by Alex Lantier
1 July 2009
Washington’s criticisms of the June 28 military coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras lack any element of sincerity or historical truth. Washington is uneasy at the ouster of Zelaya, a conservative-turned-populist allied to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, because it reveals all too clearly the character of US foreign policy.
President Barack Obama’s condemnation of Zelaya’s overthrow as a “terrible precedent” is belied by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s refusal to characterize it as a coup. Under US laws, such a designation would force the government to cut off tens of millions of dollars in aid to Honduras and its armed forces. Clinton also declined to call for Zelaya’s reinstatement, saying, “We haven’t laid out any demands that we’re insisting on, because we’re working with others on behalf of our ultimate objectives.”
Zelaya was overthrown because his populism was seen as a threat both to conservative sections of the bourgeoisie in Honduras and to US strategic interests in Latin America and the Caribbean.