On 28th June the centre-left president of Honduras Manuel ‘Mel’ Zelaya was overthrown by the military and forced into exile. This was followed by months of civil disobedience which raised wider democratic arguments but was subject to murderous state repression. Last month saw Zelaya’s return to the country – forced to take refuge in the Brazilian embassy – and now he has agreed to power-sharing and fresh elections in a deal with the coup régime headed by Roberto Micheletti. Below appear some first impressions from a member of the Socialismo o Barbarie current.
Categorically we can say this is a very bad deal, in fact creating a situation – although everything still has to be approved by Congress – where Zelaya is restored in exchange for the effective abandonment of all of the demands raised during the struggle.
It is clear that the Obama administration moved in an effort to rescue the 29th November elections before they were abandoned because of Micheletti trying to stay on.
Furthermore, the deal was made at a time of a great fall in the level of resistance strength, given the Zelayista and reformist leadership’s initiative, as Zelaya returned, to encourage and subordinate the movement to passive hopes in a top-level deal to “resolve” the situation.
However, perhaps it would be hasty to advance the idea that “everything is on its way” (although this is likely). Still less is it clear how his reinstatement – in these conditions – will be seen by the mass movement, although in spite of its formalism it seems very probable that the movement will see it as at least a partial victory.
For this reason we have to wait somewhat to see the final playing-out of the deal and the reaction of the masses.
Moreover, together with our comrades in the Honduran Socialist Workers’ Party we are now faced with the difficulty of the scenario of Zelaya returning, the election taking place and us calling in vain for a boycott… this would leave us very marginalised, tactically speaking. The comrades seem inclined to participation in the vote via the candidacy of Carlos H. Reyes, raising the profile of the Constituent Assembly demand and seeing how far he can go (as a class fighter, albeit a reformist) in the framework delimited by this deal abandoning almost every demand.
At the level of the assemblies for the independent candidacy we have voted against participation and boycott or active abstention in the elections: but now this deal changes everything at tactical level. We are waiting somewhat for the development of events to define tactics, but we must denounce this deal.