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The Honduras Case: Does an Election Allow You to Govern Undemocratically?

Posted By Ray Walser On July 7, 2009 @ 3:45 pm In First Principles | Comments Disabled

In Moscow on July 6, President Obama made the following remarks regarding the situation in Honduras, where Mr. Manuel Zelaya, after being removed from office on June 28, seeks an international consensus to force his return to presidential office. He said, “America supports now the restoration of the democratically-elected President of Honduras, even though he has strongly opposed American policies. We do so not because we agree with him. We do so because we respect the universal principle that people should choose their own leaders, whether they are leaders we agree with or not.”

Few will question the right of people to choose their leaders. But it is prudent to ask some follow-up questions that have yet to be answered by the President or Secretary of State Clinton regarding U.S. policy toward Honduras.

1. What authority, in a constitutional republic, gives an executive like Mr. Zelaya the right and power to override his nation’s Constitution and its fundamental institutions? Where does one draw the line? And where were the OAS, the UN, and the U.S. as Mr. Zelaya began to act unconstitutionally?

2. When does rule of law slip toward mob tyranny? Mr. Zelaya’s defiant march onto an air force base on June 25 to recover voting materials, his very public defiance of the Supreme Court, and his efforts to mobilize the street against the elite do not reflect serious respect for the rules of the democratic game.

3. Why do Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, and Cuba’s Raul Castro believe, like President Obama, that it is very important to restore Mr. Zelaya to the presidency in Honduras?

As President Obama said, “we know Mr. Zelaya strongly opposed U.S. policy.” Therefore, we will back a president, hostile to the U.S., whose primary objective is to subvert a democratic process, and cement a political and economic alliance with the Chavez-Castro camp.


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