Sunday, April 26, 2015

Misrepresentations continue in coverage of Honduras reelection decision

The AP article printed the other day in the Guardian, “Honduran judges throw out single-term limit on presidency,” features what will surely be the accepted mainstream-media tropes for the coverage of the decision (to the limited extent that the story is covered at all): it’s ironic and controversial because these were the same people who carried out a military coup against the democratically elected Zelaya for wanting to do away with presidential term limits to extend his own rule back in 2009. As the article portrays it, the
Ruling revives tensions that led to coup and ouster of Manuel Zelaya six years ago when he sought to change constitution so officeholders could stand again

…The supreme court in Honduras has voided a single-term limit for the country’s presidency — the issue at the heart of the political conflict that led to the ouster of socialist [!] incumbent Manuel Zelaya six years ago when he sought to hold a referendum on rewriting the constitution.

Forces that united to remove Zelaya from office, including some members of his own party, had contended he wanted to end the ban on second terms so he could remain in power.
Yes, they contended it then, and it was patently false then, as many – including Mark Weisbrot, who writes frequently for the Guardian - pointed out at the time* and since. The majority of commenters on the article itself have explained (yet again) that this was a fraudulent pretext for the coup, but there’s little chance that a correction or clarification will be forthcoming.

There’s no parallel here, and there’s no irony. The “tensions” are not the same. This is simply a continuation of the ambitions of the coupists. A good rule of thumb is to assume that any authoritarian plots of which rightwingers accuse their enemies are really projections of their own desires.

* As Weisbrot wrote then:
Zelaya's referendum, planned for the day the coup took place, was a nonbinding poll. It only asked voters if they wanted to have an actual referendum on reforming the country's Constitution on the November ballot. Even if Zelaya had gotten everything he was looking for, a new president would have been elected on the same November ballot. So Zelaya would be out of office in January, no matter what steps were taken toward constitutional reform.

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