In response to an article published last week in The Nation asking Hillary Clinton if the former Secretary of State “is still proud of the hell she helped routinize in Honduras” as a result of the country’s 2009 coup, a spokesperson for the Clinton campaign told Latino USA that such characterizations and questions are “simply nonsense.”
“That charge is simply nonsense,” Director of Hispanic Media Jorge Silva wrote in an email to Latino USA. “Hillary Clinton engaged in active diplomacy that resolved a constitutional crisis and paved the way for legitimate democratic elections.”
The Nation story, written by Greg Grandin, revisited Clinton and her role in Honduras after the murder of indigenous and environmental rights leader Berta Cáceres made global headlines last week. In his piece, Grandin, who covered the 2009 coup, wrote:
In “Hard Choices,” Clinton describes her role in the aftermath of the coup that brought about this dire situation. Her firsthand account is significant both for the confession of an important truth and for a crucial false testimony.
First, the confession: Clinton admits that she used the power of her office to make sure that Zelaya would not return to office. “In the subsequent days [after the coup] I spoke with my counterparts around the hemisphere, including Secretary [Patricia] Espinosa in Mexico,” Clinton writes. “We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot.”
This may not come as a surprise to those who followed the post-coup drama closely. (See my commentary from 2009 on Washington’s role in helping the coup succeed here, here and here.) But the official storyline, which was dutifully accepted by most in the media, was that the Obama administration actually opposed the coup and wanted Zelaya to return to office.
A 2015 report from The Intercept published more details about the 2009 coup and reported how Clinton ally Lanny Davis was brought into back-channel discussions:
At a time when the State Department strategized over how best to keep Zelaya out of power while not explicitly endorsing the coup, Clinton suggested using longtime Clinton confidant Lanny Davis as a back-channel to Roberto Micheletti, the interim president installed after the coup.
During that period, Davis was working as a consultant to a group of Honduran businessmen who had supported the coup.
Last year, Salon also published a detailed story about the Clinton-Davis connection in Honduras. That Salon story linked to a 2009 article about Davis from journalist Roberto Lovato, who said the following to Latino USA: “Beginning with the link some of us found between coup plotters and Lanny Davis, the public record is more than clear about the definitive link between Clinton and the coup in Honduras.”
Lovato shared a 2014 video in Spanish, where Cáceres made specific reference to Clinton’s Hard Choices comments about Honduras. In an interview from Buenos Aires, Cáceres said that the 2009 policy decisions by Secretary Clinton and the United States only led to more repression, militarization, increased migration and political corruption in her country.