Honduras’ Military Coup Tests the Obama Administration

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honduras coup.JPGOn Sunday the Honduran military ousted President Manuel Zelaya hours before the country was to vote on his referendum to extend presidential term limits. President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton were quick to speak, but slow to draw conclusions.
Clinton’s carefully chosen words condemn the coup, but offer no specific support for President Zelaya, “As we move forward, all parties have a responsibility to address the underlying problems that led to yesterday’s events in a way that enhances democracy and the rule of law in Honduras. To that end, we will continue working with the OAS and other partners to construct a process of dialogue and engagement that will promote the restoration of democratic order, address the serious problems of political polarization in Honduras, restore confidence in their institutions of government, and ensure that Honduras moves successfully towards its scheduled presidential elections in November of this year.”
I always side with democracy. But in the immediate aftermath of this coup it’s difficult to say exactly which side is democratic. President Zelaya’s would be referendum was explicitly against the Honduran constitution, yet he insisted on moving ahead with the vote against the wishes of the nation’s Supreme Court, Congress, and military. Perhaps his power grab was buoyed by the success of his friend Hugo Chavez’ February referendum to end presidential term limits in Venezuela. Zelaya was certainly acting undemocratic, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to contain an overreaching leader; forcing him out of the country at gunpoint is certainly the wrong way. This is a tough call to make; one illegal act countered by another. The Obama administration must walk a fine line, their democracy agenda could be prematurely formed by their reaction to Honduras’ coup. For now they are taking the collaborative (and perhaps safest) route by vowing to work with the Organization of American States rather than take the lead.
The concern for Latin America, expressed by Obama and Chavez alike, is that this coup signals a return to military influenced politics which the region has worked so hard to free itself of. As President Lula de Silva of Brazil stated in a radio address this afternoon, “We in Latin America can no longer accept someone trying to resolve his problem through the means of a coup.”
– Faith Smith

Comments

45 comments on “Honduras’ Military Coup Tests the Obama Administration

  1. Soma says:

    Why in God’s name would Israel want to attack us and threaten our safety and welfare.

    Reply

  2. David says:

    Somehow, in battling the vagaries of my computer, I posted before getting to read Mike’s comment.
    Sounds like Chavez is drawing from the historic US playbook for the Americas. It’s a mistake, of course. Our playbook was so misguided and ruthless that it is not a fit guide for any decent policies in the Americas. It got a lot of people repressed, subjugated, exploited, and killed. However, militaristic populism is not a corrective. And the Supreme Court ordering military action against the sitting president is pretty appalling as well.. As is usually the case in periods of political instability, reactionary forces have the upper hand, and the general population is left wondering wtf? My favorite moment in Dr. Zhivago is when the line is uttered in vulnerable bewilderment, “Who is the government?”
    But I cannot imagine there not being very powerful American interests at play in our Central American aircraft carrier. Just a lot of other powerful interests also at play, best I can tell. Chavez is one consequence of US behavior under Bush, and before. The chickens just keep coming, and coming, home to roost.
    Still, the Supreme Court ordering military action against the sitting president is pretty appalling. As is usually the case in periods of political instability, reactionary forces have the upper hand.

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  3. Chris Brown says:

    Well sucks John, Obama called it a “coup” on June 29.
    “We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the democratically elected president there,”
    You have not been reading the comments.

    Reply

  4. David says:

    Would have been better for Honduran democracy for a referendum to have been voted on, I think. It would have established the will of the voters. It would have been up to the Supreme Court to determine whether or not it could be binding, and had it passed it could have put the government on notice that change was desired. Why on earth the presidency was limited to one term is beyond me. I don’t even think much of the two-term limit here, but since it has been the basis for American electoral politics for over half a century, we have to live with it. But it seems somewhat undemocratic, but for the fact that the American electorate is ok with it. I think it was FDR who first suggested it out of fear of an American president taking on dictatorial authority.
    But only one term, even if voters would have re-elected the president (or in this case, used the ballot box to say no, if it is true that he does not enjoy the support of a majority of Hondurans. It is an effective way to make sure the president never really establishes any power base, but then the question becomes Where is the actual power base? There certainly is one in Honduras, and I would assume it is the business community.

