Kudos to the New York Times for publishing a front-page article (10/8/09) about the U.S. advisers and lobbyists who have been working (in one form or another) on behalf of the coup government in Honduras. But the piece glosses over the U.S. history in the region. Reporters Ginger Thompson and Ron Nixon write that the coup government “has also drawn support from several former high-ranking officials who were responsible for setting United States policy in Central America in the 1980s and ’90s, when the region was struggling to break with the military dictatorships and guerrilla insurgencies that defined the cold war.”
When “the region was struggling to break with the military dictatorships and guerrilla insurgencies”? A little more clarity is needed there. The U.S.–to take two examples–supported a thuggish military government in El Salvador and created a “guerrilla insurgency” to try and defeat a left-wing government in Nicaragua. In other words, while “the region” may have wanted one thing, U.S. foreign policy sought to bolster violent, anti-democratic force. Stating these facts clearly would give readers a better sense of of the context–and demonstrate that people like Otto Reich and Roger Noriega are still on the wrong side.