Honduras in crisis

On 20th of September President Zelaya returned to Honduras. He traveled from El Salvador and took 15 hrs to escape the road blocks setup by the military government. He has taken refuge in the Brazilian embassy. He has called for talks with the military government. Military government has imposed 24 hour curfew . Zelaya has addressed his supporters outside the Brazilian embassy. His supporters have igned the curfew.

On  28th of June Honduras Military leadership overthrew the government of President Zelaya. He was arrested and at gunpoint forced into a plane and sent to exile in Costa Rica. This military coup comes as no surprise to most of the analysts of Latin America.

President Zelaya was elected president four years ago on a conservative ticket. However Zeleya moved away from the country's elite and started cultivating good relationship with Left wing leaders in Latin America such as Chavez of Venezuela and Morales of Bolivia. An year ago when Morales expelled the U.S ambassador for intervening in Bolivia's internal affairs,  Zelaya in solidarity refused to accept the credentials for the U.S ambassador to Honduras. Honduras joined ALBA club nations which brings together the leftwing governments in Latin America.

Internally Zelaya embarked on a campaign of social and political reform . As in the rest of Latin America the indigenous majority in Honduras are an oppressed people with the minority European elite holding all levers of power., Zelaya cultivated good relationship with social groups and various human rights organisations. Zelaya's attempt to reform the system was met with opposition from ruling elite which included the congress , courts and military. 

Honduras have been for decades the bastion of counter revolution in Latin America. Largest U.S base in central America is based in Honduras and counter revolutionary activities in Nicaragua , El Salvador and Guatemala were orchestrated from this base. In addition Honduran military itself is responsible for massive human rights violations internally. People disappeared in 70s in large numbers and without trace. So it is not surprising that ruling elite which consist of large land owners were busy plotting against Zelaya with covert U.S assistance.Matters came to head when  Zelaya tried to organise a poll on the question of political reform in the country. Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Thousands of Hondurans work in U.S and send remittances. Majority of the population live below the poverty line.

When Zelaya tried to organise the poll , he was opposed by the supreme court, congress and the military all dominated by the country's ruling elite. . On Sunday just before the poll was supposed to open military struck . It is inconceivable that military which is totally dependent on U.S military aid could have carried out the coup without a wink from U.S.

What is next?

United Nations, Organisation of American states and all the world bodies have called for unconditional reinstatement of Zelaya. So far U.S has made some noises to that effect. This crisis has openly exposed Obama's political stand. Either he can force the Honduran military to back down or allow the coup to carry on. It will be clear that the Honduran crisis will expose President Obama's true nature of politics. He cannot pretend that Honduran military acted on his own. U.S has massive influence on Honduras. One call from U.S defence department will make the Honduran military to stand down. So far Obama hasn't met Zelaya . Zeleya was only received by Hilary Clinton

Meanwhile there is widespread opposition in Honduras to the military takeover at the grass roots level. Military has imposed a 48 hour curfew to suppress the masses. But they will continue to resist the illegal take over.

OAS has suspended Honduras with all the members voting for the suspension. Zelaya tried to return to Honduras on Sunday and military has prevented his landing by blocking the runways. Grass root organisations held massive demonstrations to welcome Zelaya . Military opened fire and two people have been killed.

Honduran crisis is going to escalate in next few weeks despite US efforts to manage the crisis. US strategy is to pretend that it has no control over the military and at the same time slowly make the international community to accept the coup as a fait accompli.This is the reason that US is backing the so called mediation efforts by Costa Rica's President Arias. US strategy is to allow the crisis to drag on, hold the elections as scheduled in November and elect a Pro US government. Honduran military could not behave in such oppressive manner with the covert support of US. The reason that coup leaders are intransigent is that U.S is covertly supporting them via the US military. As Fidel Castro has stated in his reflections coup was organised and supported by Pentagon and US military.

However the crisis has actually strengthened the progressive forces in Honduras. It is now mobilised and military oppression will only strengthen it further. What has started as a power play between different sectors of the state may very well end up in the overthrow of the elite. Latin American countries are indignant at the ghost of military coups coming back.One does not easily forget military coup in Chile in 1973 and the oppression which followed.

Updated 22nd of September 2009