Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Pressed pajamas for Pepe Lobo!"

An editorial by Juan Antonio Martinez in the June 1 edition of El Tiempo gives voice to what we have been hearing said quietly as well: there is a real possibility that the coup of 2009 will be followed by another coup in 2010.

As we have noted repeatedly, Lobo Sosa is not in a position of great power, as a president whose legitimacy continues to be questioned by many key international governments as well as a large part of the Honduran population, or as a president who was forced to compose a cabinet of "reconciliation" that appears to have led to a somewhat less than functional governance.

Not to mention that the institution of the presidency suffered a major loss of authority in the coup and its aftermath of a de facto regime. The reason so many South American governments are reluctant to pretend the coup never happened is precisely the bad precedent it sets for repetition, the weakness it signals in the structure of democratic government.

Which brings us to Martinez' editorial, headlined Pressed pajamas for Pepe Lobo!:

All the effort that, with dauntless constancy, president Porfirio Lobo Sosa dedicates to seeking recognition from the international community for his government is admirable and, in this way, the ability to reinsert our country in the distinct fora of regional integration such as SICA, OAS, and the global forum of the UN, from which it was excluded after the fateful coup d'Etat that ruptured our institutional democracy.

Despite this plodding work and having completed almost all the demands imposed for our fatherland to return to the community of democratic nations of the world, where the Rule of Law reigns and human rights are respected, these actions do not seem sufficient to open the lock that maintains us isolated without the enjoyment of the benefits of international relations and starved of the aid and loans of the credit institutions such as BID, IMF, and the World Bank.

And it is the case that the nations integrated in UNASUR, Mexico, and Nicaragua, whose influence is vital for the reincorporation of Honduras in the OAS and SICA, are convinced that the government of Pepe Lobo was elected under the patronage of a dictatorship that abridged public liberties, systematically violated human rights and brought about a disproportionate repression against the resistance to the coup d'Etat.

Now that president Lobo has delegitimated the so-called "presidential succession", by affirming categorically "Call it what you will what occurred was a coup d'Etat", it doesn't seem to improve his efforts to ingratiate himself with the international community much. Nor that he has expressed himself a proponent of a poll for a Constitutional assembly, nor even his offer to travel to the Dominican Republic to bring back ex-president Zelaya to our country with a guarantee that he will not be harassed by Honduran "justice".

In fact, president Porfirio Lobo has not heeded the national problematic for which as Chief of State it belongs to him to seek solutions, such as the case of the alarming delinquency rate, the economic crisis and the social needs of the Honduran people. Due to his absence extremely important decisions keep getting postponed such as the case of the minimum wage and other business that requires his personal attention, while his exhausting international peregrination in search of recognition for his government does not seem to produce the desired fruits.

Everything that president Lobo does to gain the recognition of the international community, including the composition of a Truth Commission and his actions in favor of human rights or his demonstrations of national reconciliation, would be very little while he maintains general Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, and other visible figures of the coup conspiracy, fixed in his bureaucratic apparatus.

Because to tell the truth, they are the same co-religionaries of the president, the businessmen, journalists, and golpista politicians that disapprove of his reconciliatory gesture so that ex president José Manuel Zelaya would return to the country. Just this possibility appalls them because they imagine he will return to take up leadership for the dream of a Constituyente that will lead, inevitably, to a new Constitution and the refounding of the Honduran nation.

What is certain is that the words of president Porfirio Lobo, offering to go to the Dominican Republic to bring back Zelaya, have caused tremendous controversy and disturbance. Although we are certain that the ex president will decline such an offer, because in this country, the golpista structure that produced the rupture of constitutional order and installed the dictatorship of Roberto Micheletti is still intact.

The same golpistas in the Supreme Court and the Public Prosecutor's office. The same armed forces, ready to repress the people, the same businessmen that financed the coup and the same paid-off journalists that defended the barbarity. All the coup structure is latent, attentive to whatever sign there might be of evidence of the return of Zelaya to the national territory and from that, they are insinuating through their designated spokesmen, in veiled ways and with manifest irony, that the present leader ought to have his pajamas ready, in case of any qualms.


Anonymous said...

This sounds more like swagger than a real threat.

I do, however, give Lobo points for being gutsy in the face of threats like that.


RAJ said...

Martinez is not threatening anything. The editorial has a subtle ironic tone that may not come across in English-- for example, it criticizes Lobo Sosa for not taking on domestic issues, singling out the issue of setting the minimum wage, which is of course one of the things that tripped up Zelaya.

But the punchline is that, as the editorial writer notes,

[golpistas] are insinuating through their designated spokesmen, in veiled ways and with manifest irony, that the present leader ought to have his pajamas ready, in case of any qualms

The point being: once you successfully get away with a coup, you can intimidate the president with the threat of another. And our contacts in Honduras tell us that this is the rumor.