>– Elected on Conservative Platform in 2006, Zelaya Moved Dramatically to the Left, Leading Honduras into Havana-Caracas Axis
– Honduras’ De Facto President Micheletti Responds to Venezuela’s Saber Rattling with Threat of War, Informs Press: “Several Battalions of Troops Were Being Prepared Outside of Honduras for Intervention”
– Hugo Chavez Arranges Jet to Fly Zelaya from Costa Rica to Nicaragua to Attend Red Axis Strategy Sessions, Accuses CIA of Fomenting Coup against Deposed President
Pictured above: In spite of his misfortunes, ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya (left) jokes around with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (right) and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (center, covering microphone) at the Central American Integration System summit in Managua, on Monday.
Last Thursday, as we blogged here, Venezuela’s communist thug-in-chief Hugo Chavez formally received three new countries into the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA)–Ecuador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda. “The ALBA continues to grow in Latin America. Now we have nine nations to build a new project. It is the most dynamic core,” gushed Chavez during his weekly TV-radio program. ALBA’s leaders, meeting in Caracas, also repackaged ALBA as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of the Americas, or Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, suggesting that a deeper political-economic-social integration is underway. In 2004 Cuba and Venezuela organized the regional bloc of socialist states to counter the Washington-led Free Trade Area of the Americas. Nicaragua, Bolivia, Dominica, and Honduras are also members of ALBA. Significantly, from the vantage of the Soviet strategy of quietly encircling the USA with enemies, even Russia has expressed an interest in joining ALBA.
Perhaps alarmed by President Manuel Zelaya’s post-election leftward lurch and determination to attach the country’s destiny to the Havana-Caracas Axis, the Honduran military overthrew the president on Sunday morning. Soldiers surrounded Zelaya’s official residence, seized the president, who was still in his pajamas, drove him to an air force base, and forced him to board a plane for Costa Rica. Electricity and telephone service was simultaneously cut throughout the country. The military then swore in congressional speaker Roberto Micheletti as interim chief executive. A majority of the members of congress voted to accept a letter of resignation that Congressional Secretary Jose Alfredo Saavedra insisted was signed by Zelaya and dated last Thursday.
Speaking to the media upon his arrival in San Jose, Costa Rica, Zelaya accused “dark forces from the past” of perpetrating the putsch, no doubt referring to the alliance between the military and business oligarchy that ruled Honduras during much of the Cold War. “There is no way to justify an interruption of democracy, a coup d’etat,” the exiled Zelaya complained on Sunday, during a telephone interview with Telesur, the electronic platform of Latin America’s Red Axis. “This kidnapping is an extortion of the Honduran democratic system,” he added. Zelaya vehemently denied writing a letter of resignation. Zelaya called on Honduran soldiers to desist, urged citizens to hold peaceful protests, and requested Honduran police to protect demonstrators.
Meanwhile, as Bloomberg reports above, troops also seized Honduras’ foreign minister, Patricia Rodas. In comments broadcast on Telesur, Venezuela’s ambassador to Honduras, Armando Laguna, asserted that his colleagues from Nicaragua and Cuba were also beaten and briefly detained after trying to defend Rodas against masked soldiers. On Monday morning Rodas sought asylum in Mexico, where she was welcomed by government representatives.
Later on Sunday government supporters took to the streets of Tegucigalpa to protest Zelaya’s ouster, hurling rocks at the soldiers and shouting “Traitors!” Labour union leader Rafael Alegria, a Zelaya ally, allegedly organized the protests. On Monday the Cuban News Agency reported that since midnight 20,000 protesters had encamped outside the presidential palace. Meanwhile, Honduras’ General Labor Confederation and the People’s Union Bloc announced that they intend to cripple the economy with a general strike until Zelaya is reinstated. On the same day, reports the Latin American Herald Tribune, police with helicopter support used tear gas and clubs against several hundred supporters of President Zelaya. An employee of the state telephone company was gunned down Monday morning by a soldier, while 60 other Zelaya partisans were injured.
The Honduran military, the MSM reports, acted after the nation’s Supreme Court overturned Zelaya’s decision to fire the commander of the armed forces, General Romeo Vasquez, who in turn had refused to guarantee security for a referendum that Zelaya intended to use to impose constitutional changes on the country via a constituent assembly. The ballot had been slated for Sunday. The president’s critics charged that Zelaya hoped to remove term limits to his re-election. If true, then Zelaya was simply following the path blazed by Venezuela’s “President for Life” Hugo Chavez and his comrades in Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Ecuador, who are attempting to do the same, no doubt to implement a uniform communism throughout the region.
Signs of an impending military putsch were evident last Thursday, when Zelaya led a caravan of supporters to air force headquarters to collect the ballots for the non-binding referendum, preventing them from being destroyed in compliance with the Supreme Court’s ruling. Earlier that day hundreds of troops were deployed to strategic points in Tegucigalpa in what their commanders explained was a move to “avert potential disturbances” by Zelaya partisans. Significantly, even the country’s ruling Liberal Party, with which Zelaya is associated, urged the public not to vote for the president’s referendum. Although elected as a conservative in 2005, Zelaya has moved dramatically to the left while in office.
