To The Editor,
The New York Times
The October 8 article by Ginger Thompson “Leader Ousted, Honduras Hires U.S. Lobbyists” is erroneous, misleading, and thoroughly misrepresents the lengthy interview I gave her. Through innuendo, it implies that I am one of the aforementioned “lobbyists” hired by the Government of Honduras, and that I am behind the Congressional “hold” on two Obama Administration officials. Those allegations are false, as I repeatedly told her.
Though she says that I claim to not have lobbied, Thompson cleverly implies otherwise by associating my name with some who have lobbied. In fact, my name is the first that appears to document the article’s hypothesis. Ms. Thompson is so determined to “prove” that I communicated my views to the US Congress, apparently in what she thinks is some nefarious manner, that she misreports. For example, she states “For his part, Mr. Reich sent his thoughts to members of Congress by e-mail” and cites the following: “We should rejoice that one of the self-proclaimed “21st-century socialist” allies of Chávez has been legally deposed by his own countrymen.”
This quote is an excerpt from an article I published in National Review Online on September 28, with Thompson’s selection in italics, as follows: “The U.S. had nothing to do with Zelaya’s removal, and it should do nothing to force his return. Rather, we should rejoice that one of the self-proclaimed “21st-century socialist” allies of Chávez has been legally deposed by his own countrymen.” I did not send this “thought” to any member of Congress, as she states; instead it was published and freely available online.
Thompson further states that “… Reich said he had used his connections to push the agenda of the de facto government, led by Roberto Micheletti.” I said no such thing! I did say I believe the Obama Administration policy is wrong and I explained my opinion. I have not supported the “Micheletti agenda;” I have only criticized my own government’s misguided policies.
All my testimony, op-eds, articles and media interviews are my own doing. No one directs me, no one pays me (in fact, these efforts cost me money, as they take considerable time from my consulting practice) and no one else reviews my statements before they are published. I told Thompson that I do this because I see it as the duty of a citizen in a free society to dissent from his government’s policies when his conscience so dictates.
Finally, I told Thompson repeatedly that I oppose Congressional “holds” on nominees since as a several-times Presidential appointee I have been the subject of three such delays – one by Chris Dodd and two by Jesse Helms. None of this was mentioned by her. Indeed, there is another false implication that I am behind the holds of State Department nominees Arturo Valenzuela and Tom Shannon. Fortunately, both of the nominees are personal friends are know these allegations are false.
All the above is on the record and I urge you to print it in the interest of journalistic objectivity.
Otto J. Reich