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  5. mike/ says:

    i was taking into consideration the “slants” that the newspapers might have. they don’t agree on things all the time. the reporting they are doing on this situation is pretty much in the same vein though.
    also, the original referendum, that can only be instituted by the National Congress, was for an alteration of the Constitution and this was only about presidential term limits. Zelaya first said that it would be binding to put on the November ballot. When the Supreme Court said that was unconstitutional, he then said it would only be a public opinion poll. That might still be illegal because only the National Congress can authorize referenda.
    Also, the ballots for his “opinion poll” were printed by Hugo Chavez and were under guard at a military installation. Either no one in Honduras would print them or he didn’t trust they would. Zelaya, last Wednesday, the day of the court ruling lead a contingent to where the ballots were under lock and key and literally stole them and said, “We are doing it anyway.”
    finally, the Army was ordered by the Supreme Court and later upheld by the National Congress to apprehend Zelaya. The problem, and why everyone thinks it looks like a coup, is that the Army spirited him out of the country. they should have arrested him. by the way, the Honduran Army has strong connections to the U.S. Department of State according to State Department briefings.
    in a way, what i’m reading is a kind of reverse democratic movement. Hondurans are very afraid that Zelaya was/is trying to bring Chavez-like government into their country and they don’t believe that is democracy.
    it’s an interesting situation and i agree with Faith that this puts Obama into a very awkward situation. he has to uphold treaties and pacts, but he doesn’t want Chavez, and Cuba for that matter, in another country.
    above all that, there is a turn in Western Hemisphere relations that is at a threshold. Obama wants relations with Cuba but how can he do that and uphold the agreements promoting democracy we already have with OAS and other groups? who, feel the same tensions.
    Panama installed a new president today, Ricardo Martinelli. some of his first remarks were that he will do everything to help his country stay free and prevent Chavez’s influence. the president of Guatemala, Alvoro Colom, outright rejected Chavez’s call for military intervention.
    what seems to be going on is not that others want to see Zelaya reinstated but fear more the return of the era of “banana republics” by coup. it’s a short-term memory fear that is something to consider.

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  6. JohnH says:

    If Zelaya is so unpopular, why were the Honduran military so afraid of the referendum? Could it be because Zelaya might win it? It’s hard to think of any other reason that staging a referendum would trigger such a violent response, particularly since Zelaya had only six months remaining in his term.
    In evaluating the information Mike/ is getting, he might also take the political agenda of the newspaper owners into consideration–the elites were widely alarmed at Zelaya’s agenda

    Reply

  7. mike/ says:

    i’ve been reading La Pensa and La Tribuna from Honduras quite closely since a charitable organization with which i’m involved has had a trip planned for months next week to Honduaras. we work with 15 of the poorest schools in Morazon. the kids have been preparing for our annual visit for weeks.
    in reading the two papers, it seems that the vast majority of Hondurans are very supportive of what happened. Zelaya is not well liked.
    La Pensa’s headline today is “’No al chavismo’”, claman miles de hondureños” – “No to Chavez, claim thousands of Hondurans”.
    the article was covering a peaceful demonstration in the capitol.
    also, in directly speaking to people in Honduras, our representatives, and family members, are reporting everything is going on as normal as can be. they too saw Zelaya trying to pull what Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela.
    this is probably what is going on with the Obama administration handling things the way they are. they have to follow the treaties and agreements, but they certainly don’t want to give Chavez any more. my bet is the state department is very quietly talking to Micheletti and the army trying to give Zelaya an easy face-saving way out.
    personally, i hope we aren’t forced into disappointing the kids. we have a kitchen to finish and a new school garden project to inaugurate that they are so excited about.

