Honduras And Drugs

July 6, 2009

Honduras Defiant

IBD – 2 July 2009

Democracy: Nations aren’t usually put to the fearsome test to “live free or die.” But Hondurans are accepting it as the world pressures them to reseat a potential dictator in office. They aren’t bending.

On Tuesday, all 192 members of the U.N. General Assembly voted to condemn Hondurans’ removal of President Mel Zelaya from office. He was ousted this week after brazenly defying a Supreme Court ruling against a reelection referendum. Using the language of the effort’s ringleader, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, the U.N. called the constitutional act “a military coup.”

The same day, the Organization of American States gave Honduras three days to reinstall Zelaya as president or its membership would be suspended. The World Bank “paused’ lending until Zelaya is back. The Inter American Development Bank followed suit.

Standard & Poor’s warned of a credit downgrade. Tourists were told by embassies to leave. Three bordering nations cut off trade. Nations pulled ambassadors. Venezuela’s despot, Hugo Chavez, cut off cheap oil. He now bucks for an OAS-led military invasion if his leftist pal Zelaya is not restored to power.

The U.S. has its own bag of potential sanctions for Honduras, although as new facts emerge about Zelaya’s involvement in the drug trade and his mental instability, doesn’t look as though it intends to use them. Still, the Sword of Damocles over Honduras could mean a suspended free trade treaty, a cutoff of its $200 million in aid, and an end to its immigration agreement with the U.S.

As the world follows Chavez’s lead in trying to force Honduras to accept a lawless man as its leader, disasters for Honduras loom.

The tiny country is impoverished. Its seven million people have a per capita income of just $1,635 a year. Its economy has been enfeebled by Zelaya himself. He has fixed prices and wages, and opened the door to drug traffickers, creating a burgeoning narcostate.

It seems impossible that Honduras could withstand new draconian pressure and isolation over taking Zelaya back.

Yet evidence shows that Hondurans consider the latter fate worse. If Zelaya is restored as president, he will resume his dictatorial ambitions while Hondurans lose their future freedoms. Oh, the OAS will tell them “dialogue” will solve it.

But Hondurans know better: If the rule of law won’t dissuade Zelaya from being dictator, why would sweet talk work?

Honduras’ new, constitutionally appointed leader, Robert Micheletti, defied the global blowhards sitting in judgment of Honduras and said he wasn’t leaving.

To Chavez, he said: “You don’t scare me.” He also warned Zelaya that if he flew back to assume office, he’d be arrested. Honduras’ Congress, and its Supreme Court are holding the line, too.

This can only be happening because they are listening to the only people whose opinion matters: Hondurans, some 80% of whom approve of the Court action. “Everyone here is celebrating,” a business leader told Latin Finance.

Tuesday, thousands of these Hondurans peacefully rallied in the streets, in vivid contrast to the 200 pro-Zelaya thugs who trashed fast food joints and burned garbage a day earlier.

Freedom isn’t free, and it looks as though the Hondurans will have to prove it. Accepting a fate as an international pariah state bears a hefty price. But plucky Hondurans have made their choice, valuing freedom over world esteem. If against all odds they win, their choice will strike the biggest blow for democracy since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The chain reaction that ensues may topple the false democracies in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Cuba. Just as Hondurans aided freedom fighters to crush Sandinista communism in the ’80s, they’ll now turn back the tide of false democracies.

If only America could be at their side for the victory this time.


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