Patterico's Pontifications

6/28/2009

Honduras President Ousted (Updated x2)

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 1:25 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, a close ally of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, has been removed by the Honduran military with the support of the country’s Supreme Court. The Honduran Congress claims Zelaya submitted his letter of resignation and it was accepted, but Zelaya disputes that the letter was his.

The action occurred hours before a scheduled constitutional referendum designed to extend Presidential term limits. Zelaya’s term as President ends in January and he wanted to extend it. The Supreme Court had ruled the proposed changes illegal and the referendum was opposed by Congress and members of Zelaya’s own party. Zelaya’s legal successor, the Congressional President, will be sworn in as President:

“The Supreme Court said it was supporting the military in what it called a defense of democracy, and the Honduran ambassador to the Organization of American States said the military was planning to swear in Congressional President Roberto Micheletti — who is next in line to the presidency — to replace Zelaya.”

Nevertheless, Zelaya plans to attend a meeting of Central American leaders on Monday. He said his friend Hugo will give him a ride.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama promptly responded with deep concern:

“President Barack Obama said he was “deeply concerned” by Zelaya’s expulsion and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the arrest should be condemned. [Note from DRJ: Other reports indicate Zelaya was released and may be in Costa Rica.]

“I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter,” Obama’s statement read.”

Or, as Dan Collins aptly sums up Obama’s position: “Obama calls on everyone in Honduras except Zelaya to respect the law.

UPDATE 1: According to Hondura’s La Prensa news translated by Fausta’s blog, this was not a coup but action taken pursuant to court order:

“An official statement of the Supreme Court of Justice explained that the Armed Forces acted under lawful grounds when detaining the President of the Republic, and by decommissioning the materials to be used on the illegal poll which aimed to bring forth Executive Power against a judicial order.

Other sources verified that the president of the Congress, Roberto Micheletti, will assume the presidency of the republic in a few hours.

Honduran president Manuel Zelaya was detained this morning by the military in compliance with an order of the courts of law.

UPDATE 2: The Obama Administration tried to stop the Honduran government from ousting President Zelaya.

— DRJ

47 Responses to “Honduras President Ousted (Updated x2)”

  1. That was my reaction, too. I’m sure it will be pretty common among thinking people. Luckily for Obama, those are not a big part of his coalition.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  2. Obama certainly has no problem meddling when socialists are involved. Lightening speed!

    daleyrocks (718861)

  3. mustn’t meddle

    happyfeet (e8d590)

  4. Or, Impeachment: The Short Form.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  5. hrmmm. I are redundant. That Dan Collins, he’s an apt one alright.

    happyfeet (e8d590)

  6. Pitch perfect. Well played. Leaps and bounds better than cowboy war diplomacy. He takes no time to denounce the murder of an abortion doctor and the arrest of a socialist trying to subvert their laws. The murder of a US soldier by a muslim, or the slaughter of Iranians, not so much.

    JD (5b1232)

  7. JD – Those dirty socialists have got to stick together.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  8. It sounds like Zelaya was trying to subvert democracy by pursuing a referendum the Honduran Supreme Court had declared illegal. Thus, if Obama were really concerned about democracy, he would promptly recognize the new Honduran President.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  9. It sounds to me like they were totally justified in ousting Zelaya, but it would be really stupid if they made up a bogus resignation paper. That would just provide ammo for Zelaya’s allies.

    I’m guessing they probably offered him the opportunity to resign and be exiled or face a treason trial and he took option one.

    jcurtis (14bf32)

  10. Thus, if Obama were really concerned about democracy, he would promptly recognize the new Honduran President.

    When I first heard about the forced ouster in Honduras, I wasn’t too sure of the details — of the ideology/politics — of the situation and rolled my eyes thinking “sheesh, just another day in the life of a wacky, unstable, corrupt Banana Republic.”

    However, upon learning that the booted Honduran president is a big fan of Hugo Chavez and Fidel and Raul Castro, and visa versa, was enough to make me suspect that if the coup (or “coup”) really conformed to the profile of a “Banana Republic,” it actually would have to be rooted in the mentality and behavior of people along the lines of Barry “Acorn” Obama and Hillary “this should be condemned” Clinton. IOW, the types who love to rationalize away and play the role of enablers to the worst type of politicians, policies and situations.

