Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ortez Colindres joins Lobo Sosa in admitting it was a coup

Is confession good for the soul? It must be, because it sure isn't obvious how it is good politically, yet here comes another Honduran politician to join Porfirio Lobo Sosa in admitting that what happened June 28, 2009 was a coup.

In the latest episode, Honduras' Tiempo brings back one of the most outrageous members of the Micheletti regime, Enrique Ortez Colindres, the man whose racist comments about Barack Obama never were translated into completely accurate equivalents in English language coverage.

And it isn't just that Ortez Colindres-- briefly the Secretary of State for Micheletti until his impolitic comments brought him down-- admits it was a coup. He says it was completely planned and executed by the Armed Forces.

Colindres made the comments by telephone to Cholusat Sur (Channel 36), a noted anti-coup media outlet in Tegucigalpa.

Esdras Amado López, the reporter Colindres tried to take on, was reportedly criticizing Ortez Colindres for suggesting that Lobo Sosa should be talking to Hugo Chavez in pursuit of readmission to the OAS. Amado López expressed the view that Ortez Colindres was contradicting the position he took during the coup, when he characterized Chavez as "the devil".

Seeking to explain his position, here's what Ortez Colindres said, live, on television:
“The conditions did not exist to negotiate with Chávez [in the de facto regime] because the enemy of the Army of Honduras is Chávez and Micheletti had been put in the hierarchy of command by the Army."

“I don't believe that Micheletti would have had the courage, nor the individual ability to go to sit with Chávez without having the approval of the commander who put him in that moment, which was the Armed Forces, today it's different."

“The military are those that made the legal chain run and put in [Micheletti]."

"The Army put him in and why would I am deny it, they are the ones that made the succession."

Now, the one thing obvious after Ortez Colindres brief, disastrous "career" as a diplomat for Micheletti is that he is-- well, loose cannon hardly seems strong enough. A buffoon?

But still: these seem likely to be explosive comments among politicians so eager to pretend that what happened was completely legitimate that they have bullied their "Truth Commission" not to even use the words "coup d'etat".

It has always been clear that one way for the civilian authors of the coup to attempt to wriggle out of responsibility would be to blame the whole thing on the military. That was one of the reasons there were so many press statements by the military last year. But unlike their almost hysterical efforts at PR during the coup, the current military seems disinclined to respond to this provocation.

Yet these are the most open attempts to implicate the army that are possible. Ortez Colindres said
“I recommended to the [military] command that they go to speak with Zelaya Rosales to respect him, but they said: He is olanchano [from Olancho] and he is going to command us... if we ask that he stops the cuarta urna and he fired Romeo Vásquez Velásquez."

So: is this blame-shifting? or what Ortez Colindres actually thinks happened? And how can the Armed Forces actually ignore being blamed, not just for the decision to remove Zelaya (illegally) from Honduras-- which Ortez Colindres says set in motion the (presumably constitutional) installation of Micheletti-- but the very idea of a coup?

And: what on earth does it mean to say that the enemy of the Honduran Army is Hugo Chávez?

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