Correction (& update on the Non-Profit-Military-Industrial-USG Complex Whac-A-Mole)

I am informed by Marifeli Perez-Stable that "I'm a non-resident senior fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue. which the Dialogue's web page makes clear." My apologies to her for misrepresenting her as Vice President for Democratic Governance at the think tank; I will be sure to update the information. The confusion stemmed from her position being stated as such on her individual FIU bio as well as her bio at the Cuba Research Institute (which, por cierto will be a fun side-investigation on funding--and on another note I imagine these will soon be updated in light of this post) and by the fact that until it was discontinued last month, her own site listed said affiliation.

Unsurprisingly, the Arcadia Foundation (see Detrás del Golpe—now subtitled in English—for background) finds in Perez-Stable a close ally on Honduras, and also listed her as Vice President for Democratic Governance at the Monologue Inter-American Dialogue in reprinting her January 28th Miami Herald article New faces, new policies in region, in which she wrote:

Wednesday, Porfirio ‘Pepe’ Lobo assumed the presidency of Honduras. After his inauguration, Lobo, the Dominican Republic’s Leonel Fernández and Guatemala’s Alvaro Colom went to the Brazilian embassy to escort former President Manuel Zelaya to the airport. He traveled to the Dominican Republic in Fernández’s plane. And so the Honduras crisis that started with Zelaya’s power grab came to a close. Fortunately, the Honduran congress issued an amnesty for all parties.

Last November, Lobo won in a landslide (56 percent versus 38 percent for his Liberal rival) with the highest number of votes cast (2.3 million) in Honduran history. Though electoral turnout was about the same as in 2005 (50 percent), Lobo has a resounding mandate while Zelaya did not (he won 50 percent versus Lobo’s 46 percent in 2005).

No comment on the first paragraph, and on the second, actually, the number of votes cast was closer to 600,000, according to an official from the TSE who, for reasons of security, requested his name not be published...but who's counting?

Perez-Stable participated in an FIU panel on the Honduran coup in July 2009, described in an article on FIU's website titled FIU Experts: Honduras is Obama’s first major test in Latin America. "Experts" belongs in scare quotes there, as you can see from this video excerpt:

Here, Perez-Stable asserts counterfactually that "we can’t overlook the fact that on the way to June 28th, Zelaya was violating the Honduran constitution. He’s not an altar boy. He was undermining democracy in Honduras." [Although, I have to admit I don't know if Mel was or wasn't an altar boy, so there may indeed have been a fact in there. Does anyone know if Zelaya was ever an altar boy?]

With Perez-Stable on the panel was Cristina Eguizábal, current vice-chair of WOLA's board, who more recently gave a glowing review of Funes's embrace of Honduran de facto president Pepe Lobo (while attacking the Salvadoran people's opposition to the continuation of a SOUTHCOM-supported military coup next door) in her country report on El Salvador's "strategic culture" for SOUTHCOM:

Some of the most critical disagreements have included the country’s stance on the July 2009 coup in neighboring Honduras. While the FMLN has echoed Hugo Chávez´s fiery rhetoric and radicalism, Funes opted for a more judicious and pragmatic view. In fact, Funes is currently one of the Isthmus’ leading voices in seeking international recognition of Porfirio Lobo as Honduras’ legitimate president.

Also joining Perez-Stable and Eguizábal on the panel was then FIU President-designate (currently president) Mark B. Rosenberg, professor of political science and described in the note as "a leading expert on Honduras." News to me. While Rosenberg wrote several articles and a (long out of print) book about Honduras in the 1980s and a few chapters and articles in the 1990s, to call him a leading expert is the peak of hyperbole. Still, it's true that Freedom House seems to like citing him. He coauthored a chapter for the Inter-American Dialogue's proceedings from the "Democratic Governance in the Americas" conference held in 1994 titled Democratization and the Role of the Armed Forces in Honduras. I haven't read it, but I have to assume from the title that the "expert" assumed there was a legitimate role for an armed forces whose only enemy was domestic dissidents, coming out of the brutal 1980s in which CIA-trained death squads within the same military disappeared, tortured and killed around 200 people.

The other participant, Eduardo A. Gamarra, holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pittsburgh, but unlike fellow Pitt PoliSci PhD Jose Rene Argueta, who participated in FIU-SOUTHCOM's recent Honduras workshop, does not falsely claim said affiliation as current. Gamarra was previously the head of FIU's Latin American and Caribbean Center (Eguizábal now holds that position), now a key partner in the FIU-SOUTHCOM alliance, and in that capacity served as project co-director for Central America 2020, a joint project with the Inter-American Dialogue with major funding from USAID.

On the day after the Honduran coup, Perez-Stable (at the time still holding the position which I wrongfully attributed to her more recently) posted a note celebrating the 2009 NED Democracy Award and roundtable discussion "Toward a Free Cuba: the Prospect for Democracy after 50 Years of Dictatorship"

The NED, of course, through which Vicki Gass of WOLA—who in a Congressional hearing called for greater U.S. military aid for the same Honduran military and police that are actively involved in the ongoing targeted torture and targeted assassinations of resistance members—was funded (in Iraq, through her job at the NDI) prior to assuming her current position, was the main player in legitimizing the fraudulent illegal Honduran elections by sending "observers" through the IRI and NDI to whitewash a record low turnout and election-day violence carried out by Honduran police and military against non-violent protesters, when the OAS, the EU, the UN and the Carter Center had all ruled the elections illegal and refused to send monitors.

Joining Perez-Stable at the NED Cuba event was José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch. Over 90 academics signed a letter to call out Human Rights Watch last year for its virtual silence on Honduras, and HRW's record there remains particularly weak. George Soros just gave Human Rights Watch a $100 million grant to "expand global presence." The program officer of the Soros's Open Society Institute's Latin America Program seems to rather dislike me, and nailed me last week for a flippant remark about Freedom House being a CIA front. David Holiday, whose previous employer for many years was USAID (he worked for the Agency most recently in Afghanistan), spent several years as an Associate at WOLA earlier on in his career. WOLA board members have been pushing Honduran resistance leaders to accept Freedom House funding in recent months.

The Non-Profit-Military-Industrial-USG Complex: A Whac-A-Mole!


That reminds me of...

Perez-Stable's complaint about being misrepresented reminds me of the following tale.

There was an elderly woman who sold pretzels on a pushcart for a quarter.

Every day, a kind-hearted young man passed by, and he would leave a quarter but never take a pretzel.

Day after day, week after week, month after month.

One day, as usual, he passed by and, as usual, left a quarter without taking a pretzel.

"They're thirty five cents now," the old lady called out.

And that is what you call chutzpah.