Hill advances claim that Obama is "siding" with Chavez and Cuba

››› ››› DIANNA PARKER

The Hill's Michael O'Brien reported Newt Gingrich's accusation that President Obama is siding with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban leaders on the ousting of the Honduran president, without noting that the European Union and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon have also condemned the ouster.

In a June 30 post on its Briefing Room blog, The Hill's Michael O'Brien advanced the conservative claim that President Obama is siding with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban leaders on the June 28 ousting of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. O'Brien did not report that the European Union and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon have also condemned the ouster. O'Brien wrote that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich "blasted Obama" on Twitter "for opposing the coup in Honduras, which the former GOP leader insisted would have left in place a 'leftist dictatorship.' " He then reprinted several of Gingrich's posts on Twitter, one of which stated: "Sadly the obama administration has joined castro and chavez attacking honduran supreme court and congress for defending their constitution."

As Media Matters for America has documented, Fox News' Glenn Beck, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Mary Anastasia O'Grady, and Internet gossip Matt Drudge have all advanced the claim that Obama is siding with Chavez and Cuban leaders, without noting that other world leaders have also condemned Zelaya's ouster.

On June 28, Obama released the following statement on the situation in Honduras:

I am deeply concerned by reports coming out of Honduras regarding the detention and expulsion of President Mel Zelaya. As the Organization of American States [OAS] did on Friday, I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference.

At a June 29 joint press availability with Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, Obama stated: "All of us have great concerns about what's taken place there. President Zelaya was democratically elected. He had not yet completed his term. We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the President of Honduras, the democratically elected President there. In that we have joined all the countries in the region, including Colombia and the Organization of American States." He later stated: "So we are very clear about the fact that President Zelaya is the democratically elected President, and we will work with the regional organizations like OAS and with other international institutions to see if we can resolve this in a peaceful way."

On June 29, the European Union posted on its website a "Declaration by the Presidency, on behalf of the European Union, on Honduras," which states:

On 28 June Foreign Ministers of the European Union strongly condemned the military actions which were directed against democratically elected President Zelaya and part of his cabinet and have violated the constitutional order of Honduras. The EU urges the immediate release of all detained governmental representatives and calls on all relevant parties and institutions to refrain from violence and to strive to find a swift and peaceful solution to the current situation. This should be in accordance with the existing constitutional order of Honduras, the principles of rule of law and democracy.

And on June 28, the office of the spokesperson for the UN secretary-general issued a release stating that Ban "condemns the arrest today of the constitutional President of the Republic. He urges the reinstatement of the democratically elected representatives of the country." From the statement:

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the latest developments in Honduras. He expresses his strong support for the country's democratic institutions and condemns the arrest today of the constitutional President of the Republic. He urges the reinstatement of the democratically elected representatives of the country and full respect for human rights, including safeguards for the security of President Zelaya, members of his family and his government. He calls on all Hondurans to engage peacefully and in the spirit of reconciliation to resolve their differences.

The Secretary-General welcomes the prompt diplomatic efforts of the Organization of American States, whose Permanent Council is holding a special meeting this morning. He trusts that international and domestic efforts will succeed in the promotion of a peaceful solution to the crisis through democratic means.

From the June 30 Briefing Room post:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich accused President Obama of siding with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez when it comes to the recent coup in Honduras.

Gingrich blasted Obama for opposing the coup in Honduras, which the former GOP leader insisted would have left in place a "leftist dictatorship."

Gingrich tweeted Tuesday:

Sadly the obama administration has joined castro and chavez attacking honduran supreme court and congress for defending their constitution

Having castro call for defending democracy should convince any reasonable person that honduras was on the edge of a leftist dictatorship

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, International Conflicts
Network/Outlet
The Hill
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