Thursday, July 2, 2009

Not our coup?

Like most of the rest of the world, I imagine, my initial assumption upon hearing about the coup d'etat in Honduras was that the United States, somehow or another, was involved. After all, how many Latin American military coups ever took place without our involvement?

Consider: the Honduran military and the US military work in what we like to call "close cooperation." Most of their officers were trained in the notorious School of the Americas, and their military budget is pretty much whatever we give them. Deposed president José Manuel Zelaya, originally elected from a party of the center-right, now is buddy-buddy with Hugo Chavez, and was exploring the very Chavezian notion of overturning Constitutional term limits.

It really sounded like a natural for US intervention, except for one thing -- Barack Obama says we didn't do it, and even is standing with the rest of the OAS in demanding that Zelaya be reinstated.

On the other hand, every country in the world that bothered to have an embassy in Honduras has withdrawn its ambassador save one. You guessed it. We're the one. It seems, as well, that the US State Department had some clear inkling that a coup was in the works -- and reportedly was working behind the scenes to "resolve the conflicts" between Zelaya, his opponents in the legislature, and the generals.

So, what actually happened? Was the coup truly cooked up entirely by Zelaya's Honduran opponents? Is it conceivable that there may have been US military and/or CIA involvement without anybody bothering to mention it to Obama? Word has it that Zelaya pissed off Hillary big time recently when she showed up in Teguchigalpa on a red eye flight, and Zelaya insisted that she go to a private room at the airport and shake hands with every member of his large, extended family before letting her get to the embassy to crash.

The big winner in all this, of course, is Hugo Chavez -- precisely because it boggles the mind to consider a military coup in the region without a fat US thumb on the scales. Our President, as usual, seems unwilling to risk offending anybody -- even in Honduras -- and hence is trying to steer his typical wimpy course between "extremes," even while the rest of the world is taking assertive action.

Personally, I'm sick of all the compromises, both at home and abroad. It's time to stop all the political pussyfooting and take a moral stance -- on military coups, on health care, on torture, on open government, and more. My suspicion is that Obama got where he is by studiously avoiding any action that might make him look like a "scary black man," but now he's the goddamned president! It's time for him to stop acting like a wimp and take a chance on doing what's right.

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