Post-Coup Honduras: Latin America’s Corridor of Reaction

In: Historical Materialism
Todd Gordon Laurier University Brantford

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Jeffery R. Webber Queen Mary, University of London

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This article offers an historical-materialist account of the coup in Honduras on 28 June 2009, which ousted democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. It draws on over two dozen interviews with members of the Frente Nacional de la Resistencia Popular [National Front of Popular Resistance, FNRP], and participation in numerous marches and assemblies over two periods of fieldwork – January 2010, and June–July 2011. The paper steps back in time to provide an historical cartography of the basic material structures of the Honduran economy and its integration into the world market, as well as the geopolitical role it played as a launching pad for Ronald Reagan’s counter-insurgency campaigns against guerrilla forces elsewhere in the region during the 1980s. We show how the defeat of mass guerrilla insurgencies in Guatemala and El Salvador, as well as the triumph over the Sandinista government in Nicaragua by 1990, allowed for the neoliberal pacification of Central America as a whole, including Honduras. We further demonstrate how the centre-leftist Manuel Zelaya, elected to the Honduran presidency in 2006, modestly encroached upon neoliberal orthodoxy and forged geopolitical alliances with left and centre-left governments elsewhere in the region, laying the bases for his violent overthrow. Finally, the paper traces the origins, trajectory, and heterogeneity of the resistance that emerged almost immediately after the coup had been carried out.

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