By Atilio Borón
History repeats itself, and most likely ends in the same way. The coup in Honduras is a re-edition of the one that was perpetrated in April 2002 in Venezuela and the one that was aborted in the face of the sudden reaction of various governments in the region in Bolivia last year.
A president violently kidnapped in the early hours of the morning by hooded soldiers, following exactly what is indicated in the CIA and School of the Americas Operations Manual for the death squads; an apocryphal resignation letter that was released with the purpose of deceiving and demobilizing the population and that was immediately broadcast to the whole world by CNN without first confirming the veracity of the news; the reaction of the people who, aware of the maneuver, take to the streets to stop the tanks and Army vehicles with their bare hands and to demand the return of Zelaya to the presidency; the power outage to prevent radio and television from functioning and sow confusion and discouragement.
As in Venezuela, as soon as they jailed Hugo Chávez the coup plotters installed a new president: Pedro Francisco Carmona, whom popular inventiveness renamed "the ephemeral." Who plays his role in Honduras is the president of the unicameral Congress of that country, Roberto Micheletti, who was sworn in this Sunday as provisional president and only a miracle would prevent him from suffering the same fate as his Venezuelan predecessor.
What happened in Honduras highlights the resistance that any attempt to deepen democratic life provokes in the traditional structures of power. It was enough that President Zelaya decided to call for a popular consultation - supported by the signatures of more than 400,000 citizens - on a future call for a Constitutional Assembly for the different institutional devices of the state to mobilize to prevent it, thus denying its supposed character democratic: Congress ordered the removal of the president and a Supreme Court ruling validated the coup. It was none other than this court that issued the order for the kidnapping and expulsion of President Zelaya from the country, prohibiting, as it did throughout the week, the seditious conduct of the Armed Forces.
Zelaya has not resigned or requested political asylum in Costa Rica. He was kidnapped and expatriated, and the people have taken to the streets to defend their government. The statements that manage to leave Honduras are very clear in this regard, especially that of the world leader of Via Campesina, Rafael Alegría. The governments of the region have repudiated the coup and Barack Obama has expressed himself in the same way when he said that Zelaya "is the only president of Honduras that I recognize and I want to make it very clear." The OAS expressed itself in the same terms and from Argentina, President Cristina Fernández declared that "we are going to promote a meeting of Unasur, although Honduras is not part of that body, and we are going to demand that the OAS respect the institutional framework and Zelaya's replacement, as well as guarantees for his life, his physical integrity and that of his family, because that is fundamental, because it is an act of respect for democracy and all citizens. "
The brutality of the entire operation bears the indelible mark of the CIA and the School of the Americas: since the kidnapping of the President, sent to Costa Rica in pajamas, and the unusual kidnapping and beating of three ambassadors from friendly countries: Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela, who had come to the residence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Honduras, Patricia Rodas, to express the solidarity of their countries, passing through the ostentatious display of force made by the military in the main cities of the country with the clear purpose of terrorizing the population. Late in the afternoon they imposed a curfew and there is strict censorship of the press, despite which no statement is known from the Inter-American Press Association (always so attentive to the situation of the media in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador ) condemning this attack on freedom of the press.
It is worth remembering that the armed forces of Honduras were completely restructured and "re-educated" during the eighties when the US Ambassador to Honduras was none other than John Negroponte, whose "diplomatic" career led him to cover destinations as different as Vietnam, Honduras, Mexico, Iraq to later take over the intelligence super-body called the National Intelligence Council of his country. From Tegucigalpa, he personally monitored the terrorist operations carried out against the Sandinista government and promoted the creation of the death squad better known as Battalion 316, which kidnapped, tortured, and murdered hundreds of people inside Honduras, while denying that there were violations in his reports to Washington. of human rights in that country. At the time, US Senator John Kerry demonstrated that the State Department had paid $ 800,000 to four cargo plane companies belonging to large Colombian drug traffickers to transport weapons for the groups that Negroponte organized and supported in Honduras. These pilots testified under oath confirming Kerry's statements. The US press itself reported that Negroponte was involved in arms and drug trafficking between 1981 and 1985 in order to arm the death squads, but nothing interrupted his career. Those armed forces are the ones that today deposed Zelaya. But the correlation of forces at the domestic and international level is so unfavorable that the defeat of the coup plotters is only a matter of (very little) time.
Dr. Atilio A. Boron, director of the Latin American Program for Distance Education in Social Sciences (PLED), Buenos Aires, Argentina