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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Honduras Showdown on July 4 Weekend

By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES, July 4 — The Honduran military and its civilian face that staged a coup last Sunday told the OAS Secretary General Manuel Insulza on Friday they have no intention of giving up power in the impoverished Central American country.

A state of siege —that here includes a curfew, strict media censorship and general deterioration of the human rights situation— is par for the course during such events. The Cuban media is giving around the clock coverage of the crisis.

The cold reception to Insulza and his call for turning back the clock a week, sets the stage for a larger conflict on Sunday July 5, if Insulza, joined by presidents Cristina Kirchner (Argentina) and Rafael Correa (Ecuador), accompany Zelaya back to Honduras as planned.

The military-civilian government says it will arrest Zelaya and charge him with 18 violations of the law.

The de-facto leaders’ reaction to Insulza reminds one of the Carter years (1977-1980) when cruel dictatorships controlled a good portion of Latin America and the Georgia peanut farmer campaigned publicly for respect for human rights.

Knowing full well that the US under Nixon and Ford and previous presidents had supported the violent takeovers and killings of center and leftwing opposition that followed, rulers like Pinochet in Chile, Videla, Viola and Galtieri in Argentina, Alfredo Stroessner in Paraguay and Somoza in Nicaragua, etc., gave the Carter rhetoric the thumbs down.

They rightly gambled that Washington was not going to take any concrete action that would reverse the coups and open the door to leftwing electoral victories. Kennedy had promised there would be no more Cuba’s in Latin America and that doctrine still prevailed.

If Micheletti and the Honduran military hold firm in the face of possible severe economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation, the ball will be in the court of the OAS, the UN and other regional bodies like the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) to up the ante or let the coup succeed by default.

As for the Obama administration —which like Carter in his time, has so far offered only rhetoric against the coup— the million dollar question is whether there are any teeth in Barack’s bite?


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