Another year, another coup. In the tiny island nation of Fiji, the elected government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase was deposed by military leader Frank Bainimarama. (Interesting note: the spell checker lit up on Qarase’s name, but was OK with Bainimarama for some reason).
That makes four coups in 20 years for a nation that isn’t exactly fat with tourist dollars right now.
Decline in construction and tourism has already started. Sanctions will affect the garment industry. Shinning up the country's palm trees or going out into the bush with cane knives to gather what they can will not sustain many people for long.
Good luck to them. From the reports, the elected government was corrupt and racists, but solving a problem in a democracy shouldn’t include taking the government down by military takeover. That usually leads to worse things.
However, last year in Thailand their military took down a corrupt elected government and it was pretty peaceful, with the military planning to recreate elections and turn the government back over to the people. Turkey does the same thing every now and then when Islamic extremists get control of the government and attempt to turn Turkey into a caliphate. So I guess it’s possible the Fiji people will come out of this OK, but we’ll have to wait and see.
However, one would hope that these small democracies would figure out a better way to solve their problems, because while the three countries I mention have tended to benign, there’s no telling whether the next coup will be hostile and controlled by power hungry thugs. It’s a bad habit to get into.