Roger Burback in CounterPunch:
The coup against Manuel Zelaya of Honduras represents a last ditch effort by Honduras’ entrenched economic and political interests to stave off the advance of the new left governments that have taken hold in Latin America over the past decade. As Zelaya proclaimed after being forcibly dumped in Costa Rica: “This is a vicious plot planned by elites. The elites only want to keep the country isolated and in extreme poverty.”
Zelaya should know, since his roots are in the country’s large, land-owning class, having devoted most of his life to agriculture and forestry enterprises that he inherited. He ran for president as the head of the center-right Liberal Party on a fairly conservative platform, promising to be tough on crime and to cut the budget. Inaugurated in January, 2006, he supported the US-backed Central American Free Trade Agreement, which been signed two years earlier, and continued the economic policies of neo-liberalism, privatizing state held enterprises.
But about half way into his four year term, the winds of change blowing from the south caught his imagination, particularly those coming from Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, the largest regional power fronting on the Caribbean. With no petroleum resources, Honduras signed a generous oil subsidy deal with Venezuela, and then last year joined the emergent regional trade bloc, ALBA, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas. Inspired by Venezuela it now has Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Dominica and Ecuador as members. Simultaneously, Zelaya implemented domestic reform policies, significantly increasing the minimum wage of workers and teachers’ salaries, while stepping up spending in health care and education.
More here. [Thanks to Isabel Toledo.]