[private] Honduras never produced a Telenovela until the June 28 coup captivated the Latin audiences across the hemisphere. The only more watched drama at the time was the death of Michael Jackson.
This Honduran drama was entirely man made: no need for hurricanes, floods or earthquakes. Hondurans brought themselves to their needs. The slow moving ‘Hurricane Mel’ is likely to cause as much damage as Hurricane Mitch did and the event is likely to continue at least until the November 29 Honduran elections, and possibly untill the January 27, 2010 government transition.
As tempers fly, two separate issues have been fused in the minds of many. Whether President Zelaya was a good or bad president, or person, and whether his ousting was done correctly. Answering one question in one way, doesn’t mean automatically answering the other in the same way.
All three branches of Honduran government failed to uphold a rule of law and steered the country towards another type of totalitarianism. The army with congress’ approval shut down all national sources of media opposition and attempted to portray themselves as a saviors of western hemisphere from communism. In fact military and congress were disguising their own incompetence, and internal squabbles that prevented them from impeaching the president in a lawful manner, or even follow the order of arrest from the supreme court. To make matters even more interesting complicit in the coup and attempting a cover up is part of Honduran society itself.
For a long time Zelaya was useful and showed himself to be far from one dimensional. Just in the Bay Islands, he received wide praise and applause: for putting first Bay Islander (vice-minister of Tourism) ever in the cabinet, for supporting Bay Islands Freeport status, for giving permits for Carnival and Royal Caribbean docks, for bailing out RECO when the islander board ran it into the ground, etc, etc. Local politicians campaigned with him, used him and often got exactly what they wanted: political support, media exposure, permits and funds. All that is now forgotten and many of the same Bay Islanders have conclusively and unequivocally linked Zelaya for giving too much support to March rioters. Zelaya is now just a bad, bad communist.
On one level, it is Zelaya that has already won. He has managed to begin a radicalization, polarization process in the Honduran society. With him or without him the process will likely continue. The Marxist idea of awakening the consciousness of the working class, is a necessary element of creating any revolutionary movement and Mel Zelaya has managed to awake, even create the feeling of being ‘exploited,’ and ‘abused’ by the rich impresarios and the imperialists.
That radicalization and polarization process has begun and will take months and years do define itself and gather in definition and critical mass. A portion of the victimized, alienated from democratic process society is likely to embrace a violent struggle in years to come. The ground in Honduras is already fertile for this: there is presence of armed gangs, drug smuggling, the availability of arms, the phenomena of kidnappings of rich impresarios. The acts of violence and sabotage against military and government targets have begun by ministries being occupied.
The civil war, revolution that has crystallized and shaped the identity of Salvadorians, Guatemalans and Nicaraguans in 1970s and 1980s, has never come to Honduras and its arrival was overdue. Hondurans only four years ago were pretty conformist, content with having a job and electricity. Half of its population remained illiterate or semiliterate. They made hardly a receptive audience for leftist ideologues and agitators.
The timing of the coup is as much as anything else related to winning local and presidential elections. Many municipal and some congress candidates have involved themselves with the ‘La Cuarta Urna’ making them eligible for criminal prosecution and disqualifying from running in the November elections.
Instead of making an example of how an autocratic, disregarding the constitution president can be removed from his post, Honduras showed its incompetence to the entire world. The cost of this fumbling will take years to access.
I say if you want to impeach: follow the procedure. If you want to do a coup: do it right and neutralizes the target. Limit fallout from removing the top executive and don’t wash your hands, and dump your responsibilities on a neighboring country. Just like any other country, Honduras is responsible for treating and prosecuting its criminals.
In the end, Hondurans deserve what they got. Despite loud lamentations and blame, they are not victims of Hugo Chavez, the USA or CNN. They are victims of themselves. They chose to elect Mel Zelaya as their president and they also chose to not remove him properly and, which is just as important, without the ‘perception of following rule of law.’ [/private]