Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Brief on Honduras

You might be wondering what the heck has happened in Honduras that got the international community so excited. Frankly, coups were like Thursday Meatloaf in Latin America through the 1980s, and as much as there was always a bunch of sabre-rattling, they only generated serious attention as far as they upset the geopolitical and ideological balance.

The coup in Honduras is being wildly condemned by leftist governments; Nicaragua and Venezeuala are both going so far as to threaten war (Venezeula would have to deploy boats and planes of excessive quantity to do this, and would almost certainly irk the US beyond what they're capable of); Nicaragua has moved troops to the Honduras border. And President Obama himself has condemned the coup as undemocratic, but has not said much beyond that.

Frankly, the Honduras coup is rather ambiguous. Zelaya's extended-term stunt clearly contradicted the constitution, and the Constitutional Court told him to cut it--he didn't. So what then? Impeachment isn't actually an option in the Honduran constitution, and much like the Marshall Court of the US, the Army improvised and got rid of him. Was he becoming a Chavez-style tyrant? Maybe, but precedent is important. That said, they did use the force of violence to oust him, and imposed their own "interim government." Perhaps talking about it a bit longer might have been polite.

So my personal feelings on the coup are a bit ambivalent. I agree Zeyala needed to go, but the way of taking him out was perhaps not spectacular. But what other options were there? I'd love to hear what you guys think in comments.
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