Honduras elections. Some questions. Few Answers.

Some say let the present coup of Honduras play itself out and if the coup-meisters call an election this year just boycott it. Not wise. The nations of Latin America, and a day late and a dollar short, the United States State Department, have clearly called the coup illegitimate. The present government of Honduras has no legal base for calling elections without the presence of all political parties and their leaders.

Let’s think it through. If an illegitimate government calls an illegitimate election while the legitimate President is in involuntary exile and cannot convene his party or campaign for its candidate, the coup-meisters are sure to win in a rigged election. A boycott would only insure that victory and Honduras would have a dubious legitimate “democracy” for the next four years. And a deeply divided country would continue to teeter on the brink of a violent civil war. Or continuous street protests, frustrated by a corrupt congress and judiciary, would be dealt with by unjust military repression with no resolution of the underlying problems of social class and institutionalized poverty.

The Organization of American States and the renewed pressures and posture of the United States State Department indicate that only the immediate return of the legitimate President Zelaya, democratically elected and illegally deposed by military force alleging fatuous legal claims, would satisfy the democratic aspirations of the hemisphere. The scheduled elections slated for later this year could then give Honduras a new government with all parties participating in public campaigns permitting a national debate around issues of national concern.

Another point to be considered is the deep distrust of the past, and now present, Administration of the  United States government until it proves by deeds a new relationship with Latin America. Times have changed. “Good Neighbors” do not appear to support military coups anymore. They work for mature, independent and legitimate democracies which do not create, or maintain, former political or economic dependencies or client states. The memory of the totally illegal support of the “Contras” in Honduras by the Reagan administration is still quite fresh in Latin America. Progressive Latin American governments are dubious and Honduras is a test case for democracy in the Hemisphere. Boycotting illegal elections is not an wise option.

Rev. Michael J. Gillgannon

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