As many of you are no doubt aware, Manuel Zelaya, the democratically elected president of Honduras, was ousted in an illegal military coup last June. Obama originally issued a condemnation of the army, who stormed the presidential palace and removed and forcibly deported Zelaya while he was still in his pajamas.
Obama’s extremely reasonable response was nice, at least compared to Bush’s endorsement of (and connections to) the short-lived 2002 illegal removal of democratically elected leftist president Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Zelaya and Chavez are political allies. The US has a long history of undermining and actively supporting the overthrow of leftish governments in Latin America (This isn’t the greatest or most comprehensive overview, but it’s a start.) So I was really disappointed when Obama backed down from having a position beyond that this is None of Our Business:
“The same critics who say that the United States has not intervened enough in Honduras are the same people who say that we’re always intervening and the Yankees need to get out of Latin America. You can’t have it both ways…”
Because funding mass murders and installing puppet dictators is really equatable with supporting actual democratic process and providing humanitarian aid.
Amnesty International recently released a report warning of a post-coup humanitarian crisis in Honduras. Mass demonstrations have been underway, met with arbitrary arrests and brutality. Calls for aid have been largely ignored, at least here in the US.
I would be especially, especially interested to hear from Feministe readers in other parts of the world. How is the media covering the coup? How is your government and population responding? Here, it’s not even a story anymore.
Hey, remember the worldwide Twitterevolution after the elections in Iran? People in the US were all over that. I saw so many tweets from people who had turned their avatars green praising the brave souls in the streets of Tehran. Hell, I made my avatar green. I changed my location to Tehran. I had my doubts about what all this did for the courageous in the streets, but if in any tiny way it showed support, I wanted to show support.
But the whole thing left a gross taste in my mouth. Much as I supported the people of Iran fighting for their rights to self-determination, over here in the US all the support felt like it was coming less from the grassroots up than from the government/corporate media power structure on down. It is in the interest of US foreign policy to undermine Ahmadinejad however possible. The feel good story of normal people like you and me banding together across the globe via Twitter, the little company that could, to Twitterize the popular revolution? PR gold.
Earlier this summer the US Congress even passed a resolution condemning the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the crackdown on peaceful protestors. One thing that bugged me then was the complete hypocrisy of the US government, which has in recent history shown no such love or respect for demonstrators on their own soil, including those specifically demanding free and fair elections. I don’t want to equate the bloody repression of protesters in Iran to that facing those in the US protesting the 2000 and 2004 stolen elections or anything, but the US government hardly has a history of glorifying their own citizens when they fight for democracy at home, let alone any consistent support for those fighting for their rights across the globe. It is clear that all the love the US government feels for Iranian protesters is primarily motivated by political opportunism.
This is not to in anyway undermine the demonstrators in Iran, who have my love and support. But it is to point out that I think Honduran demonstrators are equally deserving. And there are obvious reasons why they’re not getting it.