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Honduras & Nicaragua – Disinformation & Reality

Honduras and Nicaragua – Disinformation and Reality

by Toni Solo, October 7th 2009

Maybe the poet T.S.Eliot had corporate mass media in mind when he wrote in 'Burnt Norton' : “human kind cannot bear very much reality.” In reporting on Honduras and Nicaragua, or anywhere elsewhere in the world, Western Bloc media – of the United States, Europe and their Pacific allies - serve in practice as propaganda outlets for their governments. Spoon fed with skewed agency reports and government media briefings, supposedly prestigious media, from the BBC to the New York Times, omit or distort relevant facts, caricature perceived opponents and fail to catch important developments.

In the case of Honduras, the corporate media line has been that power-hungry leftist President Manuel Zelaya tried to railroad his re-election. Totally false. In fact, a corrupt oligarchic elite, including people like coup regime leader Roberto Micheletti and others likewise implicated in narco-trafficking, paid millions of dollars for a military coup so as to prevent democratic change.

On Nicaragua, the corporate media line has been that corrupt, incompetent President Daniel Ortega has polarized society in his undemocratic drive to impose a Somoza-like family dictatorship. Also absurdly false. The Sandinista led coalition government has worked tirelessly for social reconciliation, rescued Nicaragua's electricity generating capacity, infrastructure and agricultural economy, transformed education services and greatly improved health care.

In Honduras, the corporate media have failed to report faithfully the three months of massive nationwide demonstrations, the death-squad murders, the disappearances, hundreds of non-violent protestors wounded, thousands detained, the routine torture and abuse. For the corporate media repression of free speech in Honduras hardly matters. They minimize the significance of the closure of anti-coup media like Radio Globo and Cholusat Sur or the threats against Radio Progreso and the weekly El Libertador.

In Nicaragua, by contrast, baseless, fake opposition claims of electoral fraud and oppressive censorship have been treated as gospel truth. The media propaganda benediction of those claims greatly facilitated anti-democratic opposition legislative boycotts and vicious neocolonial aid blackmail by the US government and the European Union. UN recognition of Nicaragua's outstanding achievements in education and food security has been systematically distorted or outright ignored.

In both Honduras and Nicaragua, despite deliberate, systematic attempts to misrepresent the facts by the corporate media, reality stubbornly asserts itself, just as it does elsewhere in the world where Western Bloc countries have sought to impose their imperialist agenda. In Honduras, despite its serious failures of coordination and organization – hardly surprising given the repression – the National Resistance Front against the coup d'etat has destroyed the coup regime's pretence to legitimacy. A poll made public by Narconews shows an overwhelming majority – by 3 to 1 – oppose the coup and want President Zelaya reinstated.

In Nicaragua, despite the cynical hypocrisy of the European Union and the US State Department, the Nicaraguan goverment has made opposition claims of electoral fraud and government oppression look stupid. The opposition never had popular support for their deceitful claims of electoral fraud. The bogus claims of dictatorship have fallen completely flat. Right wing Nicaraguan opposition leaders like Eduardo Montealegre have done their cause little good by openly supporting the fascist coup regime leaders in Honduras.

The Western Bloc corporate media propaganda role in Central America could hardly be more clear. They whitewash or ignore the crimes of the Honduran coup regime while omitting or distorting the achievements of Daniel Ortega's Sandinista government in Nicaragua. This is the minor version of the major regional media deception – the hateful disinformation campaign against steady social and economic progress in Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia, while blithley ignoring the catastrophic situation in the societies and economies of Western Bloc allies like Mexico, Colombia and Peru.

In both cases the moral failure is compounded by a professional failure to catch potentially vital developments at grass roots. For example, in Honduras the overwhelming movement of non-violent mass protest against the brutal Honduran coup regime, its police and army, tends to obscure the reality of an increase in different kinds of armed actions against the coup regime security forces. Reports of a couple of violent incidents immediately following the return of President Manuel Zelaya to his country add a certain urgency to the much-canvassed peace negotiations between Zelaya and the coup regime leaders.

One incident took place in San Pedro Sula on Thursday, October 1st, when the local organizers of the National Resistance Front lead a protest march along San Pedro Sula's Seventh Street near the market area next to the Cabañas and Medina barrios. According to eye witness reports, armed police attacked the demonstrators forcing them to flee into the neighbouring barrios. In response two distinct groups emerged to protect their barrios as well as their family and friends among the demonstrators.

The yet to be confirmed reports allege that these groups were heavily armed with automatic and semi-automatic weapons. One group was the Salvatrucha 18 mara. Another seems to have been an ad hoc self-defence group. People in the barrios are reported to have seen six ambulances take away between 10 and 15 seriously wounded police officers and a similar number of less seriously wounded, all police.

Another unconfirmed report relates an assault, also last week, by an armed group in Catacamas, the departmental capital of Olancho. There, allegedly, a police post guarded by around 15 soldiers was attacked. The report omits information about casualties. The assailants reportedly took over the police post and cleared out all its weapons and munitions before abandoning it.

These reports point to a fundamental, depressing and uncomfortable reality. With no clear mechanism leading to a Constituent Assembly, the popular movement in Honduras is unlikely to accept the brusque frustration of its primary objective – to refound the Republic of Honduras - even if President Zelaya is reinstated. Effectively, only extremely violent armed repression by the police and the army has obstructed the realisation of that objective until now.

Even if elections are held, and even if President Zelaya is reinstated for the brief period that remains of his presidency, currently nothing indicates that a Constituent Assembly is likely to be included in any negotiated settlement. If that turns out to be the case, after over three months of sacrifice by hundreds of thousands of people demanding a Constituent Assembly, the conclusion seems self-evident : the Honduran people will need to defeat the police and the army by force of arms. If true, last week's reported events in Catacamas and in San Pedro's Medina and Cabañas barrios shows they have the will to do so.

*************

toni writes for tortillaconsal.com

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