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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkEditorials | Opinions | July 2009 

Honduras Dispute Spills Over Into Mexico
email this pageprint this pageemail usAllan Wall - PVNN

Is it really in Mexico's interests to get involved in Honduran politics?
On June 28th, 2009, in the Central American nation of Honduras, President Jose Manuel Zelaya was arrested by the military and expelled from the country. Contrary to the international media's stereotypical characterization of this action, it was not a military coup.

When the Honduran military detained Zelaya, it was executing a legal order from the Honduran Supreme Court, backed by the Honduran Congress (in which the president's own party forms a majority.) Honduran executive authority was passed to Roberto Micheletti, constitutionally the next in line, with elections scheduled for November.

The "international community" supports Zelaya in the name of "democracy." It is really supporting the will of one man, who repeatedly violated the laws of Honduras and appeared to be aim for a replacement of the country's constitution with one more to his liking.

Just this year, Zelaya attempted to use the military to have his way in the appointment of a new Supreme Court (not a presidential prerogative in Honduras) and had sent machete-wielding thugs to intimidate the Attorney General.

However, the Honduran government erred in expelling Zelaya from the country, rather than indicting him in the legal system. According to Article 102 of the Honduran constitution, Ningún hondureño podrá ser expatriado ni entregado por las autoridades a un Estado extranjero. ("No Honduran may be expatriated or delivered to the authorities of a foreign state.")

Not only that, but expelling Zelaya allowed the ousted president to roam the region, playing the martyr and attracting undeserved sympathy.

Just look at all the backing the guy has from the "international community." The ousted Honduran president has support from the Obama administration, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization of American States, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Caribbean Community, Mercosur, Cuba, Spain, Switzerland, Russia, China, Taiwan, - you name it, they're backing Zelaya!

After an earlier attempt to land a plane in Honduras was foiled, Zelaya's stunt on July 25th was to walk a few yards across the border from Nicaragua, then walk back after half an hour. The following day, he began setting up a camp in Nicaragua near the Honduran border and started criticizing the U.S., his biggest backer.

So who is financing this guy? Maybe Hugo Chavez. After all, Zelaya was accompanied in Nicaragua by the Venezuelan foreign minister.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon jumped on the pro-Zelaya bandwagon on June 29th. On a visit to Nicaragua, Calderon took Zelaya's side, calling his ouster a golpe de estado (coup d'etat) and a breakdown in constitutional order. (As if Zelaya himself wasn't trying to break down the constitutional order.)

As editor in chief Barnard Thomspon pointed out in an article three weeks ago, Calderon's pronouncement violated the Estrada Doctrine, which forbids Mexican pronouncements on the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of foreign regimes.

Is it really in Mexico's interests to get involved in Honduran politics? Of course not. Mexico doesn't even have much trade with Honduras. Calderon's statement was just a pro forma pronouncement to stay in standing with the "international community."

This past week, though, the Honduran problem came to Mexico.

There was a change of power in the Honduran embassy in Mexico City. Rosalinda Bueso, the ambassador to Mexico, continued to support ousted president Zelaya. But on July 20th, a pro-Micheletti faction in the embassy took control and installed Rigoberto Lopez as ambassador. They locked Rosalinda Bueso out of the building.

That situation lasted about 48 hours. During that time Grulac (the "Group of Ambassadors of Latin America and the Caribbean") met and announced it still recognized the Zelaya regime. After that, Mexican bank police went to the Honduran embassy and prevented pro-Micheletti Honduran ambassador Lopez from entering the building (on July 22nd), allowing pro-Zelaya Honduran ambassador Bueso to enter and take control again.

The Micheletti government has responded by cutting off funds for the Honduran embassy in Mexico. If the standoff continues, the Honduran embassy will eventually run out of money.

So what will Mexico do with a group of broke and stranded Honduran diplomats? Offer them asylum and put them on the dole? Ask Hugo Chavez to foot the bill? Send the diplomats back, as Mexico's immigration agency routinely deports Honduran illegal aliens in Mexico? What to do, what to do?

That old Estrada doctrine isn't looking so bad now, is it?
Allan Wall is an American citizen who has been teaching English in Mexico since 1991, and writing articles about various aspects of Mexico and Mexican society for the past decade. Some of these articles are about Mexico's political scene, history and culture, tourism, and Mexican emigration as viewed from south of the border, which you can read on his website at

Click HERE for more articles by Allan Wall.

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