The de facto president of Honduras, Micheletti, entered the Presidential Palace on Monday, not through the main doorway but through the rooftop, with the aid of a military helicopter. He came in the way robbers do. The loot was democracy. It was stolen from Honduras this weekend. Rightwing business and ranching interests, together with the military, took advantage of a referendum called by the legitimate president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, in order to justify what they had longed for, for some time: the re-taking of absolute power.
The justification for kidnapping a leader, humiliating him and sending him into exile, the justification for going after the officials of an elected government and for re-militarizing Honduras is disproportionate. Calling a referendum is not an attempt on democracy, as the Honduran putschists maintain. This referendum was a simple opinion poll, without a binding character. It was no kind of threat to the state of law. Nor did it imply a departure from the Constitution: rather, it left open the possibility that Honduran citizens might consider whether it would be pertinent to hold a vote at the end of the year about whether or not to convene a constitutional assembly. If the rightwing had cared to act in a democratic manner, it could have questioned Zelaya's poll through legal means.
But there's nothing legal about this. To speak of a referendum, for the Honduran rightwing, is to speak of the ghost that stalks the nightmares of the Latin American oligarchy: Chávez, just like Castro before him. A perversely elemental kind of logic: Referendum = Chávez, just as Micheletti's accusation, made when he was still head of the Honduran congress, was perversely elemental. Micheletti said that Zelaya's referendum would lead to parental rights being put in the hands of the State. To paraphrase a certain fascist, we might put the following words in the mouths of Micheletti and the Honduran putschists: "When I hear the word referendum, I feel like reaching for my gun." As is plainly obvious, the justifications are weak, but it's a well-known fact that Latin American putschists have relied more on the argument of weapons than the weapon of argument.
Zelaya's crime was to start from a conservative position and then lurch to the left, and through these lurches, arrive at a position beyond the traditional left. Zelaya's crimes against the constitution and the laws of Honduras were, among others, joining ALBA, confronting rightwing business on the subject of corruption, approving social measures, encouraging literacy programs and medical cooperation with Cuba. Of course all of this carries a high price.
The interesting thing in this case is that this coup is taking place in a international arena distinct from the military uprisings of prior decades, behind which was the commanding voice of a Kissinger or other similar puppeteer. Obama's government has refused to recognize the putschists. The scene in Central America is also different, considering that in the past, any kind of military usurper would have felt himself in good company. What will Micheletti say if he sticks his head out at the SICA (Central American Integration System) under the reproving stares of Funes, Colom, Ortega and Arias, as well as Zelaya himself?
We'll see if the Central American and Latin American community of nations will have the same ability to influence a situation where constitutional order has been broken, such as UNASUR did in facing the separatist oligarchs in Bolivia. This will be important in order to avoid the putschists' consolidation of power and in preventing them from continuing to punish those who oppose them, such as has happened with the cartoonist Allan McDonald, kidnapped by the military from his house as I was finishing writing this piece. The home of the artist, who continues in the best rebellious tradition of Latin American caricature, was ransacked by the military. His work has been published in Honduran media and in Rebelión, and can also be seen at his website: http://www.allanmcdonald.com
. Just as in Nazi times, his drawings were thrown on a bonfire. McDonald was kidnapped, it must be added, with his daughter, a 17 month old. McDonald's case may be being repeated every minute in Honduras, with citizens of the widest variety of occupations: Terror has returned.
These violations must cease immediately. Micheletti and his accomplices have wanted to hide the obvious: they came in through the roof and are destroying everything. It's the same rapacious oligarchy that for forty years - just like the Salvadoran military and oligarchy - has exacerbated the worst sentiments with the poison of nationalism, sowing enmity between the two people who amount to more than they want to acknowledge. But now, neither Salvadoran nor Honduran society is willing to die or to kill in order to defend the interests of these oligarchies. And from there comes the necessity to resort to force, in contravention of all logic, legal imperatives, and even the international community. It's the desperate measure of a dead man walking who wants to drag everyone down with him.
Original article published on 30 June 2009
About the author
Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author and translator are cited.
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