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Public Statements


Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I want to spend a few minutes tonight talking about what is going on in Honduras. I have a lot of friends in Honduras, and I have this peculiar worry that we find ourselves on the wrong side of freedom in the situation that is happening in Honduras.

As you read the press clips, what we have heard is there was a coup.

That, in fact, is not true. The Supreme Court of Honduras, under the direction of the Congress, asked the military to intercede because the President of Honduras had violated their own laws. Yet our State Department and our foreign policy sided with Hugo Chavez, Raoul Castro, and the former President.

There is no question that improvements have been made in the past in Central and South America, but tonight we find ourselves supporting an anticonstitutional President of Honduras when, in fact, the Congress of Honduras and the Supreme Court of Honduras have said he is violating their laws. So rather than look at the whole picture, we have decided we will intervene in our diplomacy on the side of a Chavez-type, would-be dictator because what was happening in Honduras was an effort to change so you could have a President for life in Honduras. That is what was going on. That is why the Congress and that is why the Supreme Court of Honduras acted. We now are siding against the people of Honduras.

What is little known is 800 to 1,000 Venezuelan thugs were admitted into Honduras, in the week prior to this, with Honduran passports to create chaos or a systematic attempt to create upheaval and discord and rioting by Chavez's thugs. So now we find ourselves, the free United States, siding with somebody who wants to make sure the Honduran people are not free, to create another petro czar dictator in South Central America.

It is tremendously important we get this right. I think we are heading in the wrong direction right now. I think we are heading in the direction where we are going to make sure Honduras falls into the fold of Hugo Chavez, the last thing any of us should want. He has become the dictator in charge of Venezuela. He has nationalized American assets. He has corrupted the free Democratic process, and he seeks to do that in all the other areas where he can maintain influence. In fact, he was doing it.

The other thing that is important that is not well published is that the President of Honduras was totally associated with drug cartels, cash, the distribution and transmission of drugs into this country, and the moneys associated with that were used to buy people to support his pursuit of permanent power. Now we find ourselves out there on a limb with our foreign policy without looking at the whole story.

My main concern is about all those people who do want freedom in Honduras, who do believe we model in this country what they aspire to, and now the country they aspire to is siding against the vast majority of the people in Honduras. No illegal acts took place under the orders of the supreme court by the military--no illegal acts. Yet we didn't look at it close enough, and we have made now foreign policy decisions I fear are going to be irreversible.

There is no question things could be done better in Honduras, but there is also no question things could be done better here. For us to decide to side with the factors that are going to force Honduras into a situation similar to Cuba and Venezuela makes my blood boil, because not only are we going to eliminate and limit the freedom of those great people, we are going to help perpetuate the loss of freedom in that hemisphere.

So I call out to the President and the Secretary to do a reassessment. Let's relook at the facts. Let's talk to the people on the ground. Let's make sure we have the facts and the knowledge about what the vast majority of people in Honduras want. You can stimulate chaos if you pay enough money and bring enough people in to do that, which was the intent of President Zelaya.

My hope is that we will slow down, that we will use caution at every turn as we interface with the situation. The Honduran people have the right to have their Constitution followed. That is what they did when they executed the imposition of removal of the President of Honduras. They followed their own law, their own Constitution. They don't have the right of impeachment, but they do have the right of carrying out the orders of the supreme court, which were given. For us to take this position--and this strong of a position--on what I feel has been a diplomatic lack of information of what is truth in Honduras speaks poorly for us as a nation and, most importantly, undermines the hopes of the people from Honduras.

With that, I yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum.

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