Hondurans had high hopes for two things last week: qualifying for the World Cup and settling the political crisis. Unfortunately for the catrachos (Hondurans), they came up short in both. And the country’s two failures mirrored one another.
High hopes dominated Honduras in the run-up to Saturday’s World Cup qualifying match against the United States. But after coming out hot and scoring first, Honduras surrendered three straight goals. The team’s captain then sealed its fate when he missed a penalty kick to tie the game with four minutes remaining. At the end of the night, fans were left incredulous. One television announcer bemoaned the Honduran players’ lack of “emotional equilibrium,” while another commentator pleaded with viewers not to shoot their guns in the air in despair. Bullets that go up also come down, he explained, without the slightest trace of irony.
Honduras’ loss shared various elements with the latest round of political negotiations, the Guaymuras Dialogue: high expectations, unstable leadership and the specter of more violence.
First, high expectations. Last week, the mainstream press (which supports Roberto Micheletti) and the country’s politicians made the end of the political crisis appear all but guaranteed. Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue—this became the welcome mantra after weeks of violence. But, as in soccer, political expectations can mask reality.