Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Chavez and Honduras

First of all, let me join the chorus and say that Honduras (or rather, the Honduran political and military elite) ought to bow to international opinion and to today's resolution from the Organization of American States and reinstate ousted President Manuel Zelaya. President Zelaya was not acting outside of the constitution when he pushed for a referendum on amending the Honduran constitution to allow him to run for reelection (and to presumably propose other amendments as well).

However I am blogging today to lament the political tone-deafness of the left, who quickly fell into a by-the-numbers, knee-jerk reaction of blaming perfidious Yanqui for the coup, led by the patently demagogic Hugo Chavez, who, by the way, is as responsible for this coup as anyone. President Zelaya won the 2005 Honduran presidential election by 4%, the smallest margin of victory in Honduran electoral history. Difficulties in delivering his (admittedly progressive and supportable) efforts to reform the Honduran economy have led to erosion in his standing in recent polls. It is, in fact, improbable, given the available numbers, that President Zelaya would succeed in being reelected even if he had the constitutional right to run (which, remember, he does not). Nor was the Honduran Supreme Court's decision to overrule his firing of the country's military chief and his insistence on going ahead with the referendum unconstitutional, whatever names one wishes to call the members of the Court.

So where do I go on all of this? Zelaya ought to have appreciated that politics is the art of the possible, that his election had been a good thing, and to continue to work for progressive transformation of Honduran politics and economics. But instead he fell too much under the influence of Hugo Chavez, who probably put the situation over the tipping point when he sent a plane full of ballots and other election materials to Honduras, alarming many people beyond the right-wing elite. Chavez was so intent on cultivating another example of his Castroist formula for moving a country towards one-party rule that he pushed Zelaya to go too far too fast. It was obvious to anyone paying attention that Zelaya did not have the popular or the institutional support for this kind of maneuver.

If you want to keep repeating what you've been chanting since your momma taught you the mantra while you were in your crib, that this is all the fault of perfidious Yanqui, that's an easy thing to do. You know the words to the song. But if you want to be part of building an independent, culturally and politically distinct Latin America you might try listening to some other tunes. I acknowledge Castro's motives and his good heart. But the economic failure of his revolution is at least as much the fault of his centralist policies as the bloqueo, which meanwhile serves the Cuban Communist Party's political interests immeasurably: there would be no Cuban Communist Party today if not for the bloqueo. Chavez, meanwhile, is a demagogue, a racist, and a war-monger. So let me ask you, my lefty reader (the only kind I have): are you helping to advance progressive evolution in Latin America? Or are you just pleasuring yourself?


Myrisa said...

I agree that the Castros have thrived because of the the blockade, a stupid policy. I also do not agree with the often times Chávez bully manners. But a coup was not the solution. The answer was a constitutional due process.

H. said...

Thank you Andy,

I was just wondering what had just happened in Honduras being preoccupied with Iran too much to pay much attention.

I think "progressive" has a lot of potential of becoming repressive. I have come to realise that most great ideas like Socialism and Capitalism have their light side as well as the dark side. Unless we understand the light side of Capitalism and appreciate its attraction and romantic qualities we will succumb into a socialism that is stifling and repressive like all the history of communism in Eastern Europe.

I hope I make sense :-).


Luis Angel Alvarez-Trinta said...

I agree about the failure of the revolutionary Cuban regimen but I cant agree about the allegated racism of Hugo Chavez.

Hugo Chavez is just reacting to the american racism and imperialism. While he was in office in 2002 the Yanquis tried to prepare a coupe of state in Venezuela to stop him, why? the question answers by herself. Nationalism is racist in all the ways but we need to defend when our culture is being challenged by a foreign culture, we must create a national feeling of identity, that is what Hugo Chavez is doing, defending his culture.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brown, do you have any views on the state of political affairs in Guyana, South America? Where the regime has been accussed of being corrupt; involved with confessed drug dealers (Roger Khan) now extradited to the US to stand trial.
Racism and inequality between Indo and Afro Guyanese.
The killing of hundreds of young Afro Guyanese men.
Please comment.

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