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It’s Not Benghazi: Hillary Clinton’s Real Scandal Is Honduras.

| July 26, 2014

Hillary Clinton and then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in the background, teamed up to prop up a thuggish regime in Honduras. ( Chad J. McNeeley)

Hillary Clinton and then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in the background, teamed up to prop up a thuggish regime in Honduras. ( Chad J. McNeeley)

By Emily Schwartz Greco

Is it too soon to predict who will be the next president of the United States?

Without officially declaring her intention to run again, Hillary Clinton has cornered Democratic frontrunner status. Given the weak and crowded Republican field, that makes her the presumptive next occupant of a prestigious office lacking — as comedian Jon Stewart observes — any corners.

Emily Schwartz Greco

Emily Schwartz Greco

Clinton’s apparent unbeatability this time around helps explain the right-wing hysteria over the Benghazi tragedy. The conspiracy theories about the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya amount to a desperate effort to discredit the Democratic Party’s strong centrist candidate. It’s no surprise that this ploy isn’t making a dent on her popularity.

What beats me is why more Democrats aren’t deeply troubled by the legacy of Clinton’s foreign policy blunder in Honduras.

Maybe you’ve forgotten what happened in that small country in the first year of the Obama administration — more on that in a moment. But surely you’ve noticed the ugly wave of xenophobia greeting a growing number of Central American child refugees arriving on our southern border.

Some of President Barack Obama’s supporters are trying to blame this immigration crisis on the Bush administration because of an anti-trafficking law George W. signed in 2008specifically written to protect Central American children that preceded an uptick in their arrivals. But which country is the top source of kids crossing the border? Honduras, home to the world’s highest murder rate, Latin America’s worst economic inequality, and a repressive U.S.-backed government.

other-wordsWhen Honduran military forces allied with rightist lawmakers ousted democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya in 2009, then-Secretary of State Clinton sided with the armed forces and fought global pressure to reinstate him.

Washington wields great influence over Honduras, thanks to the numerous military bases built with U.S. funds where training and joint military and anti-drug operations take place. Since the coup, nearly $350 million in U.S. assistance, including more than $50 million in military aid has poured into the country.

That’s a lot of investment in a nation where the police, the military, and private security forces are killing people with alarming frequency and impunity, according to Human Rights Watch.

In short, desperate Honduran children are seeking refuge from a human rights nightmarethat would cast a dark cloud over Clinton’s presidential bid right now if the media were paying any attention.

That wouldn’t give Republicans a big advantage, of course. Until they stop alienating a majority of female voters and communities of color, I find it hard to see the party of Mitt Romney and John McCain winning the White House.

Given the Democratic Party’s demographic edge, progressives have nothing to lose by seizing on the GOP field’s weakness and pressing for a viable alternative to another Clinton administration. Senator Elizabeth Warren could prove a contender. Unfortunately, the consumer-rights firebrand and Massachusetts Democrat lacks any foreign policy experience.

And foreign policy is no afterthought these days. Israel — the recipient of $3.1 billion a year in U.S. military aid — is waging a ground war in Gaza, and the stakes in the Russia-Ukraine conflict just grew following the downing of that Malaysia Airlines jet. Plus, Iraq is growing more violent and unstable once more. On all these issues, Clinton is more hawkish than most of the Democratic base.

But other Democrats with a wide range of liberal credentials and foreign policy expertise are signaling some interest in running, especially if Clinton ultimately sits out the race.

Even if Clinton does win in 2016, a serious progressive primary challenge could help shape her presidency. As more and more Honduran kids cross our border in search of a safe haven, voters should take a good look at her track record at the State Department and reconsider the inevitability of another Clinton administration.

Emily Schwartz Greco is the managing editor of OtherWords, the non-profit national editorial service run by the Institute for Policy Studies

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4 Responses for “It’s Not Benghazi: Hillary Clinton’s Real Scandal Is Honduras.”

  1. m&m says:

    She is an evil vendictive person.. She has a lot of ghost in her closet.. We have seen her failures and I wouldn’t want her as a dog catcher..

  2. Jim R. says:

    No real progressive would ever vote for this war-mongering witch, unless they have been infected with
    the Lesser Of Two Evils virus, and the idea that a progressive challenge from someone like Elizabeth Warren would shape Hillary’s presidency is fantasy. Hillary will say any thing to win, but if she was elected she would be the servant of Wall Street, corporate interests and the MIC., any progressive ideas would be thrown in the nearest trashcan.
    My prediction is that if she is the Democrats choice in 16, a republican will win, most likely Jeb Bush.

  3. Raul Troche says:

    Just the fact that Hillary was a follower of Saul Alinsky the communist community organizer,just as Obama was , would make me want to scratch her off my my ah list. Alinsky, who she wrote her thesis on at Columbia university, encourages lying and deceit to get what you want. He believes is destroying from within. Hillary went to him when she wanted to disrupt a republican convention. She had plans but Saul rejected those and instead suggested her followers dress and act as KKK members and to agree with her adversary. She took the advice and it worked. See the new movie America. I’d vote for her. I’d vote she be deported to Honduras.

  4. Enlightened says:

    Ahhh, spoken like true Republicans! Apparently, you both have a problem with a women in the White House. Let’s not forget what the Bush family has done to this Country. We are still paying for it. As an veteran and a female, I have strong opinions about Hilary. I have not seen a decent presidential candidate in years. It is a shame that I and others feel forced to vote for the lesser of two evils. If she does run I may be forced to vote for her just to shut the door on the money hungry Republicans. By the way, I am not affiliated with any party.

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