United States Involvement in the Coup in Honduras

After more than 60 days following the kidnapping of President Zelaya and the seizure of power by the usurper “government” of Roberto Micheletti, it became impossible for Washington to continue to deny its direct involvement in this reprehensible and internationally condemned act.

Arnold August, Montreal author and expert on Cuban democracy, was invited on August 24 by Sylvia Richardson of CJSF Radio to shed light on the June 28 events in Honduras and the revelations surrounding the case which are being exposed over time.

Mr. August noted, a now a known fact, that the aircraft that carried Zelaya the night of his abduction from his home landed at the U.S. military base in Soto Cano in Honduras, before continuing to its final destination of Costa Rica. “Even if one is not a military expert, how can a plane land and to take off again on a military base where you have 600 American soldiers and a lot of military equipment there, without the knowledge, expertise and support of the Americans at that base?” Mr. August asked.

Therefore, the study of the U.S. State Department’s official publications since June 28, which Mr. August has followed closely, show that the strategy of Washington since this military coup has not consisted solely in emphasizing the “mediation” by the President of Costa Rica Oscar Arias, a hoped-for dialogue between what Washington calls “the two parties.”

Sylvia Richardson noted that the United States has invaded or interfered in more than 50 countries in the last century and draws a dark portrait of US interventions, the most recent having occurred in Haiti in 2004 and Venezuela in 2002. The latest demonstration of U.S. hegemonic intent: the agreement between the United States and Colombia to establish seven military bases in this country sharing a border with, amongst others, Ecuador and Venezuela. Colombia is the main geopolitical powerful ally of the United States in the region. Mr. August said that compared to the 60s, the situation has changed drastically. At that time Cuba was isolated by the vast majority of southern governments. All governments in the south now recognize the socialist island. In the entire hemisphere, only the United States refuses to do so.

The coup in Honduras was not only directed against President Manuel Zelaya and the Honduran people, but it especially targeted the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean which had chosen to join ALBA, an economic, social and political alliance as an alternative to U.S. dominated alliances. Mr. August stated: “The military coup d’état that took place in Honduras was sort of a threat, an indication from Washington that even if power has changed hands, even if we have a new face there, the empire still considers Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean to be areas that should be dominated by the United States.”

Mr. Obama, at the August 10 meeting in Mexico with Canada’s Prime Minister Harper and Mexican President Calderon, lost his cool by qualifying as hypocrites those who ask him to intervene strongly in favour of the return of President Zelaya and the Honduran people to power. In this sudden lack of diplomatic tact, Obama has shown the true face of his administration by putting down those who, like Venezuela, demand that Washington takes a firm stand against the coup.

Mr. August said: “What is being demanded that the United States act upon is certainly not an intervention in the internal affairs of Honduras, but Washington should at least withdraw their own ambassador as have already done most countries, and completely stop all military and economic aid to Honduras.” He continues: “What we’re seeing evolving before our very eyes is Washington applying the same imperial policy in Central and Latin America, that is to say a policy of domination and interference in order to control the natural resources of the region and have a stranglehold on the geo-strategic areas.”

Mr. August said the growing and all-encompassing resistance in the south against U.S. policy is now so palpable in the light of the Honduran people occupying the streets of the country by claiming not only the return of their democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, but also the holding of a Constituent Assembly to reform the Constitution. The growing prestige of countries such as Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Paraguay, and the reputation of their leaders and their social programs, has spawned a growing movement against U.S. domination, the capitalist system and neoliberalism, not considered viable for the peoples of the world.

Karine Walsh is a social justice activist and member of the Table de concertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba. She is hosting, Since 2006, a francophone radio show called Dimension Cubaine about Cuban reality at a Montreal Community channel, Radio Centre-Ville (Quebec, Canada). She can be reached at: dimensioncubaine@hotmail.com. Read other articles by Karine.

18 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Michael Kenny said on August 31st, 2009 at 9:38am #

    This is silly! Ms Walsh is using the Honduran coup to waffle generally about US relations with Latin America but without really saying anything. The Honduran coup proves US perfidy and US perfidy proves that US “must” have been involved in the Honduran coup! Nonsense! Even if the claim that the aircraft in question landed at some US base or other (which didn’t just happen to be on the same site as a Honduran base) was true, which I doubt, the sheer absurdity of describing Mr August as an “expert on Cuban democracy” would destroy the article’s credibility. Since Cuba is a dictatorship, not a democracy, that is like describing him as an expert on pigs’ capacity to fly!
    The old fogeys of America’s pseudo-left will no doubt be impressed. The rest of the planet will laugh its head off!

