Wednesday, June 6
When Democracy Isn’t Enough
"When the early returns of the November 26 presidential election in Honduras began coming in, supporters of the leftist opposition candidate, Salvador Nasralla, had cause to celebrate. With 57 percent of polling stations counted, he had a five-point lead, a seemingly irreversible advantage. But then the vote-counting system went dark, victim of a computer glitch. A day and a half later, the system began working again, only now the conservative incumbent, Juan Orlando Hernández, had suspiciously caught up, and soon after, he took the lead. ... Media in the United States and other countries seemed hardly to have noticed. Perhaps it’s because Honduras is small and poor, with a population of nine million, little oil, and no Islamist radicals. Or perhaps it’s because stories of rigged elections and crackdowns on protesters have become a global commonplace. Liberal democracy seems to be on the retreat in Eastern Europe and Asia, with countries such as Russia, Hungary, Turkey, and the Philippines often cited for their turns toward authoritarianism. But Latin America, a region of more than 600 million people, is suffering its own retrenchment. ..."