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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/29/10

U.S. Plunges Central America Back To Era Of Coups And Death Squads

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Cutting across major ideological lines, 24 Latin American and 15 Caribbean nations (with some overlapping) met at what was declared a Unity Summit, and in the words of the host country's President Felipe Calderon, "We have decided to create an organization that includes all the organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean. We have decided to base an organization on shared values including sovereignty and the non-use of force, including threats of force, international cooperation, ever closer integration of Latin America and the Caribbean and permanent political dialogue." [7]

The new and expanded organization proposed, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), will include all nations in the Western Hemisphere except for the U.S. and Canada, will supplant and render moribund the U.S.-dominated Organization of American States (OAS), and will "resolve a host of problems, including the launching of interaction with Mercosur, the Andean Community of Nations, the Union of South American Nations, the Organization of Ibero-American States and ALBA - the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas." [8]

A Russian analyst suggested that "There is little, if any, doubt that the future Community will be at loggerheads with the OAS, since Washington is used to bossing Latin America around and imposing on the region what strategically important decisions suit it best."

He also warned that "The United States is certainly not about to trust some newly-formed organization with control of the processes under way in the countries south of the Rio Grande.

"The Empire is getting ready to 'act energetically' to foil a constituent summit of the future Community of Latin American and Caribbean States." [9]

Early in March U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Costa Rica to embrace her nation's new surrogate in Honduras, Porfirio Lobo, and to chastise Latin America for defying Washington's will. Lobo, for example, was the only Latin American head of state (though one only recognized by the U.S. and a few allies) not invited to the Unity Summit in Mexico on February 22-23. His exclusion was a frank commentary on the June 2008 coup by every government in the Western Hemisphere except his own and those of the U.S. and Canada.

"The United States helped to broker November elections that brought Honduran President Porfirio Lobo to power, but his government has been shunned by several countries in the region because the polls were organized by the de facto government that overthrew Zelaya."

Clinton was "winding up a six-nation Latin American tour during which she was challenged by leaders who repeated charges that the United States did not take a hard enough line against the coup, which echoed a long history of military takeovers in the region." [10]

With a command of diplomatese that renders her a worthy successor of the late Alexander Haig, Clinton stated it was time to "move forward," as "We think that Honduras has taken important and necessary steps that deserve the recognition and normalization of relations."

Unintentionally emphasizing why there is a need for ALBA and CELAC, she added, "Other countries in the region say that they want to wait a while. I don't know what they're waiting for...."

In Costa Rica she met with Lobo and "said she had notified Congress that the United States would restart the flow of more than USD 30 million in non-humanitarian aid to Honduras that was cut off after the June 28 coup that ousted Zelaya."

While offering lip service to the relative undesirability of military coups in the U.S.'s backyard, she nevertheless asserted "But we think its time to move forward and ensure that such disruptions of democracy do not and cannot happen in the future." [11] Scant comfort to other ALBA member states awaiting Washington's next maneuver.

To refute what Clinton characterized as the Lobo regime's "commitments to
re-establish constitutional order in the country," on March 24 Honduran professor Jose Manuel Flores, an active opponent of the newly-installed government of Porfirio Lobo, was murdered at the Instituto San Jose del Pedregal where he taught, "shot in the back when hooded individuals entered the school through the roof...." [12]

Hooded assassins murdering dissenting academics conjures up nightmares from the darkest period of death squad atrocities in the 1980s.

According to human rights and resistance groups in Honduras, since last year's coup there have been 130 murders and over 3,000 arrests of opponents of the junta. [13]

On March 25 the National Popular Resistance Front announced plans for a mass rally in the capital that "will coincide with a general strike and a national mourning campaign convened by teachers' organizations after Professor Jose Manuel Flores was killed by hooded men two days ago," blaming "the Honduran oligarchy and Porfirio Lobo's de facto regime" [14] for the latest killing of those Clinton demands "move forward" by submitting to Washington's diktat.

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/
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