The New York Times is currently hosting a thunderous editorial by Mark Weisbrot about Barack Obama’s "failure" in Latin America. Obama has done "worse than Bush." Hopes have been dashed!
The occasion of this over-the-top indictment is the military coup which overthrew President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras on June 28, 2009. According to the Times editorial, President Obama should have condemned this coup immediately! Immediately!
Instead he waited almost a week.
Subsequently, President Obama has continued to express his support for President Zelaya on every possible occasion, as recently as Monday, August 10th…
"President Zelaya remains the democratically elected president and, for the sake of the Honduran people, democratic and constitutional order must be restored," Obama said during a summit with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
But "nobody was fooled," says Mark Weisbrot in the New York Times.
Fooled about what?
Apparently if President Obama had really wanted to put Manuel Zelaya back in the Presidential Palace in Tegucigalpa, he would have cancelled the visas of the coup’s leadership!
No more vacations in Miami!
And what about reports that Obama has already cancelled their visas?
Not good enough!
The State Department cancelled five diplomatic visas of members of the coup government, but they can still enter the United States with a normal visa — so this gesture had no effect.
No effect! All those generals can still shop in Miami!
And what has Obama been saying about all these terrible accusations?
“I can’t push a button and suddenly reinstate Mr. Zelaya.”
This is probably true, "but he hasn’t pushed the buttons that he has at his disposal, such as freezing the U.S. assets of the coup leaders, or (here we go again!) canceling their visas," says Mark Weisbrot.
Push those buttons, Mr President! Push every button on your desk! Push that big red button and see what happens!
Meanwhile, back in Tegucigalpa, the "constitutional government" which the coup overthrew wasn’t exactly constitutional.
"We will not obey the Supreme Court," the president told cheering supporters in front of the presidential offices.
"The court, which only imparts justice for the powerful, the rich and the bankers, only causes problems for democracy," he said.
Mr. Zelaya was determined to organize a sort of referendum during the next election cycle, and it wasn’t only the courts which had declared his referendum illegal.
On Tuesday (June 23, 2009), the Honduran Congress passed a law that appeared to block these plans. The new bill prevents the holding of referendums or plebiscites 180 days before or after general elections.
Damn the courts! Damn the Congress! L’état, c’est moi!
But the army overthrew Manuel Zelaya before Manuel Zelaya could overthrow the courts and Congress of Honduras, and…
Barack Obama waited almost a week before calling for the restoration of President Zelaya, and that was "a clear example of Obama’s failure in the hemisphere," according to Mark Weisbrot in the New York Times.
Hemispheric failure! Worse than Bush! Hopes were dashed!
And so on.