Crisis in Honduras. The World needs answers
These are articles and editorials, reported from Honduras by The Utila East Wind, which chronicle the events that preceded the removal of former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.
Hugo Chavez and His War with the Empire
OCTOBER 29th 2008
Hugo Chavez has been making big waves on the international political scene and there is a growing argument that could, at least partially, lay the blame on him for the financial tsunami wiping out institutions globally. Quotes like “We have to do everything possible so that in the coming years the US empire falls” or calling the President of the United States “The Devil”, call to mind the old saying, “Them’s fighting words!”.
Early this year Chavez called upon Latin American leaders to move their cash reserves out of U.S. Banks citing an impending financial crisis. Latin leaders and others, who heard the call, may or may not have listened to his advice. However, Uncle Sam was listening and will now likely argue that these instructions were the catalyst for the biggest bank run in World History.
In recent months, Hugo Chavez has turned down his rhetoric and is now trading words for substance.
He has found friends in old American adversaries like Russia and Iran and is building economic, social and military ties with these countries that will complicate any attempt for the US to isolate Venezuela.
The Venezuelan Military, through billions of dollars in investment, is emerging as a serious force in Latin America and the Caribbean. Ak-47 factories, the purchase of submarines, fighter jets and missiles are being facilitated by Russia.
On the economic front, Chavez has just announced the formation of what will be “the largest petroleum consortium on the planet” in partnership with Russia.
The fear generated by this development is that this consortium will allow for the manipulation of oil, gas, currency and financial markets. Further more, creating this consortium, a bank and possibly an oil exchange will diminish the US Dollar’s status as the global oil currency and reduce demand for the US dollar.
There is no doubt that Hugo Chavez is making strategic moves to advance his war on the Empire and the creation of ALBA is another tool that will be used in his cause.
ALBA. A NEW DAWN
What is ALBA?
ALBA (The Bolivarian Alternative for the People of Our America) is an organization with the goal of attaining the political, social and economic integration of Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently the member nations include Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Vincent and Grenadines and Honduras.
The ratification of ALBA (in Spanish “dawn”) by Congress has caused much speculation as to the future of Honduran relations with the USA. The heart of the controversy is not so much the concept of ALBA but with the masterminds behind it.
Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro founded ALBA in 2004. The first agreement made under the ALBA is an ongoing trade deal. Cuba has sent 20,000 medical personal and thousands of teachers to Venezuela’s poorest regions and in return Venezuela sends 96,000 barrels of per day to Cuba.
Since ALBA’s creation, Hugo Chavez has been on a drive to find new membership and allies including the Sandinista leader and President of Nicaragua Daniel Ortega. After entering ALBA, Nicaragua benefited by Venezuela forgiving 31 million dollars of debt.
There is speculation that there will be a military wing to ALBA and when commenting of the function of the proposed Army of ALBA, President Daniel Ortega said, "an attack on any member country of ALBA would be considered an attack against all countries."
It is not clear what the benefit of Honduras joining ALBA will be and we will not really know what ALBA is for some time. But, it is now possible to imagine people being gathered to fight a war in Bolivia or exported to Cuba to cut cane fields, to pay an oil debt. On the other hand, Hugo Chavez may lead us in the creation of an Utopian society and rid Latin America of poverty, corruption, capitalism and hunger. This remains to be seen.
Why ALBA?Current trade agreements between Latin American countries and the United States are being perceived as one sided and in favor of large Corporate interests. The ALBA is said to be in favor of trade between member Nations and structured in a way that all member Nations are equal. The ALBA Bank provides funding for development and social projects that are in line with ALBA principals.
The reason ALBA, with its anti-American stance, has gone so far seems to stem from US Foreign Policy. The Iraq war, both politically and financially, has undermined the way the World sees America. The war has caused the United States to lose focus and ignore their southern neighbors. Further, many see the Iraq War as an illegal act due to the fact that WMD’s were never found.
The Iraq War and the continued occupation have created the perfect environment for a Hugo Chavez to rise in Latin America as a symbol of resistance and reform with his Bolivarian Revolution.
