A fair few of us in Cayman have been watching with increased confusion and concern over the developing political confrontation in Honduras.
It seems to us that both the rule of law and the wishes of the Honduran people appear to be carrying little weight and we feel that the matter is of great importance, not only to the people of Cayman but the entire Caribbean region.
As many Caymanians know, there are long-standing ties between these Islands and Honduras. Many Honduran families came to Cayman in the early 1980s, fleeing the Noriega regime. Some have since placed themselves among the most productive and upstanding members of our community.
Therefore, we cannot quite believe the stance that certain members of the international community, most notably US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have taken in support of an individual who appears to be improperly, if not illegally, attempting to change his own country’s constitution so that he can seek office a second term.
Mrs. Clinton has threatened serious consequences if the Honduran government keeps ignoring calls for President Manuel Zelaya’s return. The relatively poor country is heavily dependent upon US exports and economic sanctions could indeed have grave effects.
Now, we do not downplay the obvious wrongs committed by the Honduran government and military apparatus in removing Mr. Zelaya, in his bed clothes no less, and depositing him at a Costa Rican airport on 28 June. It is also important to note that Mr. Zelaya still has six months left on his term in office.
But that act might well have been necessary to prevent widespread bloodshed and chaos in the country.
Also, there can be no doubt that this leader is trying to circumvent his country’s constitution, which only allows Honduran presidents to serve one four-year term, and was removed as part of a legal policy supported by the country’s congress and supreme court.
If a so-called coup d’etat is legal government policy, can it really be considered a coup?
Thomas Jefferson once called rebellion ‘a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.’
It is sad that his own country, some 230-odd years hence, is now apparently poised to lead international efforts in foisting a budding communist dictator upon the people of a country who have decided otherwise.
If such is the outcome, Cayman and other Caribbean and Central American democracies may be well advised to prepare for yet another migration of oppressed Hondurans.