    Therefore, it shouldn’t be too surprising that whenever something ridiculous, corrupt or screwball (or all three) is taking place, invariably people of the left are somehow at the center of it, be it in Honduras or elsewhere (such as Argentina’s answer to, or variation of, the US’s Bill and Hillary?):

    Reuters: Argentines cast ballots in congressional elections on Sunday and are expected to throw out allies of President Cristina Fernandez in a rejection of her interventionist economic policies and combative style. Fernandez, a center-leftist who in 2007 succeeded her husband ex-President Nestor Kirchner, has stagnated with a 30 percent approval rating as Latin America’s No. 3 economy hits turbulence after a six-year expansion.

    The key race is in Buenos Aires province, home to 38 percent of Argentines, where dueling Peronist factions are scrambling for the largest share of the 35 lower house seats up for grabs in that district alone. Kirchner, widely seen as co-governing the country with his wife, is running for Congress in the populous province to shore up her administration and possibly position himself for a presidential run to extend their hold on power through 2015.

    Argentines’ biggest concerns are crime and inflation, according to opinion polls, and Fernandez’s failure to tame high prices is one reason her popularity has flagged. But the Kirchners’ confrontational style — including frequent clashes with business leaders — over their six years in power has also worn thin on Argentines.

    Argentina’s powerful agricultural sector rebelled last year against Fernandez’s plans for higher taxes on soy, the nation’s top crop. If she is weakened, farmers will push for less government intervention in farm exports and grain markets.

    Some business leaders and investors are bracing for shock announcements such as state bank takeovers. The Kirchners are known for surprise moves such as last year’s nationalizations of the country’s biggest airline and the private pension system.

    Others believe the government, which needs to raise billions of dollars for debt payments, will take market-friendly steps such as overhauling the discredited National Statistics Institute that economists say has underreported inflation and exaggerated growth for two years.

    Mark (411533)

  11. Can’t Obamie just eat his waffles?

    Thomas Jackson (8ffd46)

  12. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8121258.stm

    OT, but given how sanctimonious many Europeans are I found this story interesting.

    Maybe Obama can call his socialist friend Rodriguez-Zapatero and issue a statement condemning this modern day pogrom.

    Always outrage when its about the Right but when it is the left …. excuses abound.

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  13. I’ve updated the post with more information from La Prensa via Fausta’s blog.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  14. “An official statement of the Supreme Court of Justice explained that the Armed Forces acted under lawful grounds when detaining the President of the Republic,

    And if Obama and Hillary Clinton were aware of that — and I’d be surprised if they somehow were not (or it would be extremely pathetic to discover they, and, in turn, the State Department and dozens of experts on South American affairs throughout the US government, were less informed than the average blogger or Joe-Blow citizen) — that makes their comments about the ousted Honduran president even more idiotic and, actually, irresponsible.

    And I’m not even taking into account their reaction — or lack of such — to the recent vote in Iran.

    Mark (411533)

  15. Can we at least get a little ninny consistency?

    One day it is “we don’t meddle in foreign affairs”
    Then “well, we meddle in the form of strongly worded letters, but you can still come to my BBQ”
    Then “Well, no BBQ for you! Not yours! But we’ll talk if you want…”
    Now we go straight to “WTF HONDURAS I’m deeply concerned that you won’t STFU and GBTW”

    Grrrrrrrr

    Be a ninny or don’t be a ninny. Being half-ninny makes us look just as weak as full-ninny PLUS incompetent.

    Please of please let us have a sensible GOP commander in chief next time

    Harvey M Anderson (a664fb)

  16. Our little country resolutely supports illegal dirty socialist power grabs in Central America.*

    “We recognize Zelaya as the duly elected and constitutional president of Honduras. We see no other,” the Obama administration official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

    […]

    Zelaya’s planned referendum had been ruled illegal by the country’s top court and was opposed by the military, but the president said he planned to press ahead with it anyway and ballot boxes had already been distributed.

    Barack Obama’s America is a sucky and shameful defiled little thing that is oppositional to freedom here and abroad. He’s a very very sick man.

    happyfeet (e8d590)

  17. Given what we know about the situation, the military had no choice when an elected head of state attempts to subvert their rule of law in order to extend his term in office. The only reason why Chavez wasn’t ousted by his own military during the recent fraudulent election is that he still had a loyal contingent of officers that had grown rich from the spoils of the state -run oil industy via their former comrade.

