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June 30, 2009

Entrance of the Presidential House

Honduras McDonalds.jpg

Maybe the Honduran military coup represents the greater evil, but I’m wondering how much our support for Zelaya — who pushed to abrogate the constitution to remain in power — somehow isn’t just good for business.

The caption certainly leaves one a little dislocated.

(image: Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters. caption: Soldiers guard the entrance of the Presidential House in Tegucigalpa June 30, 2009. Honduras’ interim government battled on Tuesday against a tide of international support for ousted President Manuel Zelaya who vowed to return home after troops toppled and exiled him in a coup.)

  • borderdenizen

    how old are the soldiers, 12?
    Will they get happy meal toys?

  • Rima

    The Tegucigalpa Junior High ROTC program on maneuvers.

  • thomas

    I’ve been following the news on this as closely as possible and it definitely looks like a situation that could become complicated in very unforeseen and undesirable ways pretty quickly. And it has. (Though frankly, being kidnapped in the middle of the night and taken to Costa Rica in my pajamas is like my greatest dream, so I don’t know what Zelaya is complaining about. Some people are never happy.)
    My Honduran friends definitely support Zelaya’s removal and are disappointed in the international expressions of support for him. The US is in a tight spot, having gotten a regime change in its favor but by means it cannot overtly endorse without looking like a back-room player or a Bush-era belligerent. Obviously, I hope everybody is working hard to calm the situation so that the country can get about it’s boring business of gradually building pluralistic and stable institutions. But one side is going to have to prevail in the end.
    What I wouldn’t have given to have been a fly on the wall when Hillary was down there three weeks ago. If I had to guess, Zelaya began taking too much money and too many pointers from Chavez, Clinton went down to get explicit reassurance that Zelaya understood what side of his bread was buttered, Zelaya failed to give those reassurances, and US let opposition leaders know that an overthrow would in fact be supported if publicly condemned. Pure speculation.
    As for the coup being “good for business,” well, that may be part of it but Honduras is such a poor and troubled country that it certainly isn’t much of a consumer market as the photo here might suggest. It’s close geographical proximity means that the US is largely interested in it’s military usefulness and its political friendliness. The best thing for “business” is the readiness of its young men to come north to work, or its young women to drift to the sweatshops along the north coast, both of which are driven by poverty to happen no matter who is in power.

  • jtfromBC

    The usual bag of dirty tricks, the US politicans and media are complicit in creating confusion and procrastinate..but then again this is not Iran and a pretty girl…
    “..Zelaya has been criticizing and taking on the sweatshop and corporate media industry in his country, and increased the minimum wage by 60%. He said the increase, which angered the country’s elite but expanded his support among unions, would “force the business oligarchy to start paying what is fair”
    http://www.counterpunch.org/dangl06302009.html
    Democracy Now has some excellent source material on its program today http://www.democracynow.org/2009/7/1/stream

  • Enoch Root

    It’s not hard to find images of govt armies or police seemingly guarding McDondald’s. Some emerged from the ‘99 WTO protests, many others are out there.
    I think it’s almost a photojournalistic cheap trick at this point. They take it because it’s clever, and they can sell it if they don’t get anything else.

  • thomas

    Agreed. Also, even in normal, peaceful times in Honduras, everywhere from banks to gas stations to McDonalds have machine gun-armed security guards at their doors anyway!

  • lytom

    I do not know who are “they”…
    Still I wonder about the choice of the photo used here since I have seen pictures of protests and police beating up the protesters, these have more to say about the situation in Honduras.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/JanNKees Jan Kees

    Some of those other images are at http://chichicaste.blogcindario.com/2009/07/01454-honduras-en-imagenes-resistencia-de-la-poblacion-ante-el-golpe-de-estado.html One might think they were from Iran instead.
    With the OAS getting ready to expel Honduras, looks like the rule-of-law idea is winning out, i.e. like him or not, it’s against the grain to remove a president by military coup. The US can’t really support that anymore. The rest of Latin America’s progressive governments have a strong and vested interest in making sure this coup does not become a renewed precedent.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/JanNKees Jan Kees

    The OAS General Assembly resolution of July 1 sees this as bigger than just Honduras. From the official press release:
    “The President of the General Assembly and Argentine Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jorge Taiana, recounted that the Member States of the OAS “cannot ignore this attempt of return to the past happening in the hemisphere. The Honduran democracy is not the only thing in jeopardy here, but also the strengths of the democratic processes in the whole hemisphere.” http://www.oas.org/OASpage/press_releases/press_release.asp?sCodigo=E-216/09

  • lytom

    Thanks for the images. It seems the MSM and tweets do not get the seriousness of the repression in Honduras. I do not agree that “US can’t really support that anymore.” Talk is cheap and there seems to be plenty of talk around when it comes to inconvenient struggles. US is the superpower and acts only on the side that benefits it. There are ways and means…

  • http://profile.typepad.com/JanNKees Jan Kees

    I agree that many in the US power structure may WANT to, and that many others still think the US CAN support what to them is just another military coup by our-type-of-guys. But the constraint comes from the rest of Latin America, who, while militarily powerless to stop our gov’t, have a strong interest, many individually and nearly all collectively, in not seeing the US support anti-constitutional means anymore. And the Honduran military knows this, which is why they frame the issue as one of legality and constitutional action on their part, something Latin America collectively (via the OAS, in its suspension of Honduras) has not bought (and which the US, as, at present, a team player in the OAS, has conceded by voting for the suspension.) US has also suspended military aid, a symbolic gesture mostly, but did so on the eve of negotiations in Costa Rica between Zelaya and the military, so a symbol that is also something of a commitment.

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