A July 6 Op-Ed in the New York Times, written by Honduran columnist Roger Marín Neda, is entitled “Who Cares about Zelaya?” One answer to this question is offered via the observation that “the outside world seems to be shocked and riveted by the ouster of Mr. Zelaya, who is now getting attention usually reserved for an international movie star. So why are we Hondurans so blasé?”
If we skip over the issue of whether an international movie star would be prevented from landing at an international airport while a smattering of international leaders watch from El Salvador, we can assess the blasé nature of Hondurans, the first piece of evidence in support of which is the following comment by Marín’s friend Julia, a middle-class housewife: “Oh, I love the curfew… I haven’t seen my husband come back home before 10 at night since my honeymoon.” Julia would presumably not have been so amused by her husband’s punctuality if he had been shot by the Honduran military at Toncontin Airport rather than returning home, but the couple’s blasé outlook appears to have precluded such a turn of events.
Zelaya’s defects according to Marín include having “had the guts to go all the way to plan a referendum,” which would have enabled him to “create a Hugo Chávez-type of government” in that he may have been able to run for president for a second time at some point in the future. Colombian plans for a referendum to enable presidents to run for a third term meanwhile raise the alarming question of whether Álvaro Uribe is not also trying to install a Hugo Chávez-type of government.
As for Marín’s musings on the blasé qualities of “we Hondurans,” the tens of thousands of pro-Zelaya demonstrators apparently do not factor in—further proof of his own criticism of the “longstanding social divide” that “our leaders have thoroughly failed to ease.” Such failures are cited as the reason that “many Hondurans are apathetic about politicians — and politics in general,” although apathy loses its negative connotations when it comes to caring about Zelaya. Marín predicts that “[i] f he is not restored to power, something that seems less and less likely to happen, Mr. Zelaya will probably soon fade from our collective memory, just like so many of his predecessors.”
The US has renounced any responsibility to counter the fading by deferring to Costa Rican President Óscar Arias as coup mediator. Hillary Clinton has pointed out that Arias is the “natural person to assume this role” based on his 1987 Nobel Peace Prize for efforts to end civil war in Central America; she fails to delineate US contributions to Central American conflict, which were previously less blasé.