    I wonder what that other communist thug Ortega thinks about his butt – boy in Honduras now; watch out Danny – Boy, you could be next. Don’t we have a similar scenario playing out shortly in Ecuador as well?

    Dmac (f7884d)

  18. “They kidnapped him like cowards,” screamed Melissa Gaitan. Tears streamed down the face of the 21-year-old, who works at the government television station. “We have to rally the people to defend our president.”*

    I can definitely picture our own NPR and PBS propaganda monkeys crying hysterically if there were to be a movement in our own little country to defend freedom and economic liberty. Yes. It can happen here I think. oh. You know what? I think maybe in fact it already has. Our little country and any given banana republic. Same same. That didn’t take long at all really.

    happyfeet (e8d590)

  19. If it was Bush the NYT would call them patriots.

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  20. I met a woman from Honduras yesterday who is married to one of my cousins. Wonder what they think of this? I heard it briefly mentioned, but didn’t hear any strong opinions either way.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (a4e9b7)

  21. I’m just wondering if this is a preview of our own presidential politics a few years from now.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  22. I’m just wondering if this is a preview of our own presidential politics a few years from now.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  23. Has Teh One denounced himself yet and told us how his position has been consistent all along?

    JD (e7c77f)

  24. They are just landing, JD.

    Eric Blair (acade1)

  25. I’m just wondering if this is a preview of our own presidential politics a few years from now.

    It would without a doubt happen at some point.

    How about this scenario: A POTUS with the support of a mere 35% Congressional support decides he wants to openly disregard the Constitution and all laws. He can’t be impeached because less than a supermajority in Congress are opposed to his treason. What’s to be done at that point? Laws can’t be passed to stop him because the same 2/3 would be required to override that insane President’s veto of the law designed to stop his insanity.

    jcurtis (14bf32)

  26. Well, it seems that Obama is more willing to quickly issue stronger condemnations about situations that go against Hugo Chavez’ friends … than situations that go for them.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  27. Today what happened was that the Barack Obama signaled his dirty socialist comrades in this hemisphere and beyond to aggressively seize upon this moment when they can be certain of a weak and cowardly America what holds no brief for freedom. The Barack Obama’s media is cooperating nicely and it’s generally a lot understood I think that if you aspire to economic freedom or individual liberty then no one but no one’s gonna save you from the beast about to strike. Sucks for you.

    happyfeet (e8d590)

  28. I’ve updated the post with links to the WSJ/Dow Jones and Hot Air that say the White House tried to prevent the Honduran president’s ouster. Allahpundit concludes with this thought:

    “Commenter “elduende” sums up The One’s dilemma nicely:

    “Someone is going to be left holding the short end of the stick on this one. Will Obama stand by while Venezuela uses force to install their lackey in Honduras? Thus siding with Chavez and crushing democracy in Honduras. Or will he stand with the democratic institutions in Honduras as they seek to reassert their democratic rights and risk being labelled just another in a long line of ‘typical yankee presidents.’”

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  29. What a dilemma for the “god-like” president. We are so fortunate to be allowed to inhabit the same century as he brings us out of “false consciousness.”

    Mike K (2cf494)

  30. Again, when given the opportunity to stand for democracy, freedom, and liberty, Teh One chose to stand four-square with those that directly oppose same.

    JD (be212f)

  31. Wow. So the President of Honduras was removed by the military! And of course the General in charge assumes command of the country and begins the assassinations of his opponents!

    What? That didn’t happen?

    The Legal successor was sworn in? Legal? President of the Congress? An elected guy?

    Oh, and I suppose they’ll start having elections again. Ugh.

    It’s a sad day when you can no longer count on a Central American country to stick with the plan.

    Thank God Obama’s friend Chavez hasn’t dropped the ball like this.

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  32. UPDATE 2: The Obama Administration tried to stop the Honduran government from ousting President Zelaya.

    Whenever I’ve characterized Obama in the past as bringing a Banana-Republic ethos or mindset to America, it was said somewhat with a knowing bit of hyperbole or excessive cynicism and politicization. Kind of an over-dramatization and stereotyping of the reality of Barack Obama.

