Monday, July 27, 2009

The National Post gets Zelaya/Honduran Crisis Wrong!

On June 28th, a military coup in Honduras sent democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya into exile in Costa Rica. An article in the National Post from Saturday, July 25, 2009 entitled 'Exiled Leader Briefly Steps into Honduras - Symbolic Foray' by Ivan Castro and Sean Mattson doesn't give the full story of the real reasons behind the coup.

Over the past weekend of July 24-25-26, the Honduran coup leaders and military generals of that country imposed an
18-hour curfew on the area bordering Nicaragua where President Zelaya was set to attempt a re-entry into Honduras on Saturday. On this occasion the Honduran army released a statement saying; "we can't be responsible for the security of people who, by inciting generalized violence in the country, may be subject to attacks even from their own supporters who may have the sole aim of turning them into martyrs." So according to the coup plotters, Manuela Zelaya in a matter of weeks has gone from democratic reformer to inciter of violence, and this despite the fact that Zelaya has said on several occasions that he wants peace and stability for Honduras. The second part of that statement, a preposterous suggestion that President Zelaya may be killed by his own supporters if he re-enters Honduras, amounts to nothing less than a not so subtle threat of assassination against him.

The article also quotes U.S. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley as saying, "we have said to President Zelaya on a number of occasions, that right now we think the focus should remain on the current negotiating and mediation effort of Oscar Arias, and that any return to Honduras would be premature." U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also made similar comments in the past few days, warning Zelaya that an attempt at returning to Honduras would be imprudent and reckless. The negotiating and mediation efforts mentioned, advocated by the U.S. through President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica, is simply a strategy of appeasement requiring almost complete concessions from Manuel Zelaya, in an attempt to mollify the Honduran people and the international reaction and solidarity campaigns. The initial proposal ironed out by Oscar Arias included some very questionable and unfavorable conditions for the Honduran people. The agreement essentially amounted to a
power-sharing deal which would set a horrible precedent in Latin America, as far-right ruling elites and military generals would be emboldened with the knowledge that staging a military coup will get them a power-sharing deal at the very least.

In typical slandering predictability and unoriginality of reactionary media, the article also claims that "Mr. Zelaya was toppled and sent into exile in a June 28 coup after angering critics over his alliance with Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan President." So as the media continues with its insistence that Hugo Chavez is exporting poisonous politics all over Latin America, this article makes no mention whatsoever that the real reason why President Zelaya was forced out of Honduras militarily is in fact because he had called for a national referendum on a constituent assembly.

Zelaya during his presidential campaign in 2005 and early 2006, ran on promises of economic empowerment for the citizenry, and of empowering the people socially, culturally, and politically, a formula together which he refers to as citizen power. His progressive policies in the past few years have included a sharp increase of minimum wage, free school lunches for children, and the lowering of the price of public transportation. He has also talked about citizen participation, which he claims is the reason why he had called for the referendum on a constituent assembly. This is a program which the rightist military and ruling elites of Honduras simply could not tolerate. Those are the real reasons behind the instability in Honduras.

"We have to reverse this coup, and I plan on doing it peacefully. With my presence in Honduras, the people will surround me and the soldiers will lower their rifles." - Manuel Zelaya.

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