One week ago, the military in Honduras ousted Manuel Zelaya as president of that country. Since that time, the great majority of the world community, including the United Nations, the Organization of American States (OAS), El Salvador and the US have condemned the military coup. When the OAS declared that Honduras would be suspended from the organization if the country did not restore Zelaya to the presidency by Saturday, July 4, the new government in Honduras responded by quitting the OAS. Tensions are running high today as Zelaya plans to return to Honduras and the government plans to stop him.
I'm not a student of Honduran government and politics, so I have not been writing about the coup in this blog. The blogging community does have several good sources of information in English and Spanish about the evolving situation. A Global Voices blog post published just before the ouster of Zelaya gives an overview of the tensions in the country in the days leading up to the coup. Global Voices followed up with a post on the night following the coup.
Latin America blogger Boz offers his usual insightful commentary about what is going on in the country. Among his comments:
The interim Micheletti government in Honduras has not helped itself by issuing a curfew, censoring the media and breaking up protests. Their attempts to claim democratic legitimacy don't look particularly convincing when they decide to shut down pro-Zelaya media outlets and censor the international coverage entering the country. The only remotely positive thing they've done is call for presidential elections in November as scheduled, but that doesn't negate the fact that the government could be an unelected regime for the next six months.
There are a number of themes which run through discussions of the Honduran coup:
- Was it a "coup" at all? Both the legislature and the Supreme Court in Honduras found that Zelaya's proposed referendum on changing the Constitution was illegal and support his ouster.
- Aren't we past the time in Latin American history when masked army troops can come into the presidential residence and depose a democratically elected president?
- Are Zelaya's close ties with Hugo Chaez of Venezuela and Castro in Cuba a reason to support his removal?
- What justification exists for the new Honduran government to shut down television stations and the press, impose a curfew, arrest foreign journalists, use force against demonstrators, and generally squash the ability of Hondurans to learn what is going on in the country?
- There is a significant block of Hondurans who support Zelaya's ouster, what right do international organizations have to dictate the internal politics of the country?
For some up to date blogging on Honduras, try the LatinAmericanist, IncaKola News, Justin Delacour or Boz, and in Spanish there is the Honduras Resistencia Blog.