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  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “People throughout Latin America will now realize that Obama’s noble sounding rhetoric is nothing more than hollow rhetoric”
    Isn’t it amazing that the citizens of the USA always seem to be the last ones to wake up and realize they are being fed a line of shit? We certainly view ourselves through an archaic lens, tenaciously holding onto an aggrandized and fantastic self image of righteousness that hasn’t been true for decades.
    We have reached the point where an unknown politician of meager accomplishment can throw a few catch phrases at us, (amplified by a media loudspeaker that long ago ceased to belong to anything even vaguely resembling a “Fourth Estate”), and slime his way right into the Oval Office.
    We are paying the price for such feckless naivete, and a steep price it is. Even this simple carpenter in Central California can see we are galloping headlong into a box canyon from which there is no exit.

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  9. JohnH says:

    Obama’s refusal to declare the Honduran coup a coup, join with the OAS in isolating Honduras, and stop military aid to an illegal government directly reinforces Hugo Chavez’ narrative and increases his credibility. People throughout Latin America will now realize that Obama’s noble sounding rhetoric is nothing more than hollow rhetoric. The honeymoon was short lived.

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  10. JohnH says:

    “Well, shucks, John, it appears that you may wish to check the news before launching into sanctimonious pronouncements.” Day 4 and Obama STILL has not done what needs to be done to back up his sweet sounding word:
    “Sub-Secretary of State, Thomas Shannon, attending the OAS meeting in Washington yesterday, confirmed that Manuel Zelaya is the “legal and constitutional” president of Honduras, but still stopped short of clarifying the U.S. government’s position regarding the coup d’etat and Zelaya’s unconditional return to power. The US has signed on to the OAS statement, but this is not the same as Washington legally and officially declaring on its own terms that a coup d’etat has occurred and that it will only recognize the government of Zelaya as legitimate. OAS resolutions, similar to UN General Assembly resolutions, are not legally binding.”
    Given Obama’s lack of concrete ACTION over 4 days, his response to the Honduran coup is now crystal clear be–slick noble rhetoric accompanied by tacit support for a military coup (wink, wink, nod, nod).
    The OAS has been clear. Honduras will be isolated internationally unless Zelaya is reinstated. This may well end Obama’s honeymoon with Latin America, as US behavior in the region has not changed.

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  11. David says:

    Well damn, arthurdecco, without being American you are still my kind of American.

    Reply

  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “….In my defense, I’m not American”
    Thats Ok, Arthur, neither are we. We just pretend to be when we aren’t sodomizing Muslims with broomsticks, doling out shiploads of white phosphorous, or seeing how many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis we can exterminate.

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  13. Chris Brown says:

    Well shucks Arthur you sure missed the point there.

    Reply

  14. arthurdecco says:

    Sorry for displaying sanity in the judgment of American foreign affairs, POA. In my defense, I’m not American.

    Reply

  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Let’s see what his administration actually does, before pronouncing judgement….”
    Oh my God. Are you actually advocating separating the bullshit from the actual actions, or lack therof??
    Now Arthur, careful, you’re exhibiting the audacity of common sense.

    Reply

  16. arthurdecco says:

    Well shucks, Chris, you might want to wait until the United States cuts the Honduran military off before you launch into sanctimonious pronouncements.
    Obama’s able rhetoric is the thing he was selected as President for. Let’s see what his administration actually does, before pronouncing judgement, hokay?