  2. Richard Lee Dechert said on August 31st, 2009 at 11:39am #

    Last year, after weeks of research, I published a critique of illegal US intervention in Venezuela’s 2007 national referendum that likely led to its defeat. But to my knowledge there is insufficient evidence to reasonably conclude that US officials aided and abetted Honduran military officers in expelling Zelaya to Costa Rica. In publishing my Venezuela piece, I employed the same “rule of law” I employed in my following piece.

    Richard Lee Dechert
    Maplewood, Minnesota USA


    As a longtime activist in Latin American affairs, I’ve reviewed over 500 reports and comments on Honduras’ Constitutional crisis from a wide range of perspectives. In my judgment the Supreme Court–supported by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, Attorney General and democratically elected National Congress–had strong “probable cause” to arrest and detain President Manuel Zelaya for treason, abuses of office and other crimes.

    As prescribed by the Constitution, President of Congress Roberto Micheletti (a leader of Zelaya’s Liberal Party) was appointed to replace him as interim President (by a 122-6 vote) until national elections are held in November 2009 and his term ends in January 2010.

    ?Zelaya’s right to defend himself in a due-process proceeding was abruptly circumvented when military officers responsible for executing the Supreme Court’s order to arrest and detain him violated the order (and a Constitution that prohibits expatriation of Honduran citizens) by forcibly expelling him to Costa Rica. However, the Court recently ruled that its 15-0 order must still be enforced and Micheletti’s interim appointment was Constitutional.

    Unfortunately if not tragically, the officers’ illegal expulsion has been erroneously conflated with the Court’s legal order, and both have been treated by the US, OAS, UN and other parties as a “military coup,” even though the US Department of State has correctly not decreed that.

    Therefore, instead of circumventing the Court’s order by being arbitrarily restored to the Presidency as the US-supported OAS Resolution demands and Oscar Arias’ San José Accord proposes, Zelaya should agree to return to Honduras and be duly adjudicated for his alleged crimes. Only then can his guilt or innocence be legally established and Honduras’ Constitutional crisis be properly resolved. Zelaya continues to reject that.

    The officers who expelled him should also be duly adjudicated along with the pro-Micheletti and pro-Zelaya forces who have violated the civil and human rights of Honduran citizens and foreign nationals. If Micheletti’s interim government does not curtail violations by army, police and other pro-Micheletti forces, even stronger economic and diplomatic sanctions should be applied by the US, OAS, UN and other international actors. Pro-Zelaya forces must also curtail their violations.

    Moreover, Venezuela (supported by Cuba, Nicaragua and other cohorts) must end the blatant intervention in Honduras’ internal affairs that has exacerbated the crisis and violated the OAS and UN Charters.

    In short, ALL parties to the crisis must resolve it by honoring the rule of law, not just the ones we may politically or ideologically favor.

  3. John Hauck said on August 31st, 2009 at 11:41am #

    I am disappointed that sensational reporting of this magnatude actually made it to the RSS feed. Even the most casual of reader can see the authors low assessment (and even disdain) of this Central American country when she makes her assumption that the people of the Republic of Honduras are incapable of governing their own affairs, that Honduran aircraft are helpless to fly without US approval and then burdens the reader with supposition and insinuation. On the other hand, it was mildly entertaining to see what depth the misinformed can misconstrue.

  4. Danny Ray said on August 31st, 2009 at 4:37pm #

    I know that no one here wants to hear this but the Air Base in question belongs to and was built by the Honduran army and air force. The control tower and security is under the national authority of the Honduras.

    There are about 500 Americans there split about 50/50 between the DEA and the Military. The American base commander has to formally ask for permission to deviate from any plan.

    The president broke the law by proposing a new law extending his rule and was arrested and expelled with no help from anyone. How many here wish American supreme court would have done the same thing.

  5. mcthorogood said on August 31st, 2009 at 6:15pm #

    The neo-liberal shill commenters are out in force.

    The best site for following the events in Honduras is http://www.narconews.com/

    As one South American succinctly stated, “the place to eradicate cocoa is in the noses of the American gringoes”.

