Jul
24
2009

Domestic Honduras PR's 'Amazing Job' Misinforming

The L.A. Times has published a commentary from Center for Economic and Policy Research co-director Marc Weisbrot (7/23/09) furthering recent exposés on the damaging influence of U.S. lobbyists hired by unlawful regimes throughout the world.

Under a headline about "The High-Powered Hidden Support for Honduras' Coup," Weisbrot invites us to

meet Lanny Davis, Washington lawyer and lobbyist, former legal counsel to President Clinton and avid campaigner for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential bid. He has been hired by a coalition of Latin American business interests to represent the dictatorship that ousted elected President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras in a military coup and removed him to Costa Rica on June 28.

Davis is working with Bennett Ratcliff, another lobbyist with a close relationship to Hillary Clinton who is a former senior executive for one of the most influential political and public relations firms in Washington. In the current mediation effort hosted by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, the coup-installed government did not make a move without first consulting Ratcliff, an unnamed source told the New York Times.

Davis and Ratcliff have done an amazing public relations job so far. Americans, relying on media reports, are likely to believe that Zelaya was ousted because he tried to use a referendum to extend his term of office. This is false.

Weisbrot reminds us that "Zelaya's referendum, planned for the day the coup took place, was a nonbinding poll," "only asked voters if they wanted to have an actual referendum on reforming the country's constitution on the November ballot," and "Zelaya would be out of office in January, no matter what steps were taken toward constitutional reform" Zelaya even "has repeatedly said that if the constitution were changed, he would not seek another term."

Listen to the FAIR radio program CounterSpin: "Greg Grandin on Honduras Coup" (7/3/07).