It may be time to ask if Honduras president Roberto Micheletti is being backstabbed by people who mean to support him, but do it in a way that seriously hurts both him and the Republic of Honduras. The reason is that in spite of express support for Human Rights from the government of Honduras, there are reports of disappearances and murders of rank and file political opponents who consider that the arrest of the elected president Manuel Zelaya by the military as ordered by the Supreme Court of Justice for having violated an express court-issued cease and desist order, constituted a military coup. Having talked to a number of people connected with the government of Honduras I feel convinced that there is no tolerance for Human Rights violations from the top.
Before speculating about who did it, first one must consider what actually happened. It is a sad fact that Honduras led the world in murder statistics in 2008, and already the rate for 2009 is higher, even though the year has not yet ended. Over 60 murders per 100,000 inhabitants and year. It is approaching the rate in Iraq at the peak of the insurgency (101). In Scandinavia, as a comparison, the rate is around 1. Unlike the situation in Iraq these are criminal, not political, murders, related to drug gangs, kidnappings, armed robbery, and family feuds. Since there have been close to 5,000 murders in the country, most of which unrelated to politics, it is not so easy to deduce if a random person supporting Zelaya that turns up in a ditch was murdered for political reasons or not. These cases are classified differently by different groups, which is why the statistics of suspected human rights violations differ so widely (the range being about 7 to 150). It should be said that no case has yet been brought from investigation to prosecution, typically for lack of evidence.
However, if we assume for a moment that there are political murders being committed by people who want to help Micheletti, then they are really stabbing him and their country in the back. (The possibility that it is done by provocateurs I will disregard; it belongs in the same category as the suggestion that it was the government that placed the bombs and threw the grenades in the run-up to the elections.)
If, and I say if, there are people who do this, then their strategy is to disassemble the “resistencia” by going after its rank and file members. This would be a strategy that has been used in Honduras before, and that people are familiar with. If I am not mistaken, it is a method that they learned by the U.S., in that infamous School of the Americas (SOA) [read comments!]. It is effective for what it sets out to do: Get rid of the opposition. However, let us think one step further.
The goal of Honduras is peace, liberty, democracy, and prosperity. If you disagree, use the comment space below. Note that the goal is not to get rid of the opposition, so where did they get that from? I’d say SOA. The old-school goal was not democracy, not liberty, not prosperity for the natives, it was just peace – so that the U.S. companies could make money in the banana republics. If peace is the one and only goal, then one could arguably end up with “disappearances” being an effective strategy.
However, as we know, human rights abuses lead to tremendous social stress in the country. It leads to different groups having different agendas. It makes it impossible to create a functioning democracy. Instead revolution will be an ever-present threat. The peace will be quite superficial, with a high level of violence underneath – exactly what we see in Honduras.
Therefore, if there are people in Honduras who carry out this old strategy from the 70’s, then they are stabbing president Micheletti in the back.
If, and again, IF, there are persons or groups doing this, then every decent Honduran must shout with one voice, “STOP! You are hurting your country!”
Let them know that to get prosperity there has to be a social pact, an understanding between all different groups that everyone has the right to his stake in the nation, to his piece of the cake (although not all pieces will always be equal), and that there must be some healthy degree of nationalism, meaning solidarity with countrymen.
For president Micheletti, I would advice him to strengthen the police, the investigating power, and the entire judicial system (especially against corruption). As a president and politician he cannot intervene in the judicial system, but he can send a strong signal by allocating resources to it (or rather, asking Congress to do so, since it is Congress that holds the purse).