Hugui Go Home

Quico says: Here’s a question worth pondering: how come Roberto Micheletti woke up this morning in the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa instead of across the hall from Carmona in whichever flea-bag hotel in Bogotá he lives in now?

Having led a universally reviled military coup in one of the smallest, weakest, poorest, most aid-dependent countries in the Americas, how the hell has Micheletti managed to hang on through thick and thin as a head of state recognized only by Israel and Taiwan?

The answer, my friends, has a first name and a last name: Hugo friggin’ Chávez.

Think about it: without Chávez to use as a foil, what plausible legitimation strategy did Micheletti have?

Without Hugo’s incredibly unsubtle meddling in Honduran affairs, what imaginable combination of words could have allowed Micheletti to rally an important part of Honduran public opinion behind him? Without the preposterous saber-rattling, the hypertrophied gas-baggery, the unending stream of unadulterated bullshit streaming out of Caracas, how could a guy defy all of international public opinion and stay in charge of a country so aid dependent, it basically lives off of the kindness of strangers?

Seventeen years on from his own coup, Chávez is still the Latin American coupster’s best friend: the one way people in Micheletti’s position get to approximate some kind legitimacy. Without Chávez, the idea that Zelaya’s powerplay fit into some larger international plot to do in Honduras’s democratic institutions wouldn’t even make sense. But with Hugui – and the petrochequera, obviously– lined up behind him, the contention becomes scarily, straightforwardly plausible.

And that, when you think about it, is why the destabilization rap against Chávez sticks: not just because he makes it easier for people like Rafael Correa to get away with the stuff Correa gets away with, but because he also makes it easier for people like Micheletti to get away with the stuff he – insólitamente – gets away with.