    Reply

  17. Chris Brown says:

    Posted by JohnH, Jun 29 2009, 10:39PM – Link
    Decoding Obama:
    “respecting democratic norms,” means Obama will not label the action a coup, which would require a cut off in American military aid.
    Well, shucks, John, it appears that you may wish to check the news before launching into sanctimonious pronouncements.
    Obama as reported by The Associated Press Monday, June 29, 2009 at 5:47 p.m.
    “We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the democratically elected president there,”

    Reply

  18. arthurdecco says:

    “Zelaya was certainly acting undemocratic…” Faith Smith
    Sure thing, Ms. Smith. The Gall of the Bastard! To have the audacity to ask the people of Honduras to democratically VOTE to decide the direction of their own country.
    What a despicable despot President Zelaya had proven himself to be! Thank Gawd Freedom-Loving Army Officers trained by the United States’ best fascist training facility, The School of the Americas and Fact Cat, Right Wing Establishment types ensconced on the Supreme Court nipped that dangerous idea in the bud!
    Don’t those pesky Hondurans realize that Democracy is something only to be talked about – never implemented?
    They should have asked Faith Smith – she could have warned them off before they caused themselves all this unnecessary stress by naively thinking they could control their own destiny.
    Presumably someone pays Ms. Smith for her opinions…Gawd save us all.

    Reply

  19. Chris Brown says:

    “I always side with democracy. But in the immediate aftermath of this coup it’s difficult to say exactly which side is democratic. President Zelaya’s would be referendum was explicitly against the Honduran constitution, yet he insisted on moving ahead with the vote against the wishes of the nation’s Supreme Court, Congress, and military.”
    If ultimate state power resides with the governed why should not any referendum, sponsored by the executive authority and aimed at gauging the public will, not be perfectly legitimate regardless of the desires of the established judicial or military authorities?
    Strange manner of demonstrating that you are “always side with democracy”. What tripe.

    Reply

  20. Clay Thorp says:

    I understand the complexity here with the Honduran Constitution. The way the document was written makes it hard to justify a legal second term.
    But if the people re-elect Zelaya, isn’t that democracy at work?
    As long as the referendum doesn’t contain provisions that allow some sort of new electronic voting ballots, I find no quarrel with Zelaya.
    I am on the fence about this one, however. Not taking sides just yet.

    Reply

  21. David says:

    Since when is it undemocratic to seek to change anything through a popular vote? It might not be wise, it might not be the best policy (the anti-gay marriage California referendum comes to mind), but since when is it undemocratic? And by what logic is term limits inherently democratic, and being able to serve as long as people will re-elect you, inherently undemocratic. And how democratic is a constitution which declares it cannot be amended? A constitutional oligarchy is not a constitutional democracy. And Honduras had the misfortune of being Reagan’s geographical air craft carrier during the ersatz Contra popular uprising as actual military intervention/coup under the guiding hand of the then US ambassador to Honduras.
    “Why are military coups viewed as inherently bad?” They do not have a positive history in Latin America – if one values human rights and popular self-determination. Rebellion against oppressive dictatorships are a different matter. Military coups are typically the machinations of oligarchs against indigenous populations. And it was a general who abolished the Costa Rican military because he understood what militaries typically were used for in Latin America, especially under the influence of the United States. Not real sure what happened in Nigeria is laudable. Nigeria is simply a client state to the US and Europe, via Shell Oil Company. The poor bastards have our oil under their soil.
    Obama did say that he considers Zelaya the legitimate president of Honduras. How about we let Hondurans decide whether or not they want to amend their constitution, including changing the clause that says it cannot be amended in certain regards. It would be worth going back and seeing how the Honduran constitution came into being.
    One thing is for damned sure. This military coup cannot be allowed to stand. It would also be most commendable on the part of the Obama administration if it would abolish the School of the Americas and everything it stands for in US-Latin American relations.

