Honduras: An Improbable Solution

3 November 2009 by Atilio Boron

Has the political
crisis in Honduras been
resolved? Although a window of
opportunity has opened, every indicator suggests that there is not a
lot of
room for optimism. It’s worth recalling
what we said here before when the coup d’etat took place: that
Micheletti would
only remain in power as long as he could count on the support, whether
or passive, of Washington. It took four months
for the White House to
understand the high cost that a coup regime would exact in the region. Beset by the
various problems which he faces
in his foreign policy, above all, by the rapid deterioration of the
in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the miring of his troops in Iraq, Obama
the steering wheel from his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, the
architect of support for the putschists, and sent Thomas Shannon to
with the task of restoring order in the tumultuous back yard. Shortly afterwards,
Micheletti shelved his
bravado and meekly accepted what had previously been unacceptable. Of course,
Shannon had just laid down the imperial
To sweeten the moment, he publicly expressed his
admiration for the two
leaders of Honduran democracy: the putschist and the deposed.

Zelaya proposes a
three point program:
restitution, amnesty and a government of national reconciliation. The first will be
resolved by the Honduran
Congress, the same which enthusiastically validated the coup d’etat and
unsparing in its insults and lies against him.

The outcome remains to be seen, but it will not be
simple. Amnesty, for whom? For
the civilian and military employees of a
government which violated human rights and infringed upon every freedom? Or for
Zelaya, for crimes he did not commit,
such as having the audacity to try to ask his people if they were in
favor of
holding a constitutional convention? And
of the third, closely tied to the second, the less said the better. Because under
current conditions, isn’t a
government of national reconciliation simply a passport to oblivion, to
forgetfulness, to impunity?

A cursory review of
the crisis and its
apparent resolution reveals that the putschists can feel satisfied
because they
preserved their two main objectives: deposing Zelaya, even if he
re-assumes the
presidency for a few months until the end of his term; and having
international recognition for the flawed elections scheduled for
November 29,
something that Shannon took upon himself to assure. For
its part, the Honduran oligarchy removes
itself from the danger of more aggressive action by the United States
against its properties and privileges; something that might have
occurred if an
agreement had not been reached. A
stickier sort of control by Washington over
their assets and funds in the United States caused them sleepless
nights, and
Micheletti’s intransigence had become an unnecessary threat to their

For Zelaya, the
balance Balance End of year statement of a company’s assets (what the company possesses) and liabilities (what it owes). In other words, the assets provide information about how the funds collected by the company have been used; and the liabilities, about the origins of those funds. is far more
complex, and that is precisely what overshadows the Honduran landscape. His
restoration doesn’t remove the underlying
causes that provoked the coup d’etat, not in the slightest. Furthermore, as a
result, would it not simply
validate the results of elections plagued with extremely serious
and a campaign that unfolded under the climate of violence and terror
by the putschists? Micheletti has
already been beating the war drums. The
agreement was barely sealed when he told CNN en Español that once
restored to
power, “Zelaya and the people who come with him are sure to undertake a
campaign of retribution. Only someone
who is unaware of Zelaya’s attitude could believe that there will not
What will the response be should the government be
restored? Amnesty for the putschists,
reconciliation with them, hugs for Micheletti?

But Zelaya is far from being the only actor in this
drama: How may the heroic militants who risked
lives and their physical integrity to defend their legitimate
react, especially once the possibility of
calling a popular
referendum to reform the constitution has also been completely ruled
out? There are many dead and wounded,
much imprisonment and humiliation along the way. Will
these men and women who won the streets
in Honduras accept the forgetting of so many crimes and the pardon of
victimizers? Also, the one lesson taken
by the efforts of the people and social movements over the past four
months of
resistance is that if they organize themselves and mobilize their
influence in
the political juncture can be decisive, much more than they realized
before. The crisis taught them,
brutally, that they can stop being history’s objects and turn
themselves into
its protagonists. And perhaps because of
that, beyond what has taken place with this accord, they may decide to
onward with their struggles for a different Honduras , one that does
not come
about with unjust amnesties or spurious reconciliations.

Dr. Atilio A.Boron is Director del PLED, Programa Latinoamericano de
Educación a Distancia en Ciencias Sociales

Corrientes 1543 (C 1042
AAB) Buenos Aires,
Teléfono: (54-11) 5077-8021, 8022 y 8024

English translation: Machetera

Atilio Boron

Analista Político. Coordinador del Ciclo de Complementación Curricular en Historia de América Latina-Facultad de Historia y Artes, UNDAV. Director del PLED, Programa Latinoamericano de Educación a Distancia en Ciencias Sociales del Centro Cultural de la Cooperación “Floreal Gorini”.

Other articles in English by Atilio Boron (3)



8 rue Jonfosse
4000 - Liège- Belgique

00324 60 97 96 80