PDA

View Full Version : Big Surprise -- Key leaders of Honduran coup trained in US



Rigadog
06-30-2009, 08:09 AM
Key leaders of Honduras military coup trained in U.S. Published on 06-29-2009 Email To Friend (javascript:emailthis("16249");) Print Version (javascript:printthis("16249");)
http://s9.addthis.com/button1-bm.gif (http://www.addthis.com/bookmark.php)
Source: Southern Studies (http://www.southernstudies.org/2009/06/key-leaders-of-honduras-military-coup-trained-in-us.html)
Leftist President Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped and transported to Costa Rica on Sunday morning (http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2009/06/28/world/international-us-honduras-president.html?_r=2&hp) after a growing controversy over a vote concerning term limits. Over the last week, Zelaya clashed with and eventually dismissed General Romeo Vasquez -- who is now reportedly in charge of the armed forces that abducted the Honduran president.

According to the watchdog group School of Americas Watch (http://www.soaw.org/), Gen. Vasquez trained at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Hemisphere_Institute_for_Security_Cooperat ion) at least twice -- in 1976 and 1984 -- when it was still called School of Americas.

The Georgia-based U.S. military school is infamous for training over 60,000 Latin American soldiers, including infamous dictators, "death squad" leaders and others charged with torture and other human rights abuses. SOA Watch's annual protest (http://www.soaw.org/article.php?id=321) to shut down the Fort Benning training site draws thousands.

According to SOA Watch, the U.S. Army school has a particularly checkered record in Honduras (http://www.soaw.org/article.php?id=241), with over 50 graduates who have been intimately involved in human rights abuses. In 1975, SOA Graduate General Juan Melgar Castro became the military dictator of Honduras. From 1980-1982 the dictatorial Honduran regime was headed by yet another SOA graduate, Policarpo Paz Garcia, who intensified repression and murder by Battalion 3-16, one of the most feared death squads in all of Latin America (founded by Honduran SOA graduates with the help of Argentine SOA graduates).

General Vasquez isn't the only leader in the Honduras coup linked to the U.S. training facility. As Kristin Bricker points out (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/notebook/kristin-bricker/2009/06/coup-honduras):


The head of the Air Force, Gen. Luis Javier Prince Suazo, studied in the School of the Americas in 1996. The Air Force has been a central protagonist in the Honduran crisis. When the military refused to distribute the ballot boxes for the opinion poll, the ballot boxes were stored on an Air Force base until citizens accompanied by Zelaya rescued them. Zelaya reports that after soldiers kidnapped him, they took him to an Air Force base, where he was put on a plane and sent to Costa Rica.
For previous Facing South coverage of controversy surrounding the School of Americas/Western Hemisphere Center, see here (http://www.southernstudies.org/2006/11/will-school-of-assassins-be-closed.html).

Osborne Russell
06-30-2009, 03:56 PM
Over the years I imagine we've learned how to solicit pre-approval of a coup, and how to give it without seeming to. At the very least. Best not to have US government personnel directly involved, just too many complications and things that can go wrong. Good job for Blackwater, though. Halliburton, whatever they're calling themselves these days.

Keith Wilson
06-30-2009, 04:06 PM
Hondurans are perfectly capable of managing a coup themselves for their own reasons. It would be difficult to find a group of ten high military officials in Latin America without three or four that had trained in the US at one point or another. Not everything that goes on in the world is caused by the US, or has anything to do with us.

peb
06-30-2009, 04:37 PM
Maybe this has been discussed on another thread, if so, sorry. I am not spending much time around here.

Anyway, it seems like the key issue is whether the Obama administration has jumped the gun in condemning the coup as being opposed to democracy. When the president of the country was explicitly circumventing their constitution, the supreme court had ruled against him, and (if I understand correctly) the military were ordered by their attorney general to arrest anyone trying to carry out his constitutional election plans, it would seem that perhaps the military coup may be in the interest of Honduras's democracy. Not the other way around.

