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.
Although the Obama State Department would like to portray their efforts to return Zelaya to Honduras as an attempt to bring closure and help heal that nation from the wounds it suffered 18 months ago, the reality is the opposite. Zelaya’s return would instead stoke the fires of factionalism and most likely bring more violence to a country that is still struggling to recover from the turmoil it suffered in 2009.
One of the groups leading the charge in Honduras to return and reinstate Zelaya as president is the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP). This leftist organization has produced a poster calling for Zelaya’s reinstatement that rivals the pomposity of their deposed leader. It features an artistic silhouette of Zelaya wearing his trademark cowboy hat, and it perfectly captures the leftist use of art to portray tyrants as heroes. The FNRP does not try to hide its Marxist dogma — on its website, it proudly declares that it is:
… carrying out a political and social struggle against a savage capitalism that is transnational, monopolistic, and alienating. This struggle is anti-neoliberal, anti-oligarchic, anti-imperialist, anti-patriarchal, and anti-racism, which seeks the transformation of social, political, economic, and educational structures and cultural domination .…
These are the allies of Zelaya in Honduras; leftists who seek the destruction of democracy and the free market in Honduras in order to install a system of “social justice,” which is newspeak for tyranny and enslavement. A return of Zelaya to Honduras would embolden and inspire the FNRP and other leftist groups, ensuring violence and bringing about another attempt to align with countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, which are all well on their way to a Cuban-style communist dictatorship.
In a country that is still struggling to maintain law and order, where Catholic bishops receive death threats for publicly defending the rule of law and judges recuse themselves from trying the case against Zelaya, the situation is nothing if not volatile. The Obama administration’s insistence on introducing a pretentious despot with a propensity to incite violence into this unpredictable environment goes beyond incompetence and lack of experience; it is blatant recklessness.
One can only surmise what motivation is behind the Obama administration’s decision to continue meddling in Honduran domestic affairs. Whatever the reasons may be, the Obama administration needs to explain itself. If the White House continues pursuing this course, it needs to explain to the American and Honduran people, as well as the rest of the world, why it has decided to put the Honduran people and their democracy in harm’s way.