Released State Dept. cable from Honduras fawns over Lobo government, shows disdain for its opposition

A diplomatic cable released under the FOIA and posted to the State Department’s reading room just last month shows that the US embassy in Honduras has a largely positive view of the fraudulently elected, right-wing administration of Porfirio Lobo and views its domestic opposition as bitter and intransigent.

The cable is dated 2010 December 20 and was written by then US ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens, who previously accused Manuel Zelaya of embracing the “law of the jungle” for planning a referendum on altering the Honduran constitution. The cable triumphantly asserts that “Honduras has made significant progress in achieving macroeconomic stability, strengthening governance, promoting national reconciliation, building diplomatic bridges to a broad swathe of nations, adopting policies and measures to combat domestic security and organized crime, and restoring civilian control of the military.” It also brags that the “level of relations with the US are excellent” and that Lobo has visited the US in order to declare Honduras “open for business.” It applauds his efforts to pass investor friendly legislation such as “a law allowing companies to hire temporary and part-time workers” and “a law promoting public-private partnerships.” Ambassador Llorens also approves of Lobo’s efforts at “controlling public sector wages” and specifically his targeting of teachers’ wages (omitted is the heavy hand the regime uses against teachers who resist).

Amidst all the gloating over the Lobo regime’s willingness to collaborate with the US establishment and its neo-liberal adjustments, the ambassador only has this to say about the country’s pesky dissidents:

Despite these advances, there are some sectors of Honduran society, most notably the extreme left factions of the anti-coup National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP) and some human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs), that refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the Lobo administration and refuse to engage with it, alleging that it is a continuation of the de facto regime because the November 2009 elections did not restore the country’s democratic order (¶ 7).

Not-so-fun fact: In 2010 July, about six months before the above cable was written, Human Rights Watch reported that “at least eight journalists and ten members of the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) […] have been killed since President Lobo assumed power.” But hey: serves ’em right for not recognizing Lobo’s legitimacy.

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