Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Not a Coup?

A response to my last blog (see comment below, after previous blog) takes issue with my following the international press in calling Zelaya's ouster from Honduras a "coup." Certainly the position of those now running the government there is that it was not.

The Honduran situation is complicated, no clear black and white, as I have said before (excuse any repetition). Honduran legislators claim it was not a coup at all, that Zelaya was removed from office via legal and constitutional procedures and the military was just carrying out civilian orders. Most ordinary Hondurans I've been in touch with are confused—they don’t want military rule, but I haven't heard of any groundswell of grassroots support for Zelaya either, though he certainly has his vociferous supporters in the capital. Apparently, most of the referendum plans--or so I hear--were engineered by Chavez, along with Cuban and Nicaraguan advisers, and that has caused considerable resentment among many Hondurans. There is also resentment in some quarters that other countries fail to understand what actually happened, have jumped to conclusions about a coup, and are trying to shove Zelaya back down the throats of the government and the people after he has been lawfully removed.

Last I heard, Zelaya has said he just wants to finish out his term and retire to his ranch--if so, he should be allowed to do that. It was the effort to run again and to circumvent the constitution and supreme court that had the Honduran establishment up in arms. And they seem to be dubbing international pressure, including from the US, as most countries do, as outside interference. I just hope Zelaya can be restored peacefully to office until January when his term terminates. If anyone has different or new information directly from Honduras, please share it with me. What I have gotten is bits and pieces by e-mail from Hondurans I know there.

Here is a commentary just forwarded by someone I know in Honduras: Aunque un Presidente haya sido electo democrática y legítimamente, no tiene derecho a desobedecer la Constitución y las leyes de la República. Los pueblos ya no están dispuestos a tolerar ese tipo de abusos de poder de los Presidentes constitucionales, que muchas veces se consideran intocables, por el mismo hecho de haber sido electos por el pueblo. El mensaje de Honduras es simple: el voto popular no incluye una licencia para delinquir, y todo esfuerzo para gobernar por el bien común debe estar dentro del marco de la ley. For those who don’t know Spanish, she is saying that just having been elected democratically does not give a president the right to run roughshod over the law and constitution.

Many Hondurans feel misunderstood by the world and it doesn't sound like those in charge now are going to yield easily and, initially, the threat of sanctions will just harden their stance. I hope Chavez stops shooting off his mouth, as that is puts Hondurans on the defensive. Chavez should stay out of it and stop threatening to send in his military. That really has gotten up the dander of Hondurans. We'll see if the OAS can broker a deal. Of course, if other countries threaten to implement sanctions against Honduras, perhaps the “us against the world” mentality will break down. But if OAS leaders accompany Zelaya back to Honduras and if he promises to forget about running for another term, then maybe a deal can still be reached.

At least, this matter has put Honduras on the world map. Some people have been asking me just where Honduras is located.

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