Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Let There Be Peace

Election day here in Honduras is almost upon us. The country will finally elect their next president. Roberto Micheletti has voluntarily stepped down, moved aside or otherwise removed himself from the picture in an effort to further legitimize the election in the eyes of the world, stating that if there were problems he would return immediately. With Congress left in charge, the country is once again under the rule of appropriately elected officials. The country has been functioning much better since the sudden involuntary departure of Manuel Zelaya in June but, nevertheless, the urgings from the US that Micheletti 'take a vacation' seems to have made sense to him.

The ballot boxes destined for cities some distance from the capitol have left the building where they have been stored and are in trucks on their way to the schools where they will be ready for Sunday's election. The schools have been closed for some time since they are the polling places for elections. As sad as it is, they've been empty pretty much all year due to the teacher's participation in many of the violent demonstrations by the pro Zelaya supporters. You see, the teachers have a very strong union. They don't pay taxes. They get paid whether they are in the classrooms or not. They get paid to demonstrate. And to think they are responsible for the future generations of Honduras...what a shame.

The only 2 candidates I've heard anything about are Pepe Lobo and Elvin Santos. They've been doing their best to convince the masses that they deserve their vote. I have no idea which one would be better for this country but odds are either one will be better than the previous president. I really hope, for the sake of the people of Honduras, that there have been some lessons learned as a result of this political crisis. There have been plenty of examples of what not to do, that's for sure. But with a history of years of corruption to overcome, whoever does win will have quite a battle to reinvent Democracy in the Honduran government. So much should be learned from what has happened during the past 5 months...and even before that.

The next few days will be interesting. Zelaya has torn apart the recently signed accord, paragraph by paragraph, by not abiding by its content. He has called for a boycott of the elections and in return, it was announced that anyone found promoting this action is subject to 6 years in prison. There are rumors flying about a 'toque de queda,' or curfew, beginning Friday afternoon. It's my guess that it will happen, if for no other reason than to make sure things are calm before the election on Sunday. And I would guess that if they do it for Friday, it will extend through Saturday also. With bomb threats and grenades appearing more and more often, it seems logical to call for a curfew to keep people off the streets.

I pray that things do remain calm and peaceful and that the elections take place without any questions of legitimacy or violence. There are observers coming from all over and even possibly a delegation from Washington. With the world watching, let's hope that no one does anything stupid.

No comments: