Monday, June 29, 2009

Tegucigalpa, Chicken Buses, and Revolution

Imagine President Obama sound asleep in his pajamas in the White House at 5:30 AM. Now imagine he is stirred by 200 armed military personnel and quickly whisked away on a military aircraft and dropped off without a word at the Ottawa international airport. Consider that this is the direct result of an order passed down from the supreme court requesting his forcible removal from power.

This scenario played out yesterday in Tegucigalpa, Honduras for president Manuel Zelaya. President Zelaya is a "leftist" and part of the Chavez, Ortega, Castro coalition of BolĂ­varian idealists that have been attempting to foster the rise of Latin cultural unity for decades. Now his comrades are defending him. Chavez, Ortega and leaders from Cuba connived in Managua, Nicaragua yesterday to coalesce their stance on the Honduran coup. That stance being hostile and aggressive.

This rapid revolution is quite an interesting case-study and opportunity to dissect the results of "leftist" policies in Latin America. As a leftist myself I consider the word in quotes when describing this collation because I take offense that they cloak their classicism, and aristocratically laced greed in the guise of "leftism." Traveling inside Nicaragua last summer I saw first hand whole villages where children play in open sewer streams and human refuse is carried down the streets of major cities because there simply is no civil engineering nor infrastructure. I saw countless vagrants walking the streets, eyeballs rolling to the backs of their sockets huffing a yellow glue from tiny jars. I heard the snake-like hiss of young men taunting women in the streets making them objects in a gallery.

These "leaders" call themselves leftists but it is truly a farce. They live like a priestly cast in luxurious settings on large ranches, mustaches filling out, eating well while the majority in these countries are kept in poverty. I do not know all the circumstances surrounding the revolt in Honduras but I do understand the desire for a government that - in practice - really does work for the people rather than corrupt idealists whose actions fall far from the scope of their words. Revolution is beginning to swell in Latin America and I have seen with my own eyes why.

I spent much of my childhood in Puerto Rico where I witnessed the long-term affects of good government policy transforming a people from a poor majority to a flourishing middle-class. I saw Rooselvelt's public works projects lasting effects on the psyches and pocketbooks of an island. This may seem idealistic in its own right but I feel that a cultural unity in Latin America should not separate itself from the world but rather integrate with a rising global culture to lift itself from the darkness of the "us versus them" mentality.

A person dear to my heart is at this instant traveling on a chicken bus from Managua through Honduras to El Salvador. I can not think of a more perilous day for her to be traveling through a country where people on the street carry fully automatic weapons in times of peace. I fear for her safety and the safety of all the people of Honduras as revolution is too often accompanied by discharged weapons. My hope is that the world would join me and the people of Honduras in discussing the merits and short comings of the current government to ensure democracy remains intact throughout this process.

As the Iranian revolution deserves our conscious attention so does this. May we combine our minds in contemplating a peaceful path out of these uncertain places and times.

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