Sunday, July 05, 2009

Thinking about Honduras

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.

20 comments:

Gatofilo said...

While the U.S. unwittingly joins Venezuelan strongman, Hugo Chavez, in condemning the so-called coup d'etat in Honduras, it has become apparent that President Obama has been duped into a no-win situation.

Believe it or not, the U.S. is now siding with radical leftists who twist and distort Democracy to fit their own interests, while condemning a democratic country that has acted legally to disposed of a pro Chavez, ALBA president who potted to illegally modify the Honduran constitution to enable his reelection and his gaining of dictatorial powers.

Barack Obama reminds me of the guy who wants to eat pig rinds without killing the pig.

Sometimes it's better to be right than politically correct, and Pres. Obama seems to have shot himself in the foot. Clearly there is blood in the water, and it will be interesting to see the reaction of the Republican Party when they realize Pres. Obama's contradictions.

It looks like Barack Obama is finally starting to realize it too.

mexfiles said...

So, Gatofilo... does that mean Colombia, Peru and... for that matter... every nation in the Hemisphere... as well as the European Union, Taiwan, etc. are all in the Chavez-Castro orbit too?

No one is siding with "radical leftists" or radical anything. They are siding with the rule of law and the hemispheric adherence to democratic principles.

POLYCARPIO said...

Tim, I appreciate your approach, of laying out issues rather than staking positions about a situation that is complex and remains fluid. I would add one more issue to your list, which is regional implications, or more specifically, implications for El Salvador -- can this crisis cross the border into El Salvador?

One theory is that this happened in Honduras because, unlike its Central American neighbors, it never sorted out the configurations of power through a civil war, it never got a chance to flush out the arrays of where everyone stands. By this theory, one would think that El Salvador is immunized against such events, by a civil war that demonstrated in gory detail the high price of class warfare, and also immunized by negotiated peace accords that hopefully put in place the processes and mechanisms that will safeguard against such contingencies. Along these lines, some have even said that this specific problem was very particular to Honduras, because it does not actually have a constitutional process to remove the presidency, and so the golpistas had no choice.

The immunization theory would be more comforting if other leftist presidents in the war ravaged region, including Ortega in Nicaragua and Colom in Guatemala had not recently faced deep seeded constitutional scares. Therefore, the spill-over question remains, in my view, one to keep an eye on.

Bosque said...

Throwing out Chavez name all the time into world condemnation does not scare people with a brain.

The world has condemned the action in Honduras (including right-wing governments).

So keep the bogey man talk in your children's closet.

You remind me a of an insistent "fear-monger".

Bosque said...

That was for Gatofilo ...

lionroar992000 said...

Tim, let me tell you something, I really think that El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Venezuela should mind their own business. Those stupid communist of the FMLN should not get involved in trying to keep this dictator of Zelaya in. Isn't it bad enough that the pillars of democrazy have once already been threaten in el salvador by chavez and his puppet currently install in el salvador. Now we want to rudely disrespect other sovereignties rule of law simply because from an external view we do not understand the full story. Don't be fooled Chavez and the FMLN, as well as Noriega have a great deal to do with all this mess. Lets kick this communists out once and for all.

Bosque said...

On the topic, it would have been smart to have a trial. While Honduras claims to have arrest papers for Zelaya, they "interim" seem quite unwilling to allow him to return to face the charges ... this makes me highly suspicious.

Its definitely a weird situation.

Lasmarch said...

"Believe it or not, the U.S. is now siding with radical leftists who twist and distort Democracy to fit their own interests, while condemning a democratic country that has acted legally to disposed of a pro Chavez, ALBA president who potted to illegally modify the Honduran constitution to enable his reelection and his gaining of dictatorial powers."

Mel Zelaya was ousted by his very own party out of the fear of Mel Zelaya consolidating power beyond and independently of the putrid, marionette, false political parties that have reigned Honduras, interchangeably, since the 1800s, thus rendering those facade political parties entirely moot.


So, trying to insist on resorting to the fallacy of calling Mel Zelaya a communist, in an attempt to somehow make right and justifiable this heinous act serves for nothing else but demonstrating that resorting the "red" hysteria is nothing more than an attempt to prevent due, needed, and expected criticism.

What one needs to understand of Honduras, the poorest country in the region, is that the Congress, the Supreme Court, every single institution of that country has been working through the same mechanisms favoring ruling elites, almost exclusively uninterrupted for the past centuries, that have turned all the institutions of Honduras highly corrupt, and while not so politicized (Honduras' biparty dominance has guaranteed continuity), they have become awfully mercantilistic. So, one can only help but to wonder with puzzlement and scrutinize with doubt their proceedings, and horror of choices.

For instance, if Zelaya was breaking any law, why wasn't he removed of diplomatic immunity, arrested by the police/house arrest, and subsequently placed on trial?

Why did the coupist try to forge Zelaya's signature in an alleged letter of resignation, and even if it were his signature, expect for any respectable court, of any respectable society, to recognize it as valid when it was clearly signed under duress?

Lasmarch said...

Why, if there are so many criminal charges against Zelaya, with corruption accusations suddenly emerging by hand of Honduras' institutions, why was he not put into trial? Why didn't this coup happen sooner, why did it wait until Zelaya threatned to break the party's power through Constitutional reforms, and possible direct participation of citizenry in politics?

And do people even expect us to take even thse corruption charges against Zelaya, like having spent 80k in five days on a gov. credit card, at face value?

Let us assess the situation, 2 parties have been switching power for years, how much corruption don't they hide of each other? Are we seriously to believe that people like Micheletti are themselves clean? That the PLH, is free of sin, and has not covered of past corruption by previous regimes, or why take their word into account, when clearly up until now they had decided to cover Zelaya's butt?

Then, of course, one can only wonder if we can even trust these accusations, and not see them as only an attempt to discredit Zelaya, by Honduras' shameful facade institutions, who've have taken upon the self the task of concocting the most trite of accusations against Zelaya to try legitimize their coup? Are such accusations real, or are their simple propaganda? If they were true, then why the blazes wasn't an arrest the coupist' principal priority? If there were abundant proof of wrong doing, surely Zelaya would've gone down easily, any trial would've been a breeze?

But rather, they chose to kidnap and exile Zelaya, out of fear that he'd break Congress/retrograde oligarchies control of government, and do not dare trial him, because they know that they did wrong in here, and that with Zelaya they are not dealing with an average joe that with a t-shirt and a couple of dollars you can shut him up, but rather, with a rich person with a high public presence, and more importantly, someone who COULD sling tons of mud into the faces of Micheletti, the PLH and the PNH.


Suffice to say that if the coupist have achieved anything, is in giving Zelaya even greater international relevance, as they prove to commit blunder after blunder to try justify their illegal actions, even by manipulating the so-called "laws" of Honduras to their whim and benefit, laws that have existed only to safe-guard the system of privileges existent since the 1800s.

El-Visitador said...

«one would think that El Salvador is immunized against such events, by a civil war that demonstrated in gory detail the high price of class warfare»

One would, wouldn't one?

But most Salvadoreans alive today were younger than 10 years or unborn when the FMLN's violent war against the government of El Salvador ended. Most of them have no direct experience of what it is to live in fear of the Communist bombs, impuestos de guerra, kidnappings, etc.

And our people do not generally learn from written history.

To the extent there ever was any immunization, its effect is quickly passing and in 20 years it will be mostly gone.

john said...

The above blowhard poster forgot to mention the Salvadoran military's mass murder machine, extending from 1932 through 1992...(and beyond?).
State terror in El Salvador and the social trauma it brought reverberates at the political level, i.e. civil war.

This blowhards rationalizations for El Salvador's mass murdering military fronting for the coffee oligarchy are laughable, if they weren't so pitiful in historical analysis.

Gatofilo said...

Updating my initial post regarding the ongoing Honduran crisis:

It appears that the latest move by Venezuelan strongman and chafarrote, Hugo Chavez, having sensed blood in the water from the politically wounded Barack Obama, is now pressing on with his advantage by requesting that the vacillating Barack Obama stop flip flopping, and clarify his administration's position regarding the 'coup' in Honduras.

The so-called military coup d'etat in Honduras and the ensuing political crisis there, has actually spilled over into what apparently has become a hemispheric tug-of-war between the traditional U.S. supremacy in the area, and the ALBA radical leftists, backed by the 50 year Castro brothers Cuban dynasty, and Venezuela's 800 pound gorilla, Hugo Chavez, who is fast morphing into a King Kong sized imperialist interventionist actively meddling in Central America affairs.

It is clear that Barack Obama was unwittingly hoodwinked and has thus placed himself between a rock and a hard place. He now needs to find a viable political solution to this crisis before his Republican Party counterparts realize his predicament and use it against him in the upcoming 2012 presidential elections in this country.

Again, an interesting and uncanny heightening of contradictions.

Gatofilo said...

Martyrs, yes, lots and lots of martyrs! It has become more than evident that this is precisely what Manuel Zelaya and the chafarrote, Hugo Chavez, with his ALBA surrogates are plotting and hoping for in Honduras.

