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Obama Likely to Tread Carefully With Uribe

By Michael D. Shear
President Obama meets with Colombian president Álvaro Uribe this afternoon as his administration monitors the repercussions of the military coup in Honduras and the impact on its Latin American neighbors.

Aides had said last week that the Oval Office meeting would focus on efforts to shut down the drug trade and the stalled Colombian-U.S. free trade agreemeent. But the world's attention shifted over the weekend to Honduras, where the region's first military coup in more than a decade ended with the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya during a dawn raid of the presidential palace in the capital of Tegucigalpa.

In addition, Obama seems inclined to strike a tougher tone on human rights with Colombia than did his predecessor, George W. Bush, as he tries to expand the White House's alliances with more left-leaning governments in Latin America.

Obama said during the campaign that he supported the trade agreement, but that Colombia needed to take action to end human rights violations taken against labor leaders and others before the agreement could be ratified. Conservatives in the U.S. are pushing for ratification of the agreement, while Obama's liberal allies remain skeptical.

The Honduras coup is the latest example for the new U.S. president of how world events can suddenly shift priorities. During his first European trip in April, North Korea's decision to test fire a missile abruptly put security on the Korean peninsula on the public agenda.

Iran's disputed elections have pulled Obama and the White House into a back-and-forth with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad despite Obama's initial efforts to refrain from public involvement. The situation has forced the administration to back away from its promises of engagement with the country.

Now, Obama's administration will have no choice but to deal publicly with the coup in Honduras. Among the issues the White House will confront is the pressure that is likely to build in the region for the Honduran military to reinstall Zelaya. The coup has been condemned by neighboring countries, but military leaders of the effort and congressional leaders have already installed legislative leader Roberto Micheletti as the new president.

"We have worked hard to avoid this," a senior Obama official said in a background briefing with reporters, according to the Post's William Booth and Juan Forero. "This has been brewing a long time."

White House officials will also be asked to respond to claims by Zelaya before the coup that the U.S. embassy had blocked an earlier coup plan. In a newspaper interview published before his ouster, he said: "Everything was in place for the coup, and if the U.S. Embassy had approved it, it would have happened. But they did not."

Officially, Obama said in a statement that he was "deeply concerned by reports coming out of Honduras regarding the detention and expulsion of President Mel Zelaya."

But coup leaders in the country gave no indication Sunday that they plan to back down Sunday. The Honduran congress overwhelmingly endorsed the takeover and moved quickly to create a new government.

By Washington Post Editor  |  June 29, 2009; 7:43 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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-- "CONGRESS WAKE-UP, You Goof-offs"!!! - And oh the so-called Health Plan,- OBAMA stresses PREVENTION, DA!? - Well, the NUMBER 1 Preventative IN THE WORLD FOR OVERALL HEALTH is "ORAL & DENTAL Health CARE for ALL!!! Just ask the U.S. SURGEON GENERAL! DA?! - So where is the Mention about this MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE for Real Wellness & Prevention to so many Diseases and Ailments -- DENTAL & ORAL CARE??!! - jward52

Posted by: jward52 | July 1, 2009 6:46 AM | Report abuse

To comment the comment of Antonio Sossa
If you think Uribe is the most honest
President in South America...think before
writting Antonio...I am colombian and know
for sure that Uribe was a partner with
Pablo Escobar in the Medellin Cartel, he was Director of AEROCIVIL...the Equivalent of F.A.A. in the US, and he gave Pablo hundreds of Licenses, to Fly his planes full of Cocaine into the USA, is that what you call Honest Antonio?
Think dont know the whole story!

Posted by: feliu51 | June 30, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Shake and bake in Honduras and we helped. I'm sure.
Marxism Shmarxism, like North America, South America has always been controlled by elitists. Call them capitalists or Marxists
it's all the same to the poor.

Posted by: seemstome | June 30, 2009 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Ok, I have lived in honduras my entire life and never did I imagine to see the "upkeepers of democracy" (USA) turn against a people's atempt to protect their own. The military Coup (Not really a Coup) was actually a court order arrest approved by none other than the two branches of government which (supposedly) share equal power with the president. The reason behind this Arrest Warrant was Zelaya's clear defiance of not one or two but more than 7!!!!! ruling on the reform he was trying to pass, which declared it ILLEGAL. So just a quick question to everyone out there: If the Supreme court, Congress, Human Rights Agency as well as other multpile Law enforcement agencies decided that one of Obama's ideas was in fact ILLEGAL, and he kept pursuing it. Wouldn't it be FAIR, aswell as the DUTY of parallel organizations to STOP HIM in his path of illegality??

And somehow Honduras is getting crap for this... and being shunned not only by leftist governments throughout South America but by the big and great US and A

Posted by: andros_mitri | June 30, 2009 1:58 AM | Report abuse

As a Marxist, Obama hates President Uribe, the most democratic and honest president in Latin America, and the only friend of the U.S. As a Marxist, Obama defends Zelaya, a pupil of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, who about to take control of the Legislative and the Judicial bodies in Honduras. Zelaya was about to become another Marxist dictator like Chavez, Morales, Correa, Ortega, etc.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | June 30, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

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