(COMMONDREAMS) On June 28, 2009, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, democratically elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was overthrown by a military coup. The United Nations, the European Union, and the Organization of American States condemned the coup, and on July 5, Honduras was suspended from the OAS.
Under longstanding and clear-cut U.S. law, all U.S. aid to Honduras except democracy assistance, including all military aid, should have been immediately suspended following the coup.
– Hillary Clinton’s Real Scandal Is Honduras, Not Benghazi (Information Clearinghouse, July 27, 2014):
Her Central American foreign policy blunder ought to darken her presidential prospects.
By Emily Schwartz Greco
Is it too soon to predict who will be the next president of the United States?
Without officially declaring her intention to run again, Hillary Clinton has cornered Democratic frontrunner status. Given the weak and crowded Republican field, that makes her the presumptive next occupant of a prestigious office lacking — as comedian Jon Stewart observes — any corners.
The US government (CIA) hates competition:
– Afghanistan: Opium Cultivation Rose Substantially In 2012 (New York Times)
– CIA Created Afghan Heroin Trade (Veterans Today)
– Afghanistan: Is Creating A ‘Narco-State’ Considered ‘Nation-Building?’ (Veterans Today)
– Breaking News: Afghanistan – America’s ‘Total Lie War’ (Veterans Today)
– U.S. Ready to Offer Mercenaries $10 Billion for a Drug-War Air Force (Wired, Dec 4 , 2012):
Unsure how your private security firm makes money as the U.S. war in Afghanistan winds down? One option: Go into the drug trade — more specifically, the lucrative business of fighting narcotics. The State Department needs a business partner to keep its fleet of drug-hunting helicopters and planes flying worldwide. You could make up to $10 billion-with-a-B.
Starting next month in Melbourne, Florida, the State Department will solicit some defense-industry feedback on a contract to help operate its 412 aircraft, based in at least eight nations, before it reopens the contract for bidding. Among the missions the diplomatic corps needs fulfilled: “Provide pilots and operational support for drug interdiction missions such as crop spraying, and the transport of personnel and cargo,” according to a pre-solicitation the department’s bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs released on Friday.
From its headquarters at Florida’s Patrick Air Force Base, the State Department directs 51,000 annual hours worth of air operations. In Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Pakistan, and Guatemala, it mostly performs “counternarcotics and law enforcement activities,” explains State Department spokeswoman Pooja Jhunjhunwala, and in Afghanistan it does transportation support as well. Diplomats at the mega-embassy in Iraq also rely on State’s contractor air fleet to move about the country. And in recent years, that fleet has also needed to perform short-term air missions in Sudan, Honduras, Malta, Libya and Egypt. Private-security giant DynCorp currently holds the contract for supporting the diplomatic fleet.
– Giant sinkhole in Guatemala looks as if it goes to centre of the Earth (National Post):
Flooding and landslides from Tropical Storm Agatha have killed more than 150 people throughout Central America in the past few days, and apparently caused a giant Guatemala City sinkhole.
By Sara Miller Llana, Staff writer / June 1, 2010
Cartagena, Colombia — Villagers have been buried alive in Guatemala. Residents, caked in mud, have searched in the wreckage of their homes for loved ones. Aerial photos show entire swaths of the nation’s coffee crop under water. Then, there’s the giant Guatemala City sinkhole.
The Atlantic hurricane seasons opens today, preceded by the Pacific one just weeks earlier, but already seasonal weather – coupled with volcano eruptions and other freak accidents – has battered Central American nations.
More than 150 people have been killed, mostly due to flooding and landslides, after Tropical Storm Agatha, the first Pacific storm of the season, struck Guatemala Saturday, impacting El Salvador and Honduras as well. Thousands across the region are homeless.
COCHABAMBA, Bolivia — Leftist Latin American leaders have agreed on the creation of a regional currency to scale back on the use of the US dollar as well as economic sanctions against Honduran coup leaders.
Nine countries of ALBA, a leftist bloc conceived by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, met Friday in Bolivia where they vowed to press ahead with a new currency for intra-regional trade to replace the US dollar.
“The document is approved,” said Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, who is hosting the summit.
The new currency, named the Sucre after Jose Antonio de Sucre, who fought for independence from Spain alongside Venezuelan hero Simon Bolivar in the early 19th century, will be rolled out beginning in 2010 in a non-paper form.
That move echoes the European Union’s introduction of the euro precursor, the ECU, an account unit designed to tie down stable exchange rates between member states before the national currencies were scraped.
ALBA’s member states are Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominica, Saint Vincent and Antigua and Barbuda.
In a resolution on Honduras, members of the group agreed “to apply economic and commercial sanctions against the regime that came to power as a result of a coup.”
Special guest, Paul Craig Roberts.
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Demonstrations in capital after 56-year-old ruler removed from power in military coup
Protesters take to the streets of Tegucigalpa after troops ousted President Manuel Zelaya
Protesters in Honduras yesterday put up roadblocks in the capital, Tegucigalpa, as they demanded the return of the president, Manuel Zelaya, hours after he was ousted in a military coup.
Hundreds of people, some wearing masks and armed with sticks, put up barricades near the presidential palace as governments across the region condemned the first military overthrow in central America since the end of the cold war.
What has so far been a bloodless coup could yet turn lethal.
Shots were fired near the presidential palace last night,but it was unclear who was shooting or whether there were any casualties.
Soldiers seized Zelaya, who was in his pyjamas, early yesterday and took him to neighbouring Costa Rica by plane.
The 56-year-old president, looking dishevelled but calm, said he had been expelled by “rightwing oligarchs” and promised to return to Honduras.
Fidencio Alvarez abandoned his bean and corn farm in southern Honduras because of the rising cost of seeds, fuel and food. After months of one meal a day, he hiked with his wife and six children to find work in the city.
“We would wake up with empty stomachs and go to bed with empty stomachs,” said Alvarez, 37, who sought help from the Mission Lazarus aid group in Choluteca in January. “We couldn’t afford the seeds to plant food or the bus fare to buy the food.”
Honduran farmers like Alvarez can’t compete in a global marketplace where the costs of fuel and fertilizer soared and rice prices doubled in the past year. The former breadbasket of Central America now imports 83 percent of the rice it consumes — a dependency triggered almost two decades ago when it adopted free-market policies pushed by the World Bank and other lenders.
The country was $3.6 billion in debt in 1990. In return for loans from the World Bank, Honduras became one of dozens of developing nations that abandoned policies designed to protect farmers and citizens from volatile food prices. The U.S. House Financial Services Committee in Washington today explored the causes of the global food crisis and possible solutions.
The committee examined whether policies advocated by the bank and the International Monetary Fund contributed to the situation. Governments from Ghana to the Philippines were pressured to cut protective tariffs and farm supports and to grow more high-value crops for export, reports by the Washington-based World Bank show.
The IMF pressed Haiti, as a condition of a 1994 loan, to open its economy to trade, Raj Patel, a scholar at the Center for African Studies in the University of California at Berkeley told the committee. When trade barriers fell, imports of subsidized rice from the U.S. surged, devastating the local rice farmers, Patel said.
“That is very odd,” said committee chair Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat. “For anyone to have looked at Haiti at that time and thought that it was a functioning economy is a sign I think of ideology going rampant.”
“Of course they got it wrong,” said Robert S. Zeigler, director-general at the International Rice Research Institute, southeast of Manila. “It will work if you’re an extremely wealthy country and you can import rice at any price. But if you’re not an extremely wealthy country, I think that’s very poor advice.”