Saturday, July 11, 2009

Honduras Update

I have been scanning the news for adequate facts on the situation in Honduras.

The video clip below contains a statement by Senator Jim DeMint who sums up what I have found. Below the clip, I have posted a few links to some key documents which support the following conclusions: Zelaya's removal was legal and legitimate; the Honduran Supreme Court unanimously voted that Zelaya's actions were unconstitutional; several official communications were sent to Zelaya (which he ignored) instructing him to halt his attempts to change the Constitution; the Supreme Court requested the military to arrest Zalaya; the military was never in control of the government; these actions had the almost unanimous (125 to 3) support of the Honduran legislature as well as other high government officials, including the country's Attorney General.

It is not clear yet to me if the use of the military to remove Zalaya was appropriate, but the process leading up to his arrest appears to have followed due process procedures. I have not come across any hard evidence contradicting this conclusion. The absence of such arguments is most notable from our own government officials and from OAS governments, all of whom have condemned the actions of Honduras.

Article 239 of the Honduran Constitution: "No citizen who has already served as head of the Executive Branch can be President or Vice-President. Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform [emphasis added], 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." (An English translation of the full Honduran Constitution is here.)

Letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from 17 Senators with attached Charges against Zelaya, and Supreme Court Order to Arrest Zelaya, July 8th, 2009. This link includes: a translation of the list of charges against Zalaya made by the Attorney General to the Supreme Court which contains a timeline of events leading up to his arrest; a photo copy of the Supreme Court order to the military to arrest Zalay, along with an English translation.

Legal Background, “Legal situation of the transition government in Honduras,” June 29th, 2009.

Other informative articles:

The Audacity of Honduras by Roger Noriega, former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) from 2001 to 2003.

Defending Democracy in Honduras by Jorge Hernandez-Alcerro, former Honduran Ambassador to the U.S.

Memorandum of background information prepared by Americans for Limited Government.

Update: Another good article: "A 'coup' in Honduras? Nonsense." by Octavio Sanchez, former presidential adviser (2002-05) and Minister of Culture (2005-06) of the Republic of Honduras.

These documents make it clear that Obama and his administration have errored in supporting Zalaya and in failing to recognize the new government in Honduras. Instead, Obama jumped too quickly to support Chavez-backed Zalaya. Very disconcerting are both Obama's act of speaking before adequately understanding the full situation, and his assumption in favor of a crony of the socialist, near-dictator of Venezuela.

Much will be learned about the character of Mr. Obama and his administration as we see how he deals with the fact of his mistakes.

(I am indebted to the reporting efforts of ALG for the compilation of the above documents and articles.)


1 comment:

The Rat Cap said...

Here is another article posted on Drudge discussing Republican lawmakers lashing out at Obama for supporting Zelaya:

Thanks for your excellent work on this.