Clinton: Coup in Honduras "Should Be Condemned"

By Al Giordano

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released the following statement this afternoon:

"The action taken against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya violates the precepts of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and thus should be condemned by all.

"We call on all parties in Honduras to respect the constitutional order and the rule of law, to reaffirm their democratic vocation, and to commit themselves to resolve political disputes peacefully and through dialogue."

Memo to Eva Golinger from Al Giordano: You're not helping your credibility with screeching claims that events in Honduras constitute "Obama's first coup." If you can't see the difference between the actions of of the Bush administration (which cheered the 2002 coup in Venezuela, and forwarded the lie that its president had "resigned") and the immediate response from the Obama administration toward the coup in Honduras (first, Obama recognized and gave backing to the facts of what he called the "the detention and expulsion of President Mel Zelaya," a very helpful statement to frame the narrative, and, now, Secretary Clinton has said it "should be condemned"), that only reflects a shortcoming in research and logic by those making such crazy statements.

Very, very few close observers - including many of us that strongly back and defend the Bolivarian movement of Venezuela - are going to take anybody seriously when they make such off-the-wall pronunciations. It suggests you are not operating with a full deck of facts, or, worse, seek to "fool the crowd" during a moment of crisis. That's not leadership. Nor does it offer an accurate map of events on the ground.

Not every sound of an automobile backfiring is an indication of gunfire. Come back down to earth, comrade. Crying "wolf" never got any cause anywhere, and there is a real battle to be fought to restore the democratically-elected president of Honduras without axe-grinding fictions coming from those associated with our side of that barricade.

Memo to Larry Birns from Al Giordano: I'm going to phrase this much more strongly than my previous memo. Your "report" on Friday, from the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, attacking the now illegally-deposed president of Honduras as somehow being the bad actor on that stage, helped to justify the coup underway in Honduras. Your organization offered a knowing falsehood when it wrote:

On June 26, Zelaya announced that Congress was plotting a “technical coup” to remove him from power through legal maneuverings. The technical coup Zelaya was referring to was an impeachment vote, which is allowed under the constitution. However, this also could be an attempt on Zelaya’s part to garner support for his position in view of an upcoming emergency meeting of the General Assembly of the Organizat ion of American States, what he considers to be a friendly gesture. By presenting his government as being under attack by right-wing elements who wish to terminate his presidency, Zelaya can divert attention from his own debatable actions.

Well, now the whole world can see that Zelaya's charges of coup-plotting offered a more accurate assessment than COHA's drivel penned in Washington. You really should consider closing up shop at COHA, Larry. The organization is demonstrating symptoms of senility. Meanwhile, you owe your readers and the people of Honduras an apology and a correction. And you owe yourself some serious soul searching, if not speedy retirement.

Update: Kristin Bricker has the statement of the US Ambassador to Honduras: "The only president the United States recognizes is President Manuel Zelaya."

Update II: Add political assassination to the crimes of the coup plotters. Kristin Bricker reports that 2010 Honduras presidential candidate Cesar Ham has been murdered.

Update III: An important national organization, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations (COPINH) has released this statement, noting that electricity has been cut in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. Bloomberg reports that telephone service in the country has also been cut.

Update IV: The director of Globo radio in Honduras, David Romero, reports that the coup plotters have shut down the radio network (via Aporrea).

Update V: The Organization of American States (OAS) has unanimously backed President Manuel Zelaya as the only legitimate president of Honduras. And the General Assembly of the United Nations has called an emergency session for tomorrow to likely do the same.


More on COHA

In light of Al's on-point criticism of COHA's "analysis" of the situation in Honduras, I figure it's worth reposting a paragraph from an article I put out yesterday, where I point out an important factual inaccuracy in COHA's "analysis."

The lie that Zelaya is pushing for a new Constitution so that he can be re-elected has been repeated so many times that even self-proclaimed western hemisphere experts are parroting it.  The third sentence in the Council on Hemispheric Affairs' (COHA) analysis entitled "Political Reform in President Zelaya's Honduras" states: "As a result of this referendum, the president hopes to eliminate the one-term limit placed on Honduran presidents."  As previously stated, the ballot for tomorrow's poll only asks one question, "Do you think that the November 2009 general elections should include a fourth ballot box in order to make a decision about the creation of a National Constitutional Assembly that would approve a new Constitution?"  COHA obviously never checked the actual text of the ballot, because it writes that tomorrow's voting is to re-elect Zelaya--a claim that even the conservative Honduran press hasn't been brazen enough to make.  COHA writes, "Later that day [on June 25] the Supreme Electoral Tribunal declared Zelaya’s re-election null and ordered the seizure of all ballot boxes and election-related materials."  What re-election, COHA?

As we've reported time and time again on Narco News, today's voting was a non-binding opinion poll to gauge public support for a referendum during November's elections that would determine if a constutitional convention would be formed to write a new constitution.

Just listening to CNN's

Just listening to CNN's hamfisted coverage of this coup. Obama 'should' be more forceful in comdeming this coup--but that would mean backing a president that is aligned with the hated Hugo Chavez. That would be too much for the degenerate corporate approved US political class to bear. That would give ammo to the US rightwing. I think the fact that other nations in Latin American won't likely accept this kidnapping and coup is a very positive portent. Crimes have been committed by the Hondurean political class, this is true on the face of it. It is unfortunate that there is ample political oppression being engaged at this moment. As with Iran, I do think that how this situation has developed will have the effect of emboldening popular movements. The duopolistic political parties have been stripped naked--they are exposed as worthless lackies for the oligarchy. The Hondurean people deserve the chance to change thier political reality. And, what kind of constitution has amendments that say its amendments cannot be challenged and changed congruent with the popular will? WTF! Shouldn't this stoke some skepticism on the part of the US corporate media? Of course not. There are many similarities bewteen Honduras and our sclerotic, duopolistic system of two party rule (where power is simply traded off by two wings of the corporate/business class). This is a 'teachable moment' for a people that has been frightened and brow-beaten into accepting extreme political and economic oppression. Well done reporting, Al. Especially your calling out Burns, whose analysis regularly mirrors the expectations and world view of the US political class. The guy and his undemocratic slant are a disgrace--a boot in the face for every campesino that dares challenge the status quo, that shouts 'the people matter!" This is a teachable moment for folks in the US as well: it exposes the corporate media and the instincts of the political class as deeply contemptuous of the concept of democracy. And this makes most of the coverage of Iran a hypocritical caricature. Iran has huge oil deposits at stake--Honduras has bananas and slave-wage factories that make clothes for US and European malls. At bottom, the thought that the marginalized, impoverished majority would challenge the Hondurean oligarchy and change the constitution and expand democracy is simply horrid. The quasi-enslaved masses forget they they exist to obey and make profit for their social betters. What a squalid world view, but it does, indeed, reflect some hidden core beliefs.

Where's your memo to Hillary?

Didn't you just get through explaining to us why the politics of condemnation only strengthen the opposition? 

@ Tien

Tien - You're correct that I don't like the word "condemn," but circumstances are different from country to country.

In Latin America, where virtually all previous coups d'etat against left-leaning governments were sponsored by the US government, these statements (from Obama, from Clinton and from the US Ambassador, and about to come from the Organization of American States with the support of Washington), that Washington is saying it won't recognize the coup government is a watershed moment in the history of this hemisphere.

The dynamics in Honduras are simply not the same as in Iran. You won't see the coup plotters trying to gain public sympathy by yelling at Washington. They were instead hoping that the US would remain silent. Clinton's words, to the contrary, will be received very warmly among the Honduran people.

Yes, I still think the use of the word "condemn" is stupid boilerplate diplo-speak. And I liked the Ambassador's statement the best of the three: that the US recognizes only President Zelaya. But this is not a comparable situation to the dynamics in Iran.

lol Zelaya schools CNN en Espanol

check it out, live, right now by phone.

Any Twitter Feeds From Honduras?

I searched Twitter for Honduran coup related feeds, but found nothin.  Do you have addresses for anyone sending Twits from there?

Words don't always reflect underlying truths

I appreciate Al Giordano's defence of the words of condemnation by U.S. Pres. Obama and Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, because the words seem, on the surface, quite fine.


But it'd likely be foolish and negligent to believe that these people aren't regularly lying. They play politics the way it's often been played, which is "stage acts". There's little of good that Obama has retained from his words during his campaigning to become elected U.S. President; virtually all of his supposedly hopeful or promising pledges vanished as easily and quickly as it was for him to state those words. That he condemns this coup in Honduras is good, but while he's saying these very words, he says that there must not be any interference from external parties, other countries, yet that is very much what his words are like. He should have been more precise and, instead, have said that there must be no physical intervention committed by other countries to resolve the situation in Honduras. If he had used such wording, then he would not be somewhat or at all seeming to be contradicting himself.


That's a superficial matter though; nothing to really dwell upon. The critical point is that while he could be stating his [words] of condemnation, he could also know that there are covert ops of the U.S.A. involved. I'm not saying that there are any, but there have been some historically, a fact that can be learned about through documentaries like, f.e., "War on Democracy" by John Pilger, as well as "Secrets of the CIA", the latter of which consists of interviews with former CIA agents and which I viewed in clips at Youtube; clips posted there by users 1GangRelated1, 1GangRelated2, and CIACoupsOfTerrorism.


We can speak in wholly noble terms, while actually knowing that we are complicit in evils being conducted covertly and with regards to the very same topics or areas about which our [words] are of the honourable sort. That they seem honourable to other people is one thing. Whether they are truly honourable, or not, is another question, and only the future and investigations can reveal the real truth to others.


LYING is a human practice as old as humanity is. Are Obama and Clinton at all lying, at all covering up any criminal involvement of the USA? I don't know and I believe that Al Giordano is right that in terms of what can, so far, be seen on the ground, the U.S. does not seem to be at all involved behind this coup. What would thorough investigation turn up for information though?


And what about U.S. corporations? If any are at all involved, covertly, in or behind this coup, then it's not necessarily indicative that the U.S. government is involved; but it could be. Honduras is another resource-rich country, from what I've gathered anyway, and the following video is one I haven't viewed yet, but obtained it from an embedded copy at, which is a good website, and a reader post there indicated that this is a good video, which's page also indicated is by




Natural resources don't seem to be at all the purpose of or related to the present coup d'etat by the military in Honduras. From the one article I've read, so far, on this and at, it seems the coup is only or else mainly due to the President having, during an election year too, wanted a referendum to permit the population to democratically decide whether or not a president can run again.


On that basis, what's the problem with the military? Is it not democratic? If it is democratic, supportive of democracy, then is its sole problem that the President was presenting a referendum during an election year when this is against the constitution of the country? I could understand the latter reason, if it's really true that it would be against the constitution to hold referendums during election years; but this would not justify a coup d'etat. It'd only justify corrective actions, opposition, blocking by the rest of the government, and the population should back such opposition. After all, a population that wants democracy should stand behind it with real principles and not go around changing laws in negligent or contradictory ways.


Who trained this military? The SoA? CIA? After all, they trained plenty of "security" forces in Latin and Central American countries. This, however, may not explain why the military in Honduras became majorly upset about the President's proposed or presented referendum.


I agree with the referendum, in principle, for it should be up to the population of voters to decide who they want for political leadership and if the same people are continuously elected because this is what The People(s) decide, then it's their government(s).


Democracy does not have any inherent laws or principles making re-election many times wrong. People should be able to run for election and re-election as many times as they want. In democracies, it's the voters who are, in principle, that is, when elections aren't hijacked, say, the deciders of who is going to represent them, and not. If they think it's wrong to re-elect someone, then they can simply work to elect someone else.


But the referendum being presented during an election year is apparently against the constitution, so this matter should be resolved; only, this should be done with internal diplomacy, not military action. If only the military was or is against a referendum being held during this election year, then it seems that the rest of the Honduran government and the majority of the population agree with the referendum being held; therefore, the referendum would be held respectful of the country's democracy.


That would certainly make it clear that the military really is acting in dictatorial manner, only.


However, Obama's words? Clinton's words? What value do they really have? What about Haiti? What about Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan? What about Kosovo? What about the DR Congo, Darfur of Sudan, and other countries in Africa, where the U.S. pretends to be the "good guy" or "good cop", but really commits hell-on-earth using covert methods and a hell of a lot of lies, and cover-ups provided by USAID, the N.E.D., negligent humanitarian organisations, and so on?


What precisely are their "nice" words when technically or apparently right, but while potentially or possibly (and often) hiding or masking potentially hell-on-earth actions,? What are their words supposed to really mean to us?


Or does Al Giordano think reality is only as the human eye and ear perceive, never anything hidden; everything always being obvious or very easily seen? I didn't think that narconews writers were that (or this) way, but I could be mistaken. After all, we're all human, and humans do err, make mistakes, and tell truths, but also lies; and many quickly become influenced into support when what's externally perceived is pleasing to them.


