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  • Honduras – Obama Can Run with the Pack or Lead

    On July 9, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias began a very difficult process of seeking to mediate a restoration of constitutional order in Honduras. It is a thorny challenge, given the sharp divisions between Mr. Manuel Zelaya, ex-President of Honduras, and the new reconstituted government, led by Robert Micheletti. The current incumbents in office feel very firmly that what they did on June 28th was an action aimed at protecting the Constitution, its system of checks and balances, and democracy against Mr. Zelaya’s illegalities. They also feel they took a major step in battling the rising tide of authoritarian-populism represented by Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez.

    A critical body of U.S. congressional leadership has spoken effectively on issues of the legality of Mr. Zelaya’s removal from office. Their statements are must-viewing/-reading for anyone concerned about the Honduran crisis. Particularly valuable is Senator Jim DeMint’s interchange with the nominee for the chief Latin American position at the State Department on July 8.

    Equally essential is Senator Mel Martinez of Florida’s floor speech on Honduras on July 7.

    The Administration continues to defend the view that what occurred in Honduras was a “coup,” plain and simple. It has backed Honduras’s expulsion from the OAS on 72 hours’ notice and is examining cutting off assistance to one of the Hemisphere’s poorest countries, just as Hugo Chavez shuts off the oil spigot. Likewise, the Administration has not yet responded to serious questions about possible drug-related corruption by Mr. Zelaya.

    The Administration also refuses to meet with former senior Honduran officials, including ex-President Maduro and a delegation of elected deputies from the Honduran congress, a meeting many in Congress recommend. These voices need to be heard it the U.S. is to understand what is required to restore constitutional order in Honduras. Simply going along with the OAS consensus will not do!

    It is not taking into account the massive outpouring of public sentiment demonstrated by the people of Honduras who do not want Zelaya back.

    From the standpoint of what Americans believe is right for nations and for democracy, it remains difficult to align with anti-democratic leaders (from the communist Castro brothers to populist authoritarians like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez) and still say one places the defense of democracy as the highest priority in the Western Hemisphere.

    For the moment, attention regarding Honduras is diverted to Costa Rica. But in the days ahead, the Obama Administration must play an active, balanced, and constructive role in keeping Honduras and much of Central America from falling into the abyss of demagoguery, disappointment, and despair. The Administration cannot run with an increasingly anti-democratic pack and still expect to be considered a leader and a beacon for those resisting the renewed assault of the anti-democratic, anti-American Left in Latin America.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Honduras – Obama Can Run with the Pack or Lead

    1. brainfood says:

      Interestingly, the Honduran Constitution of 1982 does provide for loss of citizenship for those who “incite, promote or aid in the continuation or re-election of the President” http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Honduras… (article 42):

      ARTICULO 42.- La calidad de ciudadano se pierde: 5. Por incitar, promover o apoyar el continuismo o la reelección del Presidente de la República.

      Further, Article 239 indicates that anyone who has held the office of chief executive cannot be president or vice president and anyone who proposes reform to that prohibition can be barred from holding public office for ten years: ARTICULO 239.- El ciudadano que haya desempeñado la titularidad del Poder Ejecutivo no podrá ser Presidente o Vicepresidente de la República. El que quebrante esta disposición o proponga su reforma, así como aquellos que lo apoyen directa o indirectamente, cesarán de inmediato en el desempeño de sus respectivos cargos y quedarán inhabilitados por diez años para el ejercicio de toda función pública.

      My educated guess on that provision is that it is aimed move at banning past military dictators from pursuing the office than it is a stricture contra re-election, per se.

      Additionally, Article 374 bars any amendments regarding the length of the presidential term (amongst other things:

      ARTICULO 374.- No podrán reformarse, en ningún caso, el artículo anterior, el presente artículo, los artículos constitucionales que se refieren a la forma de gobierno, al territorio nacional, al período presidencial, a la prohibición para ser nuevamente Presidente de la República, el ciudadano que lo haya desempeñado bajo cualquier título y el referente a quienes no pueden ser Presidentes de la República por el período subsiguiente.

      As such, it is pretty clear why the Supreme Court of Justice ruled against Zelaya’s plebiscite proposal in the first place. It also means that if the vote had been allowed to happen it would have had no legal standing.

    2. Carlos Giron says:

      MEMO TO GOP: ENGAGE LATIN AMERICA, NURTURE SUPPORT OF AMERICAN HISPANICS

      Beyond the merits of supporting the fragile democratic institutions of a Central American country, demonstrating overall interest and engagement in Latin American affairs is a big plus for the GOP.

      President Obama has demonstrated great interest and engagement in the Muslim world, in Africa, Asia, Europe… Everywhere, EXCEPT Latin America. He has no natural connections to Latin America on a personal level nor any interests on a professional level…

      This is an opportunity for the GOP to leverage and in that manner begin to court and make advancements on the votes and support of American Hispanics. We, Hispanics appreciate elected officials that care about the area, that look for opportunities to connect and interact positively there.

      Carlos Giron

      Queens, NY

      ###

    3. Larry in DC says:

      Why doesn't the Republican congressional leadership take a stance, maybe through a petition signed by a majority of Republicans? I think they may be able to put together a petition in support of the ouster of Zelaya, requesting the US Congress looks into the alleged drug ties of Zelaya, basically calling Obama on all the issues he choose to overlook so he could support this leftist Chavez wanna be. I think the Republicans really need to call Obama on this since I think it is indefensible and it exposes where his real sentiments lie.