Next month the Russian Fleet will be visiting the Caribbean and conducting military exercises with the Venezuelan Navy in the largest display of Russian military might since the Cold War.
It is no coincidence that this operation is being conducted at one of the United States weakest moments, The Presidential Elections.
The vessels in the armada include the nuclear-powered heavy missile cruiser “Peter the Great”, attack submarines and anti-submarine ships and aircraft. Escorted by the fleet is a Russian oil drilling ship.This fleet will be conducting drills and making port calls in undisclosed locations in the Caribbean Basin.
This announcement coincides with Cuba’s declaration that their oil reserves are double that of the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) estimates. New estimates by Cubapetroleo double Cuba’s oil reserves at 21 Billion Barrels, an amount almost equal to total US Oil reserves. Cubapetroleo has stated that the USGS surveys did not accurately understand Cuba’s offshore geology and it can be proven that Cuba’s off shore area is much larger than thought.
Russia has been clear in its displeasure in what it sees as NATO expansion along its borders. The arrival of the Russian Armada in the Americas is thought of as a measured response to U.S and NATO activities related to Russia’s bordering countries. However, the activities of the Russian Fleet, while here, remain to be seen.
If Hugo Chavez is right and George Bush is indeed “The Devil” then the people of America will have the chance to defeat "The Beast".
On November 4th either John McCain or Barak Obama will be elected as the new President of the United States of America and on January 20th 2009 Chavez’s Devil will be gone.
The question is will the next President bring new wisdom and rekindle the respect that The United States once had around the World or will “The Devil” enter into the new President and give Chavez his much needed enemy.
Time will tell.
War on Drugs War on Peace
March 12, 2009 at 04:03 pm
After many months of late night landing on the airport, in late January, the small Caribbean Island Utila (a former British Colony) woke up to an incredible scene. Honduran Naval vessels were in the harbour, helicopters in the air, soldiers spreading throughout the streets and over 1500 kilos of cocaine and a Venezuelan plane on Utila’s airport.
Venezuela has been sited by the U.S. State Department as a “major drug-transit country” and is now the “main outlet” for Columbian cocaine traveling to the USA and Europe. Further to this, there are growing implications that the FARC Terrorist Group is funneling the cocaine from Columbia through to Venezuela to finance their efforts with little intervention from the powers that be.
In reaction to the report, Venezuela’s Bolivarian President Hugo Chavez stating that the problem lies in the hands of North American Countries and was quoted as saying that President Obama should “clean up the mess”.
Here in Honduras, outgoing President Manuel Zelaya has called for the legalization of drugs and was quoted saying “instead of pursuing drug traffickers, societies should invest resources in educating drug addicts and curbing their demand.”
Evo Moralez, President of Bolivia is on the same page and has called for the legalization of the coca plant (the base ingredient of cocaine). His reasoning being is that in rural areas of Columbia, Peru and Bolivia the coca plant has been a staple for hundreds of years and is used in natural medicines, teas and dietary supplementation. To indigenous people the criminalization of the coca plant would be similar to the criminalization of barley. Both are just plants. It is the chemical refinement of coca that creates cocaine and the fermentation of barley that brings alcohol. The plants in their natural state are beneficial to humans.
In the USA there is also a growing voice calling for drastic changes in drug policy. The Drug Policy Alliance, who’s supporters include global heavy hitters like George Soros, are making their voice heard in the Obama Administration and the Alliance actively support decriminalization/legalization/education strategies in the USA and abroad.
To find a global solution is difficult. It is very doubtful that any society that has seen the devastating effects of cocaine would consider the legalization of cocaine as a solution to the problem. But the fact that most prison systems are overloaded with simple drug users while the major players, the real players, remain invisible to us all leaves little doubt that change is needed.
A good historical reference to the current situation is the Prohibition of Alcohol in the USA (1919-1933). Gang warfare and racketeering in this era was at an all time high. Once repealed, even the supporters of Prohibition saw its failures.
