In his recent review for The New York Times, Larry Rohter stages a valiant attempt to discredit the new Oliver Stone documentary “South of the Border”, which favorably portrays Latin American governments that enjoy considerable popular support. Among Rohter’s compelling evidence of the film’s “misinformation” is that Stone pronounces Hugo Chávez’ last name incorrectly.
As part of their rebuttal clearly proving that Rohter is the one peddling misinformation, Stone and the film’s screenwriters Tariq Ali and Mark Weisbrot detect a conflict of interest in the fact that the The New York Times review has been penned by the same author who wrote the following analysis after the 2002 coup d’état against Chávez:
Neither the overthrow of Mr. Chavez, a former army colonel, nor of [Ecuadorian President] Mr. [Jamil] Mahuad two years ago can be classified as a conventional Latin American military coup. The armed forces did not actually take power on Thursday. It was the ousted president’s supporters who appear to have been responsible for deaths that numbered barely 12 rather than hundreds or thousands, and political rights and guarantees were restored rather than suspended.”
According to a recent article in the Honduran daily El Heraldo, Honduran President Porfirio Lobo will attend the summit of the Central American Integration System (SICA in its Spanish acronym) in Panama starting June 29, the day after the one-year anniversary of the coup d’état that ousted President Manuel Zelaya. As the article notes, the potential reversal of Honduras’ suspension from SICA—enacted following the coup—would be a stepping stone in its bid for reintegration into the Organization of American States (OAS), from which it was also suspended.
Honduras is incidentally still listed as a member country on the SICA website, as well as part of a SICA-affiliated delegation sent this month to a course in Haifa, Israel, on Latin American female empowerment through rural tourism micro-business—an admitted improvement on past, less formal Israeli courses on the empowerment of Latin American paramilitaries. The El Heraldo article on the SICA summit notes that Panama, in its role as acting SICA president, is actively encouraging Honduras’ reincorporation into regional organizations and that Nicaragua is the only Central American state that has refused to recognize the Lobo government. It seems as though the consolidation of democracy, which is listed as one of SICA’s goals, might have been more plausibly pursued via consistent support for an elected Honduran leader’s efforts to reform the constitution in accordance with the whims of the majority of the population.
In honor of the impending one-year anniversary of the Jun. 28, 2009 coup d’état against Honduran President Mel Zelaya, who was deposited in his pajamas in Costa Rica courtesy of the armed forces, I am posting a series of photographs I took at Toncontin Airport in Tegucigalpa on Jan. 27 of this year. This was the date of Zelaya’s second expatriation from Honduras, following his undercover return to the country in September and 4 months spent confined to the Brazilian embassy.
The installment of Pepe Lobo as president via illegitimate elections elicited praise from the U.S. administration. Zelaya is currently in the Dominican Republic, where he continues his campaign for repatriation.
Check back Monday for a commemorative post on the coup.
A June 13 exclusive on Intelwire.com entitled “Gaza Flotilla Official Was Foreign Fighter in Bosnia War” purports to reveal the history of Osman Atalay, executive board member of İHH, the Turkish NGO instrumental in organizing the aid flotilla to Gaza intercepted on May 31 by Israeli commandos. Collateral damage from the interception included 9 Turkish humanitarian activists.
According to the Intelwire article, Atalay served in the Bosnian Army from 1992 until 1994. Lest readers fail to equate this act with terrorism, additional condemning evidence is thrown in for good measure:
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the September 11 mastermind, lived and worked in Sarajevo in late 1995, according to [a Bosnian intelligence] document, which says he was employed by a humanitarian organization called ‘Egipatska Pomoc’ or ‘Egyptian Help,’ believed to be a reference to the Egyptian Humanitarian Relief Organization (EHRA).”
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently categorized as “black propaganda” the claim that Turkey is shifting its foreign policy orientation away from the West, especially in the aftermath of the May 31 Israeli murder of 9 Turkish humanitarian activists on the Mavi Marmara.
Explaining that his administration’s policy of improved relations with neighbors—manifestations of which include the waiving of visa requirements for citizens of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Libya—has drastically increased tourism revenues, Erdoğan has also reminded the West of Turkey’s application for European integration, pending since 1963, and has threatened the European Union with the label “Christian Club” in the event that Turkey is not admitted.
On June 15, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez dispatched the following complaint from his Twitter account, which spanned two tweets and was couched between expressions in Venezuelan slang:
The gringo government accuses us of anything and everything, but today marks 5 years since the extradition request of the granterrorista Posada Carriles, to which they haven’t even responded. The world is full of hypocrisy. Long live the revolution!”
Current gringo accusations against Venezuela range from Chávez’ purported effort to stamp out free speech—despite the fact that the majority of national media outlets belong to the Venezuelan opposition—and the existence of commercial flights between Caracas and Tehran. As for accusations against Luis Posada Carriles, an 82-year-old Cuban exile and Venezuelan national who was formerly on the CIA payroll, these include masterminding the 1976 bombing of a Cubana de Aviación flight which killed all 73 passengers on board, trying to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and contributing to the 1997 Havana hotel bombings.
Following Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s post-flotilla massacre reminder to Israel that “You shall not kill”, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu—leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), rival of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP)—jumped on the bandwagon by alerting the prime minister to the existence of additional commandments such as “You shall not steal” and “You shall not lie”.
It is not clear why Kılıçdaroğlu did not fully exploit biblical momentum in order to remind his predecessor Deniz Baykal, whom Kılıçdaroğlu replaced in May following the release of scandalous video footage, that “You shall not commit adultery.”
Alternatively, had the current CHP chairman wanted to direct his anti-theft lecture at things other than an administration known for its lack of corruption, he might have referenced a recent Jerusalem Post article in which Turkish residents of Tel Aviv surmised that an Israeli tourist boycott of Turkey would in fact boost Turkish retention of resources due to “Israeli tourists’ habit of stealing towels from Turkish hotels.”