Honoring Madiba

  • Written by  Marco Cáceres

Upon learning of Nelson Mandela's death last week, President Porfirio Lobo on Friday said, "What a hard blow for the entire world. We remember that he did something extraordinary; he put an end to Apartheid in South Africa, where now there is no discrimination based on your position or race. Truly, his death is something terrible that, for the world and for those of us who love peace, is a very hard blow." In fact, on the previous day (December 5) when Mr. Mandela had died, President Lobo had tweeted, "This day we say goodbye to one of the greatest leaders that this world has ever had, Nelson Mandela." Meanwhile, President-elect Juan Orlando Hernández said he was "very moved by the death of Nelson Mandela!" He added that Mandela was "a symbol in the fight against racism, a bulwark for peace and justice".

That's about it. It's difficult for conservatives to find many words for praising Mr. Mandela and his life's accomplishments, because Mr. Mandela was a communist at one time, and certainly a leftist for the rest of his life. A pragmatic leftist, but a leftist just the same. He was all about changing the status quo in South Africa, because the status quo for Blacks and people of mixed race, who made up about 80 percent of South Africa's population, was a hellhole.


Honduras does not officially have an Apartheid system, but it might as well have, because for about 65-70 percent of its people the country is  a hellhole. Racism is not so much the problem (although there's plenty of it in Honduras), but rather poverty and a lack of power and influence to radically change the situation so that it is more equitable and just. Of course, when you start throwing around words like "equitable", you'd better prepare for the predictable onslaught of accusations of being a communist, a socialist, a leftist, or at least a bleeding-heart liberal. Funny how so many people who are now honoring Mr. Mandela as a visionary and a hero used to call him a commy and a terrorist back in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Ah, but what's a little dose of hypocrisy.


In Honduras these days, if you really want to honor “Madiba”, as Mr. Mandela was affectionately called, and his legacy, I submit that the most authentic way to do it is for Mr. Lobo, Mr. Hernández, and all the other leaders of the National Party to instruct the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) to undertake a thorough recount of all the votes cast on November 24. The recount should be overseen by representatives of all the political parties and by international observers, and it should take as long as is needed -- even if it means working through Christmas and New Year's and postponing inauguration day (January 24, 2014). What's the big deal. It's just some basic math, some time and patience, and some sacrificed pride.


Yes, I'm aware of the possible implications. But it's long overdue for Honduras to grow up and deal with things straight up, rather than looking for shortcuts to preserve its perceived democracy, when it is precisely these shortcuts that make the term "Honduran democracy" a bit of a joke.


Such a process would be unprecedented in the history of Honduras, and it would go a long way toward reconciling the Honduran people after the coup in 2009 and the numerous allegations of electoral fraud. It would send a huge signal to the world that real democracy is alive and well in Honduras. And it would be one gutsy way for Hondurans to recall the passing of great historical figure.


Time for Hondurans to do something extraordinary as well. (12/9/13) (photo courtesy Internet)



Note: The author is the editor and cofounder of Honduras Weekly. He is an aerospace market analyst by profession. He was born in Tegucigalpa. He is the author of "The Good Coup: The Overthrow of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras".

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