Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thinking about Honduras

Over the summer I became very caught up in following the news about the coup in Honduras. In June of 09 President Manuel Zelaya was overthrown by Roberto Micheletti, a member of the Liberal Party of Honduras who was backed by both the military and the nation's business leaders.

Attempts to reach an agreement between Zelaya and the de facto regime this summer, fostered by Costa Rican president Correa, yielded relatively no results - with a 7 point and then 11 point plan for Zelaya's interim reinstatement as president never moving past negotiation.

Now, nearly 4 months after the coup, Zelaya is back in his nation, albeit to the frustration of the Micheletti regime.

And really, frustration is too cute of a word to use during this time of unrest in Honduras.

As President Zelaya seeks refuge in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran military, under control of Micheletti has brought a deluge of tear gas and brutality directed against Hondurans who have come to the capital in support of the ousted leader.

Democracy Now with Amy Goodman did a great report on her show Tuesday
Goodman followed the events of the coup all summer and her program reports on both the politics that brought about the coup and the aftermath of Micheletti's seizure of power.

What happened in Honduras, from the nighttime overthrow of the sitting leader to the ongoing abuse directed toward Zelaya supporters, disgrace the importance human rights. The protection of civil and political rights were violated this year.

Zelaya's democratically elected government was overthrown based on an incorrect charge and unsubstantiated rumors. The charge that the president was looking to set unlimited term limits by calling a referendum vote in the next election is not correct. The referendum would not have allowed Zelaya to run again since by the time of the November vote Zelaya would have already stepped down, having finished his two terms as president. If the vote passed it would have only become law after a new president, who could not have been Zelaya, was elected and it would have given the option for a future president to extend his term limit by an extra term.

The citizens of Honduras are also subjected to the egregious abuses of their human rights. Their rights to free speech and assembly in the nation are suppressed by police brutality towards peaceful protestors and the general political lock down on the country since Micheletti's installment as president.

What seems most terrifying is the Micheletti governments choice to execute a coup. If Micheletti had the political support he believed (a belief that many outside observes would corroborate) why didn't he wait until the November elections where all legitimacy and adherence to national and international law would have been observed?

The political crisis in Honduras is reminiscent of the military overthrows in South and Central America throughout the 70s and 80s, contrasting than the relative stability of the region in the 21st century. The international community, led by the UN, condemned the actions in the nation this summer and now as fall begins it seems that there is another need to remind the government of Honduras that the world is watching. The abuses of human rights and democracy will delegitimize any government, no matter the amount of money and military personnel that may stand behind it.

No comments:

Post a Comment