Honduras again

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on June 30, 2009

Ex-president Manuel Zelaya of Honduras appeared at the United Nations and got the approval of that undemocratic cabal to return to power. Getting removed from power has apparently given Zelaya a new respect for the law.

Zelaya — whose elected term ends in January 2010 — had defied the Supreme Court and called a referendum on constitutional change that opponents worried would lead to Zelaya prolonging his presidency.

Zelaya backed down from the referendum on Tuesday, saying at the United Nations that he would no longer push for the constitutional changes he had wanted.

"I'm not going to hold a constitutional assembly," he said. "And if I'm offered the chance to stay in power, I won't. I'm going to serve my four years."

All of which is an admission that the other branches of government were right to remove him in the first place.

The best news to come out of this is that President Barack Obama's rhetoric in calling for Zelaya's return to power may be mostly empty.

Even though "it may be true he was removed illegally," [former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Otto] Reich says (and as President Obama now contends), the U.S. government is acting as though nothing happened. Obama may be calling it a coup, but Reich also points out that U.S. law requires the government to cut off "assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree." And yet the government has made no indication it will cut off aid (and push Honduras into the arms of Chavez just as the country tries to realign itself in our direction). The Obama administration has also made no indication that it will remove U.S. troops from the country.

This incidents provides further evidence that Obama has trouble distinguishing the good guys from the bad guys (think Iran and Georgia before that), but it doesn't look like Obama has the courage of convictions on this, either. Presumably, he won't actually do anything to restore Zelaya.

That's the first good news we've had on this situation all week.

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June 2009



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