Monday, June 29, 2009

North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Honduras. Western Hemisphere political instability heats up.

It seems like these days as soon as you turn your head one way, something else happens right behind you. That’s the case in Honduras where a coup d’état took place on Friday and by Sunday a new president was sworn in. The reports on the reasons behind the coup come down to Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya’s ability to run for re-election. In Honduras a person cannot run for successive terms as President (sounds just like Virginia’s Governorship). President Zelaya was pushing a non-binding referendum to be voted on this past Sunday on the issue, to show the level of support from Honduran citizens. The Honduran Supreme Court ruled that the referendum was unconstitutional and the vote would be illegal. President Zelaya vowed to follow through with the vote, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling. That same day, President Zelaya was arrested by the Honduran military and expelled from the country and flown to Costa Rica.

The coup has been denounced by the usual suspects in Latin America such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the Cuban Communist government, as well as expressions of concern about the situation in Honduras by President Obama. The Organization of American States is to meet in emergency session today and the United Nations has condemned the coup. On Sunday, Roberto Micheletti was sworn in as provisional President of Honduras. Despite these unfolding events, protests have been relatively low-key and non-violent. This situation will continue to be monitored.

This isn’t the only unrest occurring in Central America. A few months ago, Mexican military began engaging the drug cartels inside Mexico, along the United States-Mexican border. In a number of instances, the Mexican military was outgunned by the cartels prompting strong criticism from the Mexican government of the United State’s weak gun laws, where there is evidence of American made guns finding their way into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels.

In other international hot spots:

Iraq – United States forces are pulling back from the major cities. This is seen as a major step towards eventual withdrawal but some experts are skeptical that the United States will be able to fully withdraw from Iraq by 2011.

Iran – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is dispelling reports that Iranian authorities shot and killed Neda Aga-Soltan. The picture of Neda lying on the grown and bleeding to death, has fast grown into the international symbol of the Iranian protests since the crisis began nearly three weeks ago. The protests have also exposed major rifts within the Iranian Ruling Council and Clerics. One of the original Iranian Revolutionary Clerics and former Iranian President, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is seen as one of the most powerful of the Iranian Ruling Clerics, has denounced the moves by the Iranian Government by against the protesters.

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