I haven't read enough from narconews to be able to know what its writers have been saying about the Obama administration, but Hillary Clinton is wife of war and human rights criminal Bill, she plays politics how ever it is profitable for her to do, including lying; and Obama was criminal as a U.S. senator and has become ever more criminal since being inaugurated U.S. President; and politics is full of hypocrisy, a series of "stage acts".


They lie on a regular basis. If they were really honourable, if their words could be really valued as honourable, then they would stop the totally criminal wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, end the criminal act-of-war coup d'etat against the population and government of Haiti, restoring President Aristide to the presidency, as the majority of Haitians keep calling for being done, and would correct the situation the U.S. and NATO, along with the criminally complicit UN, put Kosovo in, would curb U.S. and NATO militarisation of Africa with AFRICOM, which has no right at all to exist, would cease their meddling for trying to covertly gain control of the oil-rich Darfur region, and so on. And they would provide reparations in all of these cases, as well as most certainly doing the same for American Indians!


NONE of these corrections will happen; there's no intention on the part of the ruling elites of the government of the USA and most of the governments of NATO countries, to provide such corrections and reparations.


We do get an awful lot of empty "nice" words from them all, though.


Obama's and Hillary Clinton's words? [Words]?

In brief, a brief way of saying what i just posted in elaborate form is, "What are their words worth?", "What value are we to really and sanely, critically objectively, honestly, ... assign to their words?".


Anyone who's been paying very careful and critically objective attention knows that if honesty is what we must support and demand to receive, then it's not people like Obama and H. Clinton who can be counted on.

Obama said many promising, not credible to critically objective minds or people, but still many promising things, pledges, during his campaigning for the U.S. presidency, and what has he done about those pledges?  When's the last time you looked at what's been flushed down into the sewers?


@ Mike Corbeill

Mike - In my more recent post, I prefaced the quoting of some more words from senior administration officials, saying:

"...while no reporter should ever take the words of any official as gospel, these refer to a collective process with other OAS governments that, had they been untrue, would have already been denied by the other governments, including Venezuela, that also worked together on the OAS statement rejecting the coup. Therefore, astute observers can be certain that they offer an accurate recount of events of the past 24 hours."

As a journalist, I wholeheartedly agree that we can't believe words that are not backed by actions or presume that they're true unless they are corroborated by other sources. But the accounts given by the US officials about working with the other OAS states are corroborated by those other states. Even Hugo Chavez noted today that this coup in Honduras is opposed by governments that supported the 2002 coup against him (a reference to the US and Colombia).

Secondly, in this case the words of the US administration have dealt a mortal blow to the morale of the coup plotters and their supporters in Honduras. One can watch their statements on TV, and the looks on their faces, and one can see that even they know their coup is not going to last. Words do mean something. And coups cannot be sustained when those supporting them begin to see that they are falling apart.

Thirdly, we most definitely agree that the US has a history of supporting and plotting coups against center-left and left governments in this hemisphere. Many English-speaking Americans wouldn't know about those facts except for our reporting over the past nine years at Narco News. We have demonstrated, time and time again, the evidence of that illegal intervention.

That's why, in this case, when there is suddenly a different and opposite stance from Washington during a Latin American coup attempt, we consider it very significant, even historic. One has to presume a degree of competence in the Obama government: If it had plotted a coup it would not be then making all the right moves, as it is, to dismantle that coup and restore the rightful president to power. It may be capable of wrongheaded acts. But there is nothing about how it has governed to suggest that it is inept in that way.

Nor does the fact that Washington is opposing this coup erase Washington's terrible history, in the past, supporting a string of coups in Latin America. It seems to me that some folks are afraid that once it's clear that it's not the case in this instance, that it will therefore disprove the truth about previous instances. That kind of thinking is not something I take seriously. I can't even call it "thinking" with a straight face.

Narco News has never had any shyness or reluctance to document and charge Washington with terrible and brutal anti-democratic deeds in this hemisphere. You can browse our archives - our unique role in blowing the whistle against the US-sponsored coup in Venezuela in 2002, among them - to get as sense that we're on the same page as you are when it comes to previous history.

But our reporting, today, in 2009, reveals that the reaction from Washington is a 180 degree turnaround, and a positive one, compared to those previous tales of infamy, and we think that is very very newsworthy, and worth recognizing, in part to encourage that it continue to be the policy into the future.

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About Al Giordano


Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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