    But now I’m starting to suspect that this period in our history may end up having too many moments in which life does imitate art, in which one of those generic ultra-rightwing accounts of a guy like Obama in the White House, and posted to Youtube.com or some web site — and inspired by a corresponding inability to tell the difference between fact and fiction (eg, “9-11 was an inside job! And I have proof that Obama’s wife said ‘I hate whitey!!'”) — isn’t necessarily as overblown or far-fetched as one would have imagined. IOW, even I — a major critic of Barack “fan-of-Jeremiah-Wright” Obama — had a slight bit of doubt in theorizing earlier today that Obama and Clinton really were all that aware of the details of events in Honduras.

    Mark (411533)

  33. […] There was a court order to detain the president for insisting on holding a referendum that had already been declared unconstitutional. More at Patterico. […]

    Noblesse Oblige » Blog Archive » Honduran Coup (812885)

  34. It was relatively easy to recover from Carter.

    God only knows how long it will take to recover from President Obama.

    Ag80 (c5ca43)

  35. You know the worst hotel you have ever stayed in? That’s the nicest hotel in Tegucigalpa.

    Separately, Dan Collins absolutely nailed it. As incompetent as it looked at the time, I actually liked the noises that BushCo were making during the almost-coup in Venezuela. Screw these banana republic dictators.

    carlitos (84409d)

  36. I flew into Tegucigalpa back in the early 80’s and it was a heck of a dismount. Cut power, try not to drop out of the sky onto the people gathered watching the planes arrive… the pilots were awesome.
    The people were humble, simple and kind. I hope this works out well for them, and I wonder why a constitutional law scholar like Obama doesn’t support the Honduran constitution and instead supports the more fluid and living interpretation.
    I was unaware Ms. Sotomayor was up for a seat on their bench.

    SteveG (bf3db3)

  37. And they thought Bush would be an easy act to follow.

    Bush is to Clouseau as Obama is to Kato.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  38. Im a honduran citizen and everything is calm around here cuz most of this country was in shock on how our expresident wanted to go on without the consent of the rest of our nation´s authorities. he represented himself not Honduras!

    Elvis Munguia (f569f1)

  39. Re UPDATE 2…
    I thought the Obama Administration was NOT going to interfere with the internal affairs of other countries?
    Or does that only apply to countries that are determined to destroy us?
    Didn’t someone once say that the worst enemy you could have was when the United States was your friend?

    AD - RtR/OS! (766ec7)

  40. Comment by jcurtis — 6/28/2009 @ 5:41 pm

    Mr. Jefferson opined on this when he famously said that…
    “The tree of Liberty needs to be nourished by the blood of Patriots and Tyrants!”
    …or some such.

    AD - RtR/OS! (766ec7)

  41. I read some of the Honduran constitution today. Boy, it is not the US Constitution! It was very explicit and strict on attempts to change the rules about term limits. Even trying to was a traitorous act, according to the text. It was one of the sections mentioned in the article (the very last section of the whole document)on amending the constitution that was prohibited from being amended. Anyone who made the attempt was automatically relieved of office, per the text.

    Assuming I am reading it correctly, and considering the military was clearly given illegal orders to support the referendum (they would be traitors to support a referendum on amending the constitution to allow consecutive presidential terms), I’m not sure the term “coup” applies. The former president was clearly violating the constitution and the text says that this particular choice in violations means he’d just deposed himself. The Supreme Court orders to the military was then an act in support of the constitution and exile seems a light penalty.

    I guess our current administration sees “supporting democracy” and supporting the law (the local constitution) as two completely different things. I’m shocked.

    That came totally out of left field.

    Dan S (2772f4)

  42. A POTUS with the support of a mere 35% Congressional support decides he wants to openly disregard the Constitution and all laws. He can’t be impeached because less than a supermajority in Congress are opposed to his treason. What’s to be done at that point? Laws can’t be passed to stop him because the same 2/3 would be required to override that insane President’s veto of the law designed to stop his insanity.

    Nothing can be done unless his support in Congress drops.

    Both the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions were designed to allow executives to be removed prematurely, but prevent them from being removed at the whim of a mere legislative majority.

    As for Honduras, I can not comment credibly on the situation since I do not know the details of the nation’s basic government framework.

