Tuesday, July 07, 2009

US Twin-Track

Policy Shown Again In Honduras

Hugo Morliz Mercado

UNTIL Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is returned to Tegucigalpa with all of the powers established in that Central American nation’s Constitution, we must be wary of the "twin-track" policy. There is too much experience in "Our America" of clever "diplomatic" moves by the White House and the ability of its intelligence agencies to generate confusion and get away with it in the end.

The "twin-track policy" was developed by the United States in the 1980s to be used against the Nicaraguan revolution. Two different tactics with one single strategy (defeating the Sandinista movement) were translated into a combination of war, whose military base was in Honduras, and the promotion of dialogue demanded by sectors opposed to military intervention but also opposed to the then-president Daniel Ortega. Both the organization and financing of the "Contras" and the creation of spaces for dialogue served to wear down the revolutionary government. In 1989, the FSLN lost the power it had won militarily in 1979.

But if the above example could be disqualified because of the time gone by or justified on account of having occurred in the middle of the Cold War, the Haiti case is quite demonstrative of the double standards used by the imperialist bourgeoisie. On Sunday, February 29, 2004, a coup d’état deposed President Jean Bertrand Aristide. The United States and the OAS harshly condemned that interruption of democratic institutionalism. A resignation letter from the Haitian president was later released without any previous confirmation. The expectations of those who thought — as a result of the U.S. position — that they would witness the deposed president’s return to Port-au-Prince began to evaporate as the days went by and as the empire worked to open up a transition that would take into account the sectors in conflict.

The statement this past June 28 of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would seem to confirm the data of historical experience. "When I talk about supporting the work of the OAS, it is a question of working with the parties in Honduras, so that all of the parties involved take a step back and look at how their democratic institutions should be working," the high-ranking U.S. official said. What could Clinton have meant when she said: "It should be understood that there is a lot at stake for maintaining democracy; we don’t want to go backwards, and we want all parties to play a responsible role in that aspect." Hopefully the "not go backwards" does not mean backing the removal from office of Zelaya, who does not have the support of parties in the National Congress — including the Liberal Party, with which he won the 2005 presidential election — because he has taken Latin Americanist positions, or making a fresh start in such a way that the organizers of the coup d’état — the first in the Obama era — are not tried and sentenced.

Neither Dan Restrepo nor Clinton condemned the kidnapping of Zelaya or the coup d’état in terms that one would expect from an administration that claims to be interested in rebuilding its links with Latin America. Moreover, it is striking that Marcia Villeda, vice president of the Honduran Congress, told CNN that a solution was being sought for more than a week to prevent the referendum going ahead, and it is also striking that Hugo Llorens, the U.S. ambassador to that country, participated in those talks.

Other interpretations of the Honduras events, such as that of researcher Eva Golinger, lead one to think about the participation of the Pentagon and the CIA, which, in any case, raises many questions as to the real information available to the Obama administration before and during the military coup, although it may seem exaggerated to suggest that the cause of the coup could have been the expulsion of U.S. soldiers from Honduras.

The United States — which in the early 20th century had the United Fruit Company and Rosario Mining controlling almost 100% of banana and mineral exports — now has a military base in Soto Cano, 97 km from the capital, and the Honduran military does little or virtually nothing without the consent of its U.S. counterpart. In fact, it is unlikely that the Honduran military would have carried out the coup without the consent of high-ranking U.S. officials based in the country, or without the U.S. intelligence services, very active in that Central American country, having been aware of the anti-democratic plot.

One thing that is unquestionable is that the reaction of the White House gradually changed as the Honduran and international scenario reflected overwhelming condemnation of the cowardly coup perpetrated by the country’s bourgeoisie, strongly tied to U.S. companies, and supported by the media silence against democracy and the legitimately constituted government. Initially Obama, in the voice of Dan Restrepo, expressed his concern (he did not use the word condemnation) over events, and urged that "the Honduran people should solve their problems without the participation of any foreign interference." In the afternoon, the Latin America advisor to the Democratic administration reiterated virtually the same words.

The United States has ended up yielding to the international condemnation led by the member countries of the ALBA-TCP. It couldn’t have done otherwise; the cost would have been too high. But that does not mean that the imperial bourgeoisie is not going to replay its "twin-track policy." Renouncing subversion and counterinsurgency would be to deny its very nature.

"Our America" is not the same as it was in the 1970s. The rapid reaction of progressive and revolutionary governments has been — despite the conduct of the transnational corporate media — decisive in terms of preventing the consolidation of the de facto regime. Moreover, with respect to the media, Telesur has demonstrated, as if there was any doubt, how correct it was to create that network.

That is why, in order for Honduras not to become the Nicaragua of the 1980s and the Haiti of 2004, it is necessary for the peoples and governments of "Our America" to increase the pressure and to maintain their guard as to what the United States is going to do. Honduras could be a trial balloon. (Taken from Rebelión)

Translated by Granma International

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