Friday, August 7, 2009

US: Thumbs down on Honduran democracy

The US State Department has abandoned any pretense of supporting the return of elected Honduran president Manuel Zelaya to office. Recall that Zelaya was removed from office and flown out of the country in June. His crime: attempting to find out whether the Honduran people supported the idea of overhauling their country's constitution.

A good summary of US involvement in and encouragement of the coup and Zelaya's exile is told in this article at Foreign Policy in Focus.

What's especially disturbing is that this behavior on the part of the US seems to have a life of its own, independent of particular administrations. After Grenada's revolution in 1979, both the Carter and then the Reagan administrations worked to destabilize the new Grenadian government, ultimately hastening its self-implosion in late 1983 and paving the way for the US invasion, which I wrote about here.

Historically, any time a Latin American or Caribbean government, be it Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, or Venezuela, tries to implement policies that shift the wealth of the country away from the usual tiny elite class and into the hands of peasant farmers, indigenous peoples, former slaves, and others with a history of abuse and exploitation, the US has interceded in favor of the elites. These elites are typically hyper-conservative, actual or ideological descendants of the founding European landowners. They tend to be either members of or tightly tied to a military whose leaders are routinely trained in methods of terror and torture at the US's Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly the School of the Americas) at Fort Benning, Georgia. They are, to put it bluntly, fascists. And now, fans of fascism in the US have once again handed a people clamoring for democracy over to thugs.

But we don't have to leave the US to see these people in action. As I write, senators and congressional representatives trying to discuss health care reform in town hall meetings with their constituents are being terrorized by wandering gangs of the same sort of thugs, almost certainly some of the same people who were allowed to disrupt vote counting here in Florida during the 2000 election. And we all know how that turned out.

The only thing these troglodytes need to complete their ensemble is brown shirts.

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