After seven months of hardship, Honduras can today consider itself the victor in the drawn out struggle for the world to recognize its right to depose an omnipotent president.
This is the day the interim president gave his final speech to the nation from that position. He thanked the people, all the people, for the help they had given him, and he expressed profound gratitude for the opportunity destiny had given him to serve his fatherland in these the most arduous of times.
This is also the day that it was revealed that BCIE, Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica, on January 18 decided to resume normal operations with Honduras again. Honduras is a partner in the bank and has sued it for breach of contract, since it for purely political reasons stopped making payments.
Also the Central American trade agreement with the European Union is back on track today, with Honduras included. It is expected to be signed in May.
As for the future of the deposed president, Zelaya, he has today decided conditionally to accept the free passage to the Dominican Republic that president-elect Porfirio Lobo has promised to issue on January 27, the day he takes office. There may also be legal problems due to the arrest warrants issued for him – including international ones. Logically, if Zelaya accepts the free passage he recognizes that Lobo was elected president of Honduras in a legitimate election (which he hasn’t done yet), which means that he also has to accept the validity of the arrest warrants from the Republic of Honduras. There are still some knots to untie. The easiest would be if Zelaya just walked out and faced his prosecutors like a man.
However, those are details now. The main thing is that Honduras democratic institutions saved the rule of law, enforced the separation of powers, and – when the entire world turned on them – stood up for what they knew was right, and won.
This is perhaps a first. History is full of countries that have had their democracy destroyed, from ancient tyrants to present-day chavism. Every time one wonders, why didn’t they stop it? Why didn’t they do this, or that? Why not?
Well, Honduras did to this and that. They had the right on their side, and executed it under extreme pressure, against an opponent that was acting fast. They had no time to plan; in fact, they barely had time to act. Most of all, they had no time to spin it for the media.
Their opponent had, though. He was well prepared for virtually all eventualities. Which forced the Hondurans to take some extreme and unexpected measures. Call it “pajamas diplomacy” if you like. Although in reality Zelaya was of course allowed to get dressed before they flew him to Costa Rica.
This left the impression of a military coup. Due to the circumstances, the country was already full of media ready to spread the story. Result: Instant saturation of the global airwaves with the spin that a military coup had taken place, while in reality they had prevented an autogolpe.
So now we know “why not”. It is very, very hard.
But they did it, and for that, the little country on the Central American isthmus, the former “banana republic” of Honduras will for ever be inscribed in the History of Democracy.
And so will president Roberto Micheletti Bain, and his last speech.
As a personal note, it has been an astonishingly interesting time to have had the privilege to be able to follow closely the fight of this government to preserve their nation’s freedom and democracy. I want to sincerely thank all those who have helped me with information, because it is they who have made it possible for me to get beyond the clichés. ¡Viva Honduras!
2010-01-22 11:40, corrected to Dominican Republic as the country accepting Zelaya.