If democracy is a transparent system of government by the
people, in which elected officials represent their constituents, then America
is failing the test of democracy in its foreign policy. Because, far from governing
on behalf of the people they represent, the people are being deceived by their
representatives. This failure is especially egregious and dangerous in the domain
of the reality and nature of coup attempts.
On June 28, 2009, in what was really an extraordinary rendition,
Honduras’ democratically elected President, Manuel Zelaya, was seized at gunpoint
by hooded soldiers and forced onto a plane that, after refueling at the U.S.
military base of Palmerola, took him off Costa Rica.
Zelaya says that, that morning, he was the victim of a coup.
Almost all of the international community and the Organization of American States
(OAS) agree with him. The American position was more noncommittal. The White
House never did officially call what happened a coup.
How could they? They cooperated with it. Most US aid was never fully suspended.
Zelaya even says that “after the coup d’Ã©tat . . . the US has increased its
military support to Honduras”. The US never withdrew her ambassador. And the
US refused to call for Zelaya’s return, despite that call being made by the
OAS and the United Nations. Though the OAS refused to recognize the new coup
installed president, the Clinton State Department refused to follow it on that
Later the US would insist on recognizing the coup leaders as the winners of
an election that the OAS, the Latin American Mercosur trade bloc and the
twenty-three Latin American and Caribbean nation strong Rio Group refused to
recognize. So illegitimate was the election that the UN refused to even bother
Latin American expert Mark Weisbrot told me in a correspondence that “the Obama
administration acknowledged that they were talking to the [Honduran] military
right up to the day of the coup, allegedly to convince them not to do it”. But,
he added, “I find it hard to believe that they couldn’t convince them not to
do it if they really wanted to: the Honduran military is pretty dependent on