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BEFORE THE ‘COUP’
A secret cable from the U.S. Embassy in Honduras described former President Manuel Zelaya as a corrupt politician with links to organized crime a year before President Obama rushed to his defense after the Honduran Congress and courts removed Mr. Zelaya from office and created a diplomatic crisis in the Western Hemisphere.
In one of his last acts as U.S. ambassador in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, Charles A. Fordin May 2008 prepared an assessment of Mr. Zelaya for incoming American Ambassador Hugo Llorens, calling the leftist leader an old-fashioned Latin American strongman, or “caudillo,” and comparing Mr. Zelaya to a “rebellious teenager.”
“There also exists a sinister Zelaya, surrounded by a few close advisors with ties to both Venezuela and Cuba and organized crime,” Mr. Ford said in the cable released over the weekend by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.
“Due to his close association with persons believed to be involved with international organized crime, the motivations behind many of his policy decisions can certainly be questioned.
Despite Mr. Ford’s assessment of Mr. Zelaya, Mr. Llorens defended the Honduran leader a year later when the Honduran government forcibly removed him from the presidency, accusing him of violating the constitution.
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
• Defense Minister Pieter De Crem of Belgium, who attends a performance of the Royal Symphonic Band of the Belgian Guides at the Kennedy Center with 50 surviving veterans of World War II’s Battle of the Bulge.
• Ambassador Henryk Litwin, undersecretary of state of the Polish Foreign Ministry; Cornelius Ochmann of the Bertelsmann Foundation in Belgium; Ambassador Henryk Szlajfer, special adviser to the Polish Foreign Ministry; Karsten D. Voigt, former coordinator for German-American cooperation at the German Foreign Office; and Marcin Zaborowski, director of the Polish Institute for International Affairs. They discuss German and Polish policies toward Russia in a forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
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