On the positive side: the editorial recognizes the harmful effects of US Republican politicians grandstanding about Honduras, encouraging Micheletti not to work to end the crisis:
U.S. Republicans who oppose Zelaya's return have given the Micheletti camp false hope that it can hold out without cost.But oh, the bad side: Micheletti should give in, we are told, because the coup
made the point they'd hoped to make when they deposed President Manuel Zelaya in a civilian-military coup last June: that he had broken the law by seeking to alter the constitution to extend his rule.Huh? So it wasn't a naked power grab fueled by an exploitative business elite? It was some kind of communication act? Not to mention that the "point" being made is not true, something someone at LA Times should have figured out a long long time ago.
Zelaya, we are told,
hasn't helped himself with the elites worried about his leftist politics by sneaking back into Honduras to take refuge in the Brazilian Embassy and calling his supporters to the streetsIgnore the fact that the only reason there has been any movement-- if indeed there has been-- in recent weeks is because Zelaya returned to Honduras. Ignore the fact that the resistance-- which is not simply Zelaya's "supporters"-- has been in the streets continuously before and after Zelaya returned.
(And am I the only one wondering why the US media routinely say "snuck back" instead of, say, "secretly made his way back"?)
What is most bizarre here is the return to taking "leftist" as a natural, obvious, uncontested label for a centrist president. Is it too much to ask US media to actually think before they write?
Micheletti, in contrast, only "risks" dragging Honduras into instability and economic decline; never mind the economic deterioration well documented in previous blog posts here, or the daily civil disobedience, military repression, and repeated (and usually illegal) suspensions of civil rights, which apparent do not qualify as "instability".
The editorial then speculates about whether Micheletti is genuinely concerned that President Zelaya might "call out the army" if he returned to his constitutionally mandated position. We are assured by an anonymous US official that this would not happen due to
a constitutional requirement that control over the military pass to the Supreme Electoral Council a month before elections; Zelaya, therefore, couldn't call out the army.Point one: surely the actual calling out of the Army by a reactionary regime has made it clear that President Zelaya did not have control over the military? what more reassurance would anyone actually need that the Armed Forces are not waiting to follow orders from President Zelaya-- orders to what? have a coup? oh wait, been there, done that...
Point two: there is not any existing constitutional requirement that control over the military passes to the Election Tribunal. This proposal in the San Jose Accord has been specifically rejected by virtually all Honduran parties, other than President Zelaya. Someone needs to explain to the US, to Oscar Arias, and to the OAS that the San Jose Accord will not work if it demands Honduras change aspects of its constitution.
The LA Times reaches its crescendo of sheer idiocy, though, in its summation; there should be no worry about allowing President Zelaya to resume his legal position, because
neither presidential candidate is a Zelaya ally, so he couldn't rule by proxy after leaving office in January.Neither candidate? Does the LA Times really not realize that there are more than two parties in Honduras-- and a pretty strong independent candidate to boot? And this "ruling by proxy" thing actually is hilarious: or it would be if the next sentences didn't make clear that the LA Times persists in its belief that Zelaya was indeed clearly planning to grab power, with his (nonexistent) control of the Armed Forces:
U.S. and OAS officials must do everything in their power to persuade the Micheletti camp to relent and allow Zelaya's return. And they must convince Zelaya that there would be zero tolerance for any attempt to stay in power.No. The US long ago should have stopped all aid to the de facto regime, and reined in Republican loose cannons undercutting the message that the real elected government needs to be restored. But continuing to demand that Zelaya renounce something he never in fact proposed is simply encouraging the de facto regime.
The US needs to start accepting the word of the legally elected President of Honduras, that his goal was something different: equally objectionable to the de facto regime, a call for public participation in constitutional reform. Working out whether that is legal or not, feasible or not, good for Honduras or not should have been done through political debate. To pretend that talking about reforming government is the same thing as kidnapping and expatriating the president, and beating and repressing the people, is a failure of understanding.
By now, if we were going to see good reporting done by MSM it would be visible. So it is worth asking whether the de facto regime is just that good at message control, or is it that good at limiting access to anything but a narrow part of the country and a narrow range of informants-- or, is this another case where Honduras is simply not important enough to US media, unless they can reduce the real story down to a US policy debate or a simple story that feeds an us-versus-them narrative?