With White House Bid Underway, Clinton Role in Honduras Coup Raises Key Concerns

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With White House Bid Underway, Clinton Role in Honduras Coup Raises Key Concerns

State Department's role in 2009 Honduras coup makes Clinton's "campaign-season progressive rhetoric seem hollow"

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives at Armando Escalon Airbase in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on June 1, 2009—just weeks before the military coup. (Photo: US Department of State/flickr/cc)

During her time as Secretary of State, presidential candidate and former first lady Hillary Clinton engaged in the "engineering of regional politics in the service of the economic elite," according to a Salon exclusive, Hillary Clinton Sold Out Honduras, published Monday.

"Though it’s less sexy than Benghazi, the crisis following a coup in Honduras in 2009 has Hillary Clinton’s fingerprints all over it, and her alleged cooperation with oligarchic elites during the affair does much to expose Clinton’s newfound, campaign-season progressive rhetoric as hollow," writes journalist Matthew Pulver. "Moreover, the Honduran coup is something of a radioactive issue with fallout that touches many on Team Clinton, including husband Bill, once put into a full context."

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In June 2009, as Pulver describes it, "more than two hundred armed, masked soldiers stormed the house of Honduran president Manuel Zelaya. Within minutes, Zelaya, still in his pajamas, was thrown into a van and taken to a military base used by the U.S., where he was flown out of the country."

The UN General Assembly, European Union, and the Organization of American States condemned the events as a military coup.

The official storyline—which Center for Economic and Policy Research co-director Mark Weisbrot has noted "was dutifully accepted by most in the media"—was that the Obama administration also opposed the coup and wanted Zelaya to return to office.

In fact, as Weisbrot wrote in a separate piece titled Top Ten Ways You Can Tell Which Side the United States Government Is on With Regard to the Military Coup in Honduras, "conflicting and ambiguous statements from the Obama administration left many confused about whether it opposed this coup or was really trying to help it succeed." Indeed, as various coverage that appeared on Common Dreams at the time shows (including here, here, and here), the U.S. government—and the State Department in particular—had its fingerprints all over the coup.

Before long, Pulver explains:

It was becoming widely believed that the Clinton State Department, along with the right-wing in Washington, was working behind the scenes to make sure that President Zelaya would not return to office. This U.S. cabal was coordinating with those behind the coup, it was being rumored, to bring new elections to Honduras, conducted by an illegal coup government, which would effectively terminate the term of Zelaya, who was illegally deposed in the final year of his constitutionally mandated single term. All this as Honduras was “descending deeper into a human rights and security abyss,” as the coup government was seen to be actually committing crimes worthy of removal from power. Professor Dana Frank, an expert in recent Honduran history at UC Santa Cruz, would charge in the New York Times that the resulting "abyss" in Honduras was "in good part the State Department’s making."

Pulver explores how the Clinton family's "legal pitbull," Lanny Davis, was "deployed as an auxiliary weapon against the rightful, legal, democratically elected president of Honduras."

"If you want to understand who the real power behind the [Honduran] coup is, you need to find out who’s paying Lanny Davis,” said Robert White, former ambassador to El Salvador, just a month after the coup. Speaking to Roberto Lovato for the American Prospect, Davis revealed who that was: “My clients represent the CEAL, the [Honduras Chapter of] Business Council of Latin America.” In other words, the oligarchs who preside over a country with a 65 percent poverty rate."

Through his reporting, Pulver suggests that Zelaya, a progressive, was ousted because his plans to raise the minimum wage and otherwise provide assistance to the poor were opposed by business interests and the wealthy.

While "no smoking gun exists to definitively conclude that Clinton and her associates actively and willfully acted to maintain the coup government in league with the elite and corporate interests," Pulver writes, "an abundance of evidence, combined with what we know about Clintonite ideals in foreign policy and global trade, makes a case deserving of a response from one of two or three people expected to become the most powerful person on earth."

Read the full story here.

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