Turn The World Upside Down
To no one's particular surprise, the Honduran Congress voted today not to restore duly elected and deposed President Manual Zelaya to power. The vote wasn't even close. And of course, the United States immediately expressed its half-hearted disappointment at the vote. Once again, the golpistas win, democracy loses, the US goes back to its early 20th century stance in the hemisphere, and life lurches on in Honduras. Democracy is a big loser. As is the stability of elected governments in this hemisphere.
The United States is "disappointed" that the Honduran Congress voted not to allow the reinstatement of ousted President Manuel Zelaya, a U.S. State Department official said on Thursday.
Honduran lawmakers resisted international pressure and voted 111 to 14 on Wednesday not to allow Zelaya's return to power after he was toppled in a June coup....
The Honduran lawmakers were deciding Zelaya's fate as part of a U.S.-brokered deal between the deposed leftist and the country's de facto leaders who took power after the coup....
"We're disappointed by this decision since the United States had hoped that Congress would have approved his return," Valenzuela told reporters.
Of course, the Honduran Congress voted against Zelaya. The Congress was golpista dominated and had supported the arrest of Zelaya at gun point at the end of June, his being transported in his pajamas to an airplane, and his being unceremoniously driven from the country that elected him. Anybody who thought the vote could go another way was in dreamland. And that includes the US who brokered a deal that let this golpista dominated Congress, a co-participant in the golpe de estado, have any say in the matter.
And then we have this past Sunday's election which was administered by the golpistas:
Opposition candidate Porfirio Lobo won Sunday's presidential election, which had been scheduled before the coup.
The United States quickly recognized Lobo's victory but said it was only one step toward restoring democracy. U.S. officials praised Lobo for vowing to form a government that will help reconcile issues in Honduras.
The United States has alienated itself from Latin American powerhouses like Argentina and Brazil, which refuse to recognize the election because it was organized by a de facto government.
Presumably the other steps to restoring democracy included the restoration of Manual Zelaya to his presidency. A move blocked by congress, and previously blocked by the Supreme Court. Referral to the Supreme Court was also part of the brilliant deal brokered by the US. That would be the Supreme Court that issued the arrest warrant for Manual Zelaya and presumably approved his deportation.
I've commented before about the US's willingness to accept this past week's election as a solution to the problem in Honduras. I think that this decision actually imperils elected, democratic governments throughout the hemisphere. It means that there are exceptions to the US's support of those who are democratically elected, the main exception being when the US disagrees with the policies and alliances of the elected Government. If the elected Government agrees on any issues with Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, Michele Bachelet, any of the other left of center governments in the hemisphere, it had better be careful. Very careful. In that case, the US will not insist that the democratically elected government be restored in the event of a military coup.
Democracy, it seems, is for places the US agrees with. Afghanistan had a fraudulent election, but the US will support its government as if it were democratically elected with 30,000 more troops. Ditto Iraq. Honduras had a fair election when it elected Manual Zelaya. Venezuela had a fair election when it elected Hugo Chavez. The democratic selection of those government's, however, just isn't important.
This turns the world upside down. And when you look at it from the southern hemisphere, there are substantial reasons for concern.
Join me in the western hemisphere as seen from the south.