Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Honduras & the World According to Obama Factor

Honduras and the WAO (World According to Obama) Factor

or How to sideline democracy, law, and international organisations – and STILL hang in there...

by Julie Webb Pullman

Just when you thought there were no more surprises in Latin America, Micheletti’s maras (gangs) have come up with a new twist to an old tale – ‘discriminating’ death squads!

These guys don’t just go in boots and all maiming, torturing and killing indiscriminately like their 70’s and 80’s counterparts. Which is not to say that they haven’t, or won’t continue to, open fire indiscriminately when they feel like it...but tough economic times like the present demand a more responsible approach - too many deaths and disappearances would reduce the exploitable workforce and further undermine the already-flailing economy.

The name of the Dirty War game in the 21st century is ‘selective targeting’ – just ask David Murillo[1], Gustavo Mejia [2], Ricardo Castro[3], Carlos Reyes[4] and Osman Fajardo[5].

You have to ask them because they’re the ones who lived to tell the tale – unlike at least nine others documented by international human rights observers[6], or the 62 alleged by Honduran human rights organization, CODEH, to have been murdered in the first 28 days of the coup.[7]

Of course the Honduras military’s compliance – and violence - has nothing to do with the millions paid in bribes to senior officers, as reported by Toni Solo, or the “pills” being given to the grunts to stave off their hunger pangs but which is rendering them “crazy”, the main ingredient of which is probably a country equally irrelevant to the unfolding events in Honduras, as history professor Miguel Tinker Salas recently noted.[8]

While the military and police maras deal destruction, detention, disappearance and death to selected opposition candidates, trade unionists, leaders of social movements, independent judiciary, and even little children, the Organisation of American States kowtows to whatever terms Micheletti’s mob dictates to pied piper Arias, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights belatedly announces a mission for a couple of weeks in the future (enabling how many more attacks?), and the United Nations and their peace-keeping forces are notable only by their absence. WAO, that’s reassuring!

Even more reassuring is that Barack “The Hypocrisy’s on me” Obama wants us to believe that acting ethically equals hypocrisy. According to his logic, “collaboration” and “intervention” are mutually exclusive, and taking a moral stand – impossible!

In the World According to Obama, having a bleeding great U.S. military base slap in the middle of Honduras isn’t intervention.

In the World According to Obama, U.S. training, support of, and co-operation with the military thugs now running Honduras isn’t intervention.

In the World According to Obama, bankrolling the Honduran coup through programmes such as MCC, NED, and USAID [9] isn’t intervention.

But withdrawing, in accordance with his own country’s laws and regulations, military and economic “aid” to an illegal government imposed by a military coup, is not only intervention – it’s hypocrisy! WAO!!

He must be right, or all those governments and international organisations devoted to upholding human rights, the rule of law, and peace and justice would already be doing something more than having talk-fests, to overthrow this dictatorship of brute force and to protect Honduran citizens from continued abuses...wouldn’t they?

How can we help Obama wage his War on Hypocrisy? First up, we can demand he cut the crap, and immediately cut all U.S. support to the illegal government of Micheletti and whoever illegally follows him, and unequivocally support the unconditional return of the democratically-elected President, Manuel Zelaya.

Second up, we can demand that he similarly supports national and international efforts to ensure that all those involved in the coup, and in the human rights abuses that have been perpetrated since, are held accountable and brought to justice - and that the U.S. compensate the victims and their families in recognition that Obama's failure to immediately pull the plug on the coupsters enabled these continuing abuses.

Third, we can demand that he approve the establishment in the United States of America of military bases of every country that has been subjected to destabilisation by the U.S., threat to national security being the U.S. justification for a military presence. In the interests of the War on Hypocrisy, each of the following Latin American countries deserves such a base, if they want them, having suffered a U.S. war or military action either directly, or in conjunction with a proxy army: Guatemala, Haiti, Peru, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, El Salvador, and Colombia[10].

However hard I search my memory, I just cannot think of even ONE Latin American country that has attacked, let alone threatened, the U.S. so lastly, in the interests of the entire continent, we can demand that he shut down all U.S. military bases in the Americas, other than in his own country

WAO, then he might be walking the talk!