    Reply

  22. Josh Meah says:

    And just a question to spur some thought…
    Why are military coups viewed as inherently bad?
    I can understand the problem in certain contexts (e.g. Nigeria’s history of military coups is especially troublesome)
    But, as somewhat of a counterexample, the Cold War as fought from South Asia is an entirely different animal without an extremely powerful military under the leadership of Zia ul’Haq in Pakistan.
    Btw — in Nigeria, is was a military general, Olusegun Obsanjo, that yielded Nigeria’s first peaceful democratic transition.
    Anyway…

    Reply

  23. Josh Meah says:

    Take a look at the Compass, the blog over at RealClearWorld.com, that has an interesting take on the Honduras coup with one writer supposing that it could be a legal military coup — check it out.
    Also, one of the first comments here stated that it was a shame that an American source showing the OAS’s condemnation of the decision could not be found. True, but the best link is to the actual OAS condemnation:
    http://www.oas.org/OASpage/press_releases/press_release.asp?sCodigo=E-214/09

    Reply

  24. Doug T. says:

    Returning to the original post. You raise the complaint that he was doing something against the constitution. And that is a problem? What I read was that the referendum was on calling for a constitutional convention. Seems our constitution was written against the constitution (Articles of Confederation) too. Should we reject it and the Founders?

    Reply

  25. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Good ‘ol Kotz. One of the staunchest defenders of the treasonous, criminal, and monstrous policies of the Bush Administration, (which seem to be continuing under Obama), is now nattering about “reason”.

    Reply

  26. kotzabasis says:

    Among those who delve in schizophrenia cynicism always trumps reason.

    Reply

  27. Paul Norheim says:

    Amen, JohnH.
    Just one thing. I tend to believe that there actually is an element of schizophrenia here; that we are not only dealing with a
    disconnect between words and deeds, but sometimes also within the deeds themselves. Of course there are plenty of
    crooks, cynics, even monsters in these kinds of environment. But just like the British imperialists, or like missionaries, some
    of the members of the US “foreign policy mob” after WWII perceived themselves as of sometimes doing good things, and
    sometimes even did good things.
    If not, they couldn`t have justified – in the eyes of the public, as well as in their own eyes – doing so many horrible things.
    A couple of examples: Empires in history tend to be more tolerant in ethnic and religious matters than smaller nations with
    a heterogenous population. Missionaries build hospitals and schools besides the churches. I think there actually are sincere
    efforts in US foreign policy to promote human rights, women`s rights, freedom of speech and assembly – despite all the
    hypocrisy, double standards, abuses etc – sincere efforts that legitimate the exploitation, blackmailing, wars and so forth in
    the public sphere. Without those positive and “good” elements, they couldn`t have been so evil and destructive.

    Reply

  28. TonyForesta says:

    Let me guess, – Obama caves and forks over trillions of taxpayer dollars into the offshore accounts of the military and intelligence complexes, and the private military and private intelligence complexes, and the agra pharma, and finance oligarchs who brute the necessesity of propping up select few marauding elites in Honduras who exploit the nations resources and it’s people, for billions of American shadow dollars, in bribes or hushmoney. Billions of dollars that are partially accounted for, or circumstances wherein there is some issue or dispute about the accounting, or tragically wherein there is no accounting, and cargo planes full of dollars are simply missing, as in gone!.
    Unaccountable, unknown unkown.
    Stay out of others nations internal conflicts. Our involvement should be constrained to aid and search and rescue operations. If Amerika is involved in this coup, we’ve crossed the Rubicon. In practical effect, the laws are ruthlessly manipulated or corrupted to favor the predatorclass with deleterious impact on the justice system, and target populations of the poor and middle class. In practical effect then, there are no laws, and in a world where there are no laws, there are no laws for anyone.

    Reply

  29. easy e says:

    SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS WATCH (SOA)
    http://www.soaw.org/article.php?id=100

    Reply

  30. JohnH says:

    One of the great failings of the Constitution was that it provided no checks and balances in dealings with foreign countries. With no accountability, foreign policy became the ideal breeding ground for the worst elements in society–the foreign policy mob. They write their own rules and, blessed with official imprimatur, apply ‘justice’ to others according to their own arbitrary notions of national interest. As long as they maintain the appearance of adhering to American values (freedom, democracy, human rights), the American public will pretty much let them do as they please to weaker nations. The policy itself is not schizophrenic, but the disconnect between words and deeds makes it appear that way to an informed observer.
    As America’s power wanes, we may one day rue the fact that we chose to act on the principle that might makes right instead of instituting a strong international legal framework that respected the rights of all, powerful or not. Though existing international institutions claim to do just that, more often than not, they have behaved as extensions of American imperial power.

