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Thread: Honduras (catch all)

  1. #141
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Disagree. Bad technique when dealing with the "ask for a millimeter, take an inch and try for a foot" crowd. You need to call them on it, publicly but calmly and with evidence (which I do not doubt we have aside from things in the media), so they can bluster an make themselves and their ploy obvious to all. To do what you suggest lets them slide. As many times over the past forty plus years we've let errant criminality slide and paid a price, we never seem to learn that is not a good idea.On that we can totally agree -- but we need to be extremely even handed in our public comments. To not do so when most in South and Central America know what is really happening makes us look like we're in the go along and get along mode; not a good position for us.
    I'm not suggesting that they shouldn't be called on it, I'm suggesting that the US not be the one to do the calling.

    This to me is time to sit down with others in the OAS who are tired of Hugo and his friends, and arrange to have them be the ones to make the public statements. If we have intel, we pass it on and let others present it.

    Seems to me that Chavez et al desperately want to get into a confrontation with the US and cast this as Hugo vs America. Nothing could please them more than to have us blustering and drawing lines in the sand for him to step over. That just presents him with credibility and stature. Far better to let other Latin Americans stand up to him. He wants to provoke, it's what he does. Playing that game with him is not going to help us.

    I don't want to see the US do or say anything that presents Chavez as a threat. Again, that's what he wants: to be portrayed as a regional counterbalance to America. Comments that help to establish him in that role just play to his ego.

  2. #142
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    Default Foreign Policy Online Mag

    has a decent article that captures some of the complex issues regarding the state of play in HO and greater Central America. The author gives eloquent voice to the raw points I was trying to make in an earlier post.

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...ming_crisis?ab

  3. #143
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    Default Tequila, your answers

    to my 2 questions tell us that what you believe makes a coup is who carries the action out. If the military arrests the President on the legal orders of the appropriate institutions it's still a coup; if the police do it, it is not. Thsi tells me that you really do not understand the nature of force structure in the region. The Honduran police are not the Aurora Colorado civil cops; they aren't even the LAPD on its worst days in 1965. The Honduran police force was a part of the Army until the late 80s or early 90s. It was and is structured along military lines. (Even the relatively successful El Salvador National Civil Police has not entirely shed its paramilitary structure and the very professional Chilean Carabineros is proudly a paramilitary organization as well as being Chile's police force). Zelaya took this paramilitary force and doubled its strength making it larger than the military as well as beholden to him personally. I wonder where the police would have come down had they been ordered to arrest the President.

    Old Eagle, you are right about the article putting some context on the complex events in Central America. However, the author got at least one critical fact wrong - the Congress didn't order the arrest of Zelaya; the Supreme Court did. There is some question as to whether the Attorney General (Min. Publico) concurred before or after the fact but not that he concurred. Moreover, the author has not gotten into the details of the Honduran mess to the extent that our discussion has. We are debating the meaning of specific articles of the HO Constitution; he seems to accept that all the actions taken by the 4 institutions that acted against Zelaya were unconstititonal. Not even Tequila takes that position!

    Cheers

    JohnT

  4. #144
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Talking I've been waiting for this to appear

    Here you go: LINK.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    I'm not suggesting that they shouldn't be called on it, I'm suggesting that the US not be the one to do the calling...Nothing could please them more than to have us blustering and drawing lines in the sand for him to step over.
    I said nothing of drawing lines -- just said to point out that his fingers are dirty. We could've done that and then affected disdain -- that would annoy him more than anything and annoyed people do dumb things.
    ...Playing that game with him is not going to help us.
    Totally agree and that is why I didn't suggest doing so.

    So we did what you suggested and, right on cue, there's our boy. He was going to rant no matter what we did, thus my point to call him on it and thus increase his bluster quotient while then ignoring him. He'd do something really stupid to get attention.

    Not to worry, he'll present other opportunities to excel; perhaps we can do better next time. Catering to or apologizing to people who do not wish you well merely invites more abuse. Frequently a sharp word -- or action -- will stop that foolishness. Pity Carter, Reagan, Bush 41 and Clinton didn't realize that; life could be different today had they done so. Hopefully, the current Administration will learn that.

  5. #145
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Of course Hugo will rant; it's what he does. I just don't see how it hurts us. If we "call him on it" we just initiate a dialogue that goes nowhere.

    Normally I would say there's no reason to even respond, especially since Arias already did so... but this one is almost too rich to ignore. Certainly a response shouldn't come from Obama, but perhaps an Undersecretary could be trotted out to comment that while we appreciate Mr. Chavez's desire for unilateral US intervention in Latin American affairs, the Obama administration is committed to multilateralism and we would suggest that appeals for action be directed to and considered by the OAS. It mioght also be worth pointing out that Obama repeatedly stated during his campaign that negotiation would be his administration's preferred approach to international crises, even if that means negotiating with governments we disapprove of or whose legitimacy we question.

