Friday, July 03, 2009

Latest from Honduras

Since the blog has become All Honduras, All The Time, I figured it was time for another update.

Trend´s post below gets at some important issues, so make sure you read that.

Protests are definitely heating up throughout the country, but particularly in the major cities. After nearly a week, both sides have mobilized their most devoted supporters. Zelaya´s support from the labor movement, peasant movements, and even the nation´s feminist movement (there was a long interview on TV this morning with a Honduran feminist leader. Sadly, I know virtually nothing about feminism in Central America), means that thousands of Hondurans are marching in Tegucigalpa. Clashes with police are happening daily.

If the coup holds on for the short-term, a couple of key issues will be important. First, to what extent will anti-coup protests build? Zelaya is not Evo Morales. In Bolivia, Morales´s supporters LOVE him. He is their president. Although Zelaya has reached out to the poor in recent years, he hardly has the same relationship with them that Morales. The labor and organized peasant movements aren´t that big in Honduras. Will the protests be able to outgrow these limited organized constituencies and turn into more of a mass movement? Do the nation´s poor care enough about Zelaya to fight for him?

Second, what will happen in San Pedro Sula? While Tegus in the capital, in many ways San Pedro is the more important city. The home of the country´s business establishment and countless maquiladoras, San Pedro is Honduras´conduit to the world. There have been significant pro-coup protests there (as well as pro-Zelaya). How much will these grow? Will they at all? Even if not, when you have power, money, and the military, you don´t need as many people to get your point across and out to the international media.

With each day that goes on, it gets harder to put the country´s pieces back to together again. With both sides mobilized, violence seems increasingly inevitable, regardless of the result. Certainly if the coup stands, violence will result. The pro-Zelaya protestors are not going away without a fight. The military and right-wingers are aching for a fight too. I would like to think the international community will be able to talk sense to them. With both Chavez and the World Bank suspending all aid, Honduras´precarious finances threaten to topple. But do the coup leaders care? After all, they have clearly shown their contempt for the poor time and time again. The rich´s bank accounts aren´t going to suffer much through aid suspension. They may well violently fight Zelaya´s return.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post, by the day more willing to allow increasingly extreme right-wing voices on their editorial page, ran this defense of the coup by Alvaro Vargas Llosa, son of the reactionary (if excellent) Peruvian writer Mario. It´s hard to even take this seriously, but Vargas Llosa blames the whole thing on Zelaya, says that the coup leaders were defending the Constitution, and calls the OAS Venezeula´s lapdog. He seems to ignore that the rest of the world is also condemning the coup.