Mel Buddy, Buck Stops With You

  • Written by  Marco Cáceres

After five years of denying knowledge of the illegal withdrawals of Lps 40 million (US$2 million) and Lps 10 million (US$500,000) from the Central Bank of Honduras on June 24 and June 26 of 2009, Enrique Flores Lanza, who served as the Minister of the Presidency under President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya (2006-2009) of Honduras, on Tuesday changed his story. Mr. Flores admitted that the money was withdrawn and delivered to representatives of the Zelaya government to pay for personnel and materials related to the proposed "cuarta urna" (fourth ballot box) public opinion poll, which had been declared illegal by the Public Ministry, Attorney General, and Supreme Court in May 2009.

Under pressure from ongoing legal proceedings against him by the Supreme Court for his alleged involvement in the case, Mr. Flores on Wednesday revealed the names of the 33 "departmental coordinators" who received a total of Lps 47 million (US$2.35 million) in the days just prior to President Zelaya's overthrow on June 28, 2009.

 

The list includes: Carlos R. Aguilar, Roberto Babún, Rafael Barahona, José Saro Bonano, José Antonio Borjas Macís, Marlon Brevè, Marco T. Burgos, Gustavo Cáceres Flores, Marco Cartagena, Freddy Cerrato, Óscar Flores, Francisco Fúnez, Doris Garcia, Fernando Garcia, Héctor Hernández, Ricardo Martinez, Mayra Mejia, Miriam Mejia, Jorge Méndez, Rixi Moncada, Armando Sarmiento, Lorenzo Sauceda, Rodolfo Padilla Sunceri, Julio Quintanilla, Jorge A. Rosa, Marco A. Rosa, Cesar Salgado, Ada Serrano, Rolando Valenzuela, Raúl Valladares, Tomas Vaquero, Daniel Zambrano, and Karen Zelaya.

 

At around the same time as the names were made public, Mr. Zelaya (surrounded by leaders of the Libre Party -- most of whom were members of his Cabinet when he was President) called on the many field activists, who were involved in trying to stage the cuarta urna, to come forward and account for the money they handled. Rather than focus on his closest advisers such as Mr. Flores and his coordinators, Mr. Zelaya sought to engage the thousands of unknown grassroots volunteers. Clever.

 

Mr. Zelaya said, "We call on the more than 50,000 persons who we managed during the process of the cuarta urna, for which we expected the backing of 1 million persons... so that we can prepare ourselves to account for [the money] and to demand our rights before those who trampled on us that day."

 

What Mr. Zelaya fails to understand is that it is not his many activists, nor his 33 coordinators, nor even Mr. Flores who are responsible for giving a full accounting of what happened to the Lps 50 million, but rather he. It is he  who was President. It was obviously he  who instructed Mr. Flores to order the withdrawal of the money, even though the funds had not been approved by Congress. Try as he might to distribute the responsibility and ease his load, Mr. Zelaya simply cannot hide from the fact that he  was the guy at the top who set everything in motion. (8/15/14) (image courtesy Internet)

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Note: The author is the editor and cofounder of Honduras Weekly. He is also the author of the book, "The Good Coup: The Overthrow of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras". His next book, "The Wolf We Feed: Post-Coup Honduras Under Pepe Lobo", will be published in the fall of 2014. 

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