It’s been a month since Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was deposed in a military coup. Negotiations on restoring democracy supported by the United States broke down when the coup regime refused to accept a compromise that would allow Zelaya to return.
The Obama administration still says it is working for President Zelaya’s return, but so far it has not responded to the call from Hondurans for increased US pressure on the coup regime.
Indeed, when Zelaya tried to increase pressure on the coup regime by threatening to return to Honduras without an agreement, Secretary of State Clinton attacked President Zelaya as "reckless," instead of expressing any concern about repression by the coup regime against Zelaya’s supporters.
Now Rep. Raul Grijalva is leading a Congressional effort to urge the Obama administration to increase US pressure on the coup regime by canceling US visas and freezing bank accounts of coup leaders. Representatives James McGovern, John Conyers Jr. and José E. Serrano have signed on to Grijalva’s letter to President Obama.
This isn’t just about one man. It’s about whether the 60 percent of Hondurans who live in poverty have a path to reform and redress of their grievances. President Zelaya was exiled for seeking reform of Honduras’s constitution – a longstanding demand of social movements in Honduras.
It’s also not just about Honduras. Many fear that if the coup in Honduras is allowed to stand, it will embolden elite groups in Central and South America who might want to use military force to block political reform movements.
That’s why it’s so important to reverse this coup. If the Obama administration wants to have a pro-majority policy in Latin America, it can’t start off by supporting elite forces in Honduras that refuse to share power with the 60 percent of Hondurans who live in poverty.