  6. B99 said on August 31st, 2009 at 6:16pm #

    The US forces are there to control the country. The permission needed for the US base commander to deviate from any plan is not likely more than a mere formality.

    It was not illegal for the president to propose a law in Honduras. I think it will emerge that the US was displeased with President Zelaya’s proposal – and that the military understood this very well.

    As far as the US troops go – bring them home.

  7. Serge Grenier said on August 31st, 2009 at 6:29pm #

    Americans know their own opinion very well, but ignore and/or despise everybody else’s opinion. That’s why people all over the world view them as both ignorant and arrogant. Americans think they can show the world something about democracy yet they think they’re better than everyone else. First, thinking you’re better doesn’t make you better. Second, the spirit of democracy is «one person, one vote». So if Americans keep on thinking they’re «The number one», they should stop pretending they are «democratic». Should they stop thinking they’re better than the others and come down to earth at the same level as everybody else in the world , then we’ll welcome them back among the democratic people of this planet.

  8. Max Shields said on August 31st, 2009 at 6:52pm #

    B99 – good points!

  9. brian said on August 31st, 2009 at 11:51pm #

    ‘it became impossible for Washington to continue to deny its direct involvement in this reprehensible and internationally condemned act.’

    when youre in power and can depend of media support, you can say and deny what you like!

  10. Andres Kargar said on September 1st, 2009 at 12:00am #

    Statements from Hillary Clinton, blaming Zelaya’s actions instead of the coup leaders, the fact that the United States has not cut off aid to the coup regime and in fact has refused to call this a coup is a clear indication of foul play on the part of the US administration.

    The whole world, not just the Latin American countries, has condemned these violations of the rights of the Honduran people. The Obama administration could reverse this barbarity with the stroke of a pen. What else are you guys expecting? the presence of US marines on the streets of Tegucigalpa in order to show US complicity? Descarados liberales, sinverguenzas!

  11. Hue Longer said on September 1st, 2009 at 2:06am #


    Be careful when discussing justice by appealing to law.

  12. Jean-Yves Rioux said on September 1st, 2009 at 6:59am #

    Cet article fait une synthèse très juste des faits concernant le coup d’état au Honduras et de la situation des pays d’Amérique Latine, incluant les Antilles et l’Amérique centrale.

    Il ne faut pas s’attendre à ce que les chauvins de l’impérialisme des États-Unis traitent honnêtement de cette question. Les preuves ne seront jamais suffisantes et les faits pour eux ne prouveront jamais ce qu’ils prouvent. Ils sont à la défense de l’Empire et pour se faire contre toutes les évidences.

    Quand on demande que les États-Unis cesse d’intervenir dans les affaire du Honduras en faveur du coup d’état, cela devient une demande d’intervention dans la rhétorique du président Obama qui justifie du même coup son intervention en Colombie. Les faits sont présentés à l’envers, la tête en bas et prouvent le contraire de l’évidence. Ce ne sont que faux fuyants et seul les gogos se font attraper par cette «logique» absurde.

    Les États-Unis ont perdu beaucoup de terrain pour tout ce qui est directement au sud de leur pays et ils veulent le regagner. Ils justifient leurs actions sous de faux prétextes comme ils l’ont fait en Irak, en Afghanistan et ailleurs. La façade doit être aussi noble que possible mais leurs mensonges et calomnies deviennent vite éculées. Que leur importe, pourvu que derrière ce paravent ils parviennent par les menaces, les meurtres ciblés, la torture et la force brutale des bombes, à atteindre leur but de domination et parviennent à contrôler tout conformément à leurs intérêts.

    Les États-Unis sont présentement en déclin et ils font tout pour ne pas perdre de terrain. Ce qui représente un grave danger pour la démocratie et la liberté partout dans le monde et particulièrement pour les pays d’Amérique Latine. C’est là la principale menace à l’hégémonie des États-Unis et la région du monde où le renouvellement de la démocratie fait le plus de progrès, en voie vers la démocratie directe où le peuple décide de tout ce qui le concerne et prend en main son propre destin en toute liberté. C’est pour cette raison que les États-Unis se préparent et mettent en place tous leurs moyens d’intervention, incluant leur panoplie militaire.

