SEE ADDENDUM BELOW.
Something smells fishy. First the Obama administration announces $2 billion of financial support for Brazil’s offshore drilling efforts. And a month later Brazil spirits legally deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya back into the country, granting him sanctuary in its embassy. Are these two stories related?
First from the Wall Street Journal, August 18, headlined Obama Underwrites Offshore Drilling: The U.S. is going to lend billions of dollars to Brazil's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil's Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's planning minister confirmed that White House National Security Adviser James Jones met this month with Brazilian officials to talk about the loan.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank tells us it has issued a "preliminary commitment" letter to Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion and has discussed with Brazil the possibility of increasing that amount. Ex-Im Bank says it has not decided whether the money will come in the form of a direct loan or loan guarantees. Either way, this corporate foreign aid may strike some readers as odd, given that the U.S. Treasury seems desperate for cash and Petrobras is one of the largest corporations in the Americas
And from Reuters yesterday, headlined Lula faces criticism in Brazil over Honduras role: BRASILIA, Sept 29 (Reuters) -
Brazil's government is facing growing criticism at home over its handling of the Honduran crisis as senior lawmakers accuse it of allowing the ousted president to use its embassy as a political platform. Manuel Zelaya, who was toppled as Honduran president by a coup on June 28, has set up camp in the Brazilian embassy with dozens of supporters and has given numerous interviews to foreign and domestic media. His surprise return from exile a week ago triggered violent protests in the capital Tegucigalpa and placed Brazil at the center of the Honduran power struggle and an international diplomatic crisis. Government and opposition legislators in Brazil's Congress have urged President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to stop Zelaya from using the embassy as a political theater.
You may remember the leftist Zelaya was removed from power in late June after he ordered a referendum to extend his term beyond its mandated limits. This violated the country’s constitution according to Congress and the Supreme Court which ordered the referendum stopped and Zelaya’s removed from office. It appeared Zelaya was planning a move similar to his mentor, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, to lay the groundwork to be President for life.
President Obama refused to recognize the newly appointed President, urged the UN and OAS members to do the same, refused visas to Hondurans, cut off all foreign aid and would not allow Honduras to be represented at the UN’s opening session this month. It seems curious that just over a month after the $2 billion support for Petrobras offshore venture (Obama supporting offshore drilling???), Brazil spirited Zelaya back into the country (September 21) and its embassy.
Would Obama use $2 billion in bribes to destabilize Honduras and put this thug back in power? You figure.
I am attaching this response to this post from an individual who has been following the Honduran situation closely. The person is not a Honduran, but feels strongly an injustice has occurred at the instigation of the Obama White House and with the complicity of Brazil.
I read your excellent blog and I think there is a very good case to be made that the Obama administration and the Clinton State Department may well have conspired with Brazil to bring about the current crisis situation in Honduras, and they began their efforts before Zelaya was overthrown. I believe this supports your conclusions. The following is a note I wrote to myself on September 23: This article at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124619401378065339.html indicates to me that the State Department took Zelaya's side, when Thomas Shannon was still heading up the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department, because the Honduran Congress refused to obey US orders to disregard their own Constitution. Shannon moved on to be Ambassador to Brazil.
"The Obama administration and members of the Organization of American States had worked for weeks to try to avert any moves to overthrow President Zelaya, said senior U.S. officials. "Washington's ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, sought to facilitate a dialogue between the president's office, the Honduran parliament and the military. "The efforts accelerated over the weekend, as Washington grew increasingly alarmed. "The players decided, in the end, not to listen to our message," said one U.S. official involved in the diplomacy. On Sunday, the U.S. embassy here tried repeatedly to contact the Honduran military directly, but was rebuffed. Washington called the removal of President Zelaya a coup and said it wouldn't recognize any other leader.
"The U.S. stand was unpopular with Honduran deputies. One congressman, Toribio Aguilera, got prolonged applause from his colleagues when he urged the U.S. ambassador to reconsider. Mr. Aguilera said the U.S. didn't understand the danger that Mr. Zelaya and his friendships with Mr. Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro posed." Then, shortly after Zelaya was overthrown, you have a the usual suspects at work: Thomas Shannon, who had been nominated to be the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, and Arturo Valenzuela, nominated to be the new head of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department, and late of Georgetown University, a native Chilean (who I believe holds dual citizenship) who has made it clear that he agrees with Hugo Chavez on many issues and has defended him and his policies publicly on many occasions.
Shannon's nomination was held up because Senator Jim DeMint was unhappy with the way he had handled the Honduras situation. I think when he got to Brazil, he laid the groundwork for what is happening now, working hand in hand with Valenzuela. "DeMint also said that Shannon, in his State Department post, “has still failed to show a clear understanding of Honduras’s fight to defend democracy. "...When pressed by DeMint about whether Honduras’s military acted to defend the constitution against abuses by Zelaya, Valenzuela said “I don’t want to get into some of the details of this. I’m not familiar myself with all of the details.”
"DeMint said Valenzuela’s responses were unsatisfactory. “Mr. Valenzuela told me he didn’t even know the facts in Honduras,” DeMint said in the statement today. “Yet, everyday Zelaya’s own statements reveal his true desire to be a Chavez- style dictator advocating violence in order to return to power.” http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=admFvdOL9YY4 See also: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/59515-obama-and-demint-locked-in-proxy-fight-over-chavez
Now this is from Bloomberg news today, Tuesday: "Honduras’s deposed President Manuel Zelaya probably received help from a South American country to sneak back into Tegucigalpa yesterday, said Carlos Lopez Contreras, Honduras’s interim foreign minister. Zelaya, who appeared unexpectedly at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa yesterday after he was overthrown and expelled in June, probably got into the country in a car that had diplomatic license plates, Contreras said today in a telephone interview. He declined to say which country provided assistance. “He couldn’t have gotten in without logistical and financial support, possibly from a South American country or various South American countries, and without a doubt the cooperation of a Central American country,” Contreras said.
Honduras’s acting President Roberto Micheletti had vowed that Zelaya would be arrested if he set foot in the country, and yesterday decided to no longer recognize the Brazilian mission in Honduras, stripping the building and its occupants of diplomatic protection. Even so, the order to enter the embassy building hasn’t been given, and the interim government is requesting that Brazil hand over Zelaya, Contreras said. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=aa_wgg.Bl_LY
Finally, tonight, during the September 23 local news program "Hoy Mismo" on Honduras Channel 3, a letter was read from the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa to the Brazilians asking the Brazilian Embassy to hand over Zelaya to them so he would have "more protection." Lula is in this up to his ears, but wouldn't have been without U.S. encouragement.
Name withheld by request.