When Porfirio Lobo Sosa is sworn in as president of Honduras right now, he is facing a huge challenge as regards the economy. On the flip side, he may have a more politically engaged populace than in a long time, and one that is prepared to rise to the challenge of transforming the nation into a modern welfare state of Western European style.
Let’s take a step back and look at the whole picture. The previously elected president, Manuel Zelaya, was elected on a platform that included the introduction of “institutions of direct democracy.” What did he mean with that term? If he really was thinking of an institution with a charter and elected officials, then it is an oxymoron to call it “direct democracy.” And he if was thinking of a self-selected group of people doing things together on the street level, he would be well advised to study up on history. It is getting uncomfortably close to the mob rule of the Nazi or Soviet systems, due to the lack of protection of the rule of law.
Nevertheless, Zelaya pushed ahead with this plan. He determined that in order for this to become reality a change to the constitution was required. According to him, the Congress could not pass that change, why a Constitutional Assembly had to be called. Unfortunately for Zelaya, the Supreme Court of Justice disagreed. They ruled that nobody else than Congress can change the constitution. Zelaya disobeyed the court, they issued an arrest order for him, and Congress replaced him. End of the procedural story.
Now that Honduras has a new president, let us look back again at Zelaya’s end game, and leave the procedural issue behind. This kind of direct democracy is what Hugo Chávez also promotes, calling it democratic socialism, but I still have not found any implementation of it. Until we see a bill, a text in a law, we can’t really know what the rhetoric means in practice. It seems increasingly probable that it is just a euphemisms for mob rule. The street-level support that tyrants need.
That is not what the Hondurans voted for, is it? Of course not.
There are real social issues to be solved in Honduras. It is now clear that Zelaya was a false prophet. His end game was not the right one, and his way of implementing it was unconstitutional. He probably meant well, so say even his detractors, but he lacked the capacity to select the right route and set the right course.
The good thing is that the events of the last half year when Micheletti took the helm, has proven to Hondurans that they can, that they have a choice, that it is not futile to strive for a better life in their republic. This profound change of attitude, of dignity, of determination, is the best resource that Honduras new president can get.
Meida: A Honduran blogger.