The Facts

On Sunday 28 June 2009 the President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya was deposed by a military coup. He was deported to Costa Rica after being picked up in his office in Tegucigalpa. Having arrived at his destination under military control, he immediately declared on the Telesur TV channel that, despite the official condemnations by Clinton and Obama himself, the American government was behind the coup.

The Formal Causes

The coup came about as a result of two delicate situations. The first was an internal struggle within the Army. Zelaya had relieved the Head of the Army, Romeo Vasquez of his post. His restoration was demanded by the same Supreme Court which was behind the arrest of Zelaya. The second and more important is that the whole affair is based on the attempt by the Honduran President to obtain, through a non-binding referendum, the possibility of a second term of office which is not allowed for in the Constitution. This is exactly like his friend and ally Hugo Chavez attempted to do two years ago.

The Real Causes

In reality the Honduran President, leader of the Partido Liberal, has taken Honduras out of its decades in the American sphere of influence. The President, Manuel Zelaya, had in fact agreed to enter into a project of political, social and economic cooperation, promoted by Venezuela and Cuba, as an alternative (ALBA) to the Free Trade Area of the Americas that the USA wanted. This has made life difficult for US multi-nationals which have operated in the agriculture and food sectors for decades (United Fruit, Standard Fruit, Chiquita and Del Monte). Not only that, but the distancing of Honduras from US influence will ultimately weaken US imperialism in what was at one time its own back yard. In a period of crisis like this, at a time of a particularly complex imperialist realignment, the imperial centre could not simply stand and stare without taking rapid decisions. It’s no longer just a question of bananas, cotton and coffee as there are other, more important, factors in play. Central and South America under the influence of Venezuelan neo-imperialism (Chavez has openly declared his intention to create an Opec of for oil and gas as an alternative to the traditional one and to no longer sell oil in dollars but in Euros and roubles with the help of the Russians and Chinese) is in open competition with American interests by contesting Washington’s old hegemony in the area. From this we can understand the reaction of the US Government in denouncing President Zelaya in no uncertain terms, notwithstanding the contrary declarations of Obama. On the other hand the US imperialism does not have much room for manoeuvre, and where the crisis hits hardest, the harder and more direct does it intervene, making use of those forces still linked to its old imperialist interests.


However things stand today the workers of the area have received a new warning. Their class interests obviously don’t lie with the old status quo nor can they identify with the false demands of South American neo-imperialism, above all tied to a socialist project which acts as cover for the new oil bourgeoisie. In the storm of the crisis, which sparks off episodes like this, the only response is the revival of class struggle against both the old and new imperialisms and not to fall into the trap, prepared by populist ideology, which serves only to mask the real interests of capital. In every corner of the world the more the crisis hits the world of labour, the more episodes of civil war and wars between states break out, the more we need a class struggle which takes the road of social revolution beyond, and against, all nationalist demands, all interests of the bourgeoisie itself. We need a struggle which knows how to identify the various imperialist camps in order that we can struggle against all of them equally.

International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party, 1 July 2009