Skip to main content

The Stakes Have Never Been Higher.

In the face of existential emergencies to humanity, Common Dreams is facing other potentially fatal threats to our funding model. Please support our nonprofit journalism and help us reach our $75,000 Mid-Year Campaign goal.

'Normal' is killing us.

Donald Trump is out of the White House. COVID-19 is fading, at least in wealthier nations. The world, they say, is returning to “normal.” That’s the narrative that the corporate media is selling. But there’s a problem: “normal” is destroying our planet, threatening our democracies, concentrating massive wealth in a tiny elite, and leaving billions of people without access to life-saving vaccines amid a deadly pandemic. Here at Common Dreams, we refuse to accept any of this as “normal.” Common Dreams just launched our Mid-Year Campaign to make sure we have the funding we need to keep the progressive, independent journalism of Common Dreams alive. Whatever you can afford—no amount is too large or too small—please donate today to support our nonprofit, people-powered journalism and help us meet our goal.

Please select a donation method:

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Dan Beeton, 202-239-1460

Press Release

Investigation Reveals New Details of US Role in 2009 Honduras Military Coup

US Officials Were More Concerned With Protecting Military Relationship Than Overturning Coup
WASHINGTON -

A new investigative article published by The Intercept reveals previously unknown details of US support for Honduras’ 2009 coup d’etat that ousted the democratically elected government of President Manuel Zelaya. Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Research Associate Jake Johnston’s exposé is based on thousands of pages of newly obtained US military intelligence documents and on interviews with Honduran and American officials involved in the US response to the coup. A Spanish version of the article is pending publication.

With the coup occurring just six months after Obama came to office pledging new relations with the hemisphere, the article focuses on the Pentagon and its Latin American subsidiary, SOUTHCOM, and how vested interests undermined official US policy, helping the coup succeed and ushering in a new wave of violence and repression in Honduras.

“This is a story that reveals much about how foreign policy works in general, not just in Honduras,” Johnston explains. “The investigation shows the often hidden roles that various actors within the US foreign policy establishment play in determining and carrying out policy. What’s clear is that personal relationships matter just as much as any official policy position announced in Washington.”

The expose reveals:

  • A high-level US military official met with Honduran coup plotters late the night before the coup, indicating advance knowledge of what was to come;
  • While the US ambassador intervened to stop an earlier attempted coup, a Honduran military advisor’s warning the night before the coup was met with indifference;
  • Multiple on-the-record sources support the allegations of a whistleblower at SOUTHCOM’s flagship military training university that a retired general provided assistance after-the-fact to Honduran military leaders lobbying in defense of the coup;
  • US training of Honduran military leaders, and personal relationships forged during the Cold War, likely emboldened the Honduran military to oust Zelaya and helped ensure the coup’s success;
  • US military actors were motivated by an obsessive concern with Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez's perceived influence in the region, rather than just with developments in Honduras itself.

Evidence described in the article suggests that the Pentagon’s main interest was in maintaining relations with a close military ally, rather than in overturning the coup. Though the battle over Honduras appeared to be fought along partisan lines, in the end it was the Obama administration’s State Department that sabotaged efforts to have Zelaya restored to the presidency, as statements by former Secretary Clinton and other high-level officials admit.

Since the coup, the militarization of Honduras has increased. While human rights abuses continue to shock the public, US security assistance and military training continue unabated. Under President Trump and the coterie of military officers surrounding him, including former SOUTHCOM commander and now White House chief of staff John Kelly, US-backed militarization appears likely to deepen in Honduras and elsewhere throughout the region.

“What this reveals are behind-the-scenes aspects of an episode that profoundly damaged the US relationship with Latin America as a whole, as the US was an outlier in supporting the coup, and opposition to the coup among Latin American governments was led by Brazil,” Johnston says. “In the end, the US State Department quietly allowed the military and other hard-line factions to determine policy and support the coup’s success.”

This story is especially relevant for the current moment, as the hard-line, military factions who prevailed in shaping the US response to the Honduran coup are now in senior positions in the Trump administration, raising troubling prospects for what the US reaction to another military coup d’etat would be under Trump.

###

CEPR logo

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

Progressives Alarmed by Privatization Dub Infrastructure Deal a 'Disaster in the Making'

"Communities across the country have been ripped off by public-private schemes that enrich corporations and Wall Street investors and leave the rest of us to pick up the tab."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


'We Must Not Stand Down': 270+ Arrested at Anti-Logging Protests in Canada

A battle over old-growth forests is raging in British Columbia.

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·


US Lawmakers Demand EU 'Do the Right Thing or Get Out of the Way' on Covid-19 Vaccine Patent Waivers

"A global recovery requires a global response based on health needs—not Big Pharma," said Congressman Jesús "Chuy" García at a rally.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


'Horrible and Unconscionable Betrayal': Biden DOJ Backs Trump Line 3 Approval

"You are siding with a handful of corrupt corporate elites over honoring treaty rights, climate, water, and the future of life on Earth."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


'We Can't Wait': Thousands in DC Demand Bold Action on Climate, Immigration, and Jobs

"All of us have got to stand together and tell the billionaire class that our time is now," said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Julia Conley, staff writer ·