July 29, 2009

Massaging the facts

Soldiers in La Ceiba, June 28, 2009

From reader Pete:

Another example of the USA press distorting the truth for its own agenda:

Communique #7 from the Honduras Armed Forces reads (translated into English − Pete's translation tweaked a little by LG, highlighting is mine):


The Secretary of State for National Defense, before the recent controversy, the national and international public opinion, communicates the following:

1. That the Armed Forces are respectful of the Constitution and laws, by which we reaffirm our subordination to civilian authority in line with the principles of legality and due obedience.

2. That as an institution we support a solution to the problems facing our country, through a negotiation process under the San José Agreement. Likewise, we reiterate our unreserved support to the results, in accordance with our Constitution and other laws.

3. The Armed Forces as a national institution complies and will continue to meet the missions established by the Constitution and Laws of the Republic.

Comayaguela, MDC 24 July 2009

Now see what the New York Times has to say about this communique.
From it, I quote:
Military in Honduras Backs Plan on Zelaya

"The Honduran armed forces issued a communiqué on Saturday indicating that they would not stand in the way of an agreement to return Manuel Zelaya, the country’s ousted president, to power."

"Posted on the Honduran Armed Forces Web site, it endorsed the so-called San José Accord that was forged in Costa Rica by delegates representing President Zelaya and the man who heads the de facto Honduran government, Roberto Micheletti."
"The officials said the military communiqué was significant because it was the first sign of support for the San José Accord by a powerful sector of the de facto government. And the officials said it could make it more difficult for the Honduran Congress and Supreme Court to reject the accord when they consider it."
"American officials who met here with the Hondurans said that they were two colonels who were concerned about the tensions generated by the political conflict."

To me [Pete], the Armed Forces communique simply backs the civilian authority and the constitution. It supports a negotiation process under the San José Agreement (which is supported by the Micheletti government but not by Zelaya). I somehow doubt that the communique was "drafted in Washington after days of talks between mid-level Honduran officers and American Congressional aides."

Spin...spin..spin... by a paper that should know better! − Pete


I [LG] would add that ALL sectors of the government have proclaimed their support for the negotiations numerous times (though maybe not reported by mainstream media), always
within the context of the constitution and laws of Honduras!

The previous communiqué, number 6 (translated to English by Google) basically stated the same as number 7, except that it had two additional paragraphs, translated as follows:
4. We call on the national and international community, that they have absolute confidence in our actions as they [those actions] will always be unconditional adherence to the rights and guarantees of all persons, taking into account the legitimate exercise of our duty.

5. We emphasize our commitment to respect and ensure respect for our constitution and laws, over and above any particular interests or groups that seek to destabilize our country.
Paragraph number 5 is clearly referring to Zelaya and his supporters (backed by Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro, and Daniel Ortega) who are the only ones trying to destabilize the country.

In an interview with BBC Mundo (English translation) General Romeo Vásquez reiterated the armed forces support for the government of Roberto Micheletti as well as the negotiation process and clarifies that this communiqué should not be interpreted as indicating the armed forces support for Zelaya. He also stated that there was no Honduran military contingent negotiating on behalf of the armed forces in Washington, D.C.

Related articles:

Mack: NY Times report on Honduras is false

More misreporting from the NY Times
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