based on your ranting there’s no evidence that you even went to school.

  • 13 El Cholo // Nov 30, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    There you go talking to idiots again. Don’t waste your time. Save it for someone with some idea of what they’re talking about.

  • 14 Anna // Nov 30, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Re: ” Ooo really…maybe you should’ve told Dick Cheney that, and Henry Paulson”

    They were running amok because Dubya was inept. I guess the difference between the way you see Obama and I see Obama is that I actually see him as somebody who has the power to make decisions. Silly me. You see him as Hillary’s bytch.

    As for Gloria Molina, when did I attack her? Give me a break.

  • 15 El Cholo // Dec 1, 2009 at 1:30 am

    No breaks for you miss cholita…maybe you should take your medication before you start typing and that way you’ll remember who you insult and when you should put your foot in your mouth. No one is saying Obama is Hillary’s bitch. Those are your words. And that’s been your mentality all along, and that’s why all of us have a good time laughing at your vision of democracy.

  • 16 Bryan J. // Aug 13, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Further evidence of U.S. complicity in Human Rights violations in Honduras Post-Coup:

    http://bit.ly/agslpg

  • 17 Of note to Latinos in the State of the Union Address // Jan 26, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    [...] Kennedy. I wonder if he plans something similar, but if how his administration handled the coup in Honduras back in 2009 is any indication, I wouldn’t hold my [...]

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