Thursday, 9 December 2010

Wikileaks exposes US intervention in the Honduras coup

Leaks from Wikileaks expose U.S. intervention in the Honduras coup d’état
by Jean-Guy Allard, 1 December 2010.
Source: Granma

THE 2009 coup d’état in Honduras was "illegal and unconstitutional," as Cuban-American Hugo Llorens, U.S. ambassador to Tegucigalpa, was forced to admit. Llorens is also a former collaborator of Otto Reich, whose role in the events remains to be seen. A report from Llorens to the State Department is among the U.S. documents leaked on November 28 by Wikileaks, a website on the Internet dedicated to leaking secret information.

The document, signed by Llorens and sent to the State Department, also acknowledges that Zelaya’s letter of resignation letter was a "fabrication," without giving details of the evidence confirming that. The U.S. ambassador confirmed that "none of the arguments mentioned" by the coup leaders to justify the kidnapping and deportation of the constitutional president, Manuel Zelaya, have any validity under the Honduran Constitution, while some are clearly false and others are "mere suppositions."

It shows how the accounts of Zelaya’s arrest by the military demonstrate that he was never legally served with an arrest warrant, "that the soldiers gained entry by shooting the locks off, and essentially kidnapped the president."

Llorens makes no mention whatsoever of the complicity of the U.S. military forces present in Honduras in the operation carried out by elite troops from the Salvadorian army to fly the head of state out of the country. Eva Golinger, the Venezuelan-American lawyer and researcher, has demonstrated that, in the weeks following the coup, the Soto Cano Air Base which the United States maintains in Honduran territory played a fundamental role in overthrowing President Manuel Zelaya.

The document is one of hundreds of thousands of secret dispatches from the State Department leaked to the Spanish El País daily, The New York Times, The Guardian in the United Kingdom, the French Le Monde and the German Der Spiegel magazine, publications which are not known for criticizing the U.S. government.

In a tragicomic sounding paragraph, Llorens notes that "according to the logic of argument 239" invoked by the coup leaders, "Micheletti himself should be forced to step down because, as president of Congress he considered legislation to have a fourth ballot in the November 2009 elections for voter approval of a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution."
Any member of Congress who debated the proposal also should be removed from office, and the presidential candidate of the National Party, Pepe Lobo, who made the idea his, should be disqualified from taking public office for 10 years", he adds.


In his report, Llorens takes refuge behind Honduran legal experts whom the embassy consulted in order to understand the arguments wielded by the coup supporters and their opponents.

It is a fact that many other documents, which are not "confidential" like this one, but "Top Secret", were exchanged between Washington and its embassy in Honduras during the events of 2009. Hugo Llorens’ close relationship with U.S. foreign policy wolves no doubt explains far better than his confidential report the rapid turnabout in the diplomacy of Obama and Hillary Clinton.

In a statement on November 28, the ultra-right wing Cuban-American Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who represents the Republican Party on foreign policy issues, described the revelation of these sensitive State Department documents by the Wikileaks website as "irresponsible."

The Miami congresswoman has reason to be concerned: she flew to the support of the dictator Roberto Micheletti shortly after the coup d’état that led to the expulsion of the constitutional president, Manuel Zelaya.

"I am with the president of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, because he is the president of this country," the spokeswoman for the extreme right in the U.S. Congress affirmed during a press conference together with Micheletti in the government house in Honduras occupied by the dictatorship.

Llorens had advance notice of the coup. That was revealed a few days before his death by Roland Valenzuela, a former member of Zelaya’s administration, in an interview broadcast by a radio station in the city of San Pedro Sula.
Valenzuela recounted in detail how, on June 10, 2009, Roberto Micheletti, at that time president of the National Congress, before seizing power on the 28th of that same month, drafted the decree which would remove Zelaya from office.
He explained how a USAID contractor, Jacqueline Foglia Sandoval, was pointed to as "the person in charge of coordinating and executing the coup d’état."

A few days after his statements, Valenzuela was murdered in a public place by the businessman Carlos Yacamán, who was arrested on Wednesday, September 8 —not by the FBI, but by immigration authorities—in Miami, where he had taken refuge. Despite an official application for his extradition by the San Pedro Sula District Attorney’s Office, Yacamán remains under the protection of U.S. authorities.

Ambassador Hugo Llorens, who admitted after his report that he had participated in meetings in which coup plans were discussed before the kidnapping of President Zelaya, is a Cuban-American "terrorism" specialist. He was director of Andean Affairs at the National Security Council in Washington when the coup d’état against President Hugo Chávez took place.

Llorens directly reported to Otto Reich, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs and the highly controversial Elliot Abrams.
Otto Reich is one of the most influential characters within the Miami mafia and in June of 2009, he was personally put in charge of protecting the Micheletti gang, together with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.