John D. Rockefeller Jr. stated in an open letter in 1933 “When Prohibition was introduced, I hoped that it would be widely supported by public opinion and the day would soon come when the evil effects of alcohol would be recognized. I have slowly and reluctantly come to believe that this has not been the result. Instead, drinking has generally increased; the speakeasy has replaced the saloon; a vast army of lawbreakers has appeared; many of our best citizens have openly ignored Prohibition; respect for the law has been greatly lessened; and crime has increased to a level never seen before.”
There is no question that alcohol is full of damaging effects, both physical and social, but in this modern age only Muslim Countries practice Prohibition of alcohol. And these same countries are considered, by most people in the Western World, as extreme in their repression of basic human rights.
Fundamentalists from all religions see little difference between a drinker, a crack head or a heroin addict. They are all failing God and themselves. This point of view may be the truth as drugs and alcohol can be very damaging to the body, but used responsibly they can be beneficial.
Laws should be created to bring peace to a society not to divide it. They should promote individual freedom not suppress it. The Ten Commandments (just ten) are the building blocks that have created some of the greatest Societies in history both Christian and Muslim. These Ten Commandments are the Laws that have been the keys to the success of mankind over the last 5000 years.
Unfortunately, many Modern Laws seem not to have the same effect. These laws can destroy a person’s life and render them unemployable for one small mistake. They can render a family bankrupt for being unable to understand the fine print on a contract or make someone obscenely wealthy as a bonus for making their Company fail.
The incident on Utila was a small move in a giant game, a game involving Mafias, Cartels, Terrorist Groups and Governments. The vast amounts of money created by this 800 Billion USD per year business can make or break revolutions, bring down Governments or finance secret wars. With so much division on how to deal with the problem World States could become further polarized and things become worse if middle ground is not found.
Legalize cocaine, No. But, do not punish the weak and fill our jails with them. This is a waste of resources. Educate everyone, Fathers, Mothers, Teachers, politicians and Children to the dangers of all drugs, including alcohol. Save prison for the rapists and murderers and for the Masters who are behind the These Drug and Terror Wars.
Remember without Law, there can be no crime.
Chavez and Clinton to face off at OAS Meeting
June 1, 2009 at 07:00 am
On June 2nd the Organization of American States will be meeting in San Pedro Sula, Honduras with Hillary Clinton and Hugo Chavez ready to collide on many issues. Cuba, human rights and freedom of the press are subjects they could spar on ‘till kingdom come, but the real battle is now being revealed and the stakes are high.
Hugo Chavez makes no secret of the fact that he is a Marxist or of his desire to expand his Revolution beyond the borders of Venezuela while Hillary Clinton represents the new political face of the Obama Administration, one more of partnership than domination.
The Obama Administration and Chavez’ Revolution are similar in one respect. They both want a sympathetic government in Honduras and to benefit from Honduras’ vast natural resources. While Chavez would like to absorb Honduras into a State within the Bolivarian Revolution through the ALBA scheme, the Obama Administration would like to re-secure itself as the most influential country within Honduras, return to the status quo and continue the integration of Honduras into a Constitutional Democracy similar to and connected with the US system.
Over the last years American Foreign Policy and military resources have been focused in the Middle East and most of their diplomatic resources have been used in that region. Latin America has for over a hundred years been considered under the sphere of control of the United States as sited in the Monroe Doctrine and the rest of the world has not been interested in challenging this philosophy, with the exception of Cuba. Now however, there are New Stars rising in the world of global influence and the USA is being challenged on all fronts.
Hugo Chavez is a Bright and Shining Star in the political sky over Latin America, willing to insult Kings and Presidents, take on and take out Multinational Corporations, consolidating power and crushing opposition, all to further his Bolivarian Revolution. However, he has not been able to rise by himself. The alliances Chavez has formed have fueled his power, influence and support, but alliances come at a price and the price has not yet been paid.
Hugo’s strategy to unify Latin American and Caribbean Countries within ALBA (trans. “Dawn”) (The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas) and his success in doing so has impressed his Masters and every step he takes forward on his plan; they are becoming more and more visible.
