Honduran resistance: U.S. Ambassador Llorens knew about the coup

An article posted to the website of the Honduran National Popular Resistance Front details allegations that the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, was aware of the coup plot as it was being prepared in the summer of 2009, and was consulted by prominent figures of the Honduran right wing and business community immediately prior to the coup.  The source of these allegations is a radio interview with  Roland Valenzuela, an ex-minister in the government of ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya.  Valenzuela was murdered on June 17, 2010, in circumstances described in the international media as a personal argument.  Valenzuela is not the only prominent Honduran figure to have made accusations of a U.S. role in the coup; Manuel Zelaya himself said as much in a recent interview:

“Due to their post-coup actions we have now confirmed what we had suspected.  The United States was behind the coup d’etat.  At first the State Department denied their ties to the coup, and even made statements of condemnation…the U.S. confirmed through its actions that it is the best defender [of the coup].”

The following translation was originally posted on the blog Honduras Culture and Politics. The cited interview with Valenzuela is available on the website of the FNRP.

North American ambassador did know about the coup and was part of the conspiracy

The North American ambassador accredited to Tegucigalpa, Hugo Llorens, did know about the coup d’Etat against Manuel Zelaya Rosales, the ex-minister of the Zelaya administration, Roland Valenzuela, revealed days before his death, in an interview broadcast by the journalist Ernesto Alonso Rojas, in a local radio station of the city of San Pedro Sula.

Fifteen days after the assassination of the ex-minister of the National Program of Sustainable Development (PRONADERA), at the hands of the businessman Carlos Yacaman Meza, the interview has circulated on different networks on the Internet, in which he signals in a clear way that the North American ambassador participated directly in the planning of the coup d’Etat and expressed his fear that he could be assassinated for the interview.

The interview, taped the first of May and broadcast by Radio Internacional of San Pedro Sula, regained importance after President Zelaya accused the US of forming part of the coup d’Etat, and Ambassador Llorens appeared denying his participation.

But Valenzuela related in detail how the Ambassador did participate in the coup and how the 1oth of June of 2009, the then-president of the National Congress Roberto Micheletti, converted into dictator the 28th of the same month, sent the draft of the decree that would remove Zelaya from office to the North American ambassador to ask his opinion.

According to the story of the ill-fated ex-minister, despite the fact that it was still the 10th of June, the decree carried the date the 28th of June, with the following message for the ambassador, “Ambassador Llorens, this is the decree that Micheletti delivered to me, some opinions are lacking but it requires your immediate opinion.”

Valenzuela pointed out as well that the decree sent to the ambassador carried the signature of the congress members Ricardo Rodriguez, Liberal party member and present Sub Procurador of the Republic, Toribio Aguilera Coello, PINU member presently congress member, Rolando Dubon Buezo, Nacional party member and still congressman, Rigoberto Chan Castillo, Nacional party member now secretary of Congress and Gabo Alfredo Jalil Mejia who served as Minister of Defense in the Micheletti regime.

In accord with the interview the person who supposedly sent the decree to the North American ambassador was Jacqueline Foglia Sandoval, a Honduran ex-military, graduate of West Point, who served as attaché of defense in the Honduran embassy in Washington, and as a member of COHEP (Honduran Council of Private Enterprise), among other organizations.

“What did ambassador Llorens have to do walking around, getting involved in the internal affairs of Honduras, giving opinions on a draft document that is the removal of president Zelaya” the ex minister asked in the conversation with the journalist Rojas.

Hillary Clinton promised to restore Zelaya

Valenzuela went further by affirming that the North American Secretary of State promised Zelaya to restore him in power on the first visit that he made to Washington after being overthrown.

“Hillary Clinton on the first visit of president Zelaya swore to president Zelaya that they were going to restore him and afterward they went looking for a position so that the dictatorship could perpetuate itself in power”.

Valenzuela affirmed that the restitution of President Zelaya did not happen, “because the gringos betrayed us, because the gringos always betray us… they play a role, saying to us that they are going to aid us and on the other hand they say to Micheletti, hang on, Micheletti, hang on, we aren’t going to remove you”.

They never restored Zelaya.

Who is Jacqueline Foglia Sandoval

Foglia is singled out by Valenzuela, as the person charged with coordinating and operating the coup d’Etat, “she is the one that coordinated what would be delivered to each one of those that served as executors of the coup, what they should do and say, and what they wanted them to declare”, and proposed as an example what she said to the then-Procurador General of the Republic, Rosa América Miranda de Galo.

“Attorney this is the cuarta urna decree, it is published now, you have to declare it illegal”.

The 11th of May of 2009, the Court of Administrative Disputes in Tegucigalpa, declared the petition to nullify the survey of the 28th of June presented by the Special Attorney Against Corruption, Henry Salgado, admissable. Three days later the Procuradora General, Rosa América Miranda, cleared it at trial, leaving defenseless the government of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales.

Foglia Sandoval also is singled out in the report “The Facts Speak for Themselves” of the Commissioner of Human Rights, Leo Valladares Lanza, of being part of the battalion 3-16, which in the 1980s was in charge of assassinations and disappearances of Hondurans.

Enjoying the luxury of Dubai the overthrow of Zelaya started

The ill-fated minister revealed how six major businessmen came together at a fair in the city of Dubai, in the bar of a hotel, saying that “Zelaya has to be removed, we cannot support him anymore”.

According to the declarations of Valenzuela the conspiracy to remove President Zelaya began in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, in the distant Middle East, immediately after the project of the cuarta urna was announced.

A group of businessmen that were participating in an international fair, who Valenzuela did not identify, decided in that meeting that they were going to remove Zelaya from power and then they articulated and paid a lobbyist in Washington, identified only with the last name of Smith, to begin to discredit the government of Zelaya, a job that cost them four million dollars.

Perhaps Valenzuela was referring to the firm of lobbyists Smith, Dawson and Andrews with its headquarters in Washington.

According to the story, it was in the same reunion that the decided to name Jacqueline Foglia as the coordinator and person in charge of logistics to prepare the overthrow of Zelaya.

Marcia Villeda faked the signature of president Zelaya

In one part of the interview, Valenzuela mentions how the coup d’Etat was planned in congress and in one of the many meetings of the conspiracy, the then and present congress member Marcia Facusse de Villeda was ordered to obtain documents for the accusations against Zelaya.

And about the falsification of president Zelaya, Valenzuela said without subterfuge that it was Marcia Facusse de Villeda who was charged with faking the signature of the president.

In the extensive interview that Valenzuela gave days before his death, he confessed that when Zelaya named him as minister of Pronadera, he knew nothing about agriculture; he criticized the role of the fuel transnationals, the system of administration of justice, as well as the role of personages such as Carlos Flores, who he singled out as involved directly in the coup d’Etat.

Valenzuela will not be able to testify before the Truth Commission because of his assassination in cold blood, in the city of San Pedro Sula, but without knowing his declarations it will be a good contribution to the knowledge of the truth, although now, Valenzuela is dead.

About cascadiasolidaria

Human rights and solidarity activist from Cascadia, North America, writing about issues of justice and security in Guatemala and Central America from a perspective of solidarity with human rights and social movements.
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