Monday, September 28, 2009

Perceptions of Zelaya's return

The U.S. Ambassador to the OAS has criticized Mel Zelaya for returning to Honduras before an agreement was reached:

"The return of Zelaya absent an agreement is irresponsible and foolish ... He should cease and desist from making wild allegations and from acting as though he were starring in an old movie," Anselm said.

On the latter part, well, it doesn't help anyone to start talking about how Israeli mercenaries are trying to torture you. Even the Brazilian government told him to stop with that.

But here's the deal. Given the stalemate, odds were high that no agreement would have been reached before the November elections. The economy was/is hurting, but the coup government very clearly believed it could wait it out. The idea that negotiations would even occur seems absurd, since Micheletti said constantly that he would not negotiate. He gambled--reasonably--that when push came to shove the international community would eventually recognize the new government and go about its business. Panama had already indicated it would go that route.

There are, of course, many high-level private discussions going on, so maybe there are facts we don't know about. However, I wouldn't mind hearing an argument for how a negotiation could have successfully proceeded.

So you can call his return a lot of things, but foolish isn't one of them. Not if his goal is to return to the presidency. It was most definitely risky, but it is highlighting the illegitimacy of the coup government. That Micheletti is responding with such rampant disregard for the constitution or human life is tragic.

At least the U.S. did call the suspension of the constitution "deplorable" but I have yet to see whether the administration goes beyond that.


Nell 4:24 PM  

Not entirely OT - Further evidence for the point I was making in this thread about Lobo's front-runner status making him especially susceptible to international pressure: his ranks-breaking comments after the candidates' meeting with Amb. Llorens. What's significant is that he made them while in the room with two paymasters of the coup.

leftside 6:59 PM  

I feel compelled to repeat a veryu important comment made in regards to that sophomoric Newsweek blog post you refer to, which in turn referred to a typical unsubstantiated hit-piece by the Miami Herald. You can't believe everything you read Greg...

It's worth noting that (MHerald reporter) Frances Robles, who clearly set out to paint Zelaya as unhinged in the Miami Herald, has so far in an exchange of emails with a reader failed to produce quotes from her interview with the president that substantiate the sensational statements with which she led off her story. See">comments to this post for more details:

But it's also worth noting that there's nothing imaginary about the chemical and sonic assaults on the embassy by the Honduran police and military. Numerous photos document (see link above), and journalists inside the embassy confirm, that the Honduran police and military have repeatedly used the U.S.-manufactured LRAD sonic weapon against those inside the embassy.

The 150-decibel device :: is for fending off insurgents, dispersing crowds, flushing out buildings, maintaing port security, and telling people "not to come any closer," says Marine Capt. D. J. McSweeney. Thirty-three inches in diameter, the LRAD plays MP3s and prerecorded warnings in several languages and has an adjustable screeching tone. "It's very, very irritating," says American Technology's Carl Gruenler [the manufacturer]. So irritating that human-rights activists are worried about lasting hearing damage.:: (from a November 2005 article about the weapon) Direct exposure to it for more than a few seconds is indeed torture, and its manufacturer says that it does risk serious injury to targets if used at distances less than 300 yards.

Just a few hours before Katie Paul posted this, the Honduran forces launched gas canisters at the embassy, and gas did get inside. About a third of the people there developed symptoms, including bleeding from the nose, vomiting blood, and extreme irritation of the mouth and throat. After the OAS's Inter-American Commission on Human Rights publicized the reports of these effects from Zelaya's wife, doctors were finally allowed in to the Brazilian embassy on Friday afternoon and have confirmed them. It's still not clear if it was "ordinary" tear gas or something more toxic.

What's left to mock? The very mention of Israeli involvement. Until Robles produces Zelaya's actual words on the subject, getting superior about the president by repeating her hostile, sloppy mash-up is not a lot better than sending along one of those hate-filled emails.

leftside 7:23 PM  

And here is something from Inside Costa Rica about the Israeli link to the devices being used.

If anything, the Miami Herald (and Newsweek) ought to be running apologies after much of what was openly mocked has been proven true. The only part not proven true was based, not an actual quote from Zelaya, but on a summarization from Miami Herald reporter Frances Robles.

And Greg - the Brazilian Government did not tell Zelaya to "stop with that"- in reference to the supposed quotes about Israeli involvement, or anything else in the Herald piece (from the 24th). The comment by FM Amorim were made to CNN on the 23rd, before any allegations like this were made public (there are ZERO quotes by Celso Amorim on the 24th or after).

The truly distasteful Newsweek piece goes even further into the realm of propaganda by saying that Amorim "told CNN en Español he thinks Zelaya has lost it."

Greg, you should be denouncing this sort of yellow journalism rather than echoing it.

Slave Revolt,  8:55 PM  

Well said, Leftside. Let's just say that Greg is a bit overly credulous, and has an inclination toward mirroring imperialist talking points and conventional wisdom.

As part of their DNA, the lib/con US establishment is all about attacking popular, democratic movements that challenge capitalism and ruling elites.

NPR's reporting was abysmal--and I won't expand on why, it's simply obvious. What else would one expect from the empire and it's paid-for intellectuals.

Zelaya's moderate reformism is simply too much, that's why they hate on him.

Justin Delacour 10:51 PM  

Greg, you should be denouncing this sort of yellow journalism rather than echoing it.

It's true that Greg should be a bit more discerning about what he links to, but at least he's calling the United States' OAS Ambassador to task for spouting nonsense.

U.S. officialdom knows darn well that to second-guess Zelaya at this moment is to sew disunity in the face of Micheletti's violent crackdown. To sew disunity in the face of the crackdown is to implicate oneself in the crimes.

Nell 1:42 PM  

Thanks, Greg, for this pushback to OAS ambassador Lewis Amselem's inflammatory and hostile remarks.

Since you posted, several sources have noted that Amselem is a Bush holdover being held in place by Republican stonewalling of his replacement's confirmation and Democratic passivity in the face of same (I'm looking at you, Sen. Kerry).

His ugly past includes playing an active part while "human rights officer" in Guatemala in the early 1990s in the U.S. embassy's smear campaign to sow doubt about the horrific torture inflicted on Dianna Ortiz, an Ursuline nun.

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