Cablegate: Media Reaction: Honduras; 01/28/10; Buenos Aires
DE RUEHBU #0088/01 0282026
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 282025Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0395
INFO RHMCSUU/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000088
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC, WHA/EPSC
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KPAO KMDR PREL HA AR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: HONDURAS; 01/28/10; BUENOS AIRES
1. Local media distinguished between U.S. support for elected
President Lobo and the absence of most Latin American countries
from his swearing-in ceremony. Newspapers were divided on the U.S.
role in the Honduran crisis. Some media blame the U.S. for helping
validate the June 28 coup d'etat through acknowledging the outcome
of the November election, while others praise the U.S. "pragmatism"
in acknowledging the new president's legitimacy. One
pro-government paper highlighted President Obama's delay in
cancelling the visas of "coup mongers." End summary.
LOBO OBTAINS FULL U.S., BUT
LITTLE LATIN AMERICAN, SUPPORT
2. Some local dailies underscored that elected President Lobo
received total support from the U.S., which sent Assistant
Secretary Arturo Valenzuela to attend his inauguration ceremony,
while only two Latin American countries sent their representatives.
Leading circulation Clarin says Lobo took over as Honduran
President with the "U.S. congratulations under his arm," but with
only two Latin American presidents and a few foreign delegations
3. An opinion piece in pro-government, left-of-center Pagina 12
notes that during the November election only four countries
supported Lobo, one of which was the U.S., while two months later
Lobo obtained the acknowledgement of two of his neighboring
countries (Guatemala and El Salvador). The paper underscores that
Mercosur and ALBA countries will not recognize Lobo. The article
adds that Lobo also obtained the support of OAS Secretary General
Jose Miguel Insulza, who made public calls in favor of the
reinstatement of Honduras into the OAS.
4. Another Pagina 12 article says that Lobo's policies are
expected to continue those of the military dictatorship, that "he
will impose neo-liberal measures, reduce public expenditure and
pass a law to protect Foreign Investment." The paper quotes former
Honduran President Manuel Zelaya citing A/S Valenzuela's remarks
that elections are not enough to restore democracy and that a lot
more is necessary.
5. Business-financial Ambito Financiero reported that Lobo took
over as the new Honduran president with "total support of the U.S.
although not from most Latin American countries."
"ELECTIONS VALIDATE A COUP"
SOME BLAME U.S. FOR VALIDATING THE COUP
WHILE OTHERS PRAISE U.S. PRAGMATISM
6. Pro-government Buenos Aires Economico (BAE) subheadline reads,
"Lobo's inauguration appears to "consolidate and legitimize the
coup." An opinion piece in centrist Critica de la Argentina says
the coup is the outcome of U.S. contradictions, and that Zelaya's
downfall was planned by Republicans and the Bush supporters who are
infiltrated into the Pentagon and the CIA.
7. Under the headline "Elections validated a coup d'etat," Clarin
signals that the June coup unveils the flagrant weakness of
regional democracies. The paper claims that the coup took place
because the U.S. conservative right wing encouraged it and
validated it afterwards. Finally, the article concludes that
President Obama is one of those who should be held liable for the
8. On the positive side, an opinion article in Critica de la
Argentina praised the White House's pragmatism in acknowledging the
new president's legitimacy, noting that the final outcome of the
political crisis is a defeat for Chavez's interventionism and
HUMAN RIGHTS NGOS DENOUNCE
OBAMA'S LACK OF LEADERSHIP
9. Pro-government, left-of-center Pagina 12 newspaper quoted the
head of Human Rights Watch's Americas Division as saying that Obama
did not play an immediate leading role in the Honduran crisis, that
it took him two months to cancel the "coup mongers' visas," and
that the cancellation of visas was an efficient tool because the
Honduran elite has close ties with Miami. The paper mentions that
the head of Human Rights Watch's Americas Division also highlighted
that Obama should have imposed immediate unilateral sanctions on
coup mongers but, instead, he bet on political and diplomatic
pressure. The article says Human Rights and Amnesty International
blasted the human rights violations that have been committed since
the June coup d'etat. Regarding the amnesty approved by the
Honduran Congress overnight, the paper notes that although the
amnesty does not include the reduction or exemption of penalties
for those held liable for the human rights violations committed, in
practice this does not mean that an investigation will be performed
to find out exactly what happened.
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