    That would give dear Hugo the option to respond, but he would have to accept dialogue with an underling; it would also address his comments and could easily be phrased in a manner that would convey thinly veiled contempt.

    I sense a bit of desperation from the Hugo camp; the issue is fading from the headlines and they know all too well that time is not on their side here.

  6. #146
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default It doesn't hurt us, that's not an issue; it missed a chance to jerk him around.

    That's not idle pettiness on my part -- he's volatile and impetuous if very shrewd, the more irked he is, the more likely he will overstep and insure his own demise and thus a little more freedom for most Venazuelans. The absence of his frothing is no real plus because he'll be replaced by another somewhere.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    If we "call him on it" we just initiate a dialogue that goes nowhere.
    You shouldn't enter in to dialogues with folks like Hugo, pointless. Just slyly point out their flaws to the world and refuse to engage them. Drives them up a wall. Bush understood that, Obama apparently does not. Which is surprising.
    Normally I would say there's no reason to even respond...It mioght also be worth pointing out that Obama repeatedly stated during his campaign that negotiation would be his administration's preferred approach to international crises, even if that means negotiating with governments we disapprove of or whose legitimacy we question.
    Agree with all that.
    I sense a bit of desperation from the Hugo camp; the issue is fading from the headlines and they know all too well that time is not on their side here.
    I agree. He's overdone a lot of things and is in process of making enemies in South and Central America. They will continue to express Latin solidarity and be polite but he's being slowly and gently excluded. Also looks as though his fellow Socialist Insulza might not get another term at OAS.

    Everything goes in cycles...

  7. #147
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    Default I really like Dayuhan's

    suggestion that Tom Shannon (Undersecretary foe WHA) reply.

    Last thing I saw was that Arias had suggested that both Zelaya and Micheletti resign. That would meet the requirements of the several institutions and Micheletti has said he doesn't want to be Pres.

  8. #148
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Apparently the Venezualan Ambassador

    thinks not LINK.

    Gotta love it. Gamemanship for the big kids...

  9. #149
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    That's not idle pettiness on my part -- he's volatile and impetuous if very shrewd, the more irked he is, the more likely he will overstep and insure his own demise and thus a little more freedom for most Venazuelans.
    All very true. Venezuela's oil production is also steadily decreasing, owing to years of insufficient investment; the populace has gotten used to a diet of golden eggs and Hugo's been starving the goose, which puts him in an awkward position. Not nice being the candyman when the candy bag runs out. I also suspect that Hugo misses Bush badly, and needs a foreign policy crisis to rally support and distract from domestic issues. Whatever one thinks of the Bush-the-demon construct, it was very real to many people and was ready-made for exploitation by both Islamic fundamentalists and Chavez-style leftists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    You shouldn't enter in to dialogues with folks like Hugo, pointless. Just slyly point out their flaws to the world and refuse to engage them. Drives them up a wall. Bush understood that, Obama apparently does not.
    The problem I have with this is that by pointing out their flaws, you enter into a dialogue. You point out their flaws, they fire back with a list of yours, real or imagined. If you have to ignore them sooner or later it is sometimes advantageous to ignore them from the start. For many observers the substance of what is said is irrelevant: what they see is Hugo talking and America responding, leading to the conclusion that America takes Hugo seriously. That's why I feel that if anything is going to be said it needs to come from well below the Presidential level.

    Now we see Zelaya issuing ultimatums and calling for insurrection, which it seems to me puts him on pretty shaky ground: if violence ensues he is sending poor Hondurans out to die for him, if (more likely, I suspect) the response is tepid he seems impotent. Other nations may denounce the "coup", but is anyone going to start a war to restore Zelaya? I think not.

    Ideally at some point Micheletti and his inner circle would offer to resign and allow the legislature and Supreme Court to supervise an internationally monitored election... we shall see!

  10. #150
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Interesting how this greatest crisis in the hemisphere dropped out of the headlines. Pres. Obama did make some comments recently, I think good ones:

    “The same critics who say that the United States has not intervened enough in Honduras are the same people who say that we're always intervening and the Yankees need to get out of Latin America. You can't have it both ways... If these critics think that it's appropriate for us to suddenly act in ways that in every other context they consider inappropriate, then I think what that indicates is that maybe there's some hypocrisy involved in their -- their approach to U.S.-Latin American relations that -- that certainly is not going to guide my administration's policies.”
    I would guess that negotiations will shift toward the question of an acceptable transition body to supervise the election, at which point Zelaya's fade will likely become terminal. Not much attention being paid any more.

  11. #151
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Again...

    Laissez-faire... Let them sort it out. Our past interdictions in Central America created enough concern amongst the local populace. Furthermore, every action we take at this point will be followed by a secondary retaliation by Hugo Chavez..

