Can the NYT Call a Coup a Coup? By Peter Hart

6 July 2013 — FAIR Blog

“A Coup? Or Something Else?”  is the question a New York Times headline is posing today (7/5/13) about the U.S. government’s response to the military’s removal of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. It’s not just a question of semantics;  U.S. law seems to require suspending aid to Egypt in case of a coup. That’s why the government might not want to call it one.

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"U.S. Group That Supported Overthrows of Democratically Elected Governments in Haiti and Venezuela Will Observe Elections in Honduras"

24 November, 2009 – Center for Economic and Policy Research

International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute Plan to Observe Elections Controlled by Honduran Military and Police

Washington, D.C. – The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), organizations that receive funding from the U.S. State Department, are planning on sending delegations to observe the November 29 elections in Honduras, according to a statement issued by Republican Senator Richard Lugar.  The IRI is a group that has supported the ouster of democratically elected presidents in Haiti and Venezuela in recent years.  Both groups are apparently planning to assist with observation of the elections, despite the fact that the electoral process will be effectively controlled by thousands of military troops and police officers — the same forces who have committed innumerable human rights violations, including killings, rapes, beatings and thousands of detentions, since the June 28 coup d’etat.

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Obama and Clinton Use ‘Smart Power’ Against Honduras By Eva Golinger

9 November, 2009 – Postcards from the Revolution

(This article was written before the collapse of the latest deal to restore President Zelaya) Henry Kissinger said that diplomacy is the ‘art of restraining power’. Obviously, the most influential ideologue on US foreign policy of the twenty first century was refering to the necessity to ‘restrain the power’ of other countries and governments in order to maintain the dominant world power of the United States.

Presidents in the style of George W. Bush employed ‘Hard Power’ to achieve this goal: weapons, bombs, threats and military invasions. Others, like Bill Clinton, used ‘Soft Power’: cultural warfare, Hollywood, ideals, diplomacy, moral authority and campaigns to ‘win the hearts and minds’ of those in enemy nations. The Obama administration has opted for a mutation of these two concepts, fusing military power with diplomacy, political and economic influence with cultural penetration and legal maneuvering. They call this ‘Smart Power.’ Its first application is the coup d’etat in Honduras, and as of today, it’s worked to perfection.

During her confirmation hearing before the Senate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remarked that ‘we should use what has been called ‘smart power’, the complete range of tools that are at our disposal – diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal and cultural – choosing the correct tool, or combination of tools, for each situation. With ‘smart power,’ diplomacy will be the vanguard of our foreign policy.’ Clinton later reinforced this concept affirming that the ‘wisest path will be to first use persuasion.’

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Cunning Micheletti Determined to Outfox Zelaya, Insouciant U.S. Diplomats; Meanwhile, Clinton Delivers a Likely Fatal Blow to Ousted Honduran President Zelaya’s Already Grim Prospects

6 November, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs

By COHA Research Associate Ethan Katz

After adamantly rejecting all attempted negotiations, the Honduran de facto government signed an agreement on October 29th ostensibly opening space for a potential resolution to the country’s four-month standoff. The agreement called for the formation of a unity government that will assume power and oversee the November 29th presidential elections. But even under the most favorable of circumstances, the terms of the peace agreement would transform Zelaya into little more than a figurehead president, drained of all his authority. The accord left the restoration of executive power in the hands of the Honduran Congress and Supreme Court, the two bodies that authorized and led the way to Zelaya’s removal from the presidency in the first place. Still, the most lethal blow to Zelaya’s return was delivered by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she acknowledged that his restitution would not affect Washington’s recognition of the election results.

Clinton’s Coup de Main

Apparently the U.S. plan under discussion was never meant to be implemented, and de facto leader Roberto Micheletti’s alleged agreement was probably little more than a hoax. While the new deal was feted as ending the conflict, such celebration may have proved to be premature as progress has since reached a standstill, which perhaps was the intended outcome all along. On Tuesday, Honduran Congressional leaders postponed calling the legislative body out of recess in order to verify the accords, and it remains to be seen whether they will even bother to endorse the agreement, especially after the State Department so effectively sabotaged the peace process.

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Video: Nothing resolved in Honduras

6 November, 2009 — Real News Network

Widely-celebrated, US-brokered agreement looks to have strengthened coup instead of reversing it

Note: At 08:39 the subtitle quotes Shannon as saying “Honduran democracy is NOT in the hands of Hondurans. It should read is NOW in the hands of Hondurans.