Keith Wilson
06-30-2009, 04:46 PM
. . .it would seem that perhaps the military coup may be in the interest of Honduras's democracy.That depends on what happens now. If the generals stay in power, or install someone more to their liking, than it's just the bad old days again. If they have elections with a real opposition, then maybe you're right. I hope you are. The people of Honduras deserve better than a choice between grandstanding incompetent leftists or generals.

peb
06-30-2009, 05:14 PM
That depends on what happens now. If the generals stay in power, or install someone more to their liking, than it's just the bad old days again. If they have elections with a real opposition, then maybe you're right. I hope you are. The people of Honduras deserve better than a choice between grandstanding incompetent leftists or generals.

Yes, it depends. But when the president of a country is overtly going against the country's democratic constitution/supreme court, the coup seems to be backed by the country's parliment and supreme court, and the speaker of the pariament (who is next in line constitutionally) is sworn in as president, it seems like everyone needs to sit back and let the "what happens now" take place before backing another potential Chavez.

As it is, it seems very possible Obama and the whole world has backed the wrong horse and by doing so has stoked the fires a great deal.

bobbys
06-30-2009, 05:14 PM
Im gonna risk a good Axx kicking here and admit i dont always understand whats going on down there!!!

Keith Wilson
06-30-2009, 05:17 PM
Mark, I'm absolutely sure I know at least as much as you do about the nasty sh*t the US has pulled over the last hundred years in Central and South America. But not everything that happens there has our fingerprints on it; far from it. I don't know whether this does or not, but it seems there's no compelling US interest, and the Obama administration has far, far bigger things to deal with at the moment. If I had to to bet, I'd say this a home-grown Honduran project.

peb
06-30-2009, 05:24 PM
BTW, Roberto Micheletti is head of the Liberal Party of Honduras. Not quite the right-wing nut the left associates with central american coups.

One needs to see what the provisions of the honduras constitution is when a president tries to break the law.

I see that Zelaya is now calling for a completely new constitution. This seems to support my point of view.

Keith Wilson
06-30-2009, 05:30 PM
Peb, you may be right; things does seem to be proceeding pretty strictly according to law. Both the OAS and the US may have been a bit hasty. It's an understandable mistake, given history.

Mark, I too have had a lot of Central American mud on my boots, although in rather different circumstances. I once guessed that you had some experience with Enrique Bermudez's contras in Honduras; if that's correct, I don't blame you for being cynical. There was some seriously unpleasant stuff going on with US help and direction. However, my experience there is what makes me say that sometimes Americans think they see US involvement in everything, and don't pay enough attention to what the local folks are doing, and the motives they may have.

peb
06-30-2009, 05:40 PM
Peb, you may be right; things does seem to be proceeding pretty strictly according to law. Both the OAS and the US may have been a bit hasty. It's an understandable mistake, given history.

If I am right, it is not an understandable mistake. The actions of Zelaya prior to the coup and the disupte between him and the supreme court/parliment/military seemed well reported. The parliment and military seemed to be very open about what they were doing in very short order. None of this "military junta" crap was going on.

I suspect it is a sign that Obama and others may be closet Chavez supporters. Civil rights be damned, socialism is a good thing for the long oppressed masses of latin america.

Keith Wilson
06-30-2009, 05:47 PM
I suspect it is a sign that Obama and others may be closet Chavez supporters. Peb, you normally make a great deal of sense, but this is off the wall.

PeterSibley
06-30-2009, 05:56 PM
In that Chavez was democratically elected , that support wuld be reasonable .

peb
06-30-2009, 06:02 PM
Peb, you normally make a great deal of sense, but this is off the wall.

Not at all. Liberal democrats have a history of supporting socialist politicians in latin american (eg. Daniel Ortega). Obama is a liberal democrat. Chavez is a socialist politician. It seems obvious that Zelaya was in the early stages of a Chavez type reform in Honduras. He was following Chavez's tactics with Chavez's backing. Obama seems to be voicing support for the Zelaya (definitely) un-constitutional actions and condemning the (possibly) un-constitutional removal from power of Zelaya.