[1] Still imprisoned - David Murillo, an Evangelical Minister, was detained after leaving the office of prominent Honduran human rights organization, COFADEH, where he had filed a legal denunciation of the murder of his 19 year old son Isis at an anti-coup demonstration. [2] Gustavo Mejia was imprisoned but later released – showed Quixote that the last eight messages on his phone were anonymous death threats against his children, trying to terrorize him into leaving the movement against coup. Teachers in particular have received a lot of repression, he said. “They tell us our days are numbered.”
[3] Ricardo Castro was beaten, imprisoned, now released - a radio and TV journalist for 28 years, he was pulled out of his clearly marked PRESS vehicle in San Pedro Sula by police, who put a pistol in his mouth to threaten him, then began beating him. When he pleaded for them to stop, explaining that he had had back surgery, police threw him on the ground and jumped on his back. [4] Carlos Reyes is a coordinator of the national front against the coup d'etat and chair person of the trade union STIBYS, and an official, non-party candidate in the presidential elections scheduled for November this year. Reyes’ wounding follows an attack on the STIBYS offices where a bomb was exploded after an anti-coup meeting on July 26. This bombing was hard on the heels of the express warning of Billy Joya, “special security adviser“to the coup government, that there were going to be bombs. [5] Osman Fajardo was the judge assigned to follow up with the writs of habeus corpus filed on behalf of those detained illegally in San Pedro Sula on August 3rd 2009, who was threatened and assaulted by police when he appeared at the police station to do his job. [6] Isis Obed Murillo Mencias, 19 years old. Gabriel Fino Noriega, journalist from Radio Estelar, in the department of Atlántida, killed by 7 bullets on July 3rd, as he left his work. Ramón García, leader in the Democratic Union (UD), forced off public transport when he was coming back from a protest, and riddled with bullets in the area of Santa Bárbara. Roger Iván Bados, former unión leader of the textile sector and current member of the UD and Popular Bloque (BP), threatened with death immediately after the coup, and shot to death after being pulled from his own house on July 11 in San Pedro Sula. Vicky Hernández Castillo (Sonny Emelson Hernández), member of the LGTB community, dead in San Pedro Sula from a gunshot to the eye. Alexis Fernando Amador, dressed in a “4th Urn” T-shirt, found dead on Saturday July 3 in the “Agua Blanca” area of Tegucigalpa. Roger Abraham Vallejo Soriano, killed on Julio 29, 2009. Martin Florencio Rivera Barrientes killed after leaving Rivera Barrientes’ wake. Pedro Magdiel, killed in El Paraíso. [7]
[8] Honduras is Only Part of the Story: The Conservative Counter-Attack in Latin America[9];


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Charlotte Graham: I OIA'd Every Council In NZ...

A “no surprises” mindset and training and advice that has taught public servants to see any media interaction as a “gotcha” exercise perpetrated by unscrupulous and scurrilous reporters has led to a polarised and often unproductive OIA process. More>>


Veronika Meduna: The Kaikoura Rebuild

A Scoop Foundation Investigation The South Island’s main transport corridor will be open to traffic again, more than a year after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake mangled bridges and tunnels, twisted rail tracks and buried sections of the road under massive landslides. More>>

Charlotte Graham: Empowering Communities To Act In A Disaster
The year of record-breaking natural disasters means that in the US, as in New Zealand, there’s a conversation happening about how best to run the emergency management sector... More>>


Campbell On: The attacks on Lorde, over Israel
The escalation of attacks on Lorde for her considered decision not to perform in Israel is unfortunate, but is not entirely unexpected…More

Jan Rivers: The New Zealanders Involved In Brexit

There are a number who have strong connections to New Zealand making significant running on either side of the contested and divisive decision to leave the European Union. More>>

Rawiri Taonui: The Rise, Fall And Future Of The Independent Māori Parties

Earlier this month the Māori Party and Mana Movement reflected on the shock loss of their last parliamentary seat in this year’s election. It is timely to consider their future. More>>

Using Scoop Professionally? Introducing ScoopPro

ScoopPro is a new offering aimed at ensuring professional users get the most out of Scoop and support us to continue improving it so that Scoop continues to exist as a public service for all New Zealanders. More>>