Within hours of the Sunday coup, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced that he had placed his armed forces on alert and warned that Caracas would intervene with force if Venezuela’s diplomats in Honduras were harmed. “We will bring them down. We will bring them down, I tell you,” Chavez, a former paratrooper, ranted on Venezuelan television on Monday, threatening military intervention: “I have put the armed forces in Venezuela on high alert.” Chavez, who was himself briefly ousted in a 2002 coup that he blamed on then US President George W. Bush, accused the Central Intelligence Agency of fomenting the coup against Zelaya. The CIA, as we reported last week, is one of Chavez’s favorite bête noires, another being capitalism. In reality, leftists worldwide absurdly blame the US intelligence community for much of the world’s ills.
De facto Honduran President Micheletti disregarded the international condemnation of Zelaya’s ouster and issued a counter-challenge to Chavez’s saber rattling. On June 30 the Australian media quoted Micheletti as saying: “I have come to the presidency not by a coup d’etat but by a completely legal process as set out in our laws. Furthermore, I would like to warn Venezuela that our country is ready to go to war if there is interference by this gentleman [meaning Chavez].” Micheletti confided that he possessed intelligence that “several battalions of troops were being prepared outside of Honduras for intervention.”
The region’s Red Axis was quick to rally to Zelaya’s side in Managua, where on Monday past/present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega hosted emergency meetings of ALBA, the Central American Integration System, and the Rio Group, which welcomed Communist Cuba into the fold last December. In summoning his comrades to Managua, Ortega stated that they intended to “fight back the forces of resistance” against Zelaya.
In attendance at the ALBA meeting were self-avowed communist presidents Raul Castro and Hugo Chavez, self-avowed socialist presidents Evo Morales and Rafael Correa, their foreign ministers, and deposed leader Zelaya himself, who flew from San Jose to Managua on a jet provided by Chavez. Together the region’s leftist leaders resolved to withdraw their ambassadors from Honduras. The ALBA leaders afterwards released a joint statement: “In the face of the dictatorial government that intends to be imposed, the countries of Alba have decided to withdraw our ambassadors and to leave minimal diplomatic representation in Tegucigalpa. There is no question of seeking diplomatic accreditation from the usurpers.” The motion was read out by Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Faldor Falconi.
“I denounce the criminal, brutal character of this coup,” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez told a news conference in Havana earlier in the day, before flying to Managua. He ranted: “This coup has removed a legitimate and constitutional government simply for wanting to hold a vote. There is only one constitutional government in Honduras, and one constitutional president who should return immediately without conditions.”
Faux rightist Mexican president Felipe Calderon later arrived in Managua for the Rio Group meeting, at which time he informed reporters that “Both Mexico and the Rio Group strongly reject the coup d’etat in Honduras.” In step with the Red Axis, Mexico and Chile also announced that they, too, are withdrawing their ambassadors from Tegucigalpa.
Almost without exception, world reaction to the Honduran coup has been negative. The USA’s socialist president Barack Hussein Obama has called on the coup leaders to “respect the rule of law.” Not surprisingly, on Monday the Russian Foreign Ministry also condemned the coup. “The embassies of the member countries of the regional Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) backed Russia’s condemnation, the Cuban ambassador said at a news conference in Moscow,” reports Novosti, inadvertantly exposing the nexus between Russia and its offspring, ALBA. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged “the reinstatement of the democratically elected representatives of the country.” Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, president of the UN General Assembly, who is also a Sandinista and a Catholic priest, invited Zelaya to address an extraordinary session of the assembly in New York City.
Obama characterized the coup as “not legal.” “All of us have great concerns about the situation in Honduras,” Obama admonished, after meeting at the White House with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, one of Washington’s few allies in Latin America. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose husband, former president Bill is an alleged KGB asset, declared that “Democracy should be restored in Honduras.” Clinton revealed that a US delegation would go to Honduras after a special meeting of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Tuesday. “We have a lot of work to do to help the Hondurans get back on the democratic path,” Clinton stated. Incidentally, about 600 US troops are stationed at a base in Honduras under Southern Command’s Joint Task Force-Bravo, primarily for the purpose of drug interdiction.
For his part, Zelaya, speaking in Managua, vowed to return to his homeland on Thursday: “I will fulfill my four-year term of office, whether you agree –the ones in favor of the coup – or not. I was expelled by force and will return on my own free will.” He then invited the General Secretary of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, to accompany him in his return to Honduras. Accepting D´Escoto’s invitation to address the UN General Assembly, Zelaya travelled to the USA on Tuesday. During his visit to New York City, the UN General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution demanding the restoration of Zelaya to the presidency.