Our Man in
The backers of the Honduran coup have an inside man in
ROBERTO LOVATO | July 22, 2009 | web only
"If you want to understand who the real power behind the [Honduran] coup is," says Robert White, president of the Washington-based Center for International Policy, during a recent interview, "you need to find out who's paying Lanny
Davis, an ally of the Clinton family who is best known as the lawyer who defended Bill during the presidential impeachment proceedings, was recently on Capitol Hill lobbying members of Congress and testifying against exiled President Manuel Zelaya before the House Foreign Relations Committee. White, who previously served as the United States ambassador to El Salvador, thought that such information about
But the answer proved easy to find. Davis, a partner at the law firm Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe, openly named them -- and his clients are the same powerful Hondurans behind the military coup.
"My clients represent the CEAL, the [
For many Hondurans and Honduras watchers, the confirmation that Davis is working with powerful, old Honduran families like the Atalas and Canahuatis is telling: To them, it proves that Davis serves the powerful business interests that ran, repressed, and ruined Honduras during the decades prior to the leftward turn of the Zelaya presidency.
"No coup just happens because some politicians and military men decide one day to simply take over," White says upon hearing for whom
"The tragedy," adds White, "is that the Canahuatis and the Atalas and the other big businesspeople don't understand that it's in their best interest to help to do things like help people make a decent living, reduce unemployment, and raise the minimum wage."
Asked if he had qualms about representing businesspeople linked to a coup government denounced and unrecognized by the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and many countries across the globe (including the United States), Davis responded, "There are facts about Mr. Zelaya that the world community may not be aware of. I'm proud to represent clients who support the decision of Secretary of State [Hillary]
COFADEH has also placed responsibility for the coup and the terror it has wrought directly on many of the founders of the Alliance for Progress and Development of Honduras (APROH), a predecessor of CEAL. Though now defunct, APROH brought together some of the same business and military interests that compose the political and economic hub of Honduras' radical right, including the Canahuatis, Atalas, and other CEAL families and businesses represented by Davis.
The CEAL predecessor's track record on human rights has been less than stellar. In 1983,
"I wish Mr. Davis would come here where I'm hiding so I can show him what it's like to feel threatened not just by [de facto Honduran President] Micheletti and the military, but by the Canahautis and other groups of power he represents," Galdamez says.
Galdamez, Gilda Rivera of the Center for Women's Rights, and others interviewed for this story fear that, in hiring Clinton ally Davis, Canahuati, Atala, and CEAL are using the liberal sheen of the Democratic Party to divert attention from the dark history behind the current Honduran coup.
"The rich simply send you out to kill you and then kill with impunity. They never investigate into who killed who because the groups in power control the media, control the judiciary, and now control the government again," Galdamez says. "Mr. Davis is trying to legitimize people who use psychological intimidation and violence. He's representing the interests of state terror."
In a recent statement denouncing the coup, COFADEH described its backers as "the same group that in the 1980s was known as
Asked about human-rights violations by the Micheletti government,
When pressed about the grisly footage of the shooting of Murillo,
Roberto Lovato is a contributing Associate Editor with New
© 2009 by The American Prospect, Inc.
Donations can be sent to the
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs