The overlooked geopolitics in U.S. news coverage about Honduras

Special to WorldTribune, June 30, 2009

By Cliff Kincaid, Accuracy in Media

The so-called “military coup” in Honduras was a successful effort by Honduran patriots to preserve their constitutional system of government from an international alliance of communists and socialists backed by Iran. Not surprisingly, America’s Marxist President has come down on the anti-American side.

If all of this is news to you, consider yourself a victim of the “state-run media,” as Rush Limbaugh calls it. We are being bombarded with liberal media propaganda that a “military coup” took place in Honduras, and that the U.S. should therefore oppose it.

Fox News, which has been trumpeting news about the “military coup,” should be ashamed of itself for following the liberal media line.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, noted that the problem was that the deposed president, Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, was “moving to re-write the Honduran constitution to extend and expand his power, while retaliating against those who stand in his way.”

The leftist Zelaya was democratically elected in 2005 in a narrow win (with less than a majority of the vote) but he has been attempting to unconstitutionally and illegally undercut the conservative majorities in the Congress. His main purpose has been to circumvent a prohibition on serving more than one term as president.

With his departure, Honduras may have been spared a communist future.

Nevertheless, Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton quickly issued statements saying that his removal was somehow a violation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. This was a clever ruse designed to disguise the fact that all of the major elements of constitutional power in Honduras, except for the increasingly unpopular and power-hungry president, acted on behalf of the people.

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has joined with the U.N. General Assembly President, Communist Priest Miguel D’Escoto, to demand that Zelaya be restored to power.

The new president, Roberto Micheletti, has made it clear that Zelaya was removed because he had behaved in an unconstitutional manner. “I did not reach this position because of a coup,” Micheletti said. “I am here because of an absolutely legal transition process.” Micheletti was a member of Zelaya’s Liberal Party but opposed his illegal and unconstitutional actions.

What happened is that the Legislative and Judicial branches of the government in Honduras, in conjunction with the armed forces, acted to maintain and defend their constitution from a power-mad president who was a puppet of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

Blogger Jason Poblete commented that the Obama Administration “was quick to call the events in Honduras a coup. What has gone underreported, or not reported at all in the media or recognized by the Obama Administration, is that the democratically-elected Congress unanimously approved the change in leadership and impeached the President. If this was a constitutionally correct action why has the Obama Administration been so quick to judge and condemn?”

Claims of a “military coup” have appeared in the press because that is the way far-left officials of the Obama Administration have described it. The Administration has been just as quick to undermine freedom and democracy in Honduras as it was late in supporting the pro-freedom and pro-democracy demonstrators in Iran.

On June 28, a “Teleconference Background Briefing” was held with the major media by “two senior officials” who were guiding coverage of the events in Honduras but whose identities were protected from disclosure by the lapdog press.

The transcript shows a New York Times reporter asking, “Is the U.S. Government calling this and considering this a coup d’etat? Can you talk about the use of language? Some other governments have called it that.”

The answer was, “ÉI would certainly characterize a situation where a president is forcibly detained by the armed forces and expelled from a country an attempt at a coup. We Ñ I mean, we still see him as the constitutional president of Honduras. So it was an attempt at a coup. We don’t think it was successful.”

The official is saying it wasn’t successful because the Obama White House wants to work with the Marxist governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua (backed by Iran) to bring Zelaya back to power.

At the same time, however, the official conceded that the controversy in Honduras stemmed from the effort by Zelaya to maintain himself illegally and unconstitutionally in power through a referendum or “survey” he had no right to initiate. He explained, “The fundamental political divide within Honduras was whether or not this effort by President Zelaya was seen as constitutional and legal, or whether it was seen as illegitimate and unconstitutional. And several institutions, including the public ministry, which is their equivalent of Attorney General, the Supreme Court, and the Congress had declared this survey to be illegitimate and illegal.”

Notice how the U.S. official said that “the public ministry, which is their equivalent of Attorney General, the Supreme Court, and the Congress had declared this survey to be illegitimate and illegal.”

He went on to say, “Obviously, it was the armed forces that detained the president today and expelled him from the country. But as we’re seeing now with the naming of an interim president by the congress, this was an effort that has included other political institutions.”

Indeed, this was not a “military coup” in the traditional sense of the army acting unilaterally to depose a popular president. The Army was acting in accordance with the dictates of the other political institutions.

Not only did the Congress and the Supreme Court act against Zelaya, the Catholic Church of Honduras Ñ which is not under the sway of Marxist-oriented Liberation Theology Ñ had opposed his illegal acts.

One question from a CNN reporter helped illustrate the incoherent nature of the Obama policy: “You said that you felt other institutions felt that it was illegal and unconstitutional, but did you think it was and did you advise the president not to invoke it?” The official replied, “Again, it’s not up to us to determine what’s legal or not within the context of Honduras. It was important for us to leave this to Honduran institutions to try to resolve.”

But that is exactly what happened when those institutions acted to remove the Marxist president, who is an ally of Castro and Chavez.

Asked if what Zelaya was doing “was in line with the constitution,” the official answered in the negative. The official further added that “Éfrom our point of view, what was important was not inserting ourselves and trying to make a determination of what was legal or illegal, but trying to insist that the Hondurans find a way to resolve this in a way that was in accord with their constitution.”

But the Hondurans have resolved it. Why doesn’t the Obama White House stay out of it?

In the New York Times story about the “coup,” the reporter waited until the fifth paragraph to note that “the [Honduran] Supreme Court issued a statement saying that the military had acted to defend the law against Ôthose who had publicly spoken out and acted against the Constitution’s provisions.'”

So it wasn’t really a coup.

The headline over the Washington Post story said, “Honduran Military Ousts President,” but the article noted that “the Honduran National Congress defiantly announced that Zelaya was out, and its members named congressional leader Roberto Micheletti the new president on Sunday afternoon. The Honduran Supreme Court also supported the removal of Zelaya, saying that the military was acting in defense of democracy.”

So rather than destroy democracy, this action restored it. This is hardly a “military coup.” There is no military official running Honduras today. And the former president wasn’t shot but given exile. He’s been told he can return but without the outside backing and interference of Chavez.

There is some question about whether Zelaya was impeached before or after the military removed him. But the point is that democratic forces acted together for the sake of their country. The timing is a matter that should be properly left to the people of Honduras and their democratically-elected institutions.

What the Obama Administration should be doing, under the circumstances, is protecting this democratic government from external threats from Chavez and Castro. Instead, it is working with Chavez and Castro to bring back to power a Marxist puppet.

Calls are already being heard from Obama’s far-left base to destabilize Honduras by cutting off U.S. military aid to the government. Human Rights Watch, the George Soros-funded group, has come out with a statement denouncing the “military coup.”

Some of these far-left activists are claiming that Obama was behind the “coup,” but this is obviously propaganda designed to force the Administration to use international bodies, such as the U.N. and the Organization of American States, in an effort to restore Zelaya to power.