In order to advance with their nefarious agenda, an army of professional agitators are being infiltrated into Honduras from neighboring El Salvador and Nicaragua for the sole purpose of creating street disorders and provoking the Honduran military and police into shooting and killing civilians. Yes, martyrs, lots and lots of martyrs.

To no ones surprise, the Honduran rabble and leftist Zelaya sympathizers have even taken as their own the name of, “Bloque Popular” as in their Salvadoran FMLN counterparts, who during the conflictive 1980’s in El Salvador would parade any civilian casualties up and down the streets to the delight of photo journalists and the foreign press.

This grotesque tactic of parading the dead has been the signature modus operandi of the radical left in Central America, and once again it is the same old story and the same old ploy that we've all seen replayed time and again.

The Venezuelan Lear Jet that carried Manuel Zelaya to Honduras was not permitted to land at Toncontin precisely to foil the leftist plot of created conditions for a bloody confrontation as forewarned by Cardinal Maradiaga.

Although Hugo Chavez shut off the oil spigot and threatened invasion, the Honduran people have been clear in that they will not be intimidated by lynch mobs, nor by OAS or UN threats of economic sanctions.

Hondurans demand their right of self determination and to define their own destiny. Viva el valiente pueblo de Honduras heroico!

john said...

"This grotesque tactic of parading the dead has been the signature modus operandi of the radical left in Central America, and once again it is the same old story and the same old ploy that we've all seen replayed time and again."

Sure,....hide the murdered and bloodied corpses products of the repressive forces. Don't call for an end to impunity for those who murder their fellow citizens, that would cause too much bad press!!!

If there is a more idiotic argument about how a people who's right to life is being trampled on should not go about ending impunity, I'd like to hear it, but the above poster's takes the proverbial cake!!!

The forces of justice are served by the people calling attention to those who have died by the repressive acts of the state, not--as argued--the forces of "radical left"

El Guapo said...

I am glad that Gatofilo and El-Visitador have their points of view posted, and that their thoughts, as ridiculous as may sound they are showed here , God bless those little children...For El Gato, and El_Vi, it is alright to take the military into the street and beat anyone that has a different opinion than what they believe in, in their terms those people are far left, and they have to be demonized,...For El Gato, and El_Vi, it is alright for the government to take away the freedom of the press, unless it is government propaganda they are ok with that...For El Gato and El_Vi, they believe that the church has to appeace the masses like the Hitler Pope, they believe all of that stuff with all of their heats...that is so far away from the freedoms that we know, that is how the conservatives think in Latin America...and that is really sad!!!

Gatofilo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nell said...

I would strongly recommend those following the events in and around Honduras also check in at Al Giordano's The Field, and his and other reporters' posts at Narconews. His site was the first in English to warn of a possible coup, four days ahead of it happening.

lionroar992000 said...

* 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?

Tim, as Micheletti, puts it Venezuela and some of his commi allies have been attempting to create fraud during this so called illegal referendum that was to be illegally passed by Zelaya. Hugo Chavez has been plotting of the consquest of Honduras for quite some time now and Honduras has been aware of it. This has been well proven after Funes won the elections in El Salvador. Funes will be reporting to Chavez about what the situation is in Honduras as an attempt to sabotage any form of prosperity that goes on in Honduras. In fact this whole thing with Zelaya back and forth with his nagging is just another plot or propaganda by Chavez and Noriega. Just that Funes is also involved. No doubt he will be in charge of creating distractions in central America, while Chavez stirs things up in the middle east with Iran. This is a plot to threaten the U.S. Chavez currently is in the middle of brain washing children as young as 4 years old into having them believe that capitalism is bad and communism is good. This is just one of many examples why Honduras decided to stop this before it got worst. In my opinion Honduras has been heroic in protecting democracy unlike what happened in El Salvador.

El Guapo said...

Lionroar is right with this conspiracy, no doubt that all of this shake up is coming from another planet where the decepticoms are trying to conquer the real world...without this conquest, the decepticoms, and all of the evil doers will be lost!!! Ha!!!ha!!!

dave said...

Gatofilo writes:
“as in their Salvadoran FMLN counterparts, who during the conflictive 1980’s in El Salvador would parade any civilian casualties up and down the streets to the delight of photo journalists and the foreign press.”

You are a very funny person Gatofilo, it was not the FMLN that paraded the dead in the streets, it was the military and their associated death squads who dumped the mutilated and tortured bodies of students, trade unionists, political activists, priests etc., in prominent places to scare the Salvadoran population from fighting for justice and democracy. Although they did bury the raped bodies of the American church women so as not to embarrass Uncle Ronald.

You Gatofilo are the biggest joke in town!
Dave
http://dave-motherofallbloggs.blogspot.com/