Friday, July 03, 2009

Honduras, Si! Zelaya, No!

I have to believe,
up to this point in time anyways, that
Mr. Obama & Ms. Clinton
answered their
3 A.M. phone calls
from the wrong sides of their respective beds.

I have read from a variety of sources since this so-called "constitutional coup d'etat" occurred. My current position has not moved beyond my initial tentative impulses.

A correspondent on Beautiful Horizons, Tambopaxi, gives a succinct summation of my evolving thinking: S/He writes:

... I gotta go against conventional wisdom pronounced by all, including Obama (whom I support on most other things), the OAS ... et al, on the Honduran coup. References to rule of law, due process, and so on, are all well and good, and valid only so far as all parties to a given dispute are willing to adhere to said rules, processes, and so on. Zelaya violated several Constitutional articles expressly written to prevent his kind of referendum initiative. As well, he ignored Constitutional and legal actions taken by the Honduran Supreme Court, the Electoral Tribunal and the Congress there to force him to comply with the Constitution and the law. In short, Zelaya went rogue and went off the legal reservation in his push to keep himself in office. Absolutely no one, including the OAS, or the USG (Obama) can assert that Zelaya would have submitted himself to the due process of impeachment, which he certainly deserved. On the contrary, had the other branches of government been foolish enough to play by the rules that Zelaya flaunted, they would very soon have been subjugated to executive authority as has happened in Venezuela (and will happen soon in Ecuador, I'm afraid).

I lived in Honduras two times for a total of seven years. While I wouldn't qualify Honduran politicians as the most honest or visionary of their kind, I think they got it right this time in
  1. establishing rules to prevent Presidential dictatorships we see springing up elsewher in the region

  2. acting on those rules to try and head off Zelaya's move toward continuance (and almost assuredly consolidation) of power; and

  3. having the courage to act swiftly and decisively - and by exactly the same rules used by Zelaya - to get this rogue out of the country.
I know none of the above is politically correct in this day and age, but unfortunately, Chavez, Correa, Morales, Ortega - and pretty quick here, Uribe - are all using politically correct rules (Constitutions) to keep themselves in power indefinitely, suborn democratic institutions, and abuse the democratic rights of their countrymen. This is morally and politically wrong, and it's injurious to long term development interests of the region. Somehow, in contrast, little backward Honduras got it right both in terms of its Constitution and in terms of being willing to get down and play dirty just like the bad guys. It ain't pretty, it ain't clean, but Honduras showed someone like Chavez that if you play by the very same rules, you can whip them at their nefarious game...

I read that Zelaya was Latin America's least popular leader. Only 25 percent of the nation supported him. Survey found that 67 percent of Hondurans would never vote for him again. A huge majority of the country -- including the two major political parties (including Zelaya's), the Christian churches, the other branches of government and the armed forces -- do not want him as president. People were agreed to put up with him until his term ran out and he left power in in January 2010. And then he pulls this so-called non-binding plebiscite to override his constitutional terms limits? With ballots flown in from Venezuela?

Come on, People!

4 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Vigilante said...

My Lefty readership has dramatically dried up and witheld comment. I knew I was risking an estrangement as I posted this thread. Undaunted, I have been commenting on blogs (Left & Right) across the Blogosphere. I frequently quote from the following which was published in the Christian Science Monitor by Octavio Sánchez, a lawyer, and a former presidential adviser (2002-05) and minister of culture (2005-06) of the Republic of Honduras:

..... On June 26, President Zelaya issued a decree ordering all government employees to take part in the "Public Opinion Poll to convene a National Constitutional Assembly." In doing so, Zelaya triggered a constitutional provision that automatically removed him from office ..... His actions showed intent.....

According to Article 239 [of the Honduras Constitution]: "No citizen who has already served as head of the Executive Branch can be President or Vice-President. Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform , as well as those that support such violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years."

Notice that the article speaks about intent and that it also says "immediately" – as in "instant," as in "no trial required," as in "no impeachment needed."

Continuismo – the tendency of heads of state to extend their rule indefinitely – has been the lifeblood of Latin America's authoritarian tradition. The Constitution's provision of instant sanction might sound draconian, but every Latin American democrat knows how much of a threat to our fragile democracies continuismo presents. In Latin America, chiefs of state have often been above the law. The instant sanction of the supreme law has successfully prevented the possibility of a new Honduran continuismo.

The Supreme Court and the attorney general ordered Zelaya's arrest for disobeying several court orders compelling him to obey the Constitution. He was detained and taken to Costa Rica. Why? Congress needed time to convene and remove him from office. With him inside the country that would have been impossible. This decision was taken by the 123 (of the 128) members of Congress present that day.

Don't believe the coup myth. The Honduran military acted entirely within the bounds of the Constitution. The military gained nothing but the respect of the nation by its actions .....

7/04/2009 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Jack Jodell said...

Vigilante, I am one of your "lefty readership" who agrees with you. I have been hesitant to comment on Zelaya or most of the rest of those you described because I wanted to see how it all played out. But it is clear now that Zelaya and Chavez, to name two, are more interested in self-preservation and weaving their own cults of personality than they are in preserving true democracy in their respective countries.

After years of right wing/military domination which persecuted many of the poor and working people throughout almost all of Central and South America, something HAD to give, though. I support populist reforms being made throughout those regions, but I am unhappy with what appears to be a replacement of right wing strongmen with left wing strongmen in many of those countries. It is a region and situation which always seems in flux, however, and it does bear watching. We can only hope that true democracy will indeed eventually prevail in most of the countries south of our border...

7/04/2009 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Blogging4Food said...

I don't know Honduras from Adam. But it's clear your regulars don't seem to want to fight you on this one, Vigil.

7/05/2009 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Soros' Proxy said...

There are signs that the Administration wants to back off from its previous posture, now that there are rumors of civil war and invasion from Nicaragua.

Speaking on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the State Department, the officials said the United States and other OAS member countries are coordinating contacts and outreach to facilitate a resolution, despite their insistence on having no formal relations with the interim government.

The immediate concern, however, was avoiding more bloodshed. Both critics and supporters of Zelaya have staged large demonstrations. The country's Roman Catholic archbishop and its human rights commissioner urged Zelaya to stay away to avoid provoking them.

7/06/2009 06:45:00 AM  

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