Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Putting the "General" in General Election

It is (semi) official.

Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, infamous as the general who commanded the armed forces during the coup d'etat in June 2009 and throughout the de facto regime of Roberto Micheletti when the military brutalized the Honduran people, wants to be the next president of Honduras.

Prensa Latina reports that Vasquez will run at the head of the Alianza Patriótica Hondureña party. To be able to run, his advisers are reportedly telling him to resign this October from his post-military position as manager of Hondutel, a plum post given to him after he stepped down from the military.

The same advisers suggest that if he does run, he risks the re-activation of legal actions against him for the forcible (and illegal) removal from Honduras of José Manuel Zelaya Rosales. They are quoted as saying
"The politicians created the crisis, so it would not be strange if they exculpated themselves and for their political relaunching they would implicate the military".

Despite this danger, Prensa Latina reports that Vasquez will register as the candidate of the Alianza Patriótica Hondureña and start his run for president in October, the month of the Armed Forces. The article describes APH as "a military-civic organization that intends to 'rescue the country from underdevelopment'".

The new report comes shortly on the heels of stories in the Honduran press saying that the Christian Democrat Party was thinking of drafting Vasquez Velasquez as its candidate. These rumors were sparked by a birthday visit with Ramón Velásquez Názar, vice-president of the Christian Democrat Party.

A background in the armed forces has not, until now, been a recommendation for candidates for president under the constitution adopted in Honduras in the 1980s. But then, the coup and its aftermath clearly changed the role of the military in modern Honduras. Ex-army officers running for president probably goes along with the rest of the package.

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