In her November 2008 article in the Guardian (UK), “The New Cicero”, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/26/barack-obama-usa1 Charlotte Higgins, a journalist with a background in classical studies, drew attention to Obama’s great oratorical skill, comparing it with that of the famous Roman writer and Senator, Cicero…
As professionals with collectively hundreds of years of experience in intelligence, foreign policy, and counterterrorism, we are concerned about the gross misrepresentation of facts being bruited about to persuade you to start another war…
The recent decision by the Obama administration to spearhead the NATO effort to oust Muammar Qaddafi from power in Libya reflects the oft-evident American penchant for war as a substitute for intelligent diplomacy. It was this mindset during the George W. Bush administration which led the US into pursuing two expensive and indecisive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Barack Obama has now opted to pursue a third…
At the beginning, only eight weeks ago, I thought there was no possible solution to the imminent danger of a war. …Fortunately, I did not take long to realize that there was one hope -as a matter of fact, a very profound one….One man, the President of the United States, will have to take this decision on his own…
Mchel Chossudovsky on “Towards a World War III Scenario: The Role of Israel in Triggering an Attack on Iran“
In ten years of a new Century, U.S. systemic dysfunction became more dramatic. The government responded by retreating down the ancient Egyptian River. Millions of Americans drink “unhealthy” water; military suicides escalate; schools erode and health programs collapse. — The New York Times…
A small group of rich people who own most of Honduras and its politicians enlist the military to kidnap the elected president at gunpoint and take him into exile. They then arrest thousands of people opposed to the coup, shut down and intimidate independent media, shoot and kill some demonstrators, torture and beat many others. This goes on for more than four months, including more than two of the three months legally designated for electoral campaigning. Then the dictatorship holds an “election.”…
The former U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay and investigator of El Salvador’s infamous death squads analyses how the Obama Administration “turned an imminent diplomatic triumph into a negotiated defeat”.
Last Friday an agreement was reached between the de facto regime in Honduras– which took power in a military coup on June 28th — and the elected president Mel Zelaya, for the restoration of democracy there. But the ink was barely dry on the accord when leaders of the coup regime indicated that they had no intention of honoring it..
Atilio Boron, Greg Grandin and Honduran sociologist Ricardo Salgado analyse, the contradictions,, uncertainties, and opportunties of the U.S.- brokered agreement to end the coup in Honduras.
An Improbable Solution Atilio Boron
Has the political crisis in Honduras been resolved? Although a window of opportunity has opened, every indicator suggests that there is not a lot of room for optimism…
Solution or Stall? Greg Grandin
The Honduran crisis may soon be over. Maybe. The leader of the coup government, Roberto Micheletti, agreed to a nine-point plan to end the country’s political impasse, brokered by Thomas Shannon, the former US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and Barack Obama’s yet-to-be-confirmed ambassador to Brazil….
The struggle must be more intense than ever, Ricardo Salgado
Those who claimed several weeks ago that the president would be restored at the beginning of November, though bound by his hands and feet, in order to legitimate the elections, managed to describe the end that we are witnessing now. But let the record show that it is not the end of the coup..
By Mark Weisbrot
This op-ed was published by The New York Times Online and the International Herald Tribune on August 11, 2009.
There were great hopes in Latin America when President Obama was elected. U.S. standing in the region had reached a low point under George W. Bush, and all of the hemisphere’s left-leaning governments expressed optimism that Obama would go in a different direction.
These hopes have been dashed. President Obama has continued the Bush policies and in some cases has done worse.
The military overthrow of democratically elected President Mel Zelaya of Honduras on June 28 has become a clear example of Obama’s failure in the hemisphere. There were signs that something was amiss in Washington from the beginning, when the first statement from the White House failed to even criticize, much less condemn, the coup. It was the only such statement from a government to take a neutral position. The General Assembly of the United Nations and the Organization of American States voted unanimously for “the immediate and unconditional return” of President Zelaya.
Conflicting statements from the White House and State Department emerged over the ensuing days, but last Friday the State Department made clear its “neutrality” as between the dictatorship and the democratically elected president of Honduras. In a letter to Senator Richard Lugar, the State Department said that “our policy and strategy for engagement is not based on supporting any particular politician or individual,” and appeared to blame President Zelaya for the coup: “President Zelaya’s insistence on undertaking provocative actions contributed to the polarization of Honduran society and led to a confrontation that unleashed the events that led to his removal.”
This letter was all over the Honduran media, which is controlled by the coup government and its supporters, and it once again strengthened them politically. Congressional Republicans who have supported the coup immediately claimed victory.
On Monday President Obama repeated his prior statement that Zelaya should return. But by then nobody was fooled.
Obama has said that he “can’t push a button and suddenly reinstate Mr. Zelaya.” But he hasn’t pushed the buttons that he has at his disposal, such as freezing the U.S. assets of the coup government leaders and their supporters, or canceling their visas. (The State Department cancelled five diplomatic visas of members of the coup government, but they can still enter the United States with a normal visa – this gesture had no effect.)
With Clinton associates such as Lanny Davis and Bennett Ratcliff running strategy for the coup government, the Pentagon looking out for its military base in Honduras, and the Republicans ideologically tied to the coup leaders, it should be no surprise that Washington is more worried about protecting its friends in the dictatorship than about such principles as democracy or the rule of law.
But it doesn’t make Obama’s policy any more justifiable or less disgraceful. And Washington has remained tellingly silent about atrocities and human rights abuses committed by the dictatorship: the killing of at least ten opposition activists, the detention and intimidation of journalists, the closure of independent TV and radio stations, and other repression condemned by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and human rights organizations worldwide.
In addition to its failure in Honduras, the Obama administration drew public statements of concern last week from such leaders as President Lula da Silva of Brazil and Michelle Bachelet of Chile – along with other presidents – with its decision to increase the U.S. military presence at seven bases in Colombia. Washington apparently did not consult with South American governments – other than Colombia — beforehand. The pretext for the expansion is, as usual, the “war on drugs.” But the legislation in Congress that would fund this expansion allows for a much broader role; no wonder South America is suspicious. Obama has also not reversed the Bush administration’s decision to reactivate U.S. Navy’s Fourth Fleet in the Caribbean, for the first time since 1950 – a decision that raised concerns in Brazil and other countries
President Obama has also continued the Bush administration’s trade sanctions against Bolivia, which are seen throughout the region as an affront to Bolivia’s national sovereignty., And despite Obama’s world-famous handshake with President Chávez, the State Department has maintained about the same level of hostilities toward Venezuela – mostly in the form of public denunciations – as President Bush did in his last year or two.
Obama’s policies have drawn mostly only mild rebuke because he is still enjoying somewhat of a honeymoon, and he is not Bush. And the media mostly gives him a free pass. But he is doing serious damage to U.S.-Latin American relations, and to the prospects for democracy and social progress in the region.
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