Honduran Election Seeks to Legitimize Right-Wing Coup
Honduran election seeks to legitimize right-wing coup
Sunday, December 6, 2009
By: Jacqueline Villagómez
Governments in Latin America and beyond reject results
On Nov. 29, the right-wing coup leaders in Honduras staged presidential election intended to legitimize the coup regime and stem a growing popular movement against it.
Latin American countries have largely rejected the
Honduran elections carried out under the watch of
the coup regime that overthrew Manuel Zelaya, the
democratically elected president.
Manuel Zelaya, the democratically elected president of Honduras, was ousted in a coup on June 28. The United States had declared it would recognize the Honduran election regardless of whether or not Zelaya was allowed to finish his term.
Countries throughout Latin America and elsewhere, however, are denouncing the election as a sham. On Dec. 1, during a meeting of Ibero-American countries, Spain, Portugal and Latin American countries issued a call for the reinstatement of Zelaya. The majority of nations in the world have not recognized the election.
The illegitimate election named Porfirio Lobo as president-elect of Honduras. The U.S. media and the coup leaders have taken great pains to show that Lobo took no position on the coup during a vote in Congress. Lobo, a wealthy cattle and grain farmer, lost the 2005 election to Zelaya. Whether or not Lobo voted for supporting the coup means nothing; he comes from the same sector of the ruling class that felt threatened by Zelaya’s presidency and is lending legitimacy to the coup by his participation in the elections.
The election took place amidst a climate of repression created by the coup leaders. Martial law has been in force for months. The Committee for Disappeared Persons in Honduras has confirmed thousands of illegal beatings and detentions in the five months since the coup. The possibility of a free and fair election was totally negated by the coup.
The 20th-century history of Latin America and the Caribbean is riddled with coup d’états and dictatorships. When class struggle becomes highly polarized and bourgeois democracy cannot suppress the discontent of the masses, the ruling class resorts to military force. Washington was instrumental in the success of the 1973 coup against the socialist government of Salvador Allende in Chile.
Following the 1959 triumph of the Cuban Revolution, a string of military coups swept Latin America with Washington’s support, unleashing severe political repression. Cuba had set out to build a society free of exploitation, oppression and foreign intervention. The appeal of the Cuban Revolution and the existence of a socialist state in Latin America threatened the U.S. imperialists and the ruling classes of Latin America.
A struggle for self-determination
U.S. imperialist foreign policy has historically sought to preserve and expand U.S. control over the abundant natural, strategic and human resources of Latin America. To that end, successive U.S. administrations, both Democrat and Republican, have employed mass propaganda, economic sabotage, electoral fraud, coups, direct and proxy wars, and U.S. military deployments.
An anti-imperialist and revolutionary current has been developing in Latin America under the leadership of Venezuela and Cuba. Mobilizations of the masses in opposition to the neoliberal policies imposed by U.S. imperialism have been central to this process.
Zelaya’s government aligned itself with the revolutionary governments of Venezuela and Cuba. Under his government, Honduras joined the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), a treaty launched by Cuba and Venezuela offering an alternative to the economic plunder of neoliberal free trade, focusing instead on trade based on cooperation with social benefits for the masses.
Zelaya also raised the minimum wage, introduced social service programs and tried to increase mass participation in government. His administration attempted to convert the U.S. military base Soto Cano into a commercial airport.
The coup overthrowing Zelaya’s administration was not merely an attack on the Honduran people’s struggle, but an attempt to stem the progressive tide in Latin America. The Honduran right-wing and their U.S. backers could not allow another country to join the revolutionary process. The imperialist forces have tacitly backed the coup at every stage, and now recognize the results of the illegitimate Nov. 29 elections.
The maneuvers of the empire and the Honduran right wing are isolating Honduras from its neighbors. The history of coups and dictatorships is an integral part of the consciousness of the people in Latin America. The Honduran masses are waging a struggle for self-determination, and they are not fighting alone.
Hands off Latin America!