A reasonable assumptoin would be exactly what I stated.

Keith Wilson
06-30-2009, 06:02 PM
Peter, while Chavez was indeed democratically elected in the beginning, Venezuela has been getting further and further from democracy as time goes on. The US is not required to support a leader of another country simply because he was democratically elected. Put up with him, yes.

Peb, you are conflating all sorts of different ideas. Things aren't nearly that black and white. Yes some people in the US supported the Sandinistas, particularly in the beginning; the further left one was, the more likely they one was to support them. But there were far more people who thought they were probably preferable to Somoza (they were), and a much larger number including may who couldn't possibly be described as liberal who didn't want to wage a brutal little proxy war against them.

peb
06-30-2009, 06:06 PM
In that Chavez was democratically elected , that support wuld be reasonable .

BS. There is no reason that any government has to support another country's government just because it is democratically elected. I can think of lots of governments throughout the world that did not support the Bush administration. I don't think the Obama administration supports the Russian government on many issues. It would seem like they have limited support for the government of Israel. If you were alive in 1933, I would hope that you would not want your government to support hitler.

PeterSibley
06-30-2009, 06:07 PM
As far as I'm concerned being a democratically elected leader is of primary importance .It is after all the will of the majority that care enough to vote .Socialism seems popular amongst the majority .Far preferable to the Allende model .

peb
06-30-2009, 06:09 PM
While Chavez was indeed democratically elected in the beginning, Venezuela has been getting further and further form democracy as time goes on. The US is not required to support a leader of another country simply because he was democratically elected. Obama is no more a supporter of Chavez than I am.

Can you provide me with specific examples of when Obama, as either a candidate or president, has condemned any of Chavez's actions? Serious question. I really want to see some of his positions w.r.t. Venezual's current government, pro or con.

Keith Wilson
06-30-2009, 06:30 PM
. . .examples of when Obama, as either a candidate or president, has condemned any of Chavez's actions?He gave an interview on Univision earlier this year in which he said several quite uncomplimentary things about Venezuela, particularly their support for the FARC. (I coudn't find the transcript right off.) Chavez replied in his usual diplomatic and restrained fashion, and said Obama "had the same stench as Bush". Take that as reassurance, if you like. :D

PeterSibley
06-30-2009, 06:36 PM
He seems considerably less destructive than Bush .Maybe that's why he receives less criticism .

BarnacleGrim
07-01-2009, 08:18 AM
It would've been much nicer if they hadn't messed up the Federal Republic of Central America. Couldn't the US have interfered back then instead?

Keith Wilson
07-01-2009, 10:35 AM
It would've been much nicer if they hadn't messed up the Federal Republic of Central America I think the folks in Costa Rica give thanks every day that it didn't happen.


I am pretty positive 75% or more of the ****e that happens down there is due to our involvement in one way or another. I'd put it much lower that that these days, although in some places and times it's certainly been that high. Of course, I was in Costa Rica most of the time, and they were pretty good at going their own way and avoiding despots, so my experience is probably different. But remember that Central Americans, particularly the military, have gotten pretty good over the years at convincing the gringos to pay for what they wanted to do anyway. The manipulation goes both ways.

BarnacleGrim
07-01-2009, 12:04 PM
I think the folks in Costa Rica give thanks every day that it didn't happen.
How so?

Keith Wilson
07-01-2009, 12:21 PM
How so? Costa Rica has managed to avoid the troubles of most other Central American countries, and is both democratic (since the late 1800s) and far more prosperous than its neighbors.

Keith Wilson
07-01-2009, 12:56 PM
Mark, I was kind of enjoying having a civil conversation; try to restrain yourself, OK? You want statistics to back that up? Have you ever been to Costa Rica? I was there for 2-1/2 years , and I sure as **** wasn't a tourist. At that time, tourists from the US were very rare in Costa Rica, not like today. It's very different from Nicaragua or Honduras, both in history and politics.

One example - GDP per capita
Costa Rica - $10,400
El Salvador $4500
Guatemala $4100
Nicaragua $2800
Honduras $2800