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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: La signature de l’oncle Sam

by Bruno Odent

Uncle Sam’s Signature

Translated Friday 1 January 2010, by Leslie Thatcher (www.truthout.org) and reviewed by Henry Crapo

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Funeral of Honduras coup victim Martín Florencio Rivera Barrientos, who was stabbed 25 times. (Photo: esquerra anticapitalista)

Since the November 29 electoral farce, Honduras’s putschist government has been pursuing its work of normalization. No question of behaving like vulgar Pinochets from another era in Chile. The effect on international public opinion would be unacceptable. Above all, the context has become more delicate in a continent living through a changed balance of power. Hence, this desire to be discreet, to make the situation that emerged from the June "golpe" against President Zelaya as mundane as possible. Yet, what comes naturally is returning at a gallop to bring citizens who resist to heel. The death squads are circulating once more. A week does not go by without there being found atrociously mutilated corpses of militants from the various democratic organizations gathered together in the Resistance Front against the Coup d’État (FRCG). The mutilations prove that they were tortured before being killed. President of the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights Andres Pavon talks about a planned "wave of terror" that has already taken several dozen victims, and he accuses the government of wanting to tear apart the resistance.

They murder; they torture; they trample democracy, and one strains to hear the least official voice be raised in France, in Europe, against these exactions. Quiet, we’re murdering. Why so much complacency for the putschists? Why so much media disinterest, and, in consequence, so much solicitude to go along with the process of normalization of the "golpe" against President Zelaya, who is still taking refuge in the Tegucigalpa Brazilian embassy? Would there be some more "politically correct" coup d’état organizers, some more "politically correct" dictators than others? The answer to these questions naturally hinges on the issue that Manuel Zelaya’s eviction represents. It clearly extends well beyond the borders of little Honduras. The president elected on a center-right ticket in November 2005 had not at that point aroused the least concern in Washington or in Western chancelleries. Except that, in the meantime, confronted with the poverty and the deterioration in the standard of living of the majority of his fellow citizens, he decided to get closer to the ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the peoples of Latin America) countries. In December 2008, he decreed an increase in the minimum wage to 202 euros from 126 [per month]. To the great relief of the banana plantations’ agricultural workers. To the great dismay of the US-based transnational, Chiquita, a descendant of the famous United Fruit - contracting authority for every putsch that has peppered the country’s modern history. Zelaya had also made an agreement with Venezuelan Hugo Chavez’s Petrocaribe organization in order to reduce energy costs, thus squeezing the big American companies. Finally, in the summum of "political adventurism," he came to an agreement with Cuba to import cheap generic medicines that the poorest populations of his country were so cruelly lacking.

While other countries in the region had turned to the left, the fear of a more pronounced swing by Honduras into the Latin American progressive "camp" became insistent. And then along came Zelaya, contemplating the convocation of a Constitutional Assembly to strengthen democracy and reinforce citizens’ powers? For the Empire, that was the last straw ... Leading figures from the US State Department and ex-President Bush’s entourage came to give support to the putschist Micheletti, whom they are still "advising" today. Obama, after a moment of hesitation, has followed. He even upped the ante by pushing for the installation of seven United States bases in Colombia, de facto ratifying the return to Cold War logic against progressive Latin America.

Uncle Sam’s Signature:

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