Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Assessing the damage in Honduras

Greg Weeks, one of my two go to guys for Latin America, points to this generally good article in FP (yes I know I once called it the the "People Magazine of international affairs).

Granted, this author also seems angry that the coup-makers "got what they wanted", but he does not urge non-recognition of the election results. 

However, he does point out that the election even if universally recognized will not mean that the underlying problems in Honduras have gone away:

Even better, international favor could have been conditioned on an effort to rethink a surreal constitution that leaves the country vulnerable to future democratic breakdowns. Or perhaps a serious introspection among the Honduran elite about the introduction of social reforms of the sort that are desperately needed in a country afflicted by the pervasive poverty and obscene inequalities that make Zelaya-style populism an irresistible temptation.

He also points out that Zelaya was his own worst enemy throughout the whole affair:

To be sure, this is no vindication of Zelaya, an irresponsible politician who is as much a part and a product of the Honduran elite as anyone. The ousted president played his hand poorly: His unsurpassed ability to ramble confirmed all the prejudices about him, and his racking up miles in Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's plane proved a dead-end route to regaining the presidency. Zelaya will go down in history as the single biggest culprit in his own coup. He was right about one thing (revising the Honduran constitution) but for the wrong reasons (he wanted to tamper with term limits and re-election clauses).

All in all a good piece, well worth reading. Honduras did not start down the road of Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador this time, but the underlying conditions that made Chavez and his minions so popular among big segments of their country's populations still exist in Honduras.

1 comment:

Greg Weeks said...

The idea of underlying conditions is something I was just lecturing about in my LA Politics class. The idea of viewing Chavez et al as an effect of such conditions rather than a cause should be common sense, but is not. I like the fact that FP published such an article--I wouldn't go so far to say it is People Magazine, but it is pure establishment like People, so I am glad common sense could possibly seep into the mainstream.