Listening to Obama, the gentlemen pictured above would have had a right to scream "Liar, liar, pants on fire!" at this line:
No, the U.S. empire doesn't go to war with democracies. But if it doesn't like the leaders the people put in office, it just gets rid of them.
Clockwise, from the upper left:
- Mohammad Mosaddeq: was elected to Iran's parliament in 1944 and became Prime Minister in 1951. His platform was expanding democracy and using Iran's oil resources for the benefit of the people. To achieve the later, he nationalized oil facilities that have been held by British companies. He was overthrown by a CIA-organized coup in 1953. Afterwards Iran was under the autocratic rule of the Shah, a brutal U.S, puppet king, until he was ousted by the also-brutal Islamic revolution that remains in power today.
- Jacobo Arbenz: Was elected president of Guatemala in 1951 in the first peaceful transfer of power in the country's history. He followed his predecessor by opening up voting rights and breaking up underutilized foreign-owned plantations to give land to landless peasants. The U.S.-company United Fruit didn't like that policy. The U.S. government falsely labeled Arbenz a Communist and overthrew him in a CIA coup in 1954.
- Salvador Allende: He was elected president of Chile in 1970 culminating a long socialist/reformist political career. U.S. mining companies and other corporations considered Allende a "communist" who would interfere with their uncontrolled profits. The Nixon administration in the U.S. authorized the CIA to destabilize Chile, at that time Latin America's proudest democracy. U.S.-supported army offices rose up against the civilian government on September 11, 1973. Allende died during the coup, possibly murdered; Chile was ruled by a military dictatorship for the next eight years, not fully returning to democracy until the 1990s.
- Manuel Zelaya: served as elected President of Honduras from January 27, 2006 to June 28, 2009 when he was removed by the military and less populist politicians were installed. The United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the European Union condemned the coup. The Obama administration, however, was lukewarm in its opposition. The rest of world continues not recognize November 29 elections held by the coup regime, while the U.S. acts content with the overthrow of constitutional government in Honduras.