    We should not stir the pot, but when others ask for help, we should be prepared to respond.

    v/r

    Mike

  12. #152
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    Default All true but

    Watch the outcome of the OAS visit to Honduras.

    Cheers

    JohnT

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  14. #154
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    Default

    Some closure... if there's such a thing.

    Honduras swears in Porfirio Lobo as President

  15. #155
    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JarodParker View Post
    Some closure... if there's such a thing.

    Honduras swears in Porfirio Lobo as President
    Actually, I doubt it. The protests over the ouster of Zelaya were never rooted in any sort of unconstitutionality or illegality under Honduran law. Leftists were angry that a leftist lost power. He's still out, so they'll still be angry:

    (From the BBC) "Several nations refused to recognize the legitimacy of November's election.
    ...
    Several Latin American countries, including Brazil and Venezuela, said recognizing the election would amount to condoning a coup."
    John Wolfsberger, Jr.

    An unruffled person with some useful skills.

  16. #156
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    Default Hugo Chavez will never

    agree but he is likely to be one of only two Latin American leaders (the other being Raul Castro) to not eventually welcome Honduras back into the fold. Brazil needs a little time to get its embassy back to normal but Lula will come around. Meanwhile, Zelaya accepted exile while the Honduran supreme Court dropped the trason charges against him and all charges against the military and former govt. Pres Lobo signed an amnesty for the military and former govt and helped engineer the deal for Zelaya to fly to the DR. On another Latin American front the OAS just issued a report highly critical of Chavez' repression of democratic opposition and freedom in Venezuela - its principal author was a Brazilian diplomat.

    Cheers

    JohnT

  17. #157
    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    ... On another Latin American front the OAS just issued a report highly critical of Chavez' repression of democratic opposition and freedom in Venezuela - its principal author was a Brazilian diplomat.
    Now, that is nice to hear!
    John Wolfsberger, Jr.

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  18. #158
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    The left will still be upset, but the left is congenitally upset, it's their nature. Probably Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia will hold out and refuse to recognize, but the impact of that will be insignificant. This round seems pretty much done.

    What happens next depends largely on what Lobo and crowd decide to do. If they lapse back into the status quo, the extreme left will reorganize and there will be another round, whether electoral or otherwise. If Lobo can develop a functional economic policy, implement some effective reforms, and get some results, the radical position will be undercut and they will end up with little more than an ideological core.

    It would not be at all a bad thing if a moderate left movement willing to respect the electoral process emerged, as has happened in many other Latin American countries.

  19. #159
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Default Operation Anvil

    DEA Honduras drug killing part of new, aggressive strategy against illicit flights. The Washington Post, 24 June 2012.
    With the new operation, Honduran and U.S. drug agents follow every flight they detect of unknown origin and work with non-U.S. contract pilots who don’t have the restrictive rules of engagement that the U.S. military do.

    The area of Brus Laguna, where the DEA says an agent shot a drug suspect as he was reaching for his gun Saturday, is part of the remote Mosquitia region that is dotted with clandestine airstrips and a vast network of rivers for carrying drugs to the coast.

    Saturday’s incident marked the first time that a DEA agent has killed someone in Central America since the agency began deploying specially trained agents several years ago to accompany local law enforcement personnel on all types of drug raids throughout the region, said DEA spokeswoman Dawn Dearden.
    Man Is Killed by U.S. Agent in Drug Raid in Honduras, by Charlie Savage. The New York Times, 24 June 2012.
    WASHINGTON — A United States Drug Enforcement Administration agent shot a man to death in Honduras during a raid on a smuggling operation early Saturday, a spokesman for the American Embassy in Honduras said Sunday. The man who was killed had been reaching for his weapon, the official said, and the agent fired in self-defense.

    The shooting brought further attention to the growing American involvement in counternarcotics operations in Central America. Commando-style squads of D.E.A. agents have been working with local security forces in several countries and have been present at several firefights in Honduras in which people have died in the last 15 months.
    “[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson

  20. #160
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Some local context

    Within a wider, IMO partisan sketch of Honduras I found:
    The region from which the ‘Contra’ war was launched against nearby Nicaragua is now a transfer zone for drug traffickers: the State Department asserts (with suspicious accuracy) that 79% of cocaine smuggling flights from South America land in Honduras, mostly in this region.

    The biggest of the land disputes is in the Aguan valley, where several communities are struggling to hold on to land in the face of violent repression by the police and private security forces, ranging from the destruction of whole villages to the assassination of community leaders. There have been more than fifty politically related deaths in this area alone. The main landowner implicated in the violence, Miguel Facussé, was described by the New York Times as ‘the octogenarian patriarch of one of the handful of families controlling much of Honduras’ economy’. He was also a strong supporter of the coup. In October 2011, Wikileaks released cables from the US embassy which revealed that he had been known to them as a cocaine importer since 2004.
    Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/john-pe...ars-after-coup
    davidbfpo

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