In Central America, Coups Still Trump Change
It would be great if a presidential election could magically transport the small, impoverished Central American nation beyond the political crisis that has gripped it since the June 28 coup. But unless Zelaya is restored to office before next week's balloting, which looks extremely unlikely, the international community is poised to brand the vote illegitimate. Instead, the election will confirm that Honduras has slipped back into the political chicanery and military meddling that typified the 1970s and '80s. "You can't use an election to clean the slate after a coup," says Christopher Sabatini, senior policy director at the Council of the Americas in New York City. "It just threatens to roll back democratic norms in Central America by decades."
Honduras, in fact, is the latest example of how little progress Central America has made since the coups, civil wars and corruption of the past. The institutional rot that spawned those Cold War conflicts remains, not just in Honduras but in nearby countries such as Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama. In Nicaragua, for example, leftist President Daniel Ortega last month had Supreme Court justices loyal to him summarily lift a constitutional ban on presidential re-election so he can run again in 2011, even though most Nicaraguans oppose the change. In Panama, members of the powerful Arias family have so far been able to block the will of a relative who left some $50 million to poor children — the largest private gift in the nation's history. Even Costa Rica, once Central America's hopeful exception, has been rocked in recent years by corruption scandals involving Presidents.
And while it's been 20 years since Central America's last major civil-war battle, the isthmus is actually more dangerous today. Thanks in large part to exploding gang violence and useless justice systems, Central America has seen 79,000 murders in the past six years, more than the 75,000 people killed in El Salvador's 1980-1992 civil war or the 50,000 killed in Nicaragua's 1980-1990 contra war...
comments powered by Disqus
sell mbt masai shoes - 11/24/2009
The mbt walk shoes is part of mbt usa the new line scarpe mbt of mbt shoes which run slightly narrower, and have a slightly different feel. Women mbt shoes have all the benefits of the other styles like encouraging you to carry your weight more efficiently.This cheap mbt shoes help improve posture, reuce back pain, and alleviate joint pressure. http://www.mbtshoessale.com/
- Joan Baez, Sly Stone, Steve Martin, Ben E. King -- all honored by the Library of Congress
- StoryCorps to Launch Global Expansion With $1M TED Prize
- Hofstra Event Looks at Bush Presidency
- Did Israel steal uranium from a town in Pennsylvania in the 1960s?
- Sequel to Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom to be published next year
- Emory’s Leslie Harris says we should remember the racist roots of American colleges as we think about what went wrong at OU and other schools
- Stanford historian looks to the U.S. Postal Service to map the boom and bust of 19th-century American West
- U.S. historian denounces Japanese scholars' statement over wartime sexual slavery
- Timothy V Johnson Named Head of Tamiment Library
- History Camp "unconference" returns for the second year in Boston