Obama’s new Latin American policy advisor: grandson of Honduran strong man

Jean-Guy Allard

U.S. functionary Ricardo Zúñiga, grandson of the right-wing Honduran politician of the same name – known for his support to the military dictatorship of Colonel Oswaldo López – has been appointed director of Western Hemisphere Affairs by Barack Obama, having previously run destabilization operations for the U. S. Interests Section in Havana, before going on to supervise these activities from Washington.

Zúñiga is a traveling salesman, distributing the most backward, anti-Cuban ideas wherever he lands.

Assuming this new position, Zúñiga is taking the place of Dan Restrepo, of Colombian origin, who was booted after his poor showing at the recent Summit of the Americas, where Obama lost face as a result of both his inability to address Latin American aspirations and the scandalous behavior of his security guards.

Zúñiga, who now becomes Obama’s National Security Council advisor on Latin America, is a U.S. born citizen of Honduran descent, the grandson of Ricardo Zúñiga Agustines, the National Party strong man, architect of the Oswaldo López Arrellano military coup, carried out just 10 days before Presidential elections were to take place in 1963.


A diehard anti-communist, grandfather Zúñiga structured the illegitimate López Arrellano government and controlled it to the degree that even his U.S. backers were worried about discontent within the ranks of the Honduran military. The regime installed by Zúñiga and headed by the inept López Arrellano, was committed to stamping out any sign whatsoever of the left.

Zúñiga and his National Party, which governed with an iron glove, whipped up followers with calls to save Honduras from communism with a regime of terror, hate and death, according to firsthand reports from the era.

Thus López Arrellano was installed as President the first time on October 3, 1963, and remained in power through June 7, 1971, when he allowed elections to be held. The person who was elected, however, was not to his liking, so, on December 4, 1972, he retook the Presidency.

Despite their close ties to United Fruit, López Arrellano and Zúñiga were removed from power April 25, 1975, in a coup led by General Juan Alberto Melgar Castro, after a US-provoked scandal called “Bananagate.”

After running in the 1981 Presidential elections, Zúñiga Sr. was consigned to the dustbin of history.


Ricardo Zúñiga the grandson established his diplomatic credentials during an assignment to Havana, where he served as human rights advisor, according to the right-wing Honduran newspaper La Prensa.

The reality is quite different and not so innocuous.

Zúñiga worked at the U.S. Interests Section bunker in Havana under the direction of the eccentric James Cason who later, as ambassador to Paraguay, devoted himself to singing in Guaraní, and is now the mayor of Coral Gables, where an anti-Cuban terrorist attack was recently carried out.

In Havana, Zúñiga led all the subversive work and financing of “dissidents,” collaborating not only with the State Department, but with the CIA and the Miami mafia as well, to push U.S. intervention in Cuba to new limits.

His lack of respect for Cuba, its people and sovereignty, served to create a confrontational environment, given his daily, crude provocations of the country’s authorities.

In a television appearance April 23, 2003, Cuban leader Fidel Castro singled out Zúñiga and his boss Cason as those principally responsible for an increase in the number of aggressive U.S. attacks on Cuba.

Fidel cited several occasions during which the Cason-Zúñiga duo openly attempted to “invent” an opposition party which would supposedly overthrow the Cuban government.

Fidel reported that, January 19 through 25, 2003, James Cason and Ricardo Zúñiga took a trip through the provinces of Las Tunas, Holguín, Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo, providing “material support” to counterrevolutionary grouplets.

These visits all around the country, to call upon any one who might express a minimum of discontent, gave Zúñiga the opportunity to peddle his backward, anti-Cuban ideas to a clientele composed primarily of antisocial delinquents looking for a visa to the United States and a subsidized existence there.

Aleida Godínez, State Security agent Vilma, who infiltrated the so-called “dissidence” during this period, recalled Ricky Zúñiga. She recalled, “He is a prototype yankee, it doesn’t matter that he’s Honduran, contrary to the opinion of his aunt Elizabeth “Tita” Zúñiga, who said that he never forgot his roots. There’s nothing Latin American about him.”

After completing his “humanitarian” mission in Cuba, Zúñiga was honored for his anti-communist accomplishments and assigned to the Cuba office at the State Department, to later be appointed as its director so he could continue giving free rein to his right-wing sentiments.

He was subsequently named head of the political section within the U.S. embassy in Brazil, to do who-knows-what, before this latest promotion to advise the White House on Latin America policy matters.


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