Rubén Rivero Capriles

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Conflict in Honduras & its background in Chile and Venezuela

Below I synthesize the various arguments against and in favor of the recent events in Honduras, supported by the Chilean and Venezuelan experiences. I am thankful for the ideas provided by my friends Hillel Soifer and Alexander Wisch, without them it would have been impossible to write this article claiming any objectivity.

Rivero&Cooper, Inc.      

AGAINST:

Even though there may be limits to the majority rule, or to the power of a president elected with popular approval, even though there may be talk about the criminalization of the opposition, illegal actions are not the correct way to dispose of a president. A revocation process would have been far more legitimate. A concern about the silencing of the popular voice can only justify legal actions and protests, but not a military coup.

The conflict in Honduras is a class conflict. The popular governments in Latin America are more widely accepted than what the medium and upper class owned press would like us to believe. Instead of dealing with the causes. Latin American elites choose to boycott, to sabotage and to violently overthrow the democratically elected popular regimes.

It is not feasible to compare a facto president with a democratically elected president. If the Venezuelans elect Chávez, the Hondurans elect Zelaya or the Bolivians elect Morales, that happens because of a class struggle which does not end. This popular option triumphs due to the failure of the political, economic and social elite in promoting development for the poorest, and due to the failure of such elite in selling their social achievements to the majority of the population.

In the case of Chile, such class conflict has expired due to the killing of the left wing leaders during the seventies and by the support of the liberal model on the part of the center-left. In Chile the extreme poverty is maintained and criminality has increased in comparison to the eighties. Beans are cooked everywhere. The Honduran domestic press is dominated by the elite or by the upper middle class, which is trying to show the world that the coup is a defense of democracy against Zelaya's excesses. The same argument was used by Pinochet to be able to rule over 17 years. Many Chileans supported his coup at that time, which may not be justified because of its cost of thirty thousand dead afterward. Ends do not justify means.

IN FAVOR:

Honduras is showing the world new ways to let the people's voice be heard once the anachronistic democratic systems perpetuate people in power. Although no posture represents the voice of a whole population, the opposition has been criminalized as theyu cannot express themselves through official venues, as it has occurred in Cuba through its government's monopolized media.

Honduras le está mostrando al mundo nuevas formas para dejar que la voz del pueblo sea escuchada cuando los sistemas democráticos anacrónicos perpetúan a la gente en el poder. A pesar que ninguna postura representa la voz de todo un pueblo, se ha criminalizado a la oposición que no se puede expresar por vías oficiales, tal como ha ocurrido en Cuba por medios oficiales.

If the events on the early morning of June 28, 2009 had not occurred, that day a systematic fraud would have been approved with the support of both the OAS and the UN, organizations which in turn are financed by and therefore respond to the interests of the oppressing regimes, instead of responding to the needs that those who are ruled cannot effectively voice due to the censorship coming from the regimes in power.

We cannot determine whether more people died due to the military repression in Chile or due to the rampant crime rate in Venezuela. Nevertheless, Chile today boasts better macroeconomic indices and Venezuela shows them worse than during the seventies. All Venezuelan media, almost every night, are kidnapped for a few hours by government imposed programming. Even some radio and television stations have already been forced off the air.

People who inadequately perform their jobs are fired with no contemplation. Why would presidents have to be so untouchable? Presidents should efficiently accomplish their task of providing well being to their populations or instead should comply with the consequences for commiting crimes against their citizens. The end has now become to reinstate Zelaya into power by any means such as landing an airplane in violation to the sovereign airspace of a country, while placing his supporters as human shields. Both parties have used unjustifiable means. In this context, the designation by the Venezuelan government of a new authority for Caracas, in detriment of the democratically elected mayor Antonio Ledezma, also constitutes a coup.

CONCLUSION:

As properly expressed by the mediator Oscar Arias, president of Costa Rica, both parties hold convincing arguments which have not been reconciled up to now. We hope that the mediation process currently being held in San José will provide results that may help healing some of the wounds inflicted to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Rubén Rivero Capriles

Spanish original completed in Caracas on July 13, 2009

English translation completed by the author in Caracas on July 14, 2009

Rivero & Cooper, Inc.