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  31. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Yes, Zathras, I imagine you’re perfectly happy when the schizophrenic nature of our foreign policy, and our respect for human rights and democracy, is ignored.

    Reply

  32. Zathras says:

    So much for Honduras. We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.

    Reply

  33. JohnH says:

    “They don’t give a shit about laws, ethics, human rights, or democracy.” But they do care deeply about maintaining appearances, which is what Obama’s statement is all about–slick noble rhetoric.
    It’s also why they can illegally give aid to a nuclear power, non-member of NPT. After all, Israel never claimed they were a nuclear power, (wink, wink, nod, nod), so they MUST be above suspicion. Of course, countries we don’t like must meet a different, tougher standard. Same goes for democracy and elections.

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  34. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “respecting democratic norms,” means Obama will not label the action a coup, which would require a cut off in American military aid”
    Not necessarily. We are ignoring the LAW that forbids financial aid to a nuclear power that is not a member of the NPT. Point of fact, the money we give to Israel is given ILLEGALLY. So, I see no reason why you would have faith that he won’t send aid to the military leadership in Hondurus. Heck, look at the money we sent Musharif, a military dictator that came to power through a coup.
    Gads John, you gotta remember, when you are talking about modern day American politicians, you are talking about real scumballs. They don’t give a shit about laws, ethics, human rights, or democracy.

    Reply

  35. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I apologize for the diversion, but this is unfolding as we “speak’……..
    Update on the Spirit
    News
    Tuesday, 30 June 2009 03:03
    Written by Free Gaza Movement
    Dear Friends,
    We just spoke again with our people aboard the Spirit of Humanity. The Israeli Navy is continuing to try and intimidate the ship, and is actively jamming its radar, GPS, and navigation systems in direct violation of international maritime law. This jamming is extremely dangerous and directly threatens the welfare and safety of everyone aboard our civilian ship.
    Because their instrumentation is being jammed, they are using compass & paper to attempt to navigate. They are in international waters & they believe their location is approximately 110km off of the town of Hadera. Everyone is tired but determined. They are not being deterred by the Israeli aggression & are continuing toward Gaza. Please help them.
    Please CALL or FAX Major Liebovitz from the Israeli Navy at:
    Tel + 972 5 781 86248 or +972 3737 7777 or +972 3737 6242
    Fax +972 3737 6123 or +972 3737 7175
    CALL Mark Regev in the Prime Minister’s office at:
    Tel +972 2670 5354 or +972 5 0620 3264
    mark.regev@it.pmo.gov.il This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
    CALL Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence at:
    Tel +972 3697 5339 or +972 50629 8148
    mediasar@mod.gov.il This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

    Reply

  36. JohnH says:

    Decoding Obama:
    “respecting democratic norms,” means Obama will not label the action a coup, which would require a cut off in American military aid.
    “resolving peacefully through dialog,” means that Obama will not get involved in pressuring the Honduran military to reverse the new facts it established on the ground.
    “free from any outside interference,” refers to all countries but the US, which will continue to interfere via military aid and training of those who executed the coup.
    Weasel words designed to conquer the rhetorical high ground and bamboozle the American public and, if lucky, the Latin American public as well.

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  37. Paul Norheim says:

    “US President Barack Obama called for all in Honduras to respect democratic norms, but also stressed
    that “any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any
    outside interference”. (BBC)
    Obama`s clear statements today (clearer than H. Clinton`s) may reflect a wish to change US policy
    towards Central- and South-America, but it could also be an effort to calm down Chavez, who initially
    threatened with military action.

