Saturday, November 28, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the LAT: Honduras’ upcoming vote a boon to de facto rulers

Reporting from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and Mexico City — The de facto rulers of Honduras will observe more than elections Sunday: They staged the first military-backed coup in Central America in 16 years — and got away with it.

Months of international efforts failed to reinstate President Manuel Zelaya, ousted June 28 and deported to Costa Rica. Instead, the most powerful outside mediator, the United States, agreed to recognize the outcome of Sunday’s vote for a new president. Several other countries will not, saying that a "free and fair" vote cannot be held under the watch of a de facto government.

The bottom line is that the de facto government’s initial plan, oust Zelaya and hope that the elections act as a reset button, worked. Further, their strategy of kicking the can down the road until the elections arrived as a way of dealing with international pressure and Zelaya’s semi-return to the country worked.

What is amazing is that some in the US will end of hailing this as some sort of victory for democracy.  More to the point, most who have praised the coup will likely go on to ignore Honduras and the damage that has been done to its democracy as they will consider the matter resolved.  One supposes that a new president could work to heal some of the wounds inflicted, but since such solutions likely lie in some sort of constitutional reform, one also supposes that such moves will not be undertaken as the coup underscored that too much talk of constitutional reform can get one a one-way ticket out of country.

The US is facing a great deal of criticism from the region as a result of its intention to recognize the elections.

Via Reuters:  U.S. risks isolation over Honduras election: Brazil.

Via the NYTRegion Finds U.S. Lacking on Honduras.

“President Obama’s credibility in the region has been seriously weakened,” said Kevin Casas-Zamora, a Latin America expert at the Brookings Institution and a former vice president of Costa Rica. “In a matter of five months, his administration’s position on the coup has gone from indignation to indifference to confusion to acquiescence.”

Which, sounds about right.

In terms of the current position of the administration, from the LAT linked above:

U.S. officials decided to lend support to the vote.

"This is an electoral process that follows the normal electoral calendar under the Honduran Constitution, and it had been underway for several months prior to the coup," Arturo Valenzuela, the U.S. assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs, said this week.

"This was not an election invented by a de facto government in search of an exit strategy or as a means to whitewash a coup d’etat."

While Valenzuela’s statement is true, it elides the fact that the de facto government is using the scheduled elections as an exit strategy and as a means to whitewash the coup.  As noted above, I think that that was the plan from the beginning and that only kink in that plan has been all the international attention focused on Honduras and the fact that Zelaya simply wouldn’t go away.

The US, by the way, in not alone in its position:

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate a settlement to the Honduran crisis, said he would recognize the results of the election. To do otherwise, he told CNN’s Spanish-language service, would be to further punish the Honduran people.

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4 Responses to “On the Pending Honduran Elections”

  • el
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    1. Saltygi Says:

      This article, like many others, fails to recognize that the Honduran Govt action was in accordance with their Constitution! Trying to judge their actions based on either our (U. S.) constitution or the Socialist revoluntionaries in the area is just wrong.

    2. Steven L. Taylor Says:

      Actually, they didn’t. Moreover, they violated articles 81 and 102 (see here) when they exiled him. I have actually gone to the trouble of examining their constitution and find no basis for the action.

      I would be happy to examine your argument for how what they did was in accordance with their constitution (and I make that statement honestly and sans snark).

      And which socialist revolutionaries are we speaking of?

    3. Fruits and Votes » Prof. Shugart's Blog » Honduras and Uruguay Says:

      [...] in place since long before the coup that ousted the still-legitimate President, Manuel Zelaya. (See Steven Taylor for more on these [...]

    4. John Says:

      It may not be a victory for democracy but it will probably help resolve the political situation.

      It would have been great if Zelaya had chosen to accept the judiciary’s rulings, even when he disagreed with them. But he didn’t and here we are.

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