Obama’s Sanctions Cause Suffering, Malnutrition, and Unemployment in Honduras
Earlier, I wrote about how the Obama Administration has imposed sanctions on the people of Honduras, such as blocking travel to the U.S. from the country, because Honduras removed its ex-president and would-be dictator, Mel Zelaya, and because its Supreme Court subsequently refused to approve Zelaya’s demand that he be returned to office to replace his successor, Micheletti, a Congressman who was named to replace him by an almost-unanimous vote of Honduras’s Congress. (Because soldiers enforced a court order for the ex-president’s arrest, after he lost his right to hold office by violating his country’s constitution, the Obama Administration and the Organization of American States (OAS) incorrectly claim that what happened was a “military coup.” Apparently, they believe that when the ex-president began to make himself a dictator, the army was supposed to say “yes, sir” to his illegal demands, rather than safeguarding the Constitution)
Ever since, I’ve received a stream of emails and comments from Americans in Honduras, chronicling the disastrous effects of the Obama Administration’s position on the people of Honduras, one of the poorest countries in Latin America, where malnutrition and poverty are rapidly increasing and unemployment is now widespread. Here’s one sample (to protect the author from retaliation, some information is redacted):
I live on the island of ____ in the country of Honduras. . .
I am an American living in Honduras, I own a small resort on the island. I along with other Americans all over the country are sickened by the stance of the US administration. The US stance has caused many hardships, business all over the country is dead. At our resort we have had to go to a 4 day work week with our employees, this causes real hardships for my employees most of which are poor. . .
We americans feel that we must do something dramatic to catch the attention of the media, public, and elected representatives in DC. We know we will not change Obamas mind. Mr Llorens our ambassador has been a close personal friend of Zelaya for years, and the OAS is well the OAS. . .
We are not rich folks, most of us run modest businesses while trying to improve economic conditions, environmental conditions, and living standards wherever we live. We are so proud of the Honduran people, they knew and know full well that standing by their constitution will very likely cause many to starve, this is after all the poorest country in latin america. Zelaya tormented this country and violated it laws as you have so documented in your so well written piece. The constitution as written in 1982 is still fresh in the minds of the many that shed blood, sweat and tears to see its final draft come into law. The rule of law is not often followed in latin america, so this time, when this poor little country stared in the face of the dictator and said NO, it has shocked the world. This is the bravest country on the planet at the moment, but the present administration just like we americans are seeing the signs that these brave people are hurting. bananas for main meals, trees stripped of fruit, i fear that the new president will cave to save his people, noble, but the people want freedom first.
So there you have it, I am a 50 something man that would lay down his life for his country in a minute, now i can think of no other group of people that i would rather help. We are getting organized and would appreciate your input and ideas.
Right now, all the left-wing groups that complained about U.S. interference in Latin America in the 1980s are hypocritically demanding that the U.S. interfere in Honduras to force it to accept the return of its would-be dictator. (Latin American dictators like Cuba’s Castro, who usually complain about any American presence in Latin American countries like Colombia, are now demanding that America force the return of Zelaya to power).
All their past rhetoric about imperialism was disingenuous. There could be no more obvious example of imperialism than the Obama Administration trying to force Honduras’s legislature, courts, and people to accept the return of its bullying ex-president, and Obama’s claim that his removal was “illegal,” when it has been upheld his country’s highest court, and was expressly mandated by Article 239 of the Honduras Constitution (which Article 272 gave the military the authority to enforce).
I am sorry to say that I took their arguments seriously in the 1980s. (I have always been skeptical of U.S. meddling overseas, and I am not a “neoconservative.” I opposed both of the Iraq Wars — the first of them in the now defunct University Journal — and, rightly or wrongly, criticized U.S. intervention in Nicaragua in the 1980s, in the Howard County Times and Columbia Flier).
What Obama is doing in Honduras is much worse than what Bush did in Iraq. At least Bush’s intervention got rid of an evil dictator (even if it also resulted in chaos and huge costs for the taxpayers). By contrast, Obama’s intervention is aimed at putting a would-be dictator back in power.
By blocking international recognition of Honduras’s current government, imposing sanctions, and continually pressuring Honduras to let ex-president Zelaya return to power, the Obama Administration has helped destabilize the country, with terrible consequences for the country’s poor. My co-worker Julie notes, “My daughter was going to go to help set up an orphanage in Honduras next month and now can’t.”
Honduras was already a very poor country. “One out of four Honduran children under 5 years old falls to chronic malnutrition. In some rural communities to the west of the country, chronic malnutrition can reach 48.5 percent.”