In an encouraging sign that massive unrest in Honduras may yet be averted, a border protest called for by ousted President Manuel Zelaya has fizzled out, attracting only 100 supporters with many more trickling back to the capital of Tegucigalpa in discouragement. The turnout is a disappointment for the pro-Zelaya movement and a win for the Honduran military, who were able to keep the border clear with relatively little incident.
Ed Morrissey conjectures that Zelaya may have overplayed his hand in exile, with his border-jumping antics and increasing bombastics illustrating to many Hondurans that Chavez’s pal might have had no qualms being reinstated at the head of a Nicaraguan or Venezuelan army. He may have also burned his bridges with the Obama administration, who through State Sec. Clinton called his actions “reckless” and have as yet not taken harsher action against Honduras than slashing aid. They may be backing off their original stance, which is the correct thing to do in my opinion given that Zelaya seemed on the path toward violating the Honduran constitution and setting up a Chavez-style permanent electoral base.
The declining appeal of Zelaya both in Honduras and abroad gives renewed hope to both the interim government under Roberto Micheletti and for the prospects of negotiations under Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. The prospects of Zelaya’s return seem to be ebbing at the moment, which is all the better for the folks in Honduras.