Skip to comments.The good coup
Posted on 03/02/2010 12:17:39 PM PST by La Lydia
The other day, in another part of the world, there was an actual military coup. Going in with machine guns blazing, the military removed the "democratically elected" president and his cabinet members. The president is imprisoned somewhere where the military assured the world they are attending to his health and security needs. They also captured and are holding the general in charge of the joint chiefs of staff who was supporting the president. At least three soldiers were killed in the battle.
The military in this case freely admit that this was a military coup. Two of the three top leaders were involved in the last military coup in 1999. They have installed a prime minister who they freely admit is under their complete control. The leaders of the coup suspended the country's constitution and immediately dissolved all democratic state institutions. The country was put under 24-hour curfew and all borders were closed.
The military leaders have said that they had to do it to save democracy in their country and that they will be rewriting the constitution and will hold (military-run) elections soon, perhaps in a year.
In contrast to the swift and harsh condemnations received by Honduras, only the African Union and France, who has a $1.5 billion uranium contract under the deposed government, have condemned the Niger coup. The US government has been practically mum on the issue, willing to take the coupsters at their word that they are the good guys.
This short press briefing from the US Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs William Fitzgerald so reeks of US hypocrisy in comparison to Honduras that I am literally speechless. The US often arrogantly stated that conditions in Honduras − which had a fully functional civilian government, led by a civilian president who assumed office under the constitutional order of succession − were "not right" for holding the already scheduled elections. The US is now perfectly content to allow a violent military junta to hold elections in Niger, while the democratically elected president remains prisoner. Ho-hum. So what?
Here is an excerpt from that briefing:
"So far, the new government seems to be saying the right things. They call themselves the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy. And if anything, today, we would encourage them to move as quickly as possible if they are serious, and we hold them to that, to restore, in fact, the democracy that existed before Mamadou Tandja himself had begun to modify the constitution and extend his rule extrajudicially. So at this point, what were doing is the ball is in their court."
Deputy Fitzgerald was particularly encouraged that the military regime called themselves the Council for the Restoration of Democracy. If they say so, it must be true....
No doubt the question of the hypocritical US position on coups had to come up in private State Department discussions before these press briefings occurred. My guess: They said "Americans don't give a damn about Honduras or Niger. Let's just go with it."
What does the international media, who were so rabid about the Honduras 'coup', have to say? Here is a sampling:
Bloomberg: Nigers Junta Seen Eager to Return to Civilian Rule
AFP: US official says President can blame himself for coup
Nation: Thousands turn out for pro-junta rally in Niger
BBC: Niger coup leaders promise fresh elections
NY Times: Niger Capital Is Calm After Coup
LA Times: President's ouster praised in Niger after military seizes power in coup, promises elections
Reuters: Niger's junta wins popularity, (Includes this gem: "The international community cannot and will not approve of the coup. However, along with condemnations, the junta should know that if they bring the country around to rapid elections they will be considered international heroes," said one diplomat.)
If only Honduras could have gotten a break with the media like this!
What's the difference? The biggest difference that I can see is that Hugo Chávez doesn't care about Niger and thus has not set his world network of news agencies, journalists, paid disinformers, and human rights 'experts' to turn world opinion against Niger.
Aaron points out another difference: Niger has the fifth largest Uranium reserves on Earth. Niger also has a US $5 billion oil pumping contract with China. By comparison, Honduras has bananas, coffee, socks, and t-shirts. And finally, Niger President Mamadou Tandja is locked up somewhere, presumably alive, but unable to travel the world drumming up support with trumped up claims of human rights violations. ... Hypocrisy at its finest.
THe one mistake Honduras made was exiling their president. First, that was the one thing they did that wasn’t legal. Second, it allowed him to travel the world, building up support.
You are right. Now he is oficially employed by Chavez, and he will be organizing guerilla and terrorism in Honduras. He should have been shot on June 28th, 2009, when the so-called coup took place.
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