Sunday, 5 July 2009

Honduras - Land without Neda

Neda is her name. By now, everyone knows her, and refers to her familiarly by her first name. We’ve all seen the beautiful picture of her, a young Iranian philosophy student who defied the repression of an authoritarian state with thousands and thousands of her compatriots in the conviction that another way of doing things is possible. Her family mourns, and Europe and the US – who would love to bomb her city – mourn with them.

The dead have no names in Honduras. They have no faces, no biographies, nothing that might indicate that they are human beings, people with whom we can and should identify. At least two participants in the peaceful demonstration in front of the international airport in the capital city of Tegucigalpa were killed by the Honduran army in its ambush of its own civilian population. Another was run over by a military vehicle a couple of days ago in front of the Honduran telecommunications company Hondutel. There are many people mourning in Honduras these days, mourning their dead and missing friends and family members, mourning the hope, represented by their elected president Juan Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, that another way of doing things is possible in their country, where a small elite has long oppressed the poor majority with the tolerance and assistance of the US. Hondurans live, struggle, suffer, and die anonymously.

Neda is known the world over. As far as the dead in Honduras are concerned, the world doesn’t even know how many there are. We see a brief item about a coup in a small, unknown Central American country. The UN, the OAS, and – after initial hesitation – even the US government condemn the attack on Honduran democracy, and that’s the end of it. People think that President Barack “Hope & Change” Obama is taking care of it, and change the subject. We hear and read the words, but don’t find anything out about the actions.

Despite its moderate criticism of the Honduran coup, trade relations between the US and Honduras (accounting for 70% of Honduras‘ foreign trade) go on as usual. The idea of suspending the delivery of weapons to the Honduran army – without which the coup would immediately fail – is under “review” according to the US government. The world should take this about as seriously as the Honduran army, i.e., not at all. If the army command seriously believed that the coup could result in the suspension of military aid on which it is completely dependent, there wouldn’t have been a coup in the first place. Without US weapons, the defeat of the golpistas would be a matter of time – once they ran out of ammunition, their only source of power would run dry.

But the Honduran generals aren’t worried about their supplies. Why should they be? The US has absolutely no interest in the return of Zelaya, who threatens major US interests with his independent nationalist policies.

And it will all continue as long as Hondurans continue to die anonymously.

Perhaps the civilian population and the solidarity movement in Latin America will crush the coup regime. Perhaps they will manage to do things differently in Honduras despite everything. Unlike the case of Iran, we can make a decisive contribution to bring about that result by demanding that the US government terminate all weapons transfers and foreign aid to the Honduran coup regime.

If we refuse to make even this minimal expenditure of energy, we will all – through our cowardice and laziness – be complicit in the fate of the courageous Hondurans, who are putting everything on the line in their struggle for freedom, democracy, and social justice.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

The Doctrine of "Change of Course" - A Case Study

Al Giordano continues to provide the interested reader with a wealth of sociological information about a certain segment of the US liberal community and the state of US imperial ideology. It turns out that the latter is in quite good health indeed, while the only thing still critical about the former, to paraphrase Volker Pispers, is its mental status.

Jewbonics has suggested that arguing with someone who holds his readers in such low regard that he will lie about the content of the page they have in front of them (see below) is a waste of time and energy. I understand his opinion, but I disagree. What we have in Al Giordano is a rather more vulgar and blatant version of the thought processes we regularly see dressed up with intellectual polish on the pages of The New Republic or the New York Times.

While he never makes it entirely explicit, the underlying premise of every one of Giordano’s attempts to deny that there are even reasons to suspect US involvement in the Honduran coup is what has been referred to, inter alia, by Noam Chomsky as the “doctrine of ‘change of course’”. The doctrine of “change of course” is essential to the survival of any ideology intended to serve power in that it gives official ideology the elasticity needed to deal with inconvenient facts.

When it becomes impossible to deny the cynicism and atrocities committed by or on behalf of one’s chosen state, the doctrine teaches that one must admit to past crimes (usually euphemised as “mistakes” or the like) while claiming that we need not concern ourselves with what those “mistakes” might tell us about present policy because the state has turned over a new leaf.

In Carter’s day, the self-proclaimed “Human Rights Administration” used its rhetorical (and sometimes not even that) commitment to human rights to declare even recent history irrelevant; this allowed the Human Rights Administration to provide decisive support to such dedicated human rights activists as Anastasio Somoza, Shah Reza Pahlevi, and Augusto Pinochet. Clinton rode into Washington on a similar line (with a little “Place Called Hope” mixed in), and proceeded to orchestrate a positive extravaganza of atrocities in East Timor, Colombia, Iraq, Turkey, and Yugoslavia.

