In our last post on Honduras (Chavez Chess) we discussed the fact that Chavez’s strategic goal is the elimination of the US presence at the Palmerola airbase. We also discussed the fact that he has a time constraint related to the pending elections in November, which might reasonably be viewed as an institutional exit to the crisis. This is his worst outcome as it would mean the local institutions were strengthened, not weakened. We are seeing actions with respect to both of these items already.
Today, Daniel Ortega for the first time called for the US to punish Honduras by dismantling the airbase.
Also, Chavez stated yesterday that he would not accept elections in November executed by the current regime. He thus in one step tries to adjust the game clock and also undermines the authority of all Honduran institutions.
The drama with respect to Zelaya’s re-entry is akin to Chavez trying to Queen a Pawn. If Zelaya is physically back on the ground in Honduras, the international community will only deal with him. It will have political cover to send in agents when he makes calls for “assistance.” The Hondurans seem to understand this, but it is unclear if they will be able to stop him by air, land and sea.