As a diver, I wonder what will be of the Bay Islands with this military coup in Honduras. Some American expats there, are already sounding like the character Hyman Roth in the movie The Godfather:
"[I]t looks like they got rid of a Chaves [sic] wannabe....and if so good for them".
"The military intervened to impose the rule of law just clarified by their supreme court and congress. Hats off to them..."
With such comments, no wonder people like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela have an easy time fomenting anti-American sentiment in the region.
While I do understand that divers are generally wealthy people, I would also like to believe that they are people with some kind of sensibility toward the environment, the rule of law, and the planet's overall well being. But I guess this is an overly romantic view of the diving community.
The reality, as it seems to transpire from comments such as those above, is that by selfishly aligning themselves with the local wealthy ruling elites, Americans expats keep reinforcing the notion that when it comes to Central America, the United States care more about hegemony than the rule of law.
I was in Roatan in 2007, and I have seen some of the abject poverty that the locals live in. While there is something to be said about tourism bringing cash to the Bay Islands, it is also true that most of the money does not trickle down to the local Hondurans. Most dive resorts are foreign (i.e. American) owned, and they operate on a "all inclusive" model in order to shield tourists from the surrounding reality as much as possible.
Timothy Padgett has some interesting comments in regard to the current military coup on Time Magazine's website:
"[W]hen soldiers in Latin America haul a democratically elected president out of his palace and into exile, the U.S. has no choice in this day and age but to roundly condemn it. Not just to throw Washington's hemispheric antagonists off base — but to keep the region's military troglodytes from making a comeback."
For a while, I had been planning a return trip to Roatan, plus Utila and a side trip to the mainland to see the Mayan ruins in Copan, for 2010. But as things stand right now, it doesn't look like this trip will be happening until there is some return to normalcy in Honduras.