Now, we have Barack “Hope and Change” Obama. One might think, against the historical background just reviewed, that scepticism would be warranted.

Not so, says Giordano, unless, of course, one happens to be a “dishonest” “woefully ignorant” “stupid dinosaur faux-leftist”. These creatures do not argue. They “screech” and have “guns blazing”, they do not propose, suspect, take nuanced positions, or admit to uncertainty. They “[insist] that [their view of the situation is] "THE TRUTH," and the ONLY POSSIBLE TRUTH.”

One might be forgiven for wondering if there isn’t the tiniest bit of projection going on here.
Returning to the real world, Giordano’s beliefs are based almost exclusively on the public statements of government officials, which he takes at face value, and which those who comment on his blog would also do well to take at face value if they don’t enjoy the online equivalent of having excrement thrown at them. I say "almost exclusively" because they are also based on interpreting the relationship between those statements and actual practice in the light most favourable to the Obama Administration.

Thus, the US equivocated for so long about the Honduran coup because Obama, as a former community organiser (see Adolph Reed’s articles from the 1990s on for an examination of that aspect of his career), wanted to let the rest of Latin America take the lead in order to avoid appearing to be a bully. The evidence he offers in support of this interpretation, apart from Obama’s time as a community organiser and his own alleged status as a community organiser, is nil. To interpret the delay any other way, according to Giordano, is “errant” (by which I assume he means “erroneous”), though, again, no argument is needed when defending the Obama Administration.

Indeed, he uses this difference of interpretation (my sceptical interpretation vs. his own credulous one) as an example of my factual claims being “pure fiction”. When the reputation of the Holy State is at stake, interpretation is elevated to the level of empirical fact.

Similarly, in order to avoid being “stupid dinosaur faux-leftists”, we must take at face value State Department statements that they are “still reviewing” whether to formally declare the Honduran coup a coup. Such a determination, as Giordano (accurately, to his credit) states, would render continued aid of any kind to Honduras a violation of federal law (to see how scrupulously federal foreign aid restrictions are followed, see, e.g., Indonesia, Colombia, Chile, Turkey, and the Contra mercenaries under Reagan).

That is to say that the US has been providing military aid to Honduras, is continuing to do so, and is considering whether or not to issue a formal declaration that would require any further such aid to be covert.

This all is adduced as proof that the Obama Administration’s statement – reported yesterday by Democracy Now! – that it did not intend to discontinue military aid to Honduras is “a bold-faced [sic] lie”.

As to the issue of USAID funding to the pro-coup NGO Paz y Democracia, Giordano changes course a bit himself. Instead of providing any kind of source to “refute” this claim, he argues the burden of proof. Since in other cases he at least cites specific sources, it appears that in this case he has none to back up his insinuation that USAID funding abruptly ended on the day of Obama’s inauguration. He then proceeds to argue in the alternative, asserting that an organisation “can have received funds from USAID for one thing and then gone out there and supported a coup even if the US wasn't behind it.”

We then move out of the realm of interpretation and into that of pure nitpicking. I had pointed out that General Romeo Vásquez of Honduras was an “SOA graduate”. Now, the term “graduate” can be used with a number of meanings. One can speak, for example, of a “graduate of San Quentin”, meaning not that that notorious prison provided some kind of diploma, but that the person in question had been incarcerated there. It is true that I did not check to see whether Vásquez received a diploma from the School of the Americas, because it’s irrelevant. My point, rather obviously, was that Vásquez attended the notorious training camp for Latin American torturers and mass murderers. Giordano does not dispute this; indeed, he confirmed it.

“Some of Chavez's military that are loyal to him and overturned the 2002 [coup] were also trained at SOA,” Giordano continues, “Doesn't that make your head explode?” No, not really. That does not change the fact that Vásquez, who uncontroversially attended the School of the Americas, went on to do precisely what a good SOA grad - I'm sorry, former SOA attendee - does: overthrow a government that is showing too much independence and impinging upon US interests.

Once again, Giordano uses “logic” that could also be used to “prove” that the US was not in any way involved in the coup against Chilean president Salvador Allende, the only problem being that 24,000 declassified documents say otherwise. And once again, the issue is not one of fact, but one of interpretation. His quarrel is not with the fact that Vásquez attended the SOA, but with the idea of interpreting it in context. The hallmark of a “stupid dinosaur faux-leftist” would seem to be a willingness to doubt the most innocuous possible interpretation of any given fact.

