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Column 120312 Brewer

Monday, December 3, 2012

Honduras is Facing a Decision on 'Revolutionary Socialism'

By Jerry Brewer

When former President Jose Manuel Zelaya of Honduras was removed from office on June 28, 2009, by approximately one hundred Honduran soldiers, a majority of the government, including the Supreme Court and prominent members of his own party, deemed it necessary.

Zelaya, strongly supported by Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chavez, planned to conduct a national poll, a referendum, regarding the possibility of changing the Honduran Constitution. That action capped months of tensions over Zelaya's efforts to lift presidential term limits, insofar as Honduran officials viewed such plans as unconstitutional.

Honuras Supreme Court issued a statement saying that the military had acted to defend the law against "those who had publicly spoken out and acted against the Constitution's provisions."

In February of 2009, Hugo Chavez had won a referendum in Venezuela to eliminate term limits, paving the way for him to rule far into the 21st century to carry out his socialist transformation of the once oil-rich country. His first attempt failed fourteen months earlier.

Many in Honduras were quick to recognize Zelaya's mentoring and close alliance with the socialist dictator Chavez.  Zelaya had been described as a former centrist who morphed into a radical leftist. He was quickly flown into exile in his pajamas, after soldiers stormed the presidential palace in the capital Tegucigalpa and put him on a plane to Costa Rica on the orders of the Supreme Court.

Chavez and leftist President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua were the quickest to cry foul.  Ortega went so far as to position troops on the Honduran border, and Chavez made his usual threats of attack if any Venezuelan was harmed.  Too, Chavez claimed that "the coup had been orchestrated by the United States."

To all appearances, President Barack Obama's administration was far behind on current intelligence in the northern cone of Central America, and all along they considered Zelaya the constitutional leader of Honduras, saying that Washington had been "consistent in its demands for a peaceful resolution to the brewing crisis." Obama himself said, "We believe that the ‘coup' was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the President of Honduras."

In other words, seemingly there was no competent monitoring of President Zelaya's attempted power grab during the months leading up to his expulsion by Honduran government officials.

Hugo Chavez reiterated his threat "to invade Honduras if the Venezuelan embassy or ambassador were attacked." The Organization of American States (OAS) also publicly condemned the actions ordered by the Honduran Supreme Court.  The Honduran Congress eventually voted Zelaya out of office, temporarily replacing him with the president of Congress, Roberto Micheletti.

The crisis eventually drew to a close with the inauguration of the newly elected president, Porfirio Lobo, on January 27, 2010. And Zelaya went into exile in the Dominican Republic.

Subsequently, Honduran President Lobo met with Zelaya in Cartagena, Colombia on May 22, 2011. They both signed an agreement that allowed Zelaya to return to Honduras from exile. On May 26, Zelaya flew back to Honduras. At the airport he called for political reconciliation and increased democracy in the country.

In the offing, new presidential and legislative elections will take place in Honduras in November 2013, and it is apparently no surprise to many Hondurans that Manuel Zelaya is back in the political hunt, seeking to run for congress.

Furthermore, Zelaya's wife, Xiomara Castro, is seeking the presidency. She represents the "Libre Party," a leftist group also known as the Liberty and Refoundation Party.  Her husband Manuel serves as General Coordinator of the Libre Party, a political organization that was formed after Zelaya was removed from office in June 2009.

The Libre Party is obviously under the personal dominance of Manuel Zelaya. Plus the creation of the party allowed his wife Xiomara to essentially be exempted from having to confront an opponent in primary elections like other candidates had to do. It was said that she was chosen by "consensus."

The political pursuits by the Zelayas' are seen by many as a tool to regain stature after the humiliation of being previously ousted by the government in 2009.  This perception does not sit well as the nation is inundated by "corruption at all levels," with one of the highest murder rates in the world that includes government officials and journalists.

Manuel Zelaya announced just before last month's primaries that Libre's grass roots revolution would break the nation's largely bi-party system. He called Libre "peaceful, revolutionary, socialist and the hope for this country," adding "democratic socialism will not be stopped for the Honduran people."

"Revolutionary socialism subscribes to the doctrine that a social revolution is necessary in order to effect structural changes to society, and specifically, that revolution is necessary to achieve socialism. Revolution is not necessarily defined as a violent insurrection, rather it is defined as the seizure of political power by mass movements of the working class so that the state is directly controlled by the working class as opposed to the capitalist class." (Wikipedia)

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Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia.  His website is located at http://www.cjiausa.org/.


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