Why Europe and the UN are mistaken concerning Honduras - by Christian Lüth
The United States, Europe and the United Nations have solely shown support for the ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. By doing so, they are however doing wrong those that ousted Zelaya. After all the supposed putsch was decided upon by the elected representatives of the people and it was done so as to preserve the country’s constitution.
Honduras, a small and for many an unknown country, has had to endure many misfortunes. Laid between Maya Temples and Caribbean beaches Honduras with its friendly people has much to offer. Nevertheless it has had to brace natural catastrophes such as Hurricane “Mitch” in 1999 from which the country has yet to fully recover. Just like the people the capital – Tegucigalpa – is friendly and slightly dozy. With just about one million inhabitants living in a tightly built city it also rather belongs to the provincial parts of Central America.
This is part of the reason why people there have been so unsettled by the latest events. When just a few days ago people would discuss soccer – the latest sensation being that the national team kept alive their chances of participating at the World Cup in South Africa – and the latest soaps in supermarkets and canteens, now there is no other topic than the political events. The current curfews have brought the enjoyable evenings in the capital to an abrupt ending.
It has been 33 years since this slow-paced folk had to endure the last coup d’état. Back then the military junta violently took over power and governed Honduras with an iron fist until 1981. With that in mind it is easy understandable that the world’s public, foremost the EU States, felt reminded of that time in the first moment of shock when, last Sunday, they learned that the President of Honduras had been deprived of power by the military.
When in the middle of the night an ousted President is flown out of the country by the military while still in his pajamas just to appear half an hour later on all TV channels in exactly that dress, it is easy to understand that one feels reminded of military coups. Even more so when the accusation of a state coup is made by the military. This image is only reassured by the fact that the new ruler proclaimed a gag order for all news the next day, praised the military and let himself be shown and photographed in a victory pose with them.
From afar this must seem like a violent coup by rightwing militaries in Honduras. Why look more closely, why ask more questions? The toppled president has to be returned and reinstated right away, democracy has to be reestablished. It is a scandal that such a thing could happen in this day and age anyway!
What a pity that next to nobody did care to ask more questions on June 28th and on the following days. If they had, they would have noticed that this “military coup” was ordered by the lawfully elected representatives of the people, the members of the national parliament and the Supreme Court – with a parliamentary majority of 124 to four votes – crossing all party lines. Another piece not fitting the puzzle of a military coup is an arrest warrant for the ousted president which was a result of a number of pending court cases. How does this all fit together?
Zelaya substantially has to blame himself
The current political development surrounding the ousted president “Mel” Zelaya begins not only on June 28th, the day of his disempowerment. Zelaya has a long political history and he himself substantially is at fault for his disposition. There are reasons why nearly nobody has critically questioned the toppled president, or analyzed the political development in Honduras in a differentiated and neutral way: for the last few weeks and months, nobody really was interested in the political developments of Honduras and now Zelaya presents himself as the victim, a role he played to perfection during the last few days.
After the European Council in Korfu and the United Nations General Assembly reacted accordingly, requesting the reinstatement of Zelaya and denouncing the “military coup” the situation was just