Editorial: Mack wise to visit Honduras

July 25, 2009
By The Editorial Staff
The News Press

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack considers Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez a “thugocrat” and treats him the way U.S. policy used to deal with communist nations – as threats that must be contained before they infect their neighbors.

He thinks ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was a Chavez disciple ready to spread the “Bolivarian revolution” across Central America were it not for his arrest and deportation by the military.

Honduras, among the poorest nations in Latin America, is now a pariah, stripped of aid by the U.S. and Europe and suspended from the Organization of American States. There is an attempt to reinstate Zelaya.

Mack, R-Fort Myers, is not on the side of the world. We sympathize with his anti-Chavez sentiment, but we are also concerned about the way Zelaya was ousted.

Mack is scheduled to visit Honduras today and Sunday to meet with officials and hear their views. He is going in his capacity as ranking member of the House’s Western Hemisphere subcommittee.

“We need to let them know that we support them and their struggle for democracy,” Mack said. He opposes Zelaya’s return and thinks foreign aid needs to be restored.

It is wise for Mack to take Council the fact-finding trip to see for himself what’s going on.

Larry Birns, director of the liberal on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington, D.C., doesn’t think Mack’s take on Latin America is constructive and said that Zelaya’s ouster has only made him more popular. Even if Zelaya returns to power, Birns thinks he will be a lame duck.

“What’s he going to do? Invade Costa Rica with an army that despises him?”