Leadership lacking on Honduras
It has been three months since Honduras’ democratically elected president, Manuel Zelaya, was forcibly removed from office. Zelaya, who on June 28 was put on a plane out of the country by the Honduran military, is now back in Honduras. He is holed up in Brazil’s embassy in the capital, Tegucigalpa, which is surrounded by police and military forces.
News reports today say that the coup-installed government has silenced two dissident broadcasters, Radio Globo and Channel 36 TV, just hours after it suspended civil liberties to prevent what it called an uprising by Zelaya backers. On Sunday, he had called for mass protests.
The government’s suspension of civil liberties violates the Honduran Constitution. The decree issued by the government prohibits unauthorized gatherings and allows police to arrest without a warrant.
The United Nations and the international community have condemned the coup and continue to demand that the deposed president be reinstated and allowed to complete his term which ends in January.
Since this attack on democracy is taking place in our own backyard, you might think that the United States would be using every diplomatic weapon at its disposal to make sure that the democratically elected president was returned to power.
But the reality is, despite its condemnation of the illegal government in Honduras and the suspension of $30 million in assistance to Honduras, the Obama administration has been sitting back, (the United States won’t even officially call this coup a coup) perhaps waiting for a negotiated accord hammered out by Costa Rica President Oscar Arias, to run its course.
The San Jose Accord calls for Zelaya’s return to power, the creation of a unity government and early elections. But it has already been rejected by the coup government of Honduras. Other negotiations are under way.
The U.S. response has been decidedly tepid. Could it be that this administration is holding back because Zelaya, like many other Latin American leaders, is a little left of center? I thought we ended that way of thinking when Obama was elected.
Larry Johnson is the former foreign editor of the Seattle P-I. His blog is at www.larryjohnsononline.com. (I made my web address a hot link)
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