The point here is not that Al Giordano is a crass apologist for the current administration who resorts to personal insults when short on evidence and argument. The Internet is certainly full of those. The point is that he is an excellent specimen of the sort of ideological acrobats that populate our mainstream press and journals of articulate opinion. His crassness puts in stark relief what is otherwise so subtle as to be virtually undetectable: the operative principle, at all times, is to irrebuttably presume the innocence and good faith of one’s Dear Leader/Party/Holy State, declaring all contrary current and historical facts irrelevant. Even the most damning facts must be interpreted in the most innocuous way possible. Contrary evidence is to be examined in a vacuum, as if each contrary fact were being advanced alone, rather than as one piece of an overall pattern. And, if all else fails, hurl invective and change the subject.

Exhibit A: Giordano’s “Refutation”

Elise - Your claims of "fact" are pure fiction.

To wit:
1. You claim: "the US dragged its heels on condemning the coup"

I've already explained why that's an errant interpretation, but even if it weren't, it offers zero evidence that the US was behind the coup.

2. You claim: "the US government intends to continue providing military aid to the Honduran army"

That's a bold-faced lie, Elise, and it makes you a dishonest blogger. Issue a correction if you want any credibility left. See today's Miami Herald: SouthCom Chills Ties with Honduran Military. [one wonders whether the chill, unlike previous similar cold fronts, will actually produce a notable change in temperature in Tegus] See also the multiple reports that State Department counsel "is still reviewing" whether to impose the legal classification of "coup," which would [note the operative word "would"] trigger not only the shut off of military aid, but of all other aid, too.

When [i.e. if] they do that, will you admit that your judgment has been clouded by what you want to believe? Or will you just move the goal posts to claim some other definition of what constitutes support for the coup.

As with your claim #1, even if your claims in #2 were accurate (they're not, but I'll play along), it still would not prove US involvement in the coup itself [except, of course, for providing military aid to those who carried it out, which not even Giordano disputes].

3. You claim: "one of the major pro-coup political organisations, Paz y Democracia, receives USAID funds, as well as the fact that the Honduran army is armed and trained by the US and that General Vásquez is a graduate of the School of the Americas."

"Receives" (that's a present-tense verb, Elise USAID funds? Have you any proof of that? Or are did you really mean "received" (past tense). Have you any proof at all that the group received those funds since January 20, 2009? Cough it up, or admit that you're exaggerating and making shit up.

Regarding Vasquez, do your homework. He is not a "graduate" of SOA (SOA Watch will verify that for you), but, rather, he attended the school long ago when it was based in Panama, but he did not graduate it.

Your sloppiness when it comes to these facts only indicates that you haven't done any independent investigation at all. You take claims by others and if you agree with them you presume them to be "fact" when I've just demonstrated that they are not.

And, again, even if your claims were accurate - they're not, I repeat, but playing along with your silly game, I'll say it - neither of those "facts," even if they were true, proves US involvement with the coup [Note that I never claimed that they definitively proved that US involvement, merely that they give cause to suspect it]. Generals can be trained at SOA and then do things on their own. It happens a lot. Some of Chavez's military that are loyal to him and overturned the 2002 were also trained at SOA. Doesn't that make your head explode?

Likewise, a sleazy NGO (and I agree that one is bad news) can have received funds from USAID for one thing and then gone out there and supported a coup even if the US wasn't behind it.

Finally, you say I am "lashing out at anyone who thinks the question is worth asking." That's revisionist history of your posts here. You came in, guns blazing, insisting that it was "THE TRUTH," and the ONLY POSSIBLE TRUTH. Now you're backpedaling because your four "proofs" offered above are less firm than oatmeal [the textbook definition of projection].

Thank you again for proving my point [as with any delusional system, the doctrine of 'change of course' allows all facts, no matter how contrary, to be adduced as proof of whatever point happens to be useful to make]! Let's see if you've got the stuff to post this response onto your blog, too!

My response (suppressed by Giordano):

Finally, you say I am "lashing out at anyone who thinks the question is worth asking." That's revisionist history of your posts here. You came in, guns blazing, insisting that it was "THE TRUTH," and the ONLY POSSIBLE TRUTH. Now you're backpedaling because your four "proofs" offered above are less firm than oatmeal.(emphasis added)

First of all, I never insisted that it was "the TRUTH" that the US was behind the coup. I made it quite clear on more than one occasion that it is entirely possible that it is not. Your claim to the contrary is pure invention, as will be obvious to anyone who bothers to scroll up.

