Even though I have sometimes been accused of being reflexively anti-Obama, it is not true. When I heard initial reports of what happened in Honduras over the weekend and the reaction of the Obama administration, I took it for granted that they were doing the right thing. Standing up for the law. Standing up for Democracy. I admit that I was somewhat cynical in that I assumed that this was an easy opportunity for the Obama administration to be viewed as defending democracy in the wake in their widely criticized feeble response to Iran.
Like I said, I assumed that they were standing up for democracy and the rule of law. You know what they say about assuming.
The more I dug into the situation, the more I realized that it was not as clear cut as I had previously assumed. The duly elected Honduran President Mel Zelaya was seeking a constitutional change that would allow him to remain in power. Only problem is that the President, in the Honduran constitution, does not have the power to call for a Constitutional change. This can only be done by a national referendum approved by the Honduran Congress. But they did not call for the referendum.
Zelaya, unrestrained by the Constitution he intended to rewrite anyway, illegally called for the referendum himself. He then had his good buddy and fellow lefty Hugo Chavez send the the ballots for the referendum. The Supreme Court, basing its decision on the Constitution and not the whim of an aspiring dictator, declared the Constitution referendum illegal. It then ordered the military not to carry out the vote as mandated by Zelaya.
The head of the military then told Zelaya that he would not carry out the election or distribute the ballots as per the lawful ruling of the Supreme Court. For this, he was promptly fired. Zelaya and his cohorts then illegally broke into a military installation to secure the ballots shipped from Venezuela so that he could effect the illegal referendum on his own without military assistance. He then began to distribute the ballots against the ruling of the court.
For this transgression, the Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant for Zelaya to be carried out by the military. Zelaya then relocated to Costa Rica and began claiming he was ousted by a coup when in fact it seems that the military actually prevented one.
In the face of these facts, I find the statement of the Obama administration through the person of Secretary of State Clinton more than a little perplexing.
“The action taken against Honduran President Mel Zelaya violates the precepts of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and thus should be condemned by all. We call on all parties in Honduras to respect the constitutional order and the rule of law, to reaffirm their democratic vocation, and to commit themselves to resolve political disputes peacefully and through dialogue. Honduras must embrace the very principles of democracy we reaffirmed at the OAS meeting it hosted less than one month ago,”
While I cannot be sure that all other parties acted perfectly according to Honduran law, it seems quite clear that Zelaya was operating in his own self interest and outside the Constitution. So it seems that the US, rather than supporting the rule of law, is condemning it.
Like I said at the beginning, I am not reflexively anti-Obama. However if I were, I would be right more often than wrong.