Welcome President Chávez, solidarity with President Zelaya
Published Sep 23, 2009 7:34 PM
Workers World welcomes President Hugo Chávez
of Venezuela, who will be attending the opening of the United Nations
General Assembly in New York City. The progressive movement in the city stands
ready to show him rank-and- file popular solidarity.
Progressives in the United States must also find ways to express their
solidarity with another Latin American leader, President Manuel Zelaya
of Honduras. Some 86 days after an illegal military coup last June 28
forcefully removed him from his elected office and expelled him from his
country, Zelaya has courageously returned to the capital, Tegucigalpa. The coup
leaders suddenly found themselves confronted with his presence at the Brazilian
Embassy in that city. They have cordoned off the area to prevent his
supporters—that is, the vast majority of Hondurans—from greeting
him. Despite the efforts of the coup regime to block Internet and cell phone
transmission, news is filtering out of brutal repression against crowds
These reactionary usurpers have been trying to run that Central American
country for almost three months without an iota of popular support—their
only base being the 13-family Honduran oligarchy, the Pentagon, the CIA and a
section of the U.S. State Department.
The struggle between oppressor and oppressed goes on worldwide. In Iraq,
Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as other countries of Central and West Asia,
the imperialists are trying to turn back the clock and, in the name of their
fictitious “war on terror,” recapture territories once under naked
colonial rule. This offensive has been stalemated by homegrown resistance
movements that deserve worldwide solidarity on the basis of respect for
In Latin America, on the other hand, the struggle against neoliberal domination
of the region’s economies, especially by U.S. imperialism, has re-raised
the question of a socialist solution. Because of this, the developments in
Latin America have attracted the attention and support of those who advocate
and fight for a socialist solution to the worldwide capitalist crisis.
Both because of its history and its strategic relationship to the region, the
attempts at revolutionary transformation in Venezuela have aroused particular
enthusiasm. The Bolivarian movement it has inspired holds the promise of
greater independence from “The North” on many levels, political as
well as economic.
For that reason, President Chávez has been the constant target of slanders
from imperialist politicians and the corporate media. All the more should he
receive solidarity from workers and oppressed peoples in the U.S.
Chávez and Zelaya
It was Zelaya’s decision to join the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas
(ALBA), a union of nine Latin American and Caribbean countries, that
particularly outraged the Honduran oligarchy and their U.S. government and
military cohorts. Their response was to remove the legitimate president from
his house at gunpoint and fly him to Costa Rica—with a stop at a U.S.-run
military base along the way.
Since that June 28 coup, the Honduran community, labor and Indigenous mass
movements have welded together a united resistance front. This popular struggle
has turned the Honduran regime led by coup leader Roberto Micheletti into a
state that can claim support from only a narrow segment of the Honduran
population, the army and their patrons in the U.S. military-political
Only U.S. support holds up the coup regime in Honduras. Besides being
Honduras’ major trading partner, Washington used that country as its
military outpost against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua and the
Salvadoran revolutionaries in the 1980s. The largest Pentagon military base in
Central America, Palmerola, was in Honduras. The Honduran military
chiefs—all trained at the Pentagon’s “School of the
Americas”—depend on Washington for material aid, weapons, and
assistance in training, surveillance and military actions.
While the State Department and White House have spoken mildly against the coup,
they have taken no decisive steps to dissociate from its crimes—despite
the fact that the Organization of American States, UNASUR, many human rights
organizations, almost all the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, and
even some of the U.S.’s NATO allies have gone on record opposing it.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for example, has spent more words
criticizing President Zelaya for defying the coup leaders than she has
criticizing the coup itself.
Zelaya’s return has elevated the anti-coup struggle to a new level. The
army has moved brutally against the thousands welcoming his return. Will a
pro-U.S. coup regime be allowed to stand—as in similar coups throughout
the 20th century—or will the popular movement reverse it?
A lot depends on the amount of solidarity the anti-coup resistance can arouse
within the U.S., and whether this movement can stop imperialism’s backing
for the coup. That’s why the movement to support President Zelaya’s
return should be growing, not only in Honduras but here.
While this editorial focuses especially on Latin America, Workers World would
also like to welcome all those other world leaders arriving in the U.S. who
have been demonized by imperialist politicians and in the corporate media.
Among them are President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, a historic leader of that
country’s movement for independence from Britain, and Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who continues to defy imperialist threats to re-subjugate
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