Quick Thoughts on Honduras

As political leaders begin to make statements bordering on the ridiculous, let me briefly recap what has happened in Honduras.
Former President Manuel Zelaya, ally of Venezuelan thug in chief Hugo Chavez, sought to illegally hold a referendum on changing the Honduran constitution. This could have allowed him to run again in violation of the country’s current term limits. It’s a classic trick of would-be-dictators and luckily did not succeed. While some in the media and elsewhere are labeling this a coup, I would not not. It’s rather a ‘coup’ in the same sense as Turkey has experienced several times whereby the military removed leadership that was violating the country’s laws.

Some may argue that the military’s removal of the president by force was not democratic. Indeed, on the surface it would seem to be illegal, however given that the president was pressing on with his illegal actions, declared so by the supreme court, congress and the military, it was in fact a fairly reasonable and foreseeable response. While of course, I do not encourage such actions by any military in general, in the case of Honduras, the constitutionally mandated checks on presidential power had failed. Since Zelaya blatantly continued his illegal activity, we can in fact be thankful that he was ousted before having a chance to rewrite the constitution and turn the country into an even poorer, worse off Venezuelan satellite. Indeed, according to top-secret Chirol sources in Honduras, there were rumors of several hundred Venezuelan trained paramilitary forces poised to enter the country from Nicaragua during the referendum to create unrest of somehow aid the process. Thus, the Honduran military has been deployed to the border in large numbers, so I am told.

My sources indicate that the former vice president did not want to assume the presidency as it would not allow him to run for president in the next election per Honduran law. Therefore, president of congress, Roberto Micheletti, has been named acting president as he