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Vol. 73/No. 28      July 27, 2009

U.S. hands off Honduras!
Washington is organizing to put together a stable regime in Honduras that will continue to protect its imperialist interests. That is what’s behind the U.S.-orchestrated talks with supporters of deposed president Manuel Zelaya and of Roberto Micheletti, installed by the Honduran congress.

Working people should demand the U.S. government keep its hands off Honduras. Only the people of that Central American nation can determine their government and their future.

We must also oppose all attacks on political rights by the Honduran ruling class and its government, including curfews, curbs on the media, and police and army repression.

This does not mean supporting Zelaya or any other capitalist politician. The interests of Honduran workers and farmers do not lie in whether Zelaya returns to the presidency. They lie in defending their political space to discuss, organize, and chart a road forward.

Honduras has long been ruled by the Liberal and National parties, and Zelaya’s record is in line with Liberal policies, from a police “anticrime” campaign to raising the minimum wage to still-poverty levels. Zelaya was removed in a conflict among capitalists, including within his own party, over a reelection referendum.

There is nothing progressive about “plebiscitary democracy” such as Zelaya’s proposed referendum. Such demagogic politics historically has served to keep working people as passive spectators dependent on capitalist “saviors.”

The false claim by middle-class radicals that Zelaya’s ouster was a “right-wing” coup “made in USA” is designed to convince working people to back a bourgeois politician. While displeased with his ties to Caracas, the U.S. imperialist rulers were not threatened by Zelaya’s rule. Their main concern now is restoring a stable regime.

Honduras is very different from Venezuela, which has been marked by sharp class confrontations over workers and peasants fighting for land, improved living standards, and social rights. Pro-imperialist coup attempts against President Hugo Chávez—targeting these mass struggles—were defeated by mobilizations of hundreds of thousands of working people.

The Zelaya government joined a Venezuelan-led trade alliance, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), set up as an alternative to U.S.-led trade pacts. The governments of Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, and similar countries have followed this and other policies to protect their national bourgeoisies and deflect efforts by workers and farmers to act in their own interests.

Working people are correct in opposing imperialist trade pacts such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas that open up semicolonial countries to freer imperialist exploitation. But no alternative trade pact can stop the imperialist drive to export capital, conquer markets and territories, and wage wars of plunder.

Some supporters of Zelaya on the U.S. left argue that electing capitalist politicians critical of Washington—from Argentina to El Salvador—offers a “realistic,” “third road” between capitalism and communism.

There is no such third road. The only way to end imperialist oppression and capitalist exploitation is the path taken by workers and farmers in Cuba, who took power and expropriated the capitalist class, opening the socialist revolution in the Americas. That course is a living example for working people everywhere, from Honduras to the United States.
Related articles:
U.S.-devised talks seek stability for imperialists in Honduras  
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