by John Hawkins | June 29, 2009 10:06 am
South America is known for unstable governments, coups, and loud mouthed strong men. With that in mind, when most people heard that the military had deposed the President of Honduras, it was just another sad chapter in that continent’s checkered history — but something very different is actually going on there,
That (Deposed President Mel Zelaya) acted as if he were above the law, there is no doubt. While Honduran law allows for a constitutional rewrite, the power to open that door does not lie with the president. A constituent assembly can only be called through a national referendum approved by its Congress.
But Mr. Zelaya declared the vote on his own and had Mr. ChÃ¡vez ship him the necessary ballots from Venezuela. The Supreme Court ruled his referendum unconstitutional, and it instructed the military not to carry out the logistics of the vote as it normally would do.
The top military commander, Gen. Romeo VÃ¡squez VelÃ¡squez, told the president that he would have to comply. Mr. Zelaya promptly fired him. The Supreme Court ordered him reinstated. Mr. Zelaya refused.
Calculating that some critical mass of Hondurans would take his side, the president decided he would run the referendum himself. So on Thursday he led a mob that broke into the military installation where the ballots from Venezuela were being stored and then had his supporters distribute them in defiance of the Supreme Court’s order.
The attorney general had already made clear that the referendum was illegal, and he further announced that he would prosecute anyone involved in carrying it out. Yesterday, Mr. Zelaya was arrested by the military and is now in exile in Costa Rica.
It remains to be seen what Mr. Zelaya’s next move will be. It’s not surprising that chavistas throughout the region are claiming that he was victim of a military coup. They want to hide the fact that the military was acting on a court order to defend the rule of law and the constitution, and that the Congress asserted itself for that purpose, too.×
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Mrs. Clinton has piled on as well. Yesterday she accused Honduras of violating “the precepts of the Interamerican Democratic Charter” and said it “should be condemned by all.” Fidel Castro did just that. Mr. ChÃ¡vez pledged to overthrow the new government.
Honduras is fighting back by strictly following the constitution. The Honduran Congress met in emergency session yesterday and designated its president as the interim executive as stipulated in Honduran law. It also said that presidential elections set for November will go forward. The Supreme Court later said that the military acted on its orders. It also said that when Mr. Zelaya realized that he was going to be prosecuted for his illegal behavior, he agreed to an offer to resign in exchange for safe passage out of the country. Mr. Zelaya denies it.
In other words, Mel Zelaya was trying to set himself up as dictator for life, the court’s ruled it illegal and when he proceeded anyway, he was ousted. If, God forbid it, Barack Obama won a 2nd term and decided to ignore his term limits and run again anyway, I would hope that our military would do the same thing that the military in Honduras did.
A more puzzling question is why our own President is once again siding against democracy,
The Obama administration and members of the Organization of American States had worked for weeks to try to avert any moves to overthrow President Zelaya, said senior U.S. officials. Washington’s ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, sought to facilitate a dialogue between the president’s office, the Honduran parliament and the military.
The efforts accelerated over the weekend, as Washington grew increasingly alarmed. “The players decided, in the end, not to listen to our message,” said one U.S. official involved in the diplomacy. On Sunday, the U.S. embassy here tried repeatedly to contact the Honduran military directly, but was rebuffed. Washington called the removal of President Zelaya a coup and said it wouldn’t recognize any other leader.
In Iran, Obama tacitly sided with the tyrants until the outcry got so loud that he felt compelled to timidly speak out. In Honduras, Barack Obama is getting behind a tinpot thug who was trying to subvert democracy instead of the country’s Congress and Supreme Court.
Why? Does Barack Obama have contempt for freedom loving people? Does he put such a low value on freedom that he’d rather see millions bound in chains than risk irritating thugs like Hugo Chavez or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Whatever the case may be, it’s a shame that this country has such a disgraceful coward in the White House. Never has there been a man less worthy of being an American President than the mediocrity who sits in the Oval Office today.
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