Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Honduras; everyone loses

Kevin Casas-Zamora has a stinging article at Foreign Policy, arguing that everyone lost in Honduras, and what lost the most was democracy. He concludes:


Alas, there's not a lot to gloat about in the outcome of this hapless episode. Micheletti and Lobo are simply the last men standing on a barren landscape. Their victory is a hollow one. And make no mistake: It is no victory for democracy.

It is hard to imagine broad non-recognition lasting too long, unless something very dramatic happens before Pepe Lobo is sworn in. Regardless, nothing will happen to Roberto Micheletti for breaking the law and nothing will happen to members of the armed forces for violating the constitution.

Instead, Honduras will return to the following:

The Honduran political elite are reading this outcome as an unconditional victory and, above all, as a license to return to politics as usual, as though nothing had happened. That will mean a return to the usual tooth-and-nail fight between factions of the well-heeled oligarchy -- each cheered on by segments of the impoverished populace -- for the spoils of a weak state.
Hooray for Honduran democracy.

13 comments:

Anonymous,  7:23 AM  

I understand th reference to the military that sent Zelaya to Costa Rica, but what do you mean Micheletti broke the law?

Just because you happen to disagree with Honduras' judiciary doesn't mean something is illegal.

Justin Delacour 9:47 AM  

The Honduran political elite are reading this outcome as an unconditional victory and, above all, as a license to return to politics as usual, as though nothing had happened. That will mean a return to the usual tooth-and-nail fight between factions of the well-heeled oligarchy -- each cheered on by segments of the impoverished populace -- for the spoils of a weak state.

And that's precisely why it makes sense to adopt the normative position --regardless of what we think will actually happen-- that Brazil is correct to try to teach the Honduran establishment a lesson.

Anonymous,  10:34 AM  

Brazil can't teach Honduras any lesson because Brazil
has no influence or power over Honduras.

The Scarlet Pimpernel 1:35 PM  

"Alas, there's not a lot to gloat about in the outcome of this hapless episode. Micheletti and Lobo are simply the last men standing on a barren landscape. Their victory is a hollow one. And make no mistake: It is no victory for democracy."

Does this not suggest a deeper involvement by the United States than has been acknowledged so far. Recall that the constitution we are talking about here is the one drafted by the Reagan administration during the 'dirty' war. It was meant to be a limited system that perpetuates oligarchy. Surprise, it works. Democracy has only been a secondary or less objective in the United States' manipulations in Latin America.

Justin Delacour 2:29 PM  

Vamos ver

Indeed, we'll just have to see whether Brazil has no clout.

If that were really the case, I doubt very seriously that Pepe Lobo would be trying so hard to get Lula's approval.

Anonymous,  8:20 PM  

It's "Vamos a ver", not "Vamos ver".

And there's nothing to see. Brazil has no significant trade, provides no assistance, and is the source of no remittances to Honduras. No Honduran businessman craves Brazilian visas (like they do the US). They have better beaches closer by.

Vladimir,  9:25 PM  

To anonymous,

In Brazilian Portuguese it is "Vamos Ver". In Portugal, "vamos a ver".

But you are right about your other coment. Brazil influence in Central America is very limited.

Anonymous,  9:32 PM  

Ahhh, i stand corrected. I thought it was in Spanish.

Randy Paul 11:23 PM  

Vladimir gets it right with regard to the language issue.

The funny thing is, no one really knows the answer to the question, which is precisely why I responded in that fashion.

Justin Delacour 1:32 AM  

The funny thing is, no one really knows the answer to the question

Yeah, that's true. It's also true that, economically speaking, Central America has limited ties to Brazil, but the coup apologists are missing the broader point that Lula already has done some damage to the image of the Honduran establishment internationally.

To all the Honduran coup apologists out there, do you really want your country to be known as the last bastion of Banana Republicanism?

Nell 12:03 PM  

The Honduran political elite are reading this outcome as an unconditional victory

Which is a direct result of U.S. policy of tacit support for the coup, along with the continued willingness of many major U.S. media outlets to back that policy by perpetuating lies about the coup and now lies about the turnout and climate of the election. Unelected operatives negotiated directly with the hard right representing the coup to produce the same result as if Bush or Reagan were president.

That makes mockery of Honduran democracy without any criticism of the current functioning of U.S. democracy particularly unfunny.

Justin Delacour 12:33 PM  

Which is a direct result of U.S. policy of tacit support for the coup, along with the continued willingness of many major U.S. media outlets to back that policy by perpetuating lies about the coup and now lies about the turnout and climate of the election. Unelected operatives negotiated directly with the hard right representing the coup to produce the same result as if Bush or Reagan were president.

Well said. Unfortunately, some people won't have the courage to recognize the full extent of the Obama Administration's complicity in this debacle.

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