The upshot is that a reform-minded president supported by labor unions and social organizations is now pitted against a mafia-like, drug-ridden, corrupt political elite that is accustomed to controlling the Supreme Court, as well as congress and the presidency. It is a story often repeated elsewhere in Latin America, with the United States almost always weighing in on the side of the established, entrenched interests.
The Honduran elites were outraged that a member of their class would carry out even modest reforms. They began to portray Zelaya as a demagogue, and demonized Hugo Chavez as trying to take over the country. When Zelaya announced that he would hold a plebiscite on June 28 to see if the country wanted to have the option in the upcoming November presidential elections to vote for the convening of a constituent assembly that would draft a new constitution, the political establishment would have none of it. They incorrectly claimed that Zelaya was trying to stand for re-election. In fact the possibility that a president might serve a second term could only emerge in a new constitution that would not be drafted until well after Zelaya left office in January, 2010. The elites did however have reason to fear a new magna carta, since this is the path that Chavez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in Ecuador have used to draft new constitutions to begin transforming their countries political, social and economic structures.
This post was written by Jeff Napolitano on July 4, 2009