Looking at the map you can see that ALBA expansion is not random. Cuba and Venezuela were the first countries to become ALBA States with Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, St Vincent and Grenadines and Honduras following suit. The potential for ALBA States to become a real Union, complete with a standing army, could result in ALBA having control of the entire Caribbean Basin and its rich oil/aquatic reserves, and control of shipping routes. This is the prize.
As is, the threat of these small States to pose a Military threat to the USA is unlikely, but the Economic threat is now real. ALBA mandate states that any development of natural resources must be done by ALBA State Companies. This means that future development within the Caribbean Basin would be controlled by ALBA. By excluding non ALBA Countries, including the USA, Chavez and his allies would be able to dominate Latin America economically.
So who are these allies? One is Iran, the arch enemy of the USA. Iran has been granted Observer Status in ALBA and is expanding its diplomatic influence in Bolivia and Nicaragua by constructing massive Embassy Compounds. Iran is investing in hydroelectric plants, strategic port projects and reportedly aiding Hezbollah in gaining a foothold in the Americas.
Is seems unlikely that a Fundamentalist Islamic State and predominantly Catholic Countries would be allies, but Chavez has been able to sideline the Church in Venezuela and is replacing religious Zeal with the Zeal seen in Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution. Iran is more than happy to see both The United States and the Catholic Church marginalized and sees a Chavez Alliance as necessary in order to weaken the USA and force it from its doorstep and out of The Middle East.
The other ally is Russia. This alliance has grown in strength as a reaction to American Foreign Policy including the expansion of NATO along Russian Border Countries, the Declared Independence of Kosovo and most controversial is the proposed American Missile Shield in Europe. The Shield’s stated use is to protect Europe and the USA from an Iranian nuclear threat. However, in Russia these changes are seen as a major change in strategic balance between the USA and Russia, a balance that has existed since WWII.
Militarily, Russia’s countermeasure was the invasion/liberation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia. Economically, Russia has joined with Venezuela in the formation of an Oil and Gas Consortium that will rival OPEC and run under the Petroleos de Venezuela (the national oil company of Venezuela).
With Russia partnered with Venezuela and Iran as an observer member of ALBA both Countries will have preferential status within ALBA markets and full access to natural resources. The USA as a non member will be excluded from developing further in the ALBA Block, an uninterrupted economic zone covering an area from South America to the US-Cuba border, just minutes south of Cay West, Florida.
We know that Hugo Chavez has not and cannot challenge the influence of the United States in Latin America alone. Until now, he has rallied his partners by protesting American Foreign Policy under the Bush Administration. But, with Barack Obama now in power, these alliances will demand more from Chavez than insulting rhetoric. Economic results will now be necessary to keep Hugo’s Axis spinning.
A moderate Obama Administration creates problems for Chavez and now it will be less likely more Latin American States will take the plunge and join ALBA without significant economic gain. This means it will be more costly financially and more challenging ideologically, for Hugo Chavez to assimilate Countries into the ALBA.
However, a secret report from Israel was leaked to the Associated Press stating that Iran and Venezuela have created a 200 Billion USD fund to persuade more Latin American Countries to join the Revolution. “Since Ahmadinejad’s rise to power, Tehran has been promoting an aggressive policy aimed at bolstering its ties with Latin American countries with the declared goal of ‘bringing America to its knees,’” the report concludes. Considering the possible truth of the finances committed to sparking Revolution throughout Latin America, the World needs to take seriously, the potential for serious conflict.
Here in Honduras, President Manuel Zelaya signed the Presidential Decree admitting the Country into ALBA. This move was seen by many as an act against the will of the people of Honduras. Further, Zelaya, whose mandate expires this November, is proposing a Referendum to replace the Honduran Constitution and some say this move will open the way for him to continue as President after his mandate ends. President Zelaya has followers who are organized, well financed and willing to do what it takes to see that he remains in power, if the opportunity arises. He has replaced top Military Brass and is now wrestling with the Supreme Court of Honduras pushing for a referendum that has already been ruled illegal by the Court. The coming months will be crucial in determining the fate of Honduras and indeed Latin America for decades to come and with so many interests competing for influence it is difficult to predict the outcome.
It is for this reason that Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State of the United States of America, is coming to Honduras for the OAS General Assembly Meeting, to be held at the Arab Club in San Pedro Sula. She will be here to show “The Americas” the new face of the USA and attempt to prove to Latin America it is better off with a more social, if not, Socialist partnership with The United States than a Marxist/Communist future under Hugo’s Revolution.
Time will tell.
Chavez states “The Strike has started”. Honduras “Surrounded”
HONDURAS 29th June 2009 6:20am
Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, Sandinista President Daniel Ortega, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador and the Cuban Foreign Minister all met under the ALBA Flag in Managua, Nicaragua late last night. This emergency meeting was held to form a strategy regarding the fate of Manuel Zelaya, the recently ousted President of Honduras.
At the meeting President Chavez warned the Honduran military and the new government that are "surrounded" by the countries of ALBA. "It boils the blood in your veins. Desde Venezuela no teníamos dudas. From Venezuela we have no doubt. El golpe había comenzado”, declaró. The strike had started, "he said.
ALBA (eng. DAWN) is an international trade organization started by Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, which has evolved in Latin America into a Socialist Block contrary to the United States of America that calls for the integration of all Latin American Countries into a single economic block.
One notable observer member is the Islamic Republic of Iran. Honduras joined ALBA by the Presidential Decree of Ex-President Manuel Zelaya near the end of George Bush’s Presidency. This was not widely approved of by the Honduran people and was thought of as a strong shift to the left.
Honduran Presidential elections are due to be held in November this year, bringing an end the term of President Zelaya. However, a plan was initiated that would, through a Referendum, allow a fourth ballot to be placed on the Presidential Ticket. This Ballot would give voters the option to instead of voting for a new president to vote for a Constitutional Assembly to replace the constitution and allow Zelaya to remain President.
Considering that Honduras did not have any legal provision for a Referendum the Congress Passed a Referendum Act that does allow for referendums, but the results would be a survey of the people’s support for the process. This was not acceptable to Zelaya because it did not give him the legal power to add the controversial Fourth Ballot. The Supreme Court of Honduras ruled that the Ballot was constitutionally illegal, yet President Zelaya ignored the Court and vowed to push forward with the vote. He then ordered the Military to support the ballot.
This is where the real trouble began.
The Military is bound by the constitution and Zelaya was asking them to go against the Constitutional Ruling. At this point the Congress, seeing that the President intended to continue without regard to the ruling, voted unanimously to halt the ballot.
Zelaya still would not comply. Later, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Vasquez was removed by Zelaya due to the General's unwillingness to go against the Constitution and assist in the illegal Poll demanded by the President. After the dismissal, the Commanders of the Army, Navy and Air force resigned.
The Supreme Court later ruled that the dismissal was illegal and reinstated the Vasquez to his post.
The Ballots were ordered seized by the courts yet, the President, who is the Commander of the Honduran Armed Forces entered the Air Force base where the ballots were kept, took the ballots with the aide of his supporters and started distribution of the ballots.
Meanwhile in Caracas, Hugo Chavez, upset with the problems created by the Honduran Supreme Court, Congress, Military and over 100,000 protesters who marched against the illegal ballot started a propaganda campaign stating that ALBA would mobilize. During his speech Hugo Chavez reiterated, "This is an armed revolution" and to "Summon our people to the great battle for the full independence of our America, only the union will make us free” and to "Summon our people to the great battle for the full independence of our America, only the union will make us free”.
This Venezuelan Army Day speech was delivered to military cadets from Honduras marching with Cuban, Nicaraguan and Bolivian Military.
These events and the refusal of the Ex-President to respect the Supreme Court and Congress gave way to his removal.
As the facts come to the surface and the world sees that not only America meddles in the internal politics of sovereign states, Honduras will hopefully able to peacefully elect a new president in the elections scheduled for November 29th.
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