In June, 2009, the Honduran military arrested and exiled President Manuel Zelaya. Elected in 2005, he was inaugurated in January 2006 representing the Liberal Party of Honduras. Elected on a platform to alleviate poverty and unemployment, there is no doubting that his administration had its share of scandals. Additionally, he had made overtures to two pains in the butt in Latin America- Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Raul Castro in Cuba.
At first glance, one would think “so what” if there was a coup to oust him. He was a bad guy who was apparently taking Honduras down the road to socialism. But, one needs to understand the feudalism that exists in Honduras to truly understand the dynamics and Zelaya’s politics are not the point of this article. And it was these feudal leaders who had a direct line to Hillary Clinton through an intermediary and that is the point of this article.
The coup developed after legal wrangling over the presence of a fourth ballot box at polls that would ask whether a national assembly should be called to change the constitution that possibly would have allowed Zelaya to run for another term. Several groups within Honduras were pressuring Zelaya for the referendum. The lower courts and later their supreme court ruled that his call for a fourth ballot box was unconstitutional. When he persisted, in opposition to an injunction, the supreme court ordered that he appear before them for a deposition. This is where the story gets murky.
The military, instead of “arresting” Zelaya to force a deposition before the court, rounded him up in the middle of the night and flew him out of the country. Six military officers were later charged with violating the court order, but in the interim a crisis had developed. The next day the National Assembly convened and accepted Zelaya’s letter of resignation which had apparently been forged.
That same day, world leaders reacted by calling for Honduras to reinstate Zelaya, including Barack Obama. Hence, one would think that the United States was against the apparent coup. In a press conference that day, Clinton refused to characterize the action as a coup which would have had huge ramifications. If a country has a coup, they are cut off from foreign aid. Hence, the US could have placed great financial pressure on Honduras, but failed to do so.
Several international organizations including the UN, the World Bank, the IMF and the OAS condemned the coup and moved to cut off aid. When the successor Roberto Micheletti announced that Honduras was withdrawing from the charter of the OAS, everyone thought that would be the final straw and the US would follow suit. That was a week after the coup. But, Clinton did not cut off aid. Former ambassador Hugo Llorens had even declared the action a coup in a cable from the country.
The fact is that Honduras is ruled by a shadow government of 10 or so wealthy families who control assets from lumber to the media outlets to petrochemicals. Collectively, they hired CEAL- the Latin American version of a Chamber of Commerce. Within days of Zelaya’s removal, they had contracted with Orick, Herrington and Sutcliffe- a high-powered Washington lobbying firm. Clinton was to meet with Zelaya to attempt to work out a resolution to the problem in Honduras, but CEAL and the lobbying firm were quicker to the punch.
The most interesting facet of this is the fact that none other than Bill Clinton’s former special counsel and Hillary staunch supporter Lanny Davis headed the lobbying effort for Honduras’ military-backed government. In fact, they and Davis met with Clinton before she even got a chance to talk to Zelaya. She did so, some claim, after 17 Republican Senators including Mitch McConnell and Jim DeMint petitioned her to meet with the lobbyists.
Thus, the Honduran aristocracy has purchased a straight line to Hillary Clinton through Lanny Davis. As the State Department foot dragging continued, Obama made comments in August 2009 supportive of the military’s actions in Honduras. This caused some minor rioting and anti-American rhetoric in Honduras and protests elsewhere throughout Latin America. As this happened, there were reports out of Honduras that the military-backed government was silencing opposition media outlets and arresting opposition leaders and protesters.
By October, over much consternation among Latin American leaders against Obama’s inaction, Obama appeared to be drifting back towards calling the action a coup. This prompted then-Senator Jim DeMint to fly to Honduras where he found no wrongdoing despite the documented cases of arrests, intimidation and shut downs of opposition media outlets.
In the aftermath of the coup, poverty, unemployment and the crime rate soared. The murder rate became especially acute to the point that many Hondurans fled the country and headed north to enter the United States illegally. The events in Honduras are partially responsible for the influx of Central American illegal immigrants to this country.
No thanks to Hillary Clinton and certain Republican Senators, the political situation in Honduras has stabilized of late. It is obvious that Clinton had relied heavily on Lanny Davis’ lobbying efforts for the Honduran aristocracy. Despite his politics, this was an obvious coup- a fact obvious to every other country in the world except Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
Meanwhile, the State Department was quick to declare a similar action in Egypt a coup after Mohammed Morsi, a darling of the administration and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, was deposed as ruler. What happened in Honduras is no different than what happened in Egypt. A coup is a coup and the law is the law and if the law says we cut aid to that country, then we cut aid to that country. We can quibble about the need for or efficacy of the law, but that is for the legislative process. The fact is that like so many other things about Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, under influence from members of the Clinton shadow government which hides in K Street firms, the Center for American Progress, and the Clinton Foundation, she dropped the ball on Honduras in 2009. We’ve heard her excuses before: quick moving events that had to be analyzed and parsed.
Is Honduras better off without Zelaya? Probably lest it be turned into another Venezuela. But, that is no excuse for Clinton to bow before lobbyists from that country. This was not foresight; this was ineptitude.
She already has the blood of four Americans on her hands in Libya. Perhaps, she has some Honduran blood on her hands also.