"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.'"
-- No member of the military has assumed a position of power as a result of the "military coup."
-- Zelaya's own party, the Liberal Party, supported his removal from office and deportation from Honduras.
-- The Liberal Party still governs Honduras.
The United States is threatening to suspend all aid to one of the three poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere in order to force that country -- against its own laws and with the inevitable violence it would entail -- to allow Zelaya back as president.
Yet, no Honduran I talked to said he or she wanted Honduras to cave in to the American financial threat. "We will tighten our belts," one man struggling to make a living told me. Indeed, what is happening is that Hondurans are coming to realize that American aid -- even purely humanitarian aid -- comes with strings.
Let there be no ambiguity here. Little Honduras was supposed to be the next country to lose its liberties as it joined the anti-American, pro-Iranian Latin American left. But Little Honduras decided to fight back. And this has infuriated Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who will surely attempt to foment violence in Honduras.
Therefore, if you love liberty, you will do whatever you can do help Honduras resist Chavez and his allies, which include the United Nations and Organization of American States.
There are many ways to do that. Buy Honduran goods. Write your representatives in Washington to back the present, law-based Honduran government. And, yes, even visit this friendly beleaguered place. When the world's governments isolate a country, with few exceptions, that's all you need to know about who the good guys are.