Thursday, July 16, 2009

Honduras Won't Go Away

Death Squad Democrats
I‘ve been promising to alarm you about the threat of European socializing, which has millions of people sitting in outdoor cafes and schmoozing with each other when they could be working three jobs and otherwise prowling the malls like we do. But I’ve been sidetracked yet again by the increasingly interesting news wafting up from central America, now by way of Clintonville.
The fascist coup in tiny Honduras at the end of June had all the teethmarks of the empire. It would have been the fifth time since 1907 that Washington felt itself obliged to rearrange the politics of that impoverished backwater. But, still harboring a vestige of Obamania, even this crusty old lefty thought maybe we should slip the new guy an inch of slack. So I ventured, improbably, that the coup might have been an insubordinate sally by the Honduran oligarchy or even an effort by some cabal among our spooks to set up or embarrass Obama. Surely, our new president, with all his fine talk at the Latin summit about a new day for democracy and respect for sovereignty, was too smart to pull a stunt that would mock his words and remind the 500 million souls to our south that the monster to the north was as nasty a neighbor as ever.
Naive, wasn’t I?
Latin Americanists of left and right are still stirring the ashes for clues to the coup’s creators. Meanwhile, the coup’s continuers have come out in public to advance the cause of democratic government by death squad. The NY Times tells us that Roberto Micheletti, the designated gorilla now in charge in Honduras, travels with an American advisor with Clinton ties who travels with an interpreter since he can’t deliver his advice in Spanish. The Times also reports that “every proposal that Micheletti’s group presents is written or approved by the American.”
If it’s still not quite clear, note that Lanny Davis, Bill Clinton’s personal and very plugged-in lawyer, has become chief Washington go-fer for the golpistas. As Doonesbury pointed out in his excellent coverage of Bizerkistan, you can’t be a bloodthirsty tyrant nowadays without a retinue of American lobbyists, flacks and coverts at your elbow.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration, unlike the whole rest of the world, has kept its ambassador in Tegucigalpa and is sidestepping laws that supposedly interdict intercourse with putchist regimes. No need to mention that the dad and lad coziness between the Pentagon and its murderous Honduran cadets continues as usual.
The estimable James Petras, who knows more about Latin America than anyone, sees the Honduran coup as an opening element by Obama to rollback the powerful anti-imperialist wave across the continent. But it’s a weak riposte and not likely to endure, he says. The Latinos have tasted real independence and are not about to surrender it because the White House is now home to a cool rather than clutzy imperialist. Anytime Obama uses the word democracia south of the Rio Grande, he’ll be subjecting himself to a big fat reir a carcajadas.