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Honduran coup good for marital relations

Juan Ángel Antunes Antunes, who reportedly carried one of the airport victims. (Photo: Rights Action)

Juan Ángel Antunes Antunes, who reportedly carried one of the airport victims. (Photo: Rights Action)

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.

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15 Comments

  1. romath says:

    What’s your point? That the NYT de facto threw its lot in with the coup via a silly op-ed? That the US should invade Honduras? That holding (inherently undemocratic) referendums to get around a constitution is a good thing? That the U.S. capitalist press is hypocritical, i.e., political per U.S. policy?

    Your article reads like a lot of pseudo-radical whining to me.

    • belengarciabernal says:

      Oh, no–was it that obvious I was advocating a US invasion of Honduras? I must learn to be more subtle.

      • DrPangloss says:

        The sarcasm dripping down my tiny iBook screen has forced me to reset my browser window twice. Good onya.

  2. romath says:

    Your sarcastic remark falls flat. When your desire to have U.S. imperialism directly “mediate” – whatever that means – falls flat, what’s left? Either invasion or criticism for not bringing enough “pressure” in favor of “democracy.”

  3. romath says:

    Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresdan, Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia, Iraq, Nicaragua, Haiti, Panama – the list goes on and on – that’s what’s wrong.

    As I suggested from the get-go, your whining about U.S. policy and the vagaries of neo-colonial democracy in Honduras comes down to calling on good old bloody U.S. imperialism to sort it out, one way or another. As long, of course, as it’s done in the name of democracy and human rights, so you’ll feel good.

    • belengarciabernal says:

      Again, I’m not sure how you think pressure in favor of the legitimate president of Honduras is at all comparable to illegitimate dropping of atomic bombs on Japan and anti-democratic interference in other nations.

  4. romath says:

    It’s all on a tactical continuum for U.S. capitalism’s “fight for democracy,” which in fact has nothing to do with political democracy and everything to do with opening and controlling or dominating economic markets. That’s what WWII was about in Europe and Asia, and that’s what the goal of U.S. policy toward Honduras is about now. You see the atomic bombing of Japan as illegitimate, yet call on the same government with the same goals to use diplomatic pressure elsewhere, as if these tactics can be separated.

    When you call on the U.S. State Dept to pressure the current regime in Honduras, you are in effect calling on it to exercise its neo-colonial rapaciousness a little more politely. And, of course, all things being equal, the U.S. government generally prefers democratic forms for countries like Honduras over the alternatives; it looks better ideologically and tends to be less expensive in a number of ways. To take sides in that regard is, at best, illusory. In fact, for all you know the U.S. may have been behind the coup in Honduras, or at least directly or tacitly supported it in advance, and all the grumbling about democracy is just for show, to play on the illusions of people like you. That’s a common ploy, if not a typical one. I don’t have any inside information, but even you realize the idea of the Costa Rican president as mediator is feeble, suggesting a lack of seriousness on the U.S. government’s part about it’s public objections to this regime change. Ever think about why that might be?

    • belengarciabernal says:

      US grumbling about democracy is just for show?!?! I’m thankful there are people like you in the world to correct the illusions of people like me.

  5. romath says:

    No reason to depend on others; just read the many Pulse articles about Palestine concerning American democratic intentions and policies.

  6. romath says:

    What’s your point? In fact, what’s your point in the Israel Turning Point 3 article? My sense is that you seem to think throw-away wit can pass for political acumen.

    What do I mean by political illusions? Liberals and radicals (lib-rads) believe that the U.S. government can be a force for “progressive” change, including democracy. Leaving aside what ‘progressive’ and ‘democracy’ mean for the moment, the thing is that there’s absolutely no evidence to support that belief. None. Zero. While on the contrary, there’s piles of evidence to support exactly the opposite. I call it illusion because that speaks to the process (and hopes) by which most of us come to believe the ideological mythologies of capitalism. I don’t know your political background or trajectory, but the question is always at what point does illusion turn into delusion – or political hucksterism, playing on readers’ illusory hopes.

  7. romath says:

    What’s your point? In fact, what’s your point in the Israel Turning Point 3 article? My sense is that you seem to think throw-away wit can pass for political acumen.

    What do I mean by political illusions? Liberals and radicals (lib-rads) believe that the U.S. government can be a force for “progressive” change, including democracy. Leaving aside what ‘progressive’ and ‘democracy’ mean for the moment, the thing is that there’s absolutely no evidence to support that belief. None. Zero. While on the contrary, there’s piles of evidence to support exactly the opposite. I call it illusion because that speaks to the process (and hopes) by which most of us come to believe the ideological mythologies of capitalism. I don’t know your political background or trajectory, but the question is always at what point does illusion turn into delusion – or political hucksterism, playing on readers’ illusory hopes.

    • belengarciabernal says:

      I’m sorry you classify irony as throw-away wit, and somehow manage to interpret it as submission to the “ideological mythologies of capitalism.” The fact is that any sort of wit is at this point more entertaining than this conversation. 🙂

  8. romath says:

    I’ve asked twice now, “What’s your point?” and you’ve failed to clarify it either time. Political differences aside, speaking just from 45 years of editing and political experience, it’s not obvious; i.e., your writing is thematically muddled, bouncing around a lot.

    Irony gains its effectiveness from incongruity. The two ends of the latter are not only facially unclear in the Turning Point 3 article, but also – stepping back – your attempt to draw them is undercut (narrowed) by your belief that U.S. imperialism is or can be a force for “democracy” (by which you apparently mean adherence to those forms historically associated with the capitalist democracy). Even from a militant anti-Zionist point of view, which I hold, there’s nothing inherently ironical about the Israeli government holding a fire drill; there really are some people out to get Israel and Jews.

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