You may have missed this crisis if you get your news from the alphabet soup partisan media, who have mostly failed to cover it except to misrepresent it in favor of Obama.
You are probably not surprised to find that Poland and the Czech Republic are not the only loyal and faithful American allies getting screwed by the Obama Administration these days. The ongoing drama in Honduras is an outrage and a disgrace, but not because the Hondurans have done anything wrong. It's because the Obama administration is actively intervening on behalf of a thug would-be dictator whom the Hondurans properly and legally drove from power.
Shame on you, Barack.
Follow closely, because this is an extremely important and telling example of the kind of foreign policy we are getting from Barack Obama. Let's review what's been going on in Honduras this year, and how the Obama administration has come down completely on the side of tyrants, cheaters, and marxists They've done it deliberately, and in keeping with their overall global policy of rejecting freedom and snuggling up to the thugs and bandits of the world [remember Iranian protesters after the fraud election? remember soldiers shooting them? remember Obama's reaction?].
Honduras is one of the most impoverished countries in central America, but it has been and remains a democratic republic in a region currently overshadowed by several evil dictators who are intent on spreading the evils of drug-money fueled marxism and tyranny to the entire region: Fidel & Raul Castro of Cuba, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, and most of all, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. [a cynic like me might add Daniel Ortega in neighboring Nicaragua to the list, as he's lobbying to change their constitution to allow him to run for president again]
Morales, Correa, and Chavez were ALL elected in free elections, then seized power by one means or another, and turned republics into their personal tin-pot dictatorships. In the crisis currently underway, Zelaya tried to do the same thing.
Manuel Zelaya ran for president as a left-centrist in 2005, but once elected, his friendship and alliances with Hugo Chavez and Raul Castro and signing Honduras onto the Bolivarian Alliance (ALBA, aka, "we hate the US club") along with clashes with the business sector, rising violent crime rates, and a seeming lack of a coherent domestic policy led to 25% approval ratings by 2008.
The Honduran Constitution, ratified in 1982, is the latest in a series (common among nations not named "The United States"). This one appears to have improved on previous ones, and one notable character of it is that it strives to guard against tyranny.
Article 4 (translated)
The form of government is republican, democratic and representative. Is exercised by three branches: legislative, executive and judicial, and independent and complementary relationship of subordination.
Alternation in the presidency of the Republic is required.
Violation of this rule constitutes the crime of treason.
Article 239 (translated)
The citizen that has been the head of the Execut[ive] Branch cannot be President or Vice-President (again). 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.
Article 272 (translated)
The Armed Forces of Honduras, are a National Institution of a permanent basis, essentially professional, apolitical, obedient and non-deliberative.
They are set to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic, maintain peace, public order and the rule of the Constitution , the principles of free suffrage and alternation in the exercise of the Presidency of the Republic.
Cooperate with the National Police in the maintenance of public order .
In order to ensure the free exercise of the vote, the custody, transport and surveillance of electoral materials and other aspects of the security of the process, the President of the Republic, put the Armed Forces available to the National Elections Tribunal, from a month before the elections, until the final declaration of the same.
The Constitution is straightfoward enough:
- It is a crime of treason to even propose to change the constitution to allow a president to have a second consecutive term. That may be a little strict or strange to you, but its intended purpose seems to have been to keep a person like Zelaya from following his baser instincts.
- The duties of the military include enforcing the constitution, mentioning in particular the maintenance of the alternation of the presidency.
According to Miguel Estrada -- yes, THAT Miguel Estrada, born in Honduras, educated at Columbia and Harvard Law school, apprenticed under Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, and argued cases in front of the Supreme Court as Assistant Solicitor General; the one the Democrats filibustered to keep from becoming an appellate judge purely because he was Hispanic; THAT Miguel Estrada -- there are only three unamendable provisions in the Honduran Constitution:
- the country's borders
- the rules that limit a president to a single four-year term
- the requirement that presidential administrations must "succeed one another" in a "republican form of government."
As I mentioned above, Zelaya 's been hanging around with dictators while crime rates have gone up and his popularity has gone down. Early this year, with his term winding to a close, he called a referendum for June 28, which if approved, would call a constitutional convention for the purpose of replacing the current constitution with a brand new one.
Given Zelaya 's leanings, track record, and his waning presidency, there could be only one reason to scrap the constitution: to, in effect, amend the unamendable portions. This move was widely viewed in that light. A referendum requires a 2/3 vote of Congress to even propose to the people, and the Congress voted it down, saying it was illegal. Yet the referendum was proceeding.
Attorney General Alberto Rubi filed suit to stop the referendum, and a court order made it so. Zelaya declared the referendum would proceed, but called it an "opinion survey" . This was also halted but the courts. Nevertheless he persisted. No printer in Honduras would print ballots in defiance of the courts, so he had the ballots printed in Venezuela and flown in.
Persistent cuss, ain't he? He wasn't done yet.
He ordered the military to dispense the ballots to polling stations. He was refused, so he fired General Romeo Basquez, leader of the military. The Supreme Court re-instated him. Since the military was not going to dispense the ballots, on June 25, a group of Zelaya supporters marched into the Air Force installation where they were sequestered, stole them, and began distributing them.
At this point, AG Rubi asked for an arrest warrant from the Supreme Court on grounds of treason for violation of Article 239. He also asked the Congress to impeach Zelaya . In response, the Supreme Court, ordered the military, per Article 272, to arrest Zelaya , which was done June 28, the day the referendum had been scheduled. In a breach of protocol, the military exiled Zelaya to Costa Rica instead of placing him in custody in Honduras to face trial for treason.
So far, it would seem the Supreme Court and the military acted within their authority in enforcing the Constitution. The Congress, dominated by Zelaya's party, voted 122-6 to remove him from office (I presume this is the impeachment Rubi asked for). Since the Vice President had quit earlier (to run for President) and had not been replaced, next in the line of succession was Roberto Micheletti, leader of Congress (analogous to our Speaker of the House, who is also 3rd in line), also of Zelaya's party. He was appointed to complete Zelaya's term, which expires next January. He cannot run for re-election, and has experssed no interest in doing so.
Estrada sums it up:
It cannot be right to call this a "coup."
- Micheletti was lawfully made president by the country's elected Congress.
- The president is a civilian.
- The Honduran Congress and courts continue to function as before.
- The armed forces are under civilian control.
- The elections scheduled for November are still scheduled for November.
Indeed, after reviewing the Constitution and consulting with the Supreme Court, the Congress and the electoral tribunal, respected Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga recently stated that the only possible conclusion is that Zelaya had lawfully been ousted under Article 239 before he was arrested, and that democracy in Honduras continues fully to operate in accordance with law. All Honduran bishops joined Rodriguez in this pronouncement.
Yet Obama called it a 'coup', and continues to do so.
President Obama said yesterday that the military ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was illegal and could set a "terrible precedent,"
Obama repeated yesterday that the United States viewed Zelaya as Honduras's president and that "the coup was not legal."
The Meddling Outsiders - 'it was a coup'
Since claiming from the start that it was a coup, Obama has directed broadside after broadside at the poor but courageous nation of Honduras. From the beginning, he along with OAS has called for the unconditional re-instatement of Zelaya. On July 2, he suspended military and non-humanitarian aid, and on Sept 3, that was made permanent, and apparently all aid, including humanitarian, agricultural and other, is threatened. The State Department also threatened to not recognize the results of the upcoming November election:
"Based on conditions as they currently exist, we cannot recognize the results of this election. So for the de facto regime, they're now in a box," said State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley. "And they will have to sign on to the San Jose accords to get out of the box." He was referring to the plan for Zelaya's return, which was negotiated in the Costa Rican capital.
Further insulting Honduras, the administration has revoked the visas of Interim President Micheletti 14 members of the Supreme court, and Foreign Minister Carlos Lopez, ahead of the upcoming UN General Assembly. Oh, did I mention, the UN condemned the ouster of Zelaya?
So while Obama is putting the screws to Honduras and refusing their proper authorities entry into America for the UN summit this month, here's a short list of despots, tyrants, dictators, and blood-soaked murders who will be welcomed onto American soil to attend the General Assembly:
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Raul Castro, Hugo Chavez, Muammar Gaddafi.
I don't know whether that's hope or change. I lose track.
The Honduran people strongly desire freedom while their nation, as a primary corridor of drug traffic between Columbia and the United States, is racked with murder and violent crime not of their making. They have ousted, by perfectly legal means, a president who tried to overthrow their constitution.
In response, Obama and his administration have acted in the most vile and disgraceful way possible, acting against the best interests of not only a staunch ally in Honduras, but against the obvious interests of United States.
Honduras deserves a chance.
Honduras deserves our support.