To provide just one quote:

"Does that mean that the US is definitely behind it? No, of course not. There are plenty of other possible explanations for the initial fencesitting (though I have yet to hear anyone propose one). But the suggestion that the Obama Administration, which has explicitly stated that it will continue providing military aid to the Honduran army, might be less than 100% candid, is certainly so absurd as to warrant personal attacks against anyone who raises the question." (emphasis added)

Your "refutation" of the fact that the US has been and currently is providing military aid to the Honduran army is a public statement by an official that the aid to Honduras is being "reviewed". The astute reader will not that that does not even amount to an ultimatum, let alone a statement that aid has been terminated. A similar stratagem was used to assuage public outcry against US material support of Indonesian atrocities in East Timor. Officials announced that aid had been suspended, but it later turned out that the Indonesian generals were completely unaware of the suspension because aid currently in the pipeline continued to flow.

How much weight to assign the claim by US officials that aid to Honduras is under review depends on one's personal judgment of the credibility of the officials and institutions in question. That, in turn, depends on one's view of the relevant historical context, which in the case of Central America shows a consistent line of policy priorities spanning an entire century.

You do not deny this history; instead, you declare it irrelevant, and deride those who would dare examine the wealth of historical context and draw conclusions from it. You have yet to provide any justification for your dismissal of the historical context apart from strident professions of faith in the words of politicians and ad hominem attacks on those who dare raise questions.

It has, in every instance, been you who seeks to shut down any discussion of the subject with insults and personal attacks that range on the bizarre. Indeed, if one eliminates the blatant self-promotion and gratuitous insults from your comments here, they would barely fill a single page.

Your blind spot for any evidence that might suggest that Obama's policies in Latin America are consistent with those of virtually every other president over the past 100 years brings to mind a quote one of your fans posted:

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." - Flannery O'Connor

The fact that you blatantly misrepresent what I have said on the very page on which it is posted shows just how much contempt you have for your regular readers. One only hopes that they will prove themselves unworthy of it.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Haiti, Honduras, and "Obama Derangement Syndrome"

Obama Derangement Syndrome – A persistent delusion, impervious to contrary facts, evidence, and analysis, that the Obama Administration is a fundamental break from conventional US foreign and domestic policy; a common comorbidity is Clinton Amnesia, in which the bleak, violent reality of the Clinton Administration is obscured a rosy, nostalgic picture of Life Before Bush.

(Credit for the term itself goes to Al Giordano of The Field; the definition is mine)

The similarities between the coup currently underway in Honduras and the abortive coup in 2002 in Venezuela have led some, including Venezuela’s main public television network VTV, to ask whether the United States might somehow be involved in the events unfolding in Honduras. Given that Honduras has long served as a base for US subversion and terror in Central America, and that US corporations stand to lose quite a lot from the sorts of reforms the left-leaning nationalist Zelaya administration is likely to implement, it would seem that there is good cause to explore the question.

However, some otherwise sane observers appear to be so infatuated with Brand Obama that even suggesting the mere possibility of US involvement provokes inarticulate tirades. Such is the case of Al Giordano of the Narcosphere-hosted blog The Field. Giordano has referred to those who suggest the possibility of US government duplicity as “dishonest”, “woefully ignorant” “faux-leftists” who need to “Shut up and read the facts before [they] go around spreading falsehoods”.

Why does Giordano feel so confident in dismissing any suggestion of US involvement in a coup carried out by a military that it continues to arm and fund and supported by USAID-funded NGOs such as Paz y Democracia? Because of “Multiple statements from Obama, Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Llorens, the US Ambassadors to the OAS and the United Nations, ALL calling for the reinstatement of Zelaya and declaring that the US doesn't recognize the coup government.” QED.

Giordano – who describes himself and his colleagues as “doing all the heavy lifting to defeat this coup” (a statement that would no doubt delight those who are risking their lives in confrontations with the Honduran military) – has nothing but contempt for those who dare to question the public statements of one of the last governments in the Hemisphere to condemn the Honduran coup, which also happens to be the one government in the Hemisphere to refuse to withhold aid from the Honduran military.

“Sorry, you win no points from me with that kind of delusional and self-serving mode of thought. It's just about reinforcing your world view, isn't it? Facts be damned! You want to believe it, and therefore it is true!”

