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Honduras: The People vs. Pepe Lobo

January 29, 2010

Honduras: The People vs. Pepe Lobo


The inauguration of Pepe Lobo in Honduras Wednesday marked the consolidation of the June 28 coup d'état in the Central American country.

Undeterred, thousands of Hondurans gathered for a parallel inauguration ceremony, the presidential sash handed off to members of the popular resistance movement.

According to Dina Meza, a reporter from the streets of resistance, Pepe Lobo "took possession of the government, with a small presence of international dignitaries, and a minimal participation of Hondurans. Hundreds of military and police almost equaled the number of civilians in the area."

The morning of the inauguration there were early morning police raids and at least 41 people were detained, a worrying sign that repression and killings of social activists will continue under this new regime.

How the new government is going to maintain control throughout the next couple years is a serious question. The state is broke. Teachers are striking. The country is still isolated, though less so than during Roberto Micheletti's brief term as the de facto president.

"The seven-month political crisis has ended in Honduras. That is, the supporters of the ousted president Manuel Zelaya, and the opponents of the 28 June military coup, have lost," wrote Vincent Bevins at The Guardian.

In thinking about it, the outcome harkens back to that of the various Oscar Arias brokered peace accords signed in Central America throughout the 1990s.

In sum: the bad guys won.

The perpetrators of so much violence will be free to live in luxury & impunity, and to continue participating in political life. And though perhaps (perhaps!) all-out war and massacres against the people will cease, they will be made poorer and continue to be terrorized by high levels of ongoing violence.

When I was in Honduras, folks made a point of telling me the coup in Honduras was an international coup. Wednesday's inauguration confirms that, as countries like El Salvador recognized Lobo's government.

So did Canada -- surprise! “Honduras is beginning the process of renewal, and Canada looks forward to working with President Lobo’s government as it forges a path toward national reconciliation and economic recovery. We will be watching intently in the days and weeks ahead, as President Lobo announces his unity government, and begins the process to establish a Truth Commission,” said Peter Kent, Canada's junior foreign minister (attack dog) for the Americas.

News from Honduras is likely to drop off the mainstream radar, now that Zelaya is out of the Brazilian Embassy and the tires have stopped burning in the streets. But the people of Honduras will not forget, and nor should we.

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