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Friday, October 30, 2009

Power Sharing in Honduras

It's a time honored tradition in third world nations that when there's a dispute the answer is a power sharing agreement. Back at the beginning of 2008, Kenya's election was full of fraud. It spun out of control and bordered on genocide. The United Nations stepped in and the violence stopped with a power sharing agreement between the two parties. In Zimbabwe, we had a similar agreement following that election in which there was widespread fraud. The only good news was that it was the first check to the power of strong man Robert Mughabe. More recently, there were folks that wanted to create a power sharing agreement between Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah following widespread fraud in the Afghan elections.

Everytime there's a crisis, constitutional or otherwise, in a third world nation you can bet that the crisis will be resolved through a power sharing agreement. That appears to be the result in Honduras.

Representatives of ousted President Manuel Zelaya and Honduras' interim government signed an agreement late Thursday that could open the way for Zelaya's reinstatement four months after he was ousted in a coup.

No text of the accord was immediately released, but it was greeted by all sides as a resolution to the long-running political dispute that has polarized the country and subjected it to international sanctions.

"Tonight I am pleased to announce that ... I authorized my negotiating team to sign a final accord that marks the beginning of the end to the political situation in the country," interim President Roberto Micheletti said in a televised address

Now, imagine if in December of 2000, we decided that the election was just too close and so Al Gore and George Bush would "share power". What do you think the reaction in the States would be? There would be outrage and total chaos.

Power sharing is one of those nice sounding and diplomatic words that makes it seem as though grown ups are in charge. They aren't. In each case I highlighted a serious issue caused a crisis. In each case, the crisis wasn't resolved. Instead, both sides came together to share power. The fact that elections were stolen through mass fraud became irrelevant. That's because the chaos following the situation was so extreme that all sides just wanted the chaos to stop.

The same thing is happening now. Manuel Zelaya tried to subvert the Constitution. There are no ifs, ands or buts. That's what he did. He went around what the Constitution allowed in an attempt to govern for life. He was stopped and removed. A crisis insued. The crisis was resolved by allowing both to share power. The crisis following the coup is now resolved, but the Constitutional crisis has not been resolved. If Zelaya can subvert the constitution and keep his power, then the Constitution in Honduras has little worth. That's a much bigger problem for that nation than the violence created.


Anonymous said...

I highly doubt many Hondurans whose lives would be threatened by political violence would agree with you.

Everybody loves to talk about freedom but let's face it, there's one thing every man, woman, and child on earth wants more than freedom: stability. To go to the market and actually find food there, to be able to get home without having to traverse roadblocks set up by a rival ethnic group's militia. To find that your house hasn't demolished by the army or a rebel truck bomb when you get back.

Just because the 2000 Election was resolved in favor of Bush doesn't mean it wasn't papered over. Not to mention the "power-sharing" that ensued in the Senate shortly after the election when Jeffords left the Republican Party. I'm just saying, its more common (and possibly even more popular) than you realize.

Anonymous said...

"Manuel Zelaya tried to subvert the Constitution. There are no ifs, ands or buts. That's what he did. He went around what the Constitution allowed in an attempt to govern for life."

And Mike Bloomberg changes term limits in NY so he can run for a third term. I'm sure someone will try to defend this by saying "the council voted for it". Of course they did --- because now they too are exempt.

Why do we care more about the Honduras than the commercial and financial capital of the US?

Anonymous said...

Zelaya did not try to become President-for-Life. He planned a referendum on beginning a process for changing the constitution and this vote was to coincide with the election for president that would have elected Zelaya's replacement. Zelaya could not have run for president then and he did not intend to run for president then.

The coup d'etat that took place has been recognised as such even by the coup plotters. There was no mechanism to remove the president and so what they did was highly illegal.

After the coup happened the Supreme Court, that opposed Zelaya reflexively, stated that it endorsed the coup. If in the US the military was to oust Obama by flying him into exile and then the Supreme Court declared that it agreed with that, this would be an equivalent situation and not accepted at all.