On the last day of December last year, Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, the deposed Honduran president and self-described victim of high-frequency radiation attacks by Israeli mercenaries, vowed to the press that he would return to Honduras. Few outside of Honduras have paid much attention to Zelaya’s MacArthur-esque prediction, but it has become apparent there is more behind his declaration than his usual hyperbole and bombastic absurdities.
Behind the scenes in the Obama administration there appears to be a concerted effort to pressure the democratically elected government of President Porfirio Lobo to dismiss charges of misappropriation of government funds and falsifying documents that are pending against Zelaya. This would open the door for his return to the country, and would be certain to undermine the delicate process of reestablishing democracy and order that is currently taking place in this poor and beleaguered nation.
When Zelaya was removed from office in July of 2009, the Obama administration at first joined with leftist dictators Fidel Castro of Cuba, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua in calling for his reinstatement. The Obama White House seemed oblivious to the Honduran constitution, as well as the threat Zelaya posed to the stability of the country and the region. When the courageous Honduran people held firm to their democratic constitution and refused to yield to the pressure exerted by the U.S., the Obama administration found no way of saving face other than reversing course and backing the democratic presidential elections called for by their constitution.
After their amateurish and myopic miscalculation, which exposed the Obama State Department’s lack of experience and incompetence, one could imagine the White House would want to avoid the subject of Honduras and Zelaya altogether. That, however, does not seem to be the case, as we learn from the new chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).
According to Ros-Lehtinen, she has received reports that the State Department is applying considerable pressure on members of the Honduran government to absolve Zelaya of his alleged crimes. In a letter earlier this month to Arturo Valenzuela, the assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, Ros-Lehtinen calls for an end to the coercion of Honduran officials by the U.S. government that is allegedly taking place:
I am gravely concerned by reports I have received regarding efforts by U.S. officials to pressure the Government of Honduras to absolve former President Manuel Zelaya of the criminal charges he faces in that country and ask, within all applicable rules and guidelines, that if these reports are accurate, the State Department immediately cease exerting such undue influence over duly elected Honduran government officials acting in accordance with Honduran law.
With Honduras’ economy still in shambles in the aftermath of Zelaya’s attempt to install himself as dictator, the U.S. has announced it will not renew a $215-million aid program that ended in December 2010, which provided farming technology to Honduran farmers and helped improve the country’s infrastructure. Whether this decision by the Obama administration is a result of their efforts to pressure Honduran officials to grant amnesty to Zelaya is uncertain. Nevertheless, the news does not come at a good time for the administration, and it harkens back to those treacherous days in 2009 when the White House was threatening Honduras with holding back financial aid if it did not comply with its demands and those of Chavez and Castro.