    4. Roger S., MA. says:

      Three cheers for Sen. Demint. He's spot-on, and Valenzuela is talking through his hat and obviously trying to BS his way through the questions. His discomfort was very obvious.

    5. Larry in DC says:

      According to Obama you should talk to Ahmadinajad but for some reason Hillary Clinton refused to meet a delegation of the Honduran National Congress and the private sector, which is backing Micheletti. Chavez said Obama should impose economic sanctions on Honduras and withdraw his ambassador in Tegucigalpa. It would be fine for us to side with Chavez if he was ever on the side of democracy and freedom but reality he is always on the side of repression and authoritarian left wing rule. The midterm elections in the US could be very interesting but Republicans need to speak in a clear unified voice against really everything Obama is up to, everything in both his foreign and domestic agenda. His agenda seems to only makes sense if you are an extreme left wing liberal, socialist or Islamist or somehow pro-American but really stupid.

    6. Warren Pease, Detroi says:

      OK Haters, let me get this straight…since those behind the coup felt "very firmly that what they did on June 28th was an action aimed at protecting the Constitution, its system of checks and balances, and democracy against Mr. Zelaya’s illegalities".

      So, given that premise, it would be justified if the Liberal Left in this country took over as long as they felt what they were doing was protecting the Constitution, it's system of checks and balances, and democracy against the Conservative Right?

      The bottom line is that Zelaya was ELECTED by his people…seems to me if they wanted him gone (his term was up in a year), they would have had a recall election…isn't that what happens in democratic (or supposed democratic) countries???

      So which is it going to be, Heritage? Democracy, as evidenced by the fair and free election of Zelaya, or an illegal coup by the military?

      …and here I thought all along that you guys worshipped democracy.

    7. Roger S., MA. says:

      A couple of days ago I commented in another blog on this site, after reading a Honduran article which another commenter from Mexico had linked. This is actually a better spot for it, in light of that incredibly dishonest Valenzuela performance I just witnessed. The twit probably even thought himself "clever".

      To libertybel: I read the same article, and although my Spanish is a bit rusty (30 years out from the intensive college summer-term course), your assessment is correct: It’s exactly the other way around from our MSM take. This guy Zelaya was actually planning an illegal referendum to obtain a life-time presidency, presumably to obtain a “figleaf” to drape over his own version of a Chavez-style coup. He had already obtained advice and supplies from Venezuela to help him. The military, acting under the legitimate direction by the Honduran supreme court, stopped him. Good, clean job, too.

      My apologies to Ms.Mendoza: I can’t very well translate the whole article here, but to give other readers on this blog a chance to know what the Honduran website had to say about the U.S. response, I’ll insert the last paragraph and sentence with their translation:

      Ésta es la hipocresía de los “democráticos”: en nombre de la democracia pretenden obligar a un país a someterse a un tirano que quiere abolir las formas civilizadas del Estado de Derecho. Son de un cinismo escandaloso. Entre ellos se encuentra el presidente de EU, que está interviniendo descaradamente en los asuntos internos de Honduras para obligar a su población a someterse al marxismo.

      Obama ha empezado a mostrar quién es en realidad y en qué manos ha caído la gran nación del Norte.

      “This is the hypocracy of the “Democrats”: in the name of democracy they make a show of demanding a country submit to a tyrant who would abolish its civilized forms of The Rule of Law. They are being most scandlously cynical. Among them we find (also)the president of the United States, who would interfere in a most uncalled-for manner in Honduran internal affairs in order to oblige its population to submit to Marxism.”

      “Obama has managed to show who he really is and in whose hands has fallen the great nation to the North.”

      That about says it all, and if Hillary had even a crumb of self-esteem, she'd tell the truth and maybe get "fired", or quit. We need to keep calling them both on this until they apologize to the people of Honduras or at least quit repeating their lying version of this.

    8. Roger S., MA. says:

      I just watched a few of the clips on YouTube about Honduras. The only Senators speaking out in favor of what the Hondurans did were Republicans. My question: has even a single Democrat spoken up in this manner? Or does BO "own" them all? Most of them are of the age now where they once were anti- Vietnam War activists who are now in "senior" functions. Any of them speak up?

      Hillary?!

    9. Ke Jac, NC says:

      Most people would be quite surprised to see the level of support inside Honduras for their Constitution and the recognition of the liberty and democracy that it ensures, as well as support for the new government and the actions taken by their political leadership.

      Please see the videos of events that the international media does not want to show.


      http://youtube.com/SupportHonduras

      It might ruin their script clearly written to the satify the desires of their audience, not to report the reality in Honduras.

    10. Pat Brown San Pedro says:

      I am an American citizen living in Honduras for almost 40 years. I am truly ashamed of the attitude the U.S. Government has shown towards this situation. Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, Please give this some serious thought and use the good sense that Ivy league graduates are supposed to have. I do not like to feel ashamed of my government. Plese do the right thing. Pat Brown

    11. rdman says:

      Honduras…. and Costa Rica, Panama

      Thousands of American (& Canadian) baby-boomers and ex-patriots have taken refuge in and enjoy retirement in Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama. Prior to the Sandinistas stealing another election in Nicaragua, there was considerable eco-tourism and ex-patriot development… that has now dried up.

      If Chavez and his thugs succeed in Honduras, what is the future for Costa Rica and Panama and all the Americans that are residents in Central America.

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