A different perspective on the Honduran crisis
For the past few weeks we have heard the opinions of many regarding the current situation in Honduras. From leaders of free nations to despotic dictators, they all seem to view the crisis from the same perspective, calling on the interim Honduran government to ignore their constitution and allow their rogue president, Mel Zelaya, to be president again.
The press--dutiful as ever--has done an excellent job of disseminating these plentiful yet identical points of view. Through their reporting, they are placing immense political pressure on the democratic Honduran congress and Supreme Court to bend to the will of pundits such as the evil and murderous Fidel Castro, his trained monkey the corrupt Hugo Chavez, and the incestuous pedophile (among other vile attributes), Daniel Ortega.
It is quite a motley crew the US, the EU, the UN, the OAS, and the press in general has chosen to align themselves with, but nevertheless these perspectives, from tyrants and democratically elected leaders alike, all echo the same sentiment: Zelaya must be returned to power regardless of what the Honduran constitution states. From the beginning the press has obediently reported the opinions and thoughts of this unlikely and unholy coalition. Several stories are printed on a daily basis quoting the members of this alliance, all in lockstep with the same talking points and message.
Missing from these news stories, however, is the perspective of another group. This group does not have the political firepower Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton has, nor are they a powerful world organization such as the UN. This group does not possess the economic leverage of an EU and they are certainly not blessed with the soapbox the world media enjoys to put forth their message.
Nonetheless, this small group made up of about 7.6 million individuals has a front row seat to the events taking place and unlike any of the other people and organizations I have mentioned, they will be directly affected by how this crisis unfolds and is settled. This group, although they have not held back their views and perspectives and have told all who care to listen their opinion, has been largely ignored by the other players. Their voice, it seems, is not pertinent to the situation at hand and they have therefore been relegated to the proverbial sidelines.
These individuals, whose voice has been ignored, are the Honduran people.
In an editorial in the Denver Post, Morgan Smith, who was in Honduras earlier this month, tells of his surprise to find out that although the world seems to be unified as to what is best for the Honduran people, the Honduran people themselves apparently have a different idea.
On June 28, the Honduran Army, on orders from the Supreme Court, escorted President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya out of the country. Hugo Chávez of Venezuela condemned the action and was soon joined by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.
Earlier this month, I was in Honduras and asked dozens of residents — businesspeople, waiters and cab drivers, farmers, teachers, members of a mariachi band, an itinerant preacher, clerks, hotel staff — for their opinions.
To my surprise, they unanimously agreed that Zelaya should have been removed and that he should not be allowed to return.
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Here are several of the comments I received:
"The country is peaceful. We don't want Zelaya back," volunteered the cab driver who took me to my hotel.
"We don't want Mel," said the receptionist.
"He went crazy the last year," said a businesswoman named Nicole who admitted that she voted for him in 2005.
A medical student named Alberto was proud because Hondurans, normally very passive, are finally standing up to an abuse of power. But this isn't just a Honduran issue, he said; it's a "crucial step for Chávez." This echoes the widespread belief that Venezuela 's Chávez has been recruiting Zelaya as part of his anti-American agenda, encouraged him to consolidate his power and seek a lifelong presidency and is now pushing for Zelaya's return, regardless of the cost in human lives.
"A president shouldn't be able to win election and then think he can do whatever he wants," Alberto added.
If we can learn anything from this it would be that what is right and what is wrong is irrelevant to this situation. A certain outcome is required by the world and the wishes and desires of the Honduran people play no part in that outcome. In an ultimate display of political pragmatism, the US, the beacon of democracy for the world, has eschewed democratic principles and the will of the Honduran people to align itself with despotic world leaders and farcical organizations such as the OAS. What the Honduran people want and who they want to lead them is of no consequence in this dilemma. But it is the Honduran people who must live with the decisions of world and I do not think it is unreasonable to believe that they should have the loudest voice in how this crisis is resolved.
The problem is that the world and the media is too busy listening to the opinions of Castro, Chavez, and Ortega.