by Jerry O’Driscoll
The imbroglio in Honduras is political and constitutional, but also economic. The underlying economic issue is what development model will be followed: that of the caudillo with its populist redistribution, or a free-market model.
The most solid reporting on the crisis as been done by Wall Street Journal columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady. She has clarified that the ouster of former President Zelaya was ordered by the Honduran Supreme Court in response to his attempted coup. Last week she traveled to Tegucigalpa and interviewed the Cardinal, who was drawn into the controversy. The Cardinal is a well-known advocate for the poor. So on what side did he come down?
He supported the Honduran Constitution against the leftist Zelaya. The Cardinal recognizes that the rule of law protects the poor. In his own words as reported in today’s Americas column in the Journal: “The key is to assure justice because if you don’t have legal security, you are not going to invest. Investment is very important. With investments there are more jobs for our people.”
The Cardinal understands that poverty reduction comes from investment, jobs and growth. He also understands the interplay between economics and social issues. “Maquilas [assembly plants] are especially important for women, because their jobs have been a source of dignity. When they earn their own money they are no longer slaves to the macho man in their lives, who often is not even their husband.”
O’Grady’s interview with Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga is well worth reading.