As I pointed out in the comment that led to that example of what passes for reasoned argument in Giordano’s view, it would not be the first time that the US has publicly condemned something while quietly supporting it. Indeed, this was the exact modus operandi employed by Bill Clinton when a coup by the US-founded and –funded Haitian National Guard deposed elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. While condemning the coup and making a show of trying to reach a mutually acceptable solution, Clinton violated an OAS-imposed embargo in order to continue supplying the National Guard as it slaughtered thousands of Haitian civilians. One of the principal perpetrators of the slaughter, Emmanuel Constant, went on to live under US protection in New York. Extradition requests were summarily dismissed.

This, however, is beyond the pale for Giordano, because “it doesn't help the people of Honduras fighting against this coup. Your opinion, if believed there, would give solace and embolden the coup plotters while demoralizing the civil resistance.”

There are two issues here. The first is an empirical question: is the US involved in the coup (in some way going beyond the continued provision of military aid)? This is a question of fact. It is entirely possible that, despite the history and despite the US interests at stake, the US was not directly involved in the coup itself (that the US arms and funds the Honduran military and provides funds to anti-Zelaya political organisations is uncontroversial). It is likely that we will not have certainty on this score unless and until the documents currently circulating in the State Department and the White House are declassified.

The second is more speculative in nature: What is the practical effect of assuming US involvement based on the available evidence? Contrary to Giordano’s assertion, the fact that a coup is associated with imperialismo yanqui has generally been a rallying point for resistance rather than an impediment. Furthermore, the upper echelons of the Honduran army – far from being swayed by the opinions of outside observers and activists – are in a position to know for sure whether, and to what extent, the US is involved in the coup.

Moreover, the question has enormous practical significance. If the US is involved in the coup, then international protest directed merely at Micheletti and his military retinue will hardly have any more effect than the OAS embargo against Haiti under Cédras – immediately violated by the US – did. In that case, protest would have to be directed squarely at Washington, calling for an immediate end to military aid for the Honduran army and funding for pro-coup groups (referred to in the Orwellian language of Washington as “democracy promotion” activities).

Perhaps sensing that he is coming up rather short in the area of facts (self-serving public statements by government officials do have a tendency to be wrong), Giordano posits that those who have doubts about the Obama Administration’s protestation of clean hands may be suffering from a mental disorder he terms “Obama Derangement Syndrome”.

The term does seem apt, even if not for the field of application Giordano imagines. It is nothing short of amazing to hear the lengths to which avowed progressives will go to defend their image of Obama as fundamentally new and different to everything in the history of US policy, just as many liberals cannot begin to entertain the notion that the antidemocratic cynicism and violence of US foreign policy predate not only George W. Bush’s administration, but his birth. Ultimately, Giordano’s argument boils down to the “idea” that we should believe what the Obama administration says, just as we’re told to believe that he means well on Iraq, health care, Afghanistan, and a host of other issues.

Because it is so illustrative, and to avoid rewriting things I’ve already written, I am including below my comment on The Field, followed by Giordano’s “response” and my reply (which appears not to have made it through moderation - this morning, 1 July 2009, it has shown up on the page):

My original comment:

When a group of generals in the (US-founded and -funded) Haitian army, led by Raoul Cédras, overthrew the democratically elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, US President Bill Clinton made all sorts of public gestures of condemnation towards the coup, while at the same time going so far as to violate an OAS embargo to ensure that the army would be supplied with fuel.

Meanwhile, Aristide remained an involuntary guest in the United States, where he remained until he finally agreed to implement the neoliberal economic program of the candidate Washington had supported in the election.

Obama & Co. have accurately described the coup as what it is, and have - albeit haltingly - condemned it. However, Obama has made no move to stop the military aid on which the Honduran army is dependent for its very existence. If military aid were cut off, the coup would grind to a halt. Given how complete the integration of the Honduran army into the US command structure is (indeed, the general that Zelaya fired was a graduate of the notorious School of the Americas), it is hard to believe that they would act without at least the expectation of US support, and even harder to believe that they would continue a coup in the face of US condemnation unless they were aware that it was not meant seriously. There are many such examples in the annals of US foreign policy (Haiti and Indonesia, to name just two prominent ones).

Zelaya is in a delicate position. Although the coup has been condemned almost universally, even by the US, he knows full well that he is dealing with an army that does not take his orders, and cannot be sure that his safety will be guaranteed when he returns to Honduras (particularly considering that Micheletti has ordered his arrest). In these circumstances, any denial by Zelaya that the US was involved in the coup (beyond having armed and trained the Honduran army, which is well documented) is just as likely to be an attempt to avoid angering the US. Plus, even assuming that it is sincere, there is no reason that he would even be aware that the US was behind it (the standard US coup strategy is to give the whole affair the best local facade possible).

