Sunday, June 28, 2009

Honduras Chaos

There is usually more than meets the eye to such stories, but the initial news about the ousting of Honduras president Manuel Zelaya has once again shined some light on our own foreign policy and set up some interesting dichotomies:
Mr Zelaya's ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, blamed "the Yankee empire"
Not a exactly a ringing endorsement coming from an opponent of term limits. The Yankee empire responded thusly:
US President Barack Obama called on Honduras to "respect democratic norms, the rule of law".
Well yes, but in what context, the ousted president or the military? The former president explained:
Zelaya said a planned coup against him had been thwarted after the US refused to back it.
It's not surprising our current crew wouldn't back a coup but in the process it now seems the US has taken an ambivalent stance over a president who was possibly trying to rig a vote to extend himself in office by ignoring a court order and Supreme Court ruling and the wishes of their Congress. Hey, he was only pursuing hopenchange for the poor folks.

Obama is again 'deeply concerned'; obviously that's his style since it's unclear how everything will play out and/or whether the military might be more corrupt than the president, etc, but in the process it comes off looking like we're backing the leftist thug.

ADDITIONALLY 6/28/09

If nothing else we're all going to get an education on Central American politics from this:
Mr. Ch├ívez was quick to react to the events unfolding in Honduras. In comments to Telesur, the regional news network backed by Venezuela’s government, he said: “Behind these soldiers is the Honduran bourgeoisie, the rich who converted Honduras into a banana republic, a military and political base for the North American empire.”
That's probably designed to trigger reactionary social justice parallels, which would force the US to step back, but it's too early to tell where our true interests were. McCain would have surely been pointing out stuff like this:
In addition to financing pressure groups, Zelaya has also been accused of intimidating journalists. In the past year, journalism has become a much more dangerous profession in Honduras. Journalists Carlos Salgado and Rafael Munguia were both shot in public places, and others have denounced threats on their lives. On May 19, Honduran human rights activist Ramon Custodio asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IAHCR) to provide protection for journalist Armando Villanueva and his family, who were the targets of threats which Villanueva insists came from the president.
A'jad was cozy with Chavez but now his people lay beaten in the Tehran streets. Obama finally condemned it. Now Chavez is backing Zelaya, threatening military action, and Obama tepidly waits. The caution is understandable and perhaps even laudable at this point but eventually a stand must be taken--it's not above anyone's pay grade.

MORE 6/28/09

The Department of State has criticized the Honduran court for the removal, saying the act should be condemned 'by everyone' because they failed to follow the rule of law. Not sure who she means did the failing.

Meanwhile liberal comments here and there seem to be in favor of Zelaya, who was only trying to further Honduran self-determination. IOW, the Congress should have allowed the referendum. This begs the question as to how far the US go to stop 3rd world countries from voting themselves a dictator, who will then eliminate the democracy that spawned him. Obama seems in favor of letting the chips fall... at least today.

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