Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Collapsing the probability function

I think we can now reasonably call the Zelaya kerfuffle a coup d’état, if only for the simple reason that once men with guns start showing up at broadcasters getting them to shut off their signals, that’s a pretty good sign that you’re up to something beyond the realm of ordinary democratic politics.

Of course, that also means that Hugo Chávez’s concerted efforts to marginalize the private, pro-opposition broadcast and print media in Venezuela would be evidence in favor of his having pulled an autogolpe, albeit one with a hamfisted assist from the opposition’s ill-advised election boycott a few years back.

Regardless I am less inclined to read the tea leaves as saying that Chávez has lost interest in Zelaya’s cause as others, although I suspect by the time the whole business is settled (probably with an agreement to hold a referendum on a constituent assembly explicitly excluding the possibility of an amendment to allow presidential reelection) Zelaya’s term of office will have come to an end. At this point Zelaya can probably derive more value down the road in continuing to garner sympathy in continued exile through the election than in returning to Honduras’ presidency as a lame duck with virtually no support from Congress, the military, or the courts.

Update: Greg Weeks also points out that Chávez too probably “wins” more from Zelaya not returning to power, which would dovetail nicely with others’ observations that he is throwing Zelaya under the bus.