Honduran daily El Heraldo recently interviewed Roger Noriega, former U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS). The revelations are shocking!
EH: President Porfirio Lobo qualified as "nonsense" your words that he made a secret deal with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. What do you think of that response?
RN: Well, it is a fact. Maybe what Venezuela is trying to do may seem like nonsense to him, but in my opinion he has to tell the Honduran people what he's saying in private to the Venezuelans. Hondurans have sacrificed so much to defend their sovereignty and their democratic institutions, and so he has an obligation as a democratically elected leader to tell his people what his plan is, what he's going to do. In my opinion, he has the intention to be Chavez's new Zelaya.
Zelaya was accused of wanting to get reelection approved so that he could remain in power. Do you think that is what Lobo seeks?
I do not know. In my opinion, if he's made that decision, it is his decision, as it is the opposite position of the political class in Honduras in recent years. I do not want to add more to the rhetoric, I am a private citizen, he is President of a country. For me, President Lobo's conversation with his people is more important that any exchange between him and me.
What is the true intention of Chávez in Honduras?
Well, Chavez is a caudillo in Venezuela who has implemented a model for the destruction of the democratic institutions of his country and to establish a network in Latin America of leaders who share his vision. The reality is that Chavez has close relationships with drug traffickers in Mexico, and everyone knows that in Honduras he was involved with Zelaya in constructing an arrangement within the government to informally facilitate the work of drug traffickers in Honduras.
This is what Chavez and Zelaya were doing in Honduras?
Well, yes, yes. I heard that from many Hondurans. Hondurans who were authorities in the government of Micheletti and others.
What is the risk for Honduras of the agreement between Lobo and Zelaya?
In my opinion, it is a question of whether they will follow the path of Honduras or the path of Chavez. If they will defend its sovereignty, democracy, or follow the path of populist caudillo.
Does Chavez want Honduras to be a narco-state?
Well, a weak state or a state in chaos. A society facing chaos because of division or political polarization is good news for drug dealers because they can operate with impunity and the authorities are unable to confront the threat.
Does president Lobo have the ability to say no to Chavez or is he already too compromised?
Well, (pause of several seconds) ... That is a good question, because the reality is that Honduras is under a lot of Chávez pressure, through his network of countries. They are pushing not only President Lobo, but also Honduran society with violence, strikes, support for agents working in Honduras to disrupt the society. This Chavez policy over the last few years has generated a split in the Honduran people and now they have had to accept an unsavory deal to be reinstated in the OAS, the latest action in the campaign against Honduran society.
Has there been more meetings with officials of President Lobo and President Chavez?
Yes, several conversations. Some have been public.
But there have been more private meetings like the one mentioned?
Yes. Interestingly, in my opinion, it is rare for a President to talk to a foreign diplomat in this way in his own country, as if he is pleading for a favor. Begging, yielding. Such examples are rare.
Was there direct pressure from Chavez to annul the corruption trials against Zelaya?
I think it was all part of the campaign, the rehabilitation of Zelaya from the political point of view. But it is more or less public knowledge they were pushing for that.
Lobo pleaded with Chavez to help him to return Honduras to the OAS?
In brutal terms, that's what happened.
[Read Part 2]
Translated from and photo courtesy of El Heraldo
Wow. Shit, meet fan.