Author/journalist/lecturer Cuba specialist. First book Democracy in Cuba and the 1997-98 Elections (English, 1999). Chapter entitled “Socialism and Elections”, in Cuban Socialism in a New Century: Adversity, Survival and Renewal, edited by professors Max Azicri and Elsie Deal (University Press of Florida, 2004). Upcoming (English, Spanish, French, fall 2010) Cuba: Participatory Democracy and Elections in the 21st Century. Member of LASA (Latin American Studies Association).
The recent media handling of Orlando Zapata’s death and the demonstrations by the "Damas de Blanco" in Cuba constitute a real textbook case: the accusations made by the media are deliberately false. It’s not just a matter of one lie disseminated by one particular media, but of a massive campaign where all have joined in. Now, no big media holding company has any vested interest in promoting this type of manipulation. Therefore, it simply boils down to a political system protecting itself by denigrating the alternative model that it is being challenged by.
Over three months since the Honduran military coup, ousted President Manuel Zelaya has yet to be reinstated. Having secretly organized the coup, the Obama administration on the surface continues to emit an emollient discourse. In particular, it obstinately refuses to qualify it as a "military" coup to avoid severing ties with the regime, as U.S. legislation would have it. Washington wants elections that will paste a democratic face on the new regime, but the population and its principal leaders will not go for a sham vote overseen by the putschists. The Honduran people will no longer be satisfied with a simple return to the constitutional order. They have repudiated the local oligarchy and now demand a new republic, free of Washington’s (...)
While the Honduran people were not seen as being particularly politicized, and US experts had not anticipated a lasting reaction against the coup, the direct opposite has taken place. The population has suddenly arisen, joining activist organisations in a united stance against the putchists. According to Arnold August, this phenomenon is evocative of the popular movements that rattled other states in the region in recent years bringing, without exception, revolutionary leaders to power. In his view, and barring an event that could thwart the mobilization, the retreat of the Honduran putchists is inexorable. But, in any event, US interventionism is once again backfiring against Washington.
What is Washington’s position with regard to the events in Honduras? At first, in the name of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, the United States vigorously denounced the ousting of President Zelaya. But a closer look shows that they condemned the coup d’état while at the same time supporting their putschist friends. Arnold August analyses the pageant of awkward hypocrisy emanating from the Department of State and the White House.
In its attempts to subdue the Hondurans, the Anglo-American Empire is resorting to the traditional method of "good cop, bad cop”: covert action and military coup versus diplomacy and smoke screens. Both tactics are pursued simultaneously and when necessary, the roles are distributed between the United States and Canada. However, observes Arnold August, in this case the aim of diplomacy is not to respect international law, but to subvert it on the quiet. Thus, Washington and Ottawa call for the legitimate reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya while advising against his return allegedly to avoid a confrontation with the military.
Military coup or not military coup?
The popular opposition to the pro-U.S. coup gets tougher