    Michael Ejercito (833607)

  43. I read some of the Honduran constitution today. Boy, it is not the US Constitution! It was very explicit and strict on attempts to change the rules about term limits. Even trying to was a traitorous act, according to the text. It was one of the sections mentioned in the article (the very last section of the whole document)on amending the constitution that was prohibited from being amended. Anyone who made the attempt was automatically relieved of office, per the text.

    Assuming I am reading it correctly, and considering the military was clearly given illegal orders to support the referendum (they would be traitors to support a referendum on amending the constitution to allow consecutive presidential terms), I’m not sure the term “coup” applies. The former president was clearly violating the constitution and the text says that this particular choice in violations means he’d just deposed himself. The Supreme Court orders to the military was then an act in support of the constitution and exile seems a light penalty.

    I am not a fan of allowing the military to overthrow a civilian government. Situations which would justify the U.S. military to remove a sitting President are few and far between.

    If the Honduran constitution authorizes such action, then the country deserves what it gets, for better or for worse.

    Michael Ejercito (833607)

  44. Michael,

    I didn’t think I said the military was authorized to overthrow the government, at least not explicitly. But as in many Latin American countries the military often has extensive law enforcement responsibilities (unlike in the US) so they end up chanrged with enforcing the law in some situations. In this case the Supreme Court gave them the orders after declaring what the president was doing was illegal and unconstitutional.

    And when I checked their constitution, that appears pretty clearly correct. There is not provision for impeachment. The text says (in my paraphrase) try to change this provision and you remove yourself from office and are a traitor.

    There are rules for amending most of the constitution (I saw elsewhere someone saying no amendments are allowed, which is simply untrue), but certain provisions are noted as not amendable under any circumstance. It would take a revolution and a completely new constitution to get around those.

    And as far as deserving what it gets… don’t we all? In this case I think it’s for the better.

    Dan S (c77713)

  45. “…Situations which would justify the U.S. military to remove a sitting President are few and far between…”

    I would like to think that they are not just “few and far between”, but non-existant –
    it would constitute mutiny and/or treason!

    AD - RtR/OS! (5fd0fb)

  46. “Whenever I’ve characterized Obama in the past as bringing a Banana-Republic ethos or mindset to America, it was said somewhat with a knowing bit of hyperbole or excessive cynicism and politicization. Kind of an over-dramatization and stereotyping of the reality of Barack Obama.”

    Mark said that in this thread, and I often felt the same.

    But clearly, Obama is worse than reasonably minded Americans thought. the horror of Obama actually agreeing with Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers was beyond most people’s guess. We guessed that Obama was a jackass kid who didn’t mind using nuts and kooks and was tolerant of their monstrous views.

    In reality, Obama is treating the freedom movement in Iran as equals of the boots on their throats. Obama is condemning Honduras harshly for opposing an obvious and brazen injustice (committed by a leftist peer).

    Obama has increased the US deficit more than all other presidents combined. His internet astroturfing and ACORN/COI census takeover is unprecedented. It’s really crazy time.

    Honduras really just proves it.

    We don’t know the full extent of Obamas apparently enormous plans. We do know that if the NYT has an inkling, they will bury the truth from us.

    I honestly don’t find this fun or amusing. I do not even own a gun, and find the militia mindset to be silly. I feel very unprepared, and I certainly hope AD is wrong about one thing: I would like the US Military to have some kind of standards in place to remove the US President if certain conditions are met.

    extreme conditions that are unlikely to occur, I should say. I don’t want to see this happen. But Obama is already doing crazy and illegal things, and I would like to know that Honduras is not the only country bold enough to say ENOUGH at some point.

    Juan (81687c)

  47. No, we have proceedures in-place for the removal of a President from office, and none of them involve the military.
    The question though that arises, is what position the military would take if an armed rebellion broke out in response to actions undertaken by the Executive that are unchecked, or even backed by, the Legislature?
    Posse Comitatus prohibits the use of the military in domestic law-enforcement, but where does an armed rebellion leave the purview of LE and become a purely military operation?
    In Shay’s Rebellion, and the Whiskey Rebellion, the Army was sent to impose order, but these occurred prior to the passage of Posse Comitatus. And, if the Congress repealed PC, which would open the door for the use of DoD, what kind of signal would that send, and what would the reaction be?
    Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean somebodys not out to get you.

    AD - RtR/OS! (5fd0fb)


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