Interview with Costa Rican journalist Carlos Salazar, by Chevige González Marcó
July 8, 2009
After yesterday’s meeting between the Secretary of State for the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton, and President Manuel Zelaya, the news raced round the world. It had to do with the announcement that the Costa Rican president, Oscar Arias as “mediator” of a dialogue between the constitutional Honduran government and the putschists headed by the dictator Micheletti.
In Costa Rica, various political movements and analysts doubt that Arias is the best person to facilitate the dialogue. YVKE Mundial interviewed Carlos Salazar, coordinating editor of the digital newspaper Nuestro País de San José, in order to understand the reasons for the lack of confidence in the role that the Costa Rican president might play.
Salazar said that in the first place, one must remember that Oscar Arias is one of the main representatives of the Central American oligarchy, the same oligarchy that in Honduras pushed and supported the coup carried out by the military. He warns that Arias told the BBC in London as well as other media that he was aware of the coup in Honduras before Zelaya arrived in his country.
In order to get an idea of the links between great economic power and the present Costa Rican president, Salazar said that “on May 31, 2005, Arias participated in a meeting in Guatemala along with the late ex-president of El Salvador, Armando Calderón and José Maria Aznar, with 400 rich and famous invitees, and pushed the free trade treaty with the United States. That same day, these economic groups agreed to finance Oscar Arias’s electoral campaign, as he’d decided to run for re-election.
Arias finally reached the presidency by a margin of barely 18,000 votes in a fraudulent context that was never investigated by the corresponding authorities, considering that the members of the Elections Tribunal had been appointed by Arias’s party.
Salazar said that Arias was the poker chip chosen by the Central American oligarchy in order to “twist the arm” of President Zelaya and negotiate for him to reverse the social and political changes he had begun.
Salazar said that one of the things that bothered the oligarchy was the health agreement that would allow the import of generic medicines from Cuba. Recall that Jorge Canahuati, one of the businessmen supporting the coup in Honduras, is the owner of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturer in Honduras, and that he had always enjoyed privileged state contracts.
Oscar Arias is friendly with Central America’s oligarch families. The previous head of the U.S. Southern Command invited the minister of the Costa Rican government to visit the headquarters of that military institution in December of last year, at the same time that the rumor that a coup d’etat was underway was circulating throughout the region.
For several weeks, the newspaper La Nación in Costa Rica, has been editorially justifying the possibility of a coup d’etat in Honduras. Carlos Salazar said that the coup in Tegucigalpa is also a warning from the large and powerful groups and a threat to all the governments who represent projects that favor the people.
Salazar finds similarities between the coup d’etat that removed former Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide from power, with the toppling of Zelaya. Both were expelled from their countries in order to impose governments that would benefit the interests of the largest economic groups and abolish the measures that favored the people.
Hear the interview (in Spanish) with Salazar here: Carlos Salazar on Oscar Arias – Spanish
Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.