Honduras: Same As It Ever Was

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Today there are presidential elections in Honduras.  The US says that it doesn’t matter that the golpista government of Roberto Micheletti is still in control despite international condemnation, that Manual Zelaya, the democratically elected president, is still stuck in asylum in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa, and that Brazil and Venezuela have announced that they will not recognize today’s election results.  Nor does it matter that the US originally denounced the coup, cut off non-military aid, and demanded the immediate reinstatement of Zelaya.  All of that, amigos, is stuff you’re supposed to forget about.  Just forget it.  Yeah, after today, democracy will be magically restored in Honduras via an election.  And we’re back to the same old same old.  The power of El Norte continues, the maquiladoras make Fruit of the Loom for export, the bananas are back on the shelves, and the military puts its boot on the throat of anyone in Honduras who complains about the lack of democracy.  It’s 1910 all over again.

The AP reports:

A new Honduran president chosen Sunday faces the challenge of defending his legitimacy to the world and to his own people, who are bitterly divided by Central America’s first coup in more than 20 years.

Porfirio Lobo and Elvin Santos, two prosperous businessmen from the political old guard [both of whom support the golpistas], are the front-runners. But their campaigns have been overshadowed by the debate over whether Hondurans should cast ballots at all in a vote largely shunned by international monitors.

Manuel Zelaya, the left-leaning president ousted in a June 28 coup, is urging a boycott, hoping overwhelming abstention will discredit the election. As polls opened Sunday, he vowed the United States would regret its decision to support the vote.

“Abstention will defeat the dictatorship,” Zelaya told Radio Globo from the Brazilian Embassy, where he took refuge after sneaking back into the country from his forced exile Sept. 21. “The elections will be a failure. the United States will have to rectify its ambiguous position about the coup.”

The US’s “ambiguous position about the coup” isn’t all that ambiguous. Especially in historical context.  The US has said explicitly it will support the government elected in this election. Period. It just doesn’t matter to the US government that is imposing democracy in Iraq, Afghanistan, and who knows where else, that there be actual democracy in its own hemisphere.  That would require the restoration of Manual Zelaya and an election supervised internationally.  Instead, we have an election supervised by the golpistas and their military.  One can only wonder why US warships have not arrived off shore to preserve order and democracy.

The word from the streets isn’t ambiguous at all:

“The best thing for this country is not to vote, to show the world, the United States, which stabbed us in the back and betrayed us,” said Edwin Espinal, whose 24-year-old wife, Wendy, died of from asthma complications a day after soldiers hurled tear gas to disperse protesters demanding Zelaya’s return.

There is, of course, the expected golpistas’ repression.  Narconews reports:

The free speech necessary to guarantee free elections is not the message being transmitted to the resistance front. Intimidation, torture, illegal detentions and in extreme cases assassinations are being carried out to prevent mass mobilizations on Election Day. The National Front Against the Coup D’état has encouraged all week a ‘popular curfew’ on Election Day to prevent clashes with the opposition. The Center for the Investigation and Promotion of Human Rights in Honduras (CIPRODEH), has documented aggression directly from the police and the military towards nearly all human rights groups working in Honduras.

And now, hypnotically, the promise that the US under Obama would have a new relationship with Latin America, one in which democracy would be fostered and coups would be discouraged, one in which the oligarchies would not be permitted to exploit and repress poor people, one in which popular leaders could be elected even if they disagreed with El Norte and not be the immediate objects of golpes de estado,  those promises will be forgotten.  They will be erased from your memories.  And life as we knew it in 1910 will resume.

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simulposted at The Dream Antilles

11 comments

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    • davidseth on November 29, 2009 at 4:49 pm
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    Thanks for reading.  

    • Edger on November 29, 2009 at 5:43 pm



    Real News Network – November 28, 2009

    Report from Tegucigalpa: Coup regime rides police state repression into elections hoping for clean slate

    On June 28th, 2009, the elected President of Honduras, Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, was removed from office. The day was significant because it was to be the first day that all the people of Honduras would be asked their opinion by the government. They were to vote on whether or not they wished to see a question on the upcoming general election ballot regarding re-writing the country’s constitution, a document which severely limits public participation. Five months later, the election is going ahead, but Mel Zelaya is pinned in the Brazilian embassy and the resistance movement that rose up by the hundreds of thousands in the days following the coup is almost invisible after more than 4,000 documented human rights abuses including: assassination, rape, torture, illegal detention, and repeated attacks on anti-coup media outlets. The regime is looking to renew itself through Sunday’s elections, and is preparing to lock the country down militarily in order to do so. But while the movement is not as visible as it was before, this report shows that it is very much alive in the minds of the capital’s inhabitants who are boycotting the elections.

  1. I rec’d over at Orange.

    I could use some help over their, a comment of mine is getting HR’d, check it out , if it seems HR worthy so be it.

    http://www.dailykos.com/commen

    • dkmich on November 29, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    How much traveling have you done in Central America?  We are tempted, but don’t think it’s particularly safe.  We have two friends who go to Honduras to dive.  They say it is absolutely the best.   I would imagine the coup isn’t too good for their tourist industry.    

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