    Des pays comme le Vénézuela, la Bolivie, l’Équateur, le Nicaragua, le Paraguay et Cuba (sauf pour ceux qui ne se nourrissent que de la propagande mensongère des É-U), sont devenue une grande source d’inspiration pour se libérer de la domination des État-Unis, ils sont du point de vue de l’Empire un très mauvais exemple et il leur faut frapper là avant qu’il ne soit trop tard. De plus ils ne veulent pas que les richesses naturelles et la main d’oeuvre à bas salaire de cette région échappent à leur contrôle.

    Sauf qu’il est déjà trop tard pour eux, mais la lutte s’annonce difficile. Les peuples vaincront parce que vivre sous la loi de l’Empire des monopoles c’est pire que la mort.

  13. mcthorogood said on September 1st, 2009 at 10:57am #

    @Jean-Yves Rioux
    Thank you for your powerful comment! I don’t speak French, so I translated your comment with Google Translate.


    I am hoping that the social democratic movements, which are stirring in South America, will be the new “French Revolution” in this hemisphere. Equal rights and justice for all people, afro-honduran, native-indians, everyone. Somewhere along the way, the ideals of the American Revolution have been co-opted by corporate-personhood.

  14. Danny Ray said on September 1st, 2009 at 11:00am #

    Jean-Yves Rioux you keep saying that the United states have lost land to the south? what have we lost?

  15. mary said on September 1st, 2009 at 11:00am #

    Methorogood you just beat me to it. I totally agree with you and with the excellent Jean-Yves.

    ‘This article makes a very fair summary of the facts concerning the coup in Honduras and the situation of Latin American countries, including Caribbean and Central America.

    Do not expect the chauvinistic imperialism of the United States treat this issue honestly. The evidence will never be enough and made for them will never prove what they prove. They are defending the empire and to be against all evidence.

    When asked that the United States continues to intervene in the case of Honduras for the coup, it becomes a request to intervene in the rhetoric of President Obama who thereby justifies its intervention in Colombia. The facts are presented in reverse, upside down and prove the contrary evidence. These are just a subterfuge and only the idiots get caught by this “logic” absurd.

    The United States has lost much ground for everything that is directly south of their country and they want to return. They justify their actions under false pretenses as they did in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The facade must be as noble as possible, but their lies and calumnies soon become stale. What matters to them, provided that behind this screen they manage by threats, targeted killings, torture and brutal force bombs to achieve their goal of domination and able to control everything according to their interests.

    The United States is currently in decline and they are all not to lose ground. This represents a serious danger to democracy and freedom around the world and particularly for the countries of Latin America. This is the main threat to the hegemony of the United States and the region where the renewal of democracy made the most progress in the process toward direct democracy where the people decide everything concerning him and takes control of its own destiny freely. For this reason the United States prepare and implement all their instruments, including their military toolbox.

    Countries like Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Cuba (except for those who feed only the false propaganda of the U.S.) have become a great source of inspiration for liberation domination of the United States, they are the views of the Empire a very bad example and they need to hit them before it’s too late. Also they do not want the natural resources and manpower at low wages in the region beyond their control.

    Unless it is already too late for them, but the fight promises to be difficult. The people conquer because living under the law of the Empire of monopolies is worse than death.’

    A bit strangled but Google Translate or the others are very useful on occasions like this.

  16. Jean-Yves Rioux said on September 2nd, 2009 at 6:44am #

    Thanks to mcthorogood and mary for the translation of my text. My English is too bad to be use here.

    Thanks again.

  17. mary said on September 2nd, 2009 at 11:46am #

    IMF gives $150 million to Honduras

    The de facto government of Honduras has received $150 million from the International Monetary Fund even though President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a coup in June.

    The Special Drawing Rights from the Washington-based lending agency will be used to boost its dollar reserves, Honduras’ central bank said Tuesday. It will receive an additional $14 million in the next few weeks, it added.

    In April, the IMF agreed to issue its member countries $250 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDR), a mechanism to improve liquidity by printing new money to counteract the effects of the global economic crisis. Mexico and Nicaragua received similar issues last week.

    Washington is expected to make a decision soon on whether to declare the ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya a military coup.

    The move would cut off tens of millions of dollars of aid to Honduras as the US bars aid to governments whose head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.

    The United States has already suspended about $18 million in aid to the Central American nation.

    Meanwhile, the State Department said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to meet Zelaya on Thursday.


  18. ana carolina said on September 6th, 2009 at 6:48pm #