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sábado, octubre 24, 2009

Honduras: A Sign That The Coup Has Won

I know, I know. I'm hypersensitive, I've lost my sense of humor, I'm out of touch with common reality. I'm making mountains out of mole hills. And I sound angry.

All of that about me might be so, but today's Washington Post article about Honduras seems to me to be a sign that the coup has won, as far as the Trad Media are concerned, and that deserves at least brief mention here. Put another way, I don't think you're going to read more about Honduras in the Trad Media until the end of November when the presidential election is held there.

The point of the article in the Washington Post, if I may distill it for you, is that in Banana Republics, roughly defined as all countries in Central America, including Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, where Spanish is spoken, people would rather talk about futbol than politics. And that's how it is, the article tells us. So even if politics at the moment means living with the jackbooted foot of the oligarchy and its US armed military standing truculently on your neck, you still smile and you talk instead about futbol. As bad as things might be in Honduras, as undemocratic and repressive as things might be, as poor as the people are, as oppressive as the golpe de estado is, well, things just can't be all that bad. And why so? Because just like in normal circumstances, Hondurans can still be happy about futbol. Let's let them continue to be happy.

Bring on the stereotypes. Bring on old clips of the Frito Bandito. Bring on anecdotes of laziness. Bring on the claim that the people of Honduras are happy and that they don't really care that their democratic government has been overthrown by a coup d'etat. After all, isn't their national team going to the World Cup?

This is offensive. Especially because the coup continues in full force. And shows no signs of ending. And because nobody, that's right, nobody has a clue about how to end the coup.

On October 14, Honduras made the World Cup finals in South Africa, when its team beat El Salvador and the US beat Costa Rica. This is Honduras's first World Cup finals since 1982, so it's a big deal if you care about futbol. And, of course, the golpistas, who are in charge of the country and its military, have tried to use this event to their advantage, to capitalize on it. They even declared a national holiday.

A bus carrying the triumphant team to visit Honduras' patron saint at Tegucigalpa's cathedral after the win made an abrupt detour to the presidential palace where [interim president and chief golpista Roberto] Micheletti has set up his government. They were paraded on a state-controlled television channel and Micheletti declared a national holiday.

"We had no idea the bus was going to the presidential palace, we thought it was headed to the church," [midfielder Elvis] Turcios said.

The head of the national team selection committee, Jose Ferrari, said he did not make the decision to take the players to Micheletti but that it was practical not political because crowds overwhelmed the church waiting for their arrival.

But Ferrari is the owner of the largest media outlets in Honduras and a Micheletti-backer, and some suspect it was a deliberate political play.

"Some suspect?" Yeah, that would be me. I suspect it. I consider the non-denial from Ferrari utterly laughable, especially because the TV cameras were at the palace waiting for the event and the videos were then run on whose TV station?

Meanwhile, the mother of the team's captain made an opposing gesture of support for the rightfully elected, deposed president Manual Zelaya, who remains in asylum in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa:

"All of the team's directors are part of the coup, they wanted to use it for their own benefit," said Flor Guevara, a devout Zelaya supporter and the mother of team captain Amado.

Guevara asked her son to autograph a team shirt for Zelaya, which made it past soldiers into the embassy where the toppled leader held it up for photos. And Zelaya's team is keen to portray players as political as well as sporting heroes.

"I know there are players resisting the coup ... many couldn't speak out," his daughter told local newspapers.

Guevara said her gift to Zelaya was personal and not meant to reflect the political views of her son.

All of this was dutifully reported by the Washington Post.

What conclusion do I draw from this reportage? I think the Trad Media in the US are now finished with that Banana Republic Honduras and its 21st century coup. I think that they now realize that the problem of restoring democracy is intractable, that the golpistas are utterly intransigent, and that Manual Zelaya, the rightfully elected president, has no discernible route to being reinstated in his presidency. More important, none of the governments and international organizations who made Zelaya's reinstatement the first priority in restoring democracy to Honduras has a clue of how to accomplish this first step. So, faced with a standoff, the Trad Media are done. Finished. There's nothing else for them to say. Except that things aren't so bad in Honduras because there's futbol. And the World Cup.

The story is now going to die, and in November we'll be told that the election has been held, that there's a new, democratically elected president, who was not put in place by the coup, and that the election was fair enough even though it was conducted by the golpistas during their coup. And eventually, after that election, the controversy will fade in our memory, and the US, and everybody else, will recognize the elected president of Honduras. And we'll all go on. After all, it's just a Banana Republic, and it doesn't really matter to us.

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Anonymous Anónimo said...

The pisser of it all is the propagandistic title of the article-
"Honduras coup rivals use soccer triumph in crisis"

The Article is actually about the Coup using the soccer triumph for their own gain in the crisis, not the rivals of the coup.

1:40 p.m.  

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