In a Mar. 29 article entitled “The U.S. vs. Honduran Democracy,” The Wall Street Journal editorial board member Mary Anastasia utilizes the recent health care vote in the U.S. to remind readers of the government’s continuing battle against democratic Latin American endeavors such as last year’s Honduran coup d’état:
“The image of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wielding what resembled an oversized mallet while leading a mob of congressmen across Capitol Hill on the day of the health-care vote is the stuff of nightmares. It is also instructive. As a metaphor for how the Democrats view their power, the Pelosi hammer-pose could not be more perfect. Just ask Honduras.”
It remains to be seen whether the Honduran answer will cover issues aside from the metaphorical significance of the hammer-pose, such as:
- How it is that a Wall Street Journal editorial board member is immune to the news that “what resembled an oversized mallet” was actually the gavel used in the 1965 passage of the bill introducing Medicare.
- Why the pose was not referred to as hammer-and-sickle.
- Whether the overthrow of a Honduran president who had vetoed a bill outlawing the sale and consumption of the morning-after pill in Honduras might also be considered health care reform. (The bill was subsequently passed by the golpista Congress, with help from politicians linked to the Catholic Opus Dei sect.)
As for Honduran experience at the receiving end of Democratic mallets, O’Grady claims that “the U.S. tried to force the reinstatement of deposed president Manuel Zelaya” but fails to explain that U.S. tactics had included protests by Obama that he could not push a button to reinstate Zelaya and debates by the State Department over whether the coup was really a coup. Other attempts at exposing U.S. designs are contained in post-coup O’Grady articles with such titles as “Hillary’s Honduras Obsession,” in which she does not specify whether Clinton family friend and former White House special counsel to Bill Clinton Lanny Davis should also be accused of chavista sympathies despite the fact that he had been hired to lobby on behalf of the coup regime on Capitol Hill.
Undeterred by immediate U.S. recognition of the illegitimate November elections in Honduras and by Clinton’s March announcement that the U.S. would be restoring aid to the Central American nation, O’Grady reveals in her recent dispatch that, “[f]our months after a presidential election, reports from Honduras suggest the Obama administration remains obsessed with repairing its foreign-policy image by regaining the upper hand.” Also revealed is the role of U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens—whom O’Grady has advocated relocating to a diplomatic post in Cuba based on alleged ideological orientation—in the military transfer of Zelaya to Costa Rica:
The U.S., as represented by Mr. Llorens, has been at the center of the Zelaya crisis all along. People familiar with events leading up to Mr. Zelaya’s arrest on June 28 say that had the U.S. ambassador not worked behind the scenes to block a congressional vote to remove the president a few days earlier, the dramatic deportation would never have happened.”
Blaming Llorens for the deportation drama, which violated Article 102 of the Honduran Constitution prohibiting the forced expatriation of any Honduran, is one way of absolving the coup regime of any illegal behavior. O’Grady happens to overlook the fact that the section of Article 205 granting Congress the authority to remove the president from power was repealed in 2003, and remains under the impression that the post-deportation congressional vote in favor of removal was an expression of Honduran democracy; she does not explore the issue of whether the forged resignation letter from Zelaya presented to the Congress was also democratic in nature.
As for O’Grady’s sources aside from “people familiar with events,” these include “locals [who] say Mr. Llorens continues to foster a climate of intimidation with his visa-pulling power”—a reference to the smattering of golpistas whose U.S. visas were revoked in the wake of the coup. Not addressed is how Llorens has become the target of O’Grady’s enmity when, at an August 2009 meeting at the American embassy in Tegucigalpa, he had gone against the official U.S. line by advising against a boycott of the impending elections; also not addressed is what sort of climate is fostered when anti-coup citizens continue to be murdered on a regular basis despite Secretary Clinton’s recent proclamation that the newly-inaugurated administration of Pepe Lobo has “taken the steps necessary to restore democracy.”
O’Grady does however warn of “the risk of a resurgence of political violence” due to Washington’s “maniacal determination to punish those involved in removing Mr. Zelaya”—which has thus far not hampered coup general Romeo Vásquez Velásquez’ appointment as head of the state-owned telecommunications company Hondutel—and to allow Zelaya to return to Honduras from the Dominican Republic without being punished for proposing a nonbinding public opinion survey on the possibility of constitutional change. Asserts O’Grady:
“It’s hard to imagine what the U.S. thinks it achieves with a policy that divides Hondurans while strengthening the hand of a chavista. Revenge and power come to mind. Whatever it is, it can’t be good for U.S. national security interests.”
The warning about U.S. national security interests also serves as the concluding line of a Mar. 26 interview with O’Grady on the The Wall Street Journal website, entitled “Honduras and the Rule of Law.” In neither the article nor the interview does O’Grady bother to explain what these interests are or how they might be threatened, which suggests that she and The Wall Street Journal are of the opinion that passing off sweeping, unsubstantiated claims as fact constitutes proper journalistic practice.
One can only hope that in the future O’Grady will take full advantage of her editorial freedom in order to conclude her analyses with lines like: “Whatever it is, it will increase Iran’s ability to enrich uranium.” One of the greatest dangers posed by deceptive journalism based on fabricated delusions is meanwhile that destructive U.S. policies abroad are made to seem moderate in comparison.