Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Honduras' New Foreign Minister

Honduras' interim President Roberto Micheletti (L) takes the oath of newly appointed Foreign Minister Enrique Ortez Colindres at Congress in Tegucigalpa June 29, 2009. Micheletti was named interim president by Congress within hours of the coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya on Sunday. Zelaya, a Chavez ally who took office in 2006, angered the Honduran Congress, Supreme Court and army by pushing for a public vote to gauge support for changing the constitution to let presidents seek re-election beyond a single four-year term. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas
Americas: During his campaign, President Obama made a big deal of criticizing leaders who are elected democratically but don't govern democratically. He's had a chance to show that it mattered in Honduras. He didn't.

That's the sorry story as Honduras' now ex-president, Mel Zelaya, last Thursday defied a Supreme Court ruling and tried to hold a "survey" to rewrite the constitution for his permanent re-election. It's the same blueprint for a rigged political system that's made former democracies like Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador into shells of free countries.

Zelaya's operatives did their dirt all the way through. First they got signatures to launch the "citizen's power" survey through threats — warning those who didn't sign that they'd be denied medical care and worse. Zelaya then had the ballots flown to Tegucigalpa on Venezuelan planes. After his move was declared illegal by the Supreme Court, he tried to do it anyway.

As a result of his brazen disregard for the law, Zelaya found himself escorted from office by the military Sunday morning, and into exile. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro rushed to blame the U.S., calling it a "yanqui coup."

President Obama on Monday called the action "not legal," and claimed that Zelaya is still the legitimate president.

There was a coup all right, but it wasn't committed by the U.S. or the Honduran court. It was committed by Zelaya himself. He brazenly defied the law, and Hondurans overwhelmingly supported his removal (a pro-Zelaya rally Monday drew a mere 200 acolytes).

Yet the U.S. administration stood with Chavez and Castro, calling Zelaya's lawful removal "a coup." Obama called the action a "terrible precedent," and said Zelaya remains president. (Read entire article)
Human Events:

The constitution of Honduras does not allow for a presidential re-election. No problem, said Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez to his protégée, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. Chavez easily convinced Zelaya he should promote a referendum on this topic and went on to help him prepare the logistics fo the event. After all, Chavez told Zelaya, this had worked extremely well for him in Venezuela a few months ago while the governments of the hemisphere kept respectfully silent.

But the constitution of Honduras is explicit. It defines as a crime any attempt at changing its stipulation on no re-election.

Therefore, when Zelaya put his plans in motion the Supreme Court issued a judicial order to stop the referendum and ordered the army to prevent it. In parallel the National Congress of Honduras, including members of the government party, declared Zelaya’s pretension unconstitutional. Zelaya responded by dismissing the military chief and by pushing forward with his plans. In answer, the Supreme Court ordered the military chief reinstalled in his position since he was only following their orders.

Sunday June 28, President Zelaya tried to put the referendum in place and the Army, acting on orders by the Supreme Court, stopped the event. President Zelaya was placed in a plane, unharmed, and sent to neighboring Costa Rica. The same day the Honduran National Congress decided, with the votes of the members of the government party, to unseat him as president. The reason? President Zelaya had tried to place himself above the laws of the country. By trying to pave the way for his re-election he had attempted a coup.

The immediate reaction of the governments of the hemisphere meeting at the Organization of American States has been “politically correct”. All members, including the U.S., asked for the “immediate return of President Zelaya to his position” and condemned the “military coup”. This is, of course, the same organization that a few weeks ago begged the dictatorial government of Cuba to return to its fold, the same organization that has closed its eyes to the numerous violations of the Venezuelan constitution by Hugo Chavez and to his obvious alignment with the terrorist Colombian guerrillas.

It does not matter to these governments, including the U.S. government, that President Zelaya acted outside the constitution, that the Supreme Court of Honduras ordered him to stop an illegal event, that the National Congress of Honduras decided almost unanimously to oust him from the presidency and that the Honduran army was following orders from the Supreme Court. In the eyes of this organization an elected president, apparently, can do what he wants and get away with it. (Read entire article)
John Fund:

Many foreign observers are condemning the ouster of Honduran President Mel Zelaya, a supporter of Hugo Chavez, as a "military coup." But can it be a coup when the Honduran military acted on the orders of the nation's Supreme Court, the step was backed by the nation's attorney general, and the man replacing Mr. Zelaya and elected in emergency session by that nation's Congress is a member of the former president's own political party?

Mr. Zelaya had sacked General Romeo Vasquez, head of the country's armed forces, after he refused to use his troops to provide logistical support for a referendum designed to let Mr. Zelaya escape the country's one-term limit on presidents. Both the referendum and the firing of the military chief have been declared illegal by the Honduran Supreme Court. Nonetheless, Mr. Zelaya intended yesterday to use ballots printed in Venezuela to conduct the vote anyway.

All this will be familiar to members of Honduras' legislature, who vividly recall how Mr. Chavez in Venezuela adopted similar means to hijack his country's democracy and economy. Elected a decade ago, Mr. Chavez held a Constituent Assembly and changed the constitution to enhance his power and subvert the country's governing institutions. Mr. Zelaya made it clear that he wished to do the same in Honduras and that the referendum was the first step in installing a new constitution that would enhance his powers and allow him to run for re-election.

No one likes to see a nation's military in the streets, especially in a continent with such painful memories of military rule. But Honduras is clearly a different situation. Members of Mr. Zelaya's own party in Congress voted last week to declare him unfit for his office. Given his refusal to leave, who else was going to enforce the orders of the nation's other branches of government?
Juan Diego Zelaya:

During the past 3 1/2 years, my country has lived through a sad satire of governance.

Influenced by the No. 1 promoter of 21st-century socialism, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, our ex-president, Manuel Zelaya, took us down the road of social divide, abuse of media publicity, propaganda and the absolute void of checks and balances with one end in mind: to stay in power indefinitely.

During his last year, he embarked on a mission to carry out a total reform of our constitution, following the well-tested formula of Mr. Chavez and Equador's President Rafael Correa so he could remain in power "constitutionally."

Running a campaign disguised as promoting change for the people and true direct participation of the masses, he started to promote this project with all his executive might. The judicial branch deemed this project illegal, as did our electoral tribunal and the Attorney General's Office.

Nonetheless, these institutions started to be portrayed as part of the groups of power that were afraid of change, tyrants opposed to the people of our country, who did not want people to express themselves. Whatever person or institution went against his project was also an enemy of the people. Sound familiar, Mr. Chavez?

Last week, Mr. Zelaya issued executive orders to the armed forces to carry out the first phase of the constitutional reform project. The head of the armed forces, knowing that this order was illegal and unconstitutional, said "No." Mr. Zelaya went on national TV and fired Gen. Romeo Vasquez for refusing to carry out the order, but our nation's Supreme Court reinstated him. The firing was a clear signal Mr. Zelaya was putting his personal ambition and interests before any genuine interest to change things and improve the quality of life of Hondurans.

He was only thinking of improving his quality of life through illegal means and at the cost of the peace of a whole country. This was the beginning of the end of a crisis in our young democracy.

This morning, the armed forces restored peace and democracy to our country, backed by all institutions: legislative branch; judicial branch; political parties, including the former president's own party; business bureaus; and most other groups representing society. Their stance sends a clear message: No one, not even the president, is above the law. (Read entire article)
Related Links:

Might not be a good idea for Comrade Zelaya to return

Zelaya returning on Thursday?

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