Al Giordano’s “response” (note that the stated moderation criteria for comments include coherency and an absence of gratuitous insults):

Elise - Duck! Here comes some "tough love." Nobody apparently has told you, so I will...
While I agree that nothing "rules it out," I get the sense that you and others have a great psychological investment in "ruling it in," even though you offer zero evidence (other than the circumstantial, "well, it happened in the past so therefore that must be the case now" leap of faith [note that the "leap of faith" is not swallowing official US government pronouncements, but recognising longstanding patterns in US policy].)

Excuse me. I was at the forefront of exposing the US involvement in the Venezuelan coup of 2002 and subsequent attempts. I'm not a "coup denier."

But I find it unimpressive that after three days of stupid dinosaur faux-leftists screeching at the top of their lungs to blame Obama for this coup that not one of you has come up with a single shred of evidence.

And now you say that Zelaya won't or can't say what you insist (without any fact to back you up) is the case?

Are you going to say that Chavez, too, is afraid of Washington? Because after some hours of initially being on the track you're on, he broke from that conspiracy theory, and now worries aloud that "May God protect Obama."

But you're SO INVESTED in NEEDING to believe it's true, that you believe it with no evidence. That's delusional.

And it doesn't help the people of Honduras fighting against this coup. Your opinion, if believed there, would give solace and embolden the coup plotters while demoralizing the civil resistance. But you don't think about that, do you? You just want to believe that Latin Americans aren't capable of doing anything - good or bad - unless big Uncle Sam holds their hand and does it for them [says the man who believes he, and not the Hondurans risking their lives in confrontations with the military, is "doing all the heavy lifting]!

Sor ry, you win no points from me [I hadn't realised it was about "points".] with that kind of delusional and self-serving mode of thought. It's just about reinforcing your world view, isn't it? Facts be damned! You want to believe it, and therefore it is true!

I feel sorry for you. Really.

Meanwhile, we're out here 24 hours a day exposing the coup and getting the facts out there to reverse it. While you're still trying to make claims about who started it. I'll point out that all of Latin America is doing what we're doing, not what you're doing... if "doing" is a word that fits your verbose excuses for non-action on your part.

I might add…

That I posted a series of important updates about the coup today in Honduras. The post was not about what happened outside of Honduras. It was about what happened inside Honduras, breaking the media blockade, to boot.

And what do our three first commenters want to talk about?

Each one of them wanted to instruct me in one form or another that "Obama is the coup plotter."

None of them are listening to the people on the ground in Honduras. So, okay, maybe they don't speak Spanish. But I do, and I'm here translating it for them.

But they're not really interested in what is going on in Honduras unless it can show US involvement in a coup!

I talked about Chavez Derangement Syndrome in the previous post to this one.

Maybe my next should be on Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Two sides of the same coin!

My (apparently suppressed - now published) reply:

I don't see any particular need to resort to ad hominem. My point was merely that the US has provided decisive support to coups and atrocities that the US government has publicly condemned. The idea that a public condemnation of a coup by the US makes it impossible (or even improbable) that the US might be supporting a coup that happens to be very much in its interests is simply not tenable.

It's also worth keeping in mind the timing of the Obama Administration's condemnation. Initially, the only statements forthcoming from Washington were equivocal calls to respect the "democratic process" without any explicit condemnation of Zelaya's ouster. In the meantime, not only the ALBA countries, but the entire hemisphere - including the few remaining countries that don't regularly enrage the US government - unanimously condemned the coup in no uncertain terms.

Only once it was clear that the US was virtually alone in failing to issue an unequivocal condemnation did we start to hear these clear words coming from the Administration.

Does that mean that the US is definitely behind it? No, of course not. There are plenty of other possible explanations for the initial fencesitting (though I have yet to hear anyone propose one). But the suggestion that the Obama Administration, which has explicitly stated that it will continue providing military aid to the Honduran army, might be less than 100% candid, is certainly not so absurd as to warrant personal attacks against anyone who raises the question.

Thus far, your only response to the suggestion of US involvement is that US officials (eventually) made public statements condemning the coup. I do not seem to be the only one who thinks that the analysis should not end there.

Perhaps I should add that I am a native speaker of Spanish and have contact with people throughout Central America, including in Honduras, none of whom seems to consider the issue as clear cut as you seem to.