Update on Honduras Troubles

The Honduran constitutional crisis in 2009, perpetrated by then-President Manuel Zelaya, was not spotlighted by the media to the extent that unrest in Egypt has been, but it is just as enlightening about U.S. politics.(Is President Obama of the Opinion that Presidents are Above the Law?)

The burning question at the time asked why the United States was so eager to support Zelaya, who was attempting to become a lifetime dictator, instead of the Honduran people, who were desperately working to protect their democracy?

Although I feel only distain for Julian Assange and Wikileaks for publishing secret, classified documents, leaked government cables from the U. S. embassy in Tegucigalpa at the time of the Honduran crisis shed light on this question. The cables revealed that the United States knew President Zelaya was a threat to democracy, but his relationship with Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez was deemed to be more important. As reported in the Wall Street Journal (12/10/10), the Obama Administration sought to curry favor with Chavez to contrast its foreign policy from that of the Bush Administration’s.

Quotes from the cables follow:
(Charles Ford, U.S. ambassador to Honduras, May 15, 2008) “His [Zelaya] pursuit of immunity from the numerous activities of organized crime carried out in his administration will cause him to threaten the rule of law and institutional stability.”

“Zelaya’s principal goal in office is to enrich himself and his family while leaving a public legacy as a martyr who tried to do good but was thwarted at every turn by powerful, unnamed interests.”

Though Mr. Zelaya can be “gracious and charming,” wrote Mr. Ford, “there also exists a sinister Zelaya, surrounded by a few close advisers with ties to both Venezuela and Cuba and organized crime.”

He “resents the very existence of the Congress, the Attorney General, and Supreme Court.” And “Due to his close association with persons believed to be involved with international organized crime, I am unable to brief Zelaya on sensitive law enforcement and counter-narcotics actions due [to] my concern that this would put the lives of U.S. officials in jeopardy.”