"Why have you come to Honduras?"
That is the question posed to me by Hondurans, surprised that anyone from the outside world, let alone from the media, cares enough to now visit their small country (population 8 million), a country that they themselves consider relatively insignificant.
The question is a valid one. The U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert (through July 29) warning Americans against coming here. There are very few outsiders here now. The plane from Houston to San Pedro Sula, Honduras' second largest city, was almost empty, and the few passengers were nearly all Hondurans. The hotels are largely empty.
It is all eerily reminiscent of Jerusalem during the height of the Intifada terror. I went there then for the same reason I have come to Honduras now -- to broadcast my show and thereby show solidarity with an unfairly isolated country, and to encourage, by example, people to visit Israel then and Honduras now.
Honduras has joined Israel as a pariah nation. The United Nations has condemned Honduras by a vote of acclamation, and the Organization of American States has suspended it.
The way in which nearly all the world's media portray the legal, Supreme Court-ordered ouster of President Manuel (Mel) Zelaya is one major reason for the universal opprobrium. Because military men took part in the deportation of the sitting president, it has been portrayed as a classic Latin American "military coup," and who can support a military coup?
The lack of context in which this ouster took place has prevented the vast majority of the world's news watchers and readers from understanding what has happened.
I wonder how many people who bother to read the news -- as opposed to only listen to or watch news reports -- know:
-- Zelaya was plotting a long-term, possibly lifetime, takeover of the Honduran government through illegally changing the Honduran Constitution.
-- Zelaya had personally led a mob attack on a military facility to steal phony "referendum" ballots that had been printed by the Venezuelan government.
-- Weeks earlier, in an attempt to intimidate the Honduran attorney general -- as reported by The Wall Street Journal's Mary Anastasia O'Grady, one of the only journalists in the world who regularly reports the whole story about Honduras -- "some 100 agitators, wielding machetes, descended on the attorney general's office. 'We have come to defend this country's second founding,' the group's leader reportedly said. 'If we are denied it, we will resort to national insurrection.'"