Bertha Oliva is the Founder and Coordinator of the Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared in Honduras. COFADEH, by its Spanish initials, is a non-governmental organization dedicated to the fight against impunity and memory of the victims of forced disappearances. Their good friend was killed during the kidnapping as well. Oliva founded the organization after her husband, Prof. Tom·s NativÌ, was kidnapped and disappeared in 1982. Today COFADEH is looked to as an authority an all issues relating to human rights and public security. Oliva received the Human Rights Award from Honduras’ National Commission of Human Rights, as well as being nominated as one of the 1000 Peace Women for the Nobel Prize in 2005. COFADEH is recognized as having played a major role in the dissolution of Honduras’ notorious Department of National Investigations, the repeal of compulsory military service, and the liberation of the country’s last political prisoners in 1992.

The Plot Thickens: Honduran Coup Regime and Landowning Elites Enlist the Support of Foreign Paramilitaries By Reed M. Kurtz

21 October, 2009 — North American Congress on Latin America

Even more evidence has come to light regarding the desperation and disregard for human rights of the Honduran coup regime and its elite backers. On Friday, October 9 a United Nations human rights panel issued a warning concerning the presence of contracted foreign paramilitary forces operating inside the troubled country. According to the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, an estimated 40 members of the infamous United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) have been hired by wealthy Honduran landowners to defend themselves ‘from further violence between supporters of the de facto government and those of the deposed President Manuel Zelaya.’

As Zelaya’s Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas notes, it is widely believed that these mercenaries are being used to ‘do the dirty jobs that the armed forces refuse to do.’ In addition, the panel established direct links between President Roberto Micheletti’s coup-installed government and foreign paramilitaries, stating that an additional group of 120 hired soldiers from several countries throughout the region had been created to provide support for the coup regime. This report confirms allegations made by the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo back in September.

Noting that Honduras is a signatory to the international convention against the use of mercenaries, the panel, comprised of a diverse array of security and human rights experts, expressed its deep concern and called upon the Honduran golpistas to take action against the use of paramilitaries inside Honduran territory. In response, Micheletti rejected the allegations, denying any recruitment of paramilitaries for protection.

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Honduras: National Front of Resistance against the Coup d'État, "Communiqué No. 28"

13 October, 2009 — MRZine – Monthly Review

The National Front of Resistance against the Coup d’État, in view of the latest developments at the table of dialogue established at the behest of the Organization of American States (OAS) announces that:

  • We withdrew our compañero Juan Barahona from the so-called Guaymuras dialogue. Comrade Barahona served as representative of the National Front of Resistance against the Coup d’État in President Zelaya’s delegation in that dialogue.

The coup regime’s delegation, in a typical act of intransigence to obstruct the progress of negotiation, was attempting to paralyze the dialogue by refusing to allow our representative to sign the San José Accord while attaching a reservation to Point No. 3 of the accord concerning the renunciation of the establishment of a National Constitutional Assembly, since in that reservation we wished to state that our front does not and will not renounce our struggle for this demand which is the demand of the Honduran people. Aware that this was a ploy to use any pretext to derail the dialogue, given that signing with reservations was suggested by the coup leaders themselves at a previous meeting, we decided not to be manipulated by it, so we took this decision, leaving President Zelaya free to substitute for him another representative that he may trust. Thus Attorney Rodil Rivera Rodil was delegated to be a member of President Zelaya’s commission in substitution for our representative.

  • This means that the National Front of Resistance against the Coup d’État exits the Guaymuras dialogue and that we will continue to fight in the street for the demands that we have raised since 28 June: the return to the constitutional order; the restoration of President Zelaya to his office; and the convening of a Constitutional Assembly.
  • We make clear that we will respect the decision of our president if he decides to sign the San José Accord, even with all its conditions, and we declare that we are in full agreement with him regarding the demand that the coup leaders sign the accord which has them abandon power and the Presidency of the Republic be returned to him.
  • We warn the coup leaders that, if an accord returning the presidency to its legitimate holder is not signed before 15 October, the Resistance will initiate actions nationwide to disavow the electoral farce that they hope to stage on 29 November.
  • We call upon the popular sectors to redouble efforts to defeat the corporate-military dictatorship, demanding the end to repression, the repeal of the decrees that abridge the constitutional guarantees, freedom for political prisoners, and the re-opening of Radio Globo, Canal 36, and other independent media, and the end to censorship against them and other journalists.

108 Days of Struggle, and No One Is Surrendering Here
Tegucigalpa, Central District Municipality, 13 October 2009 The original communiqué in Spanish was published by HablaHonduras among other sites on 13 October 2009. Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi.

Honduras Update: Micheletti Spirals Downward as the U.S. Fails to Fully Condemn the De Facto Regime and Insists on Mincing Around with the Appointees who Don’t Wear its Colors

1 October, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs

After realizing his swaggering actions had severely backfired, the interim president of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, is asking the Supreme Court to reverse last Sunday’s decree, which suspended civil liberties throughout the country as part of its 45-day ‘state of emergency.’ As part of its crack-down on dissent, the Micheletti regime closed the two top Honduran news media outlets that had been covering ousted President Manuel Zelaya’s statements from his refuge inside the Brazilian embassy. The siege suspended constitutional guarantees of civil liberties, including freedom of assembly, press, and privacy. The Honduran Congress, Supreme Electoral Court, and the country’s four main presidential candidates for the November elections clearly have stated that they will not tolerate Micheletti’s efforts to suspend civil liberties. As a result, Micheletti has now been witnessing significant limits to his power. Mainstream Honduran officials are beginning to demonstrate their intentions to now find a political and diplomatic solution to the crisis, rather than through the use of pure force and constitutional tampering.

Too Late to Ask for Forgiveness

Micheletti is now seeking forgiveness from Hondurans, though it may be too little, too late for this to strike home. The decree limiting democratic rights in the country came as no surprise considering the increasingly radical nature of the undemocratic initiatives that his regime has been increasingly prone to take. As Micheletti digs a deeper hole for himself, he has stripped the de facto regime of any ounce of legitimacy that it may have had in the eyes of the international community, and demonstrably, with fellow Hondurans. Micheletti’s case has not been helped by the country’s declining standard of living, as its economy shrinks by as much as $40 million dollars a day and economic boycotts take effect. Micheletti believes he can hold on to the country until the November elections can take place. This way, he will be able to get rid of Zelaya by antiseptic means. However, international condemnation and drastically reduced political backing has left Micheletti’s regime dry and beached. Moreover, the suspensions of civil liberties as well as the regimes refusal to engage in diplomatic negotiations, further exemplify the preposterous claim that Micheletti is the legitimate ruler of his country.

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Honduran Coup Regime Mocks UN Security Council with Embassy Attacks By Al Giordano

25 September, 2009 — The Field


After today’s emergency session of the United Nations Security Council in New York, US Ambassador Susan Rice emerged to read a warning to the Honduras coup regime:

‘We condemn acts of intimidation against the Brazilian embassy and call upon the de facto government of Honduras to cease harassing the Brazilian embassy.’

The wording is unequivocal. After investigating the claims (and the de facto regime’s denials) of constant technological and chemical attacks on the diplomatic seat in Tegucigalpa, and illegal impediment of ingress and egress to and from the embassy, where legitimate President Manuel Zelaya and at least 85 aides, supporters and some members of the news media are sheltered, the UN Security Council has concluded that said harassment i s real and it is ongoing.

If the coup regime believed that its use of chemical and sonic devices would render its attacks less visible, it has already lost that gamble.

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Video: The siege of Tegucigalpa

Repression ordered to the neighborhoods of the Honduran capital, forcing the poor to fight or starve

As the anti-coup resistance approaches 90 consecutive days of civil disobedience, it counts itself a new international ally. The government of Brazil has replaced the United States as international organizer in bringing down the coup government of Roberto Micheletti. The Real News gets an update on the situation in the capital from independent journalist Sandra Cuffe, and a fresh analysis from Al Giordano.

Produced by: Jesse Freeston

Al Giordano is an investigative journalist based in Chiapas, Mexico. He has spent most of the summer of 2009 reporting from post-coup Honduras. He is originally from the Bronx, New York. Since 2000 he has been the publisher of Narco News, which reports mainly on the US War on Drugs effects on the people of Mexico and Central America. He is also the founder of the School for Authentic Journalism and writes a blog called The Field which focuses on US politics.

Sandra Cuffe is an independent journalist and photographer from Montréal, Canada. She contributes regularly to The Dominion magazine in Canada, and Latin American political newsletter, Upside Down World.

You can find her photos from Honduras at:

The Real News Network – Zelaya's return to Honduras met with force

23 September, 2009

Ousted president makes surprise return to the capital, coup government responds with vicious crackdown

Eighty-six days after he was summarily kidnapped and forced out of the country by the military, and on his third attempt to return, ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya appeared at the Brazilian embassy in the capital city of Tegucigalpa on Monday morning. Hondurans flooded into the streets to support his return, to which the coup regime responded by instituting a curfew. When thousands of Hondurans refused to adhere to return to their homes, the regime resorted to brute force. Produced by Jesse Freeston.

Óscar Estrada is a filmmaker and radio producer from the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. He works with the organization Arte Acción, and has written several screenplays for narrative films and documentaries. Oscar splits his time between Honduras and the U.S., where he is an associate producer for May I Speak Freely Media, a project that produces media on human rights issues in Honduras. You can find Óscar’s updates on the Honduran coup on Adrienne Pine’s website:
Sandra Cuffe is an independent journalist and photographer from Montréal, Canada. She contributes regularly to The Dominion magazine in Canada, and Latin American political newsletter, Upside Down World.You can find her photos from Honduras at:

PANAMAX 2009 and Honduras: Did They or Didn't They Attend the Annual War Games?

23 September, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs By COHA Staff, coordinated by Research Associate Shantel Beach and assisted by Andres Esteban Ochoa, Jorge Aguilar and Christina Esquivel

In another blow against the prestige of the de facto government, ousted President Manuel Zelaya’s unexpected return to Honduras has complicated matters for interim President Roberto Micheletti, who helped plan the seizure of the government on June 28. As public demonstrations suggest, a growing number of Hondurans now appear to be aligning in support of Zelaya. Several thousand of his supporters rallied at the Brazilian Embassy where Zelaya took refuge after arriving last night on Honduran soil. The interim government did not respond kindly to the public display of support for the ousted president, imposing a military curfew from 4 pm Monday to 6 pm Tuesday. El Heraldo, the Tegucigalpa daily, reported that 200 demonstrators were arrested after violence erupted as a result of confrontation between the protesters and the police. The Brazilian Embassy has also been cut off from water and electricity; food is scarce.

As violence and repression ensue in Honduras, recent events in Panama are reminiscent of Washington’s traditional approach to hemispheric policy, which in the past has been marked by lies and deceit. As the PANAMAX military exercises came to a close on September 22, it still remains unclear whether Honduran military units were present for these maneuvers, as was planned before the military-led coup. Although the twenty other participants in the PANAMAX joint maneuvers have refused to recognize the illegitimate interim government, the U.S., Honduras, and Panama have released conflicting information regarding whether or not the Honduran military was in attendance. If Honduras has taken part in or was designated as an affidavit observer to the games —as some evidence suggests—the U.S. as well as the other countries that condemned the coup will be exposed for their implicit collusion with the illegal government led by Roberto Micheletti.

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The Field: Seven Million Hondurans Under House Arrest as Micheletti Writes of "Democracy" By Al Giordano

22 September, 2009 — Narconews


Hondurans in civil resistance surrounded the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa yesterday to greet their returning president. This morning, coup regime troops attacked them violently, sending 24 wounded to hospitals. D.R. 2009 Mariachiloko, Chiapas Indymedia.

The Honduran coup regime’s 26-hour martial curfew upon the entire country effectively places 7.5 million Honduran citizens – men, women, children and elders – under house arrest. They are prohibited from going to work, to the store, or to walk down the street to visit a neighbor. Anybody on the street is subject to arrest, for violation of the curfew.

If this happened to you, what would you call it?

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The Real News Network – Mr. Zelaya goes to Washington

Ousted Honduran President brings his story to DC, receives a deceptive response from US State Dept.

Honduran coup

The resistance to the military coup in Honduras has entered its 71st straight day of direct action in the streets of that country. Meanwhile, the United States Department of State still has yet to officially declare the events a ‘military coup’, an identification that would require, under US law, the cutting of all financial aid and diplomatic ties. For this reason and others, Manuel Zelaya came back to Washington to get additional commitments from Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. While Clinton did make some commitments on suspending more visas and not recognizing the upcoming elections in Honduras, the story of the US involvement in resolving the coup is still dominated by the support the US provides to the de facto regime. This was further deepened by the revelation that the International Monetary Fund, itself largely controlled by the US Treasury Department, has allocated $150 million to the coup government. Zelaya spoke to George Washington University about his view of Honduran democracy and why that led to his forced expulsion from his country.

Video: Honduran resistance goes it alone

60 days of anti-coup protests show persistence in civil disobedience and little faith in int’l community

As protests against the coup government in Honduras enter their 60th day, the international community has largely turned their attention away from the streets of Tegucigalpa. This lack of awareness, combined with heightened state repression, has done little to deter the ongoing disobedience campaign inside Honduras. Al Giordano reports from rural Honduras on the determination of the resistance movement to achieve their goals, with or without help from abroad. Giordano also points out that, contrary to popular belief outside of Honduras, the end goal of the resistance is not the return to power of President Zelaya, but rather the transformation of the country through a constitutional referendum.

Al Giordano is an investigative journalist based in Chiapas, Mexico. He is originally from the Bronx, New York. Since 2000 he has been the publisher of Narco News, which reports mainly on the US War on Drugs effects on the people of Mexico and Central America. He is also the founder of the School for Authentic Journalism and writes a blog called The Field which focuses on US politics.

Honduras: The Wolf Report By S. Artesian

22 August, 2009 — The Wolf Report

1. Cowboy Up!

Taking the lessons learned at the feet of the US military to heart, the Republic of Honduras’ Cobra squadron woke the president of that country to tell him the bad news: 1) he was no longer president; 2) he never really was president; 3) there really isn’t a republic of Honduras; 4) a plane was waiting to take him to that haven of stability, productive farms, and CIA stations, Costa Rica; 5) he would have to leave his credit cards behind.

Zelaya, blinking in the beams of the US military issued flashlights, appeared confused. ‘Where am I?’ he asked, ‘Haiti?’

Haiti, indeed. The same ratbag collection of consultants, counterrevolutionaries, drug dealers, death squaders, entrepreneurs, landowners, and hedge funders came together once again. And not just through necessity, but through natural affinities, through a veritable kinship, through blood, albeit the spilled blood of others.

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Honduras: Attack on Peaceful Protestors Escalates By Jenny Atlee, Quixote Center

The repression is escalating.  Crackdowns are occurring in San Pedro Sula as well as Tegucigalpa.

Micheletti decreta de nuevo  el toque de queda

Vergonzosa intimidación policial y militar en el STIBYS

Our delegation is accounted for and unharmed.  They are now accompanying Honduran human rights workers and sending alarming reports.  Police and military are rounding up people and taking them to places used for torture in the 1980s.  Ambulances full of people with their faces smashed in and bodies beaten are racing to hospitals — among them is Marvin Ponce, a Honduran member of Congress who just met with State Department officials in Washington to denounce to coup.

The Universidad Pedagogica and the STIBYS [Brewery Workers’] union hall (a private building which has served as the organizing center for the Anti-Coup resistance front) have been taken by the military and large numbers of people are reported detained.  Human rights organizations fear they are being tortured.

Please call the State Department (202-647-4000) and the U.S. Ambassador Llorens in Tegucigalpa — 011-504-236-9320 ext. #4268.  Tell them that violence is escalating and that members of our International Delegation, including U.S. citizens, are currently accompanying human rights workers to locations in which people are being detained.


The Quixote Center is a band of “impossible dreamers” who joined together in 1976.  We are a multi-issue, grassroots social justice organization with roots in the Catholic social justice tradition.  Independent of church and government structures, the Center operates with an understanding that an educated and engaged citizenry is essential to making social change.  For over 30 years, the Quixote Center has gathered together people of faith and conscience to organize highly effective campaigns for systemic change.

Fact Checking Lanny Davis on Honduras By Greg Grandin

13 August, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Last Friday, I debated lawyer-turned-lobbyist Lanny Davis, now working for the business backers of the recent Honduran coup, on Democracy Now! It actually wasn’t much of a debate — in the way that word means an exchange of ideas — as Davis was fast out of the box, preemptively trying to taint host Amy Goodman and me as ‘ideologues.’

As Hillary Clinton’s major fundraiser during last year’s presidential primary, Davis is known for, among other things, leading the attack on Barack Obama for his association with Reverend Jeremiah Wright. ‘Why didn’t he speak up earlier?’ Davis asked in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, demanding to know why the candidate didn’t distance himself from Wright’s remarks. Recently, Davis has been hired by corporations to derail the labor-backed Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for unions to organize, all the while touting himself as a ‘pro-labor liberal.’

Davis was also the chief U.S. lobbyist of the military dictatorship in Pakistan in the late 90s and played an important role in strengthening relations between then President Bill Clinton and de facto president General Perez Musharraf.

Now Lanny Davis finds himself defending another de facto regime in Honduras that is engaging in ‘grave and systemic’ political repression, suspending due process, harassing independent journalists, killing or disappearing at least ten people, and detaining hundreds as ‘constitutional,’ all the while touting himself as a (Honduran) constitutional expert.

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