President Manuel Zelaya is not unusual among Latin American leaders in his left-populist approach to governance. But contrary to the protrayal being spread about Zelaya in the right wing media, he is hardly a Castro or Chavez.
What prompted the crisis in Honduras was Zelaya's effort to extent term limits for his presidency. In that regard, Zelaya is in dubious company. Richard Nixon seriously contemplated changing U.S. laws to serve a third term before Watergate. Had Nixon attempted to change the law for term limits, would that have warranted a military coup against him?
President Obama said: "President Zelaya was democratically elected, he had not yet completed his term," he said. "We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the President of Honduras, the democratically elected president there."
Contrary to the sales pitch of most far-right ideologues, politics are seldom a case of bad guys versus good guys. (I once had a naive young friend ask me who the good guys were in the war between Iran and Iraq during the 1980s.)
Here are the facts: Zelaya was trying by legal means to create a referendum that would extend his term of office. Zelaya was ousted by the military before his term was complete. That makes this a coup. Personally, I don’t like the idea of a “president for life.” But the people of a nation have a right to chose the way they want to be governed.
That choice was denied to the people of Honduras. And the fact Zelaya is unpopular with the U.S. right does not change that.
Raul Ramos y Sanchez