    Reply

  38. JohnH says:

    If Obama proceeds true to form, his bold statements, like “a ‘terrible precedent’ would be set if the coup were not reversed” will be followed by caving to “political reality.” Hillary’s wish to restore democracy without clearly advocating reinstatement of the democratically elected president opens the door wide. Just about anything can be advertised as “restoring democracy.” Haiti is a perfect example. In the coup against Chavez, the head of the chamber of commerce took over, abolished the constitution and the legislature, and then declared democracy!
    It’s inconceivable to me that the US can’t hold its nose for five months (Zelaya’s remaining term) and demand his reinstatement until then. Is Zelaya so inimical to US economic interests that they can’t even wait five lousy months?
    Latin America is watching…

    Reply

  39. Paul Norheim says:

    And according to the New York Times, he also said:
    ”It would be a terrible precedent if we start moving backwards into the era in which we are seeing military coups as a
    means of political transition rather than democratic elections,” he added. ”The region has made enormous progress over
    the last 20 years in establishing democratic traditions. … We don’t want to go back to a dark past.”
    Promising.
    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/06/29/world/AP-LT-Honduras-Coup.html?ref=global-home

    Reply

  40. Paul Norheim says:

    BBC:
    “US President Barack Obama has described the removal of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya as illegal.
    His remarks came after left-wing Latin American leaders declared their support for the deposed leader, who was expelled by
    the military on Sunday.
    (…)
    Speaking after a meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, Mr Obama said Mr Zelaya remained the democratically-
    elected leader of Honduras.
    And he said a “terrible precedent” would be set if the coup were not reversed.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8125292.stm

    Reply

  41. JohnH says:

    Correction: For more information, not filtered through the American media lens, here’s a link:
    http://www.chavezcode.com/

    Reply

  42. JohnH says:

    Kudos to TWN for acknowledging the disturbance in Honduras.
    The OAS has been clear in its condemnation of the coup.
    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-06/29/content_11618772.htm
    (Interesting that the link is from a Chinese source. I couldn’t find an American one that clearly stated the OAS decision.)
    If Obama and Clinton intend to work with OAS instead of taking the lead, then they need to get in synch with the OAS. Claiming to work with the OAS while winking and nodding approval to the Honduran military won’t receive a warm welcome in Latin America, which has enduring a century’s worth of US sponsored coups.
    Yet that seems to be what is happening. The developing spin is to question whether this really was a coup or not. Clinton was very careful to call for restoration of democratic order, not restoration of the democratically elected president.
    A more honest narrative would point out the strong moral position that Zelaya holds. After all, ousting a president for trying to hold a referendum to get public input on whether a binding resolution should be put on the ballot in November seems to be an affront to democratic processes, regardless of the legalities involved. After all, what is wrong with holding a non-binding referendum in a democracy?
    For more information, not filtered through the American media lens, here’s a link:
    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-06/29/content_11618772.htm

    Reply

  43. paul lukasiak says:

    I think you are confusing ‘constitutional’ with ‘democratic’ here.
    _
    The Honduran constitution is deliberately non-democratic, in that it states that certain elements of itself are not subject to amendment — and among those elements are presidential terms.
    _
    it should also be noted that the referendum was not a violation of the constitution (despite what the court says). It was a non-binding referendum — the first step in creating a new constitution (rather than amending the existing one)– that asked whether the question of a constitutional assembly should be placed on the BINDING ballot for this November.
    _
    In other words, zelaya was acting in the only manner open to him within the constitutional framework — find a way to write a new constitution to supercede the old one within the Democratic framework. The wealthy people who control the courts and the military do not want real democracy in Honduras, and acted to stop the creation of a new Constitution through democratic means by declaring the non-binding referendum illegal, and then overthrowing the democratically elected president.

    Reply

  44. andy says:

    I think there’s a lot of truth here. Ask liberals who might sympathize with a pro-Chavez president in a country with inequality to insert “Bush” for “Zelaya” and see what they would think of Zelaya’s repeated anti-constitutional behavior.

    Reply

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