Power to the Teachers: Schools Shut Down in Honduras

To the Twitterati so incensed when Iran fell off the radar in favor of news of Michael Jackson’s death: what about Honduras?

After Sunday’s gentle coup (in which Honduran President Zelaya found himself dumped in a Costa Rican airport, still in his pajamas), schools all across Honduras have shut down as teachers went on strike: in support of Zelaya.  The coup, the first Central America has seen in 16 years, came as Zelaya intended to poll his fellow countrymen about the possibility of a constitutional amendment that would enable him to run for another term.  His opposition deemed it illegal (as did the Supreme Court) and while he planned to forge ahead, the military deposed him (in the nicest way possible it seems, give the history of such events).  No one was killed or injured in the coup, although many Zelaya supporters have been arrested.

But now, teachers are taking to the streets in support of their president, and there is no sight of the end of the strike.  Teachers are not the only incensed party: President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela have also called emergency meetings with Zelaya and other Central American leaders in order to reinstate the deposed president.  President Obama has also voiced his support on this, condemning the coup.  It is a setback to democracy in Central America that this has occurred now, especially over a matter that can be decided both in the legislature and the court.  The military needs to step back once again and let democracy run its course.

For more on Honduras, the BBC has a brief but thorough history, with links to their current coverage of what is happening in the country. The Times also has complete coverage.  But where is the discussion outside of the media?  Why do we continue to ignore what is taking place south of our borders?  Is democracy in Honduras not nearly as important as democracy in Iran?

image courtesy of the Associated Press via the New York Times

image courtesy of the Associated Press via the New York Times

(Also, a final note.  Can I highlight here that if for some reason, major newspapers were forced to close international bureaus and shut down their papers, and we came to rely on social media, twitter, and you tube, then it seems that no one in  the US would even know this was happening.  The NYT coverage of this event–researched and properly reported–is the very reason why this type of media (in whatever form) will continue to exist far into the future.)


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