Saturday, November 23, 2013

Last month was the fiftieth anniversary of the October 1963 coup in Honduras when the Liberal Party, less corrupt than it was now, was assured of re-election on a platform centered around labor reforms. The coup was backed by Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza and the US-linked banana industry.

Unlike Obama, who initially spoke against the coup but was quickly persuaded to back it, in apparent deference to Hillary Clinton's State Department and others, President Kennedy withstood pressure to recognize the new government and never did so. As Peter Dale Scott (right) documents in Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (the best book I've read on the topic), the coup government was quietly recognized that December by LBJ's Undersecretary of State.

Scott is not one to push a conclusive thesis on who was the kingpin behind the killing (there are more than a few other books like that) but his working thesis for years had been that Kennedy's arraignments to pull out of Vietnam was crucial, as he notes that Nixon had a peace deal in place when Watergate broke. But he recounts the historical relation of the banana companies to organized crime in New Orleans that had a documented relationship with Oswald and other covert figures: " Auguest 1963 men working with the two biggest banana companies, United Fruit and Standard Fruit and Steamship, interacted with Oswald at the moments of his most suspicious activities in New Orleans.

"The banana companies preference for military client governments had by 1963 created tensions with the Kennedy's preference in the same area for governments that were democratically elected. In late 1963 the banana companies, together with Nicaraguan strongman Anastasio Somoza, plotted together against the rhetoric of social reform and political democratization which the Kennedy Alliance for Progress proposed for Latin America. In the spirit of the rhetoric, liberal president Ramon Villeda Morales of Honduras had promoted a moderate social revolution, and had become known as a 'responsible leader who cooperated closely with John Kennedy and the Alliance for Progress.' The response of the banana firms and of Somoza was to support a military coup against Villeda on October 2, 1963, which began (like so many coups) with an attack on the presidential palace by US trained army pilots."

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