It was this fondness for intimidation that prompted Mr. Zelaya’s exile. Honduras was worried that if he stayed in the country after his arrest his supporters would foment violence to try to bring down the interim government and restore him to power.
It wouldn’t be a first. Bolivia’s President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada was removed in 2003 using just such tactics. Antigovernment militants, trained by Peruvian terrorists and financed by Venezuela and by drug money from the Colombian rebel group FARC, had laid siege to La Paz. As the city ran short on supplies, Mr. Sánchez de Lozada issued a decree to have armed guards accompany food and fuel trucks. The rebels, who had dynamite and weapons, clashed with the guards. Sixty people died. The president was pressured to step down…
The fact that the Organization of American States and the U.S. never defended the Bolivian democracy cannot be lost on the Hondurans or the chavistas. You can bet that Venezuela will try to orchestrate similar troubles in an attempt to bring condemnation to the new Honduran government. Honduran patriots have better odds against that strategy with Mr. Zelaya out of the country, even if Washington and the OAS don’t approve.
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