Saturday, November 21, 2009

The South Side Comes to South America

Hyde Park in Honduras
I had started to think of Barack Obama as a one-term president. Then a particular quality he's lately displayed gave me the idea that he’ll find a way to win a second one. Probably it’s the Chicago politician in him, but Obama seems to have a warm spot for rigged elections. He just signed off on one in Afghanistan as crooked as Beelzebub’s tail. To top that, he’s okayed a forthcoming vote in Honduras in which I’m sure the late Mayor Richard Daley, and maybe even Benito Mussolini, will cast their ballots.
As I write this, Hillary is in Kabul rubbing kaftans with war lords and heroin traders at President Hamid Karzai’s inaugural. No doubt she’ll use the occasion to tell them to clean up their acts. And no doubt her message will be laughed off as equivalent to the Corleones preaching probity to the Sopranos.
Meanwhile, in Tegucigalpa, the Obamists have heartened the putchists by agreeing to recognize as legitimate the forthcoming November 29 presidential election that the rest of the world dismisses as farce.
If you recall, last summer the Honduran military, a cadet of the Pentagon, busted into President Zelaya’s residence, put guns on him and shipped him off to exile in his pyjamas. The junta appointed a new President named Micheletti whose “every proposal was written or approved by the American” at his side, according to the NY Times. That chaperone would be Bennet Ratcliff, a Clinton operative. Meanwhile, Lanny Davis, personal attorney to the Clintons and a Dem power player, showed up as the junta’s mouthpiece in Washington.
Reaction begets action. Hondurans have taken to the streets in defense of the democracy they voted for rather than the fascism imposed by the generals, the business elite, and their U.S. sponsors. For this, they’re being gunned down, beaten, tortured, disappeared, and arrested by the thousands. Media daring to defend legitimacy are likewise being stomped and silenced.
George Orwell observed that “the nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” Accordingly, the U.S. media has all but ignored Honduras, or otherwise lied about it. They blame the legitimate president for the coup, saying he was too leftist, too Chavista, and too interested in succeeding himself (that last an outright whopper). His terrible crime is asking what kind of government the Hondurans want. That’s not in the program, according to U.S. ambassador Hugo Llorens, who frankly stated that “we can’t have a constitution that allows the ‘people’ to be involved in government.”
Latins are livid with rage and loathing. They fought for decades to write finis to the regimes of colonels and death squads, with their CIA and Mossad handlers smiling in the shadows. To think that Barack Obama, of all Americans, is trying to bring them back is all the proof they need that the gringos remain incorrigible imperialists, who, in the words of Bolivar known to every Latino, will forever plague the continent in the name of freedom. The countries of Latin America have agreed unanimously to not recognize the Honduran coup or the election the golpistas are concocting to provide themselves with a democratic fig leaf. The European Union is likewise unanimously appalled. Both the EU and the Latins agreed to cut trade with and aid to Honduras.
That leaves Washington all by its lonesome. There’s a price for it. With Honduras declared a pariah and trade with and aid from the rest of the world sharply reduced, American taxpayers will be the ones keeping Honduras afloat. Among the things we’ll be paying for is the repression needed to beat down the majority of the population favoring real democracy. Once again, my government is busy killing and torturing people who have ideas like mine.
Obama’s counterattack in Honduras is obviously aimed at the outbreak of independence and democracy south of the border. It’s of a piece with his dispatch of warships to prowl Latin waters, his addition to U.S. bases in Colombia, and his spooks' continued coup plottings elsewhere (one was just broken up in Paraguay). A restoration of “full spectrum dominance” of the resource rich continent remains U.S. policy. It's now more vigorously pushed by Obama than it ever was by Bush. It will fail, but it will make another big mess in the world.
Since we’re not permitted the option of peace, I’d rather see the U.S. at endless war with the obscurantist medieval cousins of Palin, Beck and company in Afghanistan and Pakistan than raining down death and dictatorship on Latin America’s fresh-minded and hopeful democratic project.