Two overshadowed vice presidential candidates briefly emerged into the media spotlight on Tuesday night. Their areas of agreement turned out to be more telling than their disagreements.
In his opening statement, Tim Kaine identified himself as a former missionary. He frequently discusses the year he spent in Honduras volunteering with other Jesuits missionaries. In his speech at the Democratic National Convention, he explained that it influenced his views of government. “I got a firsthand look at a different system. A dictatorship,” Kaine declared. “A dictatorship where a few people at the top had all the power and everybody else got left out.” (Kaine left out that it was a U.S.-backed dictatorship, with U.S.-armed and trained death squads.)
But so far in the campaign, Kaine has not discussed his running mate’s role in legitimizing the current military dictatorship of Honduras. In 2009, a military coup deposed democratically elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, and President Obama called the overthrow “illegal.” Against the wishes of the international community, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed for a sham election that legitimized the new regime. The new government has murdered hundreds of activists, opposition leaders, and journalists, but it continues to receive tens of millions of dollars of U.S. military aid per year.