The state of play in Honduras

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on July 27, 2009

President Obama and the leftist-loving State Department continue to side with the thugs of Latin America against the democracy of Honduras.

Today’s Wall Street Journal featured two pieces on the subject of Honduras. The first, by Honduran President Roberto Micheletti, lays out the facts of the Honduran constitutional crisis that regular readers of this blog will know well. In short, the only person in this whole situation who broke the law is ousted President Manuel Zelaya.

Let’s review some fundamental facts that cannot be disputed:

• The Supreme Court, by a 15-0 vote, found that Mr. Zelaya had acted illegally by proceeding with an unconstitutional “referendum,” and it ordered the Armed Forces to arrest him. The military executed the arrest order of the Supreme Court because it was the appropriate agency to do so under Honduran law.

• Eight of the 15 votes on the Supreme Court were cast by members of Mr. Zelaya’s own Liberal Party. Strange that the pro-Zelaya propagandists who talk about the rule of law forget to mention the unanimous Supreme Court decision with a majority from Mr. Zelaya’s own party. Thus, Mr. Zelaya’s arrest was at the instigation of Honduran’s constitutional and civilian authorities—not the military.

• The Honduran Congress voted overwhelmingly in support of removing Mr. Zelaya. The vote included a majority of members of Mr. Zelaya’s Liberal Party.

• Independent government and religious leaders and institutions—including the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the Administrative Law Tribunal, the independent Human Rights Ombudsman, four-out-of-five political parties, the two major presidential candidates of the Liberal and National Parties, and Honduras’s Catholic Cardinal—all agreed that Mr. Zelaya had acted illegally.

• The constitution expressly states in Article 239 that any president who seeks to amend the constitution and extend his term is automatically disqualified and is no longer president. There is no express provision for an impeachment process in the Honduran constitution. But the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision affirmed that Mr. Zelaya was attempting to extend his term with his illegal referendum. Thus, at the time of his arrest he was no longer—as a matter of law, as far as the Supreme Court was concerned—president of Honduras.

• Days before his arrest, Mr. Zelaya had his chief of staff illegally withdraw millions of dollars in cash from the Central Bank of Honduras.

• A day or so before his arrest, Mr. Zelaya led a violent mob to overrun an Air Force base to seize referendum ballots that had been shipped into Honduras by Hugo Chávez’s Venezuelan government.

• I succeeded Mr. Zelaya under the Honduran constitution’s order of succession (our vice president had resigned before all of this began so that he could run for president). This is and has always been an entirely civilian government. The military was ordered by an entirely civilian Supreme Court to arrest Mr. Zelaya. His removal was ordered by an entirely civilian and elected Congress. To suggest that Mr. Zelaya was ousted by means of a military coup is demonstrably false.

Micheletti concludes his piece by pleading with the American government not to impose sanctions over what was a completely legal defense of democracy and representative government in an area of the world where too often strongmen take power.

That plea appears to be falling on deaf ears.

(Reuters) - The United States has warned Honduras' de facto government it could face cuts in economic aid if it fails to reach a deal with ousted President Manuel Zelaya on restoring democratic rule.

The government that took power when Zelaya was toppled in a June 28 coup has flatly refused to allow his return to power, and negotiations mediated by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias collapsed on Sunday.

Washington hopes Arias can broker a deal that includes Zelaya's return, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with the de facto government's leader Roberto Micheletti after talks fell apart, urging him to continue with negotiations.

"She made clear, if the de facto regime needed to be reminded, that we seek a restoration of democratic and constitutional order, a peaceful resolution," spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters on Monday.

The whole situation is Orwellian. How exactly is returning to power a wannabe strongman who violated his nation’s constitution and defied its supreme court and legislature “restoring democratic rule?” It isn’t, but no one is challenging President Obama on this ludicrous position. Instead, last week we got a reporter asking about an obnoxious Harvard professor getting arrested and not a peep about how Obama wants to punish a democracy’s attempt to defend itself from a Hugo Chavez clone.

Also in The Wall Street Journal, columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady floated the possibility that Obama’s position on Honduras and his disdain for Latin American democracy may be due to White House counsel and Fidel Castro fan Gregory Craig’s influence. I’m not sure how much I buy that claim – Obama seems to get enough foreign policy wrong all on his own.

0 comments on “The state of play in Honduras”

  1. It's not an accident that our 2008 election was corrupted by phoney donations to the Obama campaign, that Obama wishes the White House (and ACORN) to directly control the census, that Zelaya wishes to be proclaimed president-for-life by plebiscite, and that Oretga wishes to arrange a similar plebiscite. All these "leaders" seek to corrupt politics beyond its normal favor trading. Chavez, Zelaya, Obama, Oretega all realize the old order is at its end. A determined putsch that has a semblance of legitimacy will succeed in abolishing democracy entirely. Zelaya and Oretga's plebiscites are rehearsals for Obama's.



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