Why even anti-Chavez types in Latin America oppose the coup (golpe) in Honduras

(Images from El País)

Sunday's coup that removed President Manuel Zelaya from office in Honduras has been roundly denounced by leaders in Latin America and, most recently, by US President Barack Obama. The justification given by the military for detaining Zelaya and then forcing him into exile in Costa Rica was that Zelaya had insisted on calling for a nationwide popular vote to convene a national assembly which would then discuss the possibility of changing the Honduran constitution to allow him to run for office a second time. The act of calling for a national referendum to discuss this was deemed unconstitutional by the Honduran high court and by its congress.

On the day in which the national referendum was slated to occur, the military took Zelaya prisoner and the head of congress assumed the presidency. Supporters of the military and supporters of Zelaya have since that point called each other "undemocratic."

Zelaya's critics in Honduras say that his support internationally comes from pro-Chavez sympathy. This is not the case. Even a glance at newspapers in Paraguay (arguably one of the most conservative countries in Latin America), which are staunchly and virulently anti-Chavez, shows that the critique against the move in Honduras is not about Chavez but about using force instead of law to remove a president. The precedent this sets, the idea that coups are still a viable option, undercuts decades of work and compromise and while many in Latin America are not excited about the Chavez-like Left, they are more concerned about a regional return to military (and guerrilla) violence.

For Latin America, these events are sadly familiar: pictures of people confronting tanks, stories of "disappearances," meddling from leftist leaders in other countries, enforced curfews, and violence on all sides in the name of "democracy." What's new is the across-the-board rejection of the actions in Honduras internationally and the insistence that Zelaya, as a democratically elected president, cannot be removed by such means.

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4 Responses to Why even anti-Chavez types in Latin America oppose the coup (golpe) in Honduras

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

CS Monitor peace with the other point of view

Anonymous said...

Crap, I can't type at all. First I didn't link it then I wrote peace for piece. Sorry C, I'm making a mess here.

Anonymous said...

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