Obama's Honduras Response Defuses Chávez Bluster

Condemnation of Honduran coup parries accusations of US complicity
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2009 11:00 AM CDT
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Hugo Chavez before the opening session of the 5th Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, April 17, 2009.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – President Obama confounded Hugo Chávez’s attempts to implicate Washington in the Honduran coup by calling for President Manuel Zelaya’s reinstatement, Simon Romero writes for the New York Times. When the coup was announced, Chávez immediately suggested that the US was financing Zelaya’s opponents or, as happened during a coup against Chávez himself in 2002, knew of the coming putsch and did nothing to stop it.

Chávez seemed to be expecting Obama to express support for the coup while hotly denying the Venezuelan president’s charges. Instead, Obama called the Honduran coup “illegal” and urged that the president be reinstated, neutering Chávez’s accusations without mentioning his name. Furthermore, he turned to the Organization of American States for help resolving the issue—a stark contrast to the Bush administration’s unilateralism.