The Importance of this Honduran Election

I woke up this morning to find a warning from the embassy for expats living in Honduras. Sunday is the election, and this year it’s even more of a big deal than usual. Here’s why.

June 2009: President Manuel Zelaya removed in a military coup.

November 2013: Iris Xiomara Castro de Zelaya (his wife) runs for president.

People who pro for Zelaya/Xiomara say:

He (Zelaya) was democratically elected, and tried to make things better for ordinary working people by raising minimum wage, as promised in his manifesto. He was removed by the elite of the country because he was a threat to them and their wealth.  He tried to change the constitution so that the Honduran president could run for a second term (like in the US), which would not have affected him, but future elected leaders.

People against Zelaya/Xiomara say:

The coup was a good thing for Honduras. They (Zelaya/Xiomara) want to move towards communism, and take money from Chavez. A vote for them is a vote towards a red state and would have disastrous consequences.

Whether the election is fair or not, the Honduran government are preparing for violence if Xiomara is not elected. All bars are closed this weekend, so people have few places to meet to plan strategic violence against the government forces, and all schools and business are closed tomorrow, with the message being “stay in your homes tomorrow”.

Usually, I watch politics (whether on the TV or being discussed informally in bars etc) as a silent observer. For me,all politicians are opportunistic liars and fat cats who, if not directly stealing from the people, are profiting from a position of power that they were most likely born into. I’ve observed how young people, with little money, tend to go left, while older people, with more money, seem to go right. This seems to be the natural life cycle of political belief.

It might sound radical, but I’m not sure if I even believe in democracy. Even as a small child, it was obvious to me how ridiculous television propaganda was, as if people can/should be influenced to vote for a leader in the same way that they are influenced to buy a certain kind of soap. Then with the advent of the Afghanistan/Iraq wars, I became entirely disillusioned with the whole process. Millions of people protested against Britain’s involvement in that war, yet “we” still followed the US army into that disaster.

Our own society’s metanarrative paints the picture for us. “Look at us” it says. “Look how amazing we are, and all the freedoms we have. We have a say in government, women are allowed to get educated, everyone has a right to a fair trial”, but it’s all a myth. Ordinary people are so removed from power, that having a vote is merely a symbol of “freedom” to placate the masses, and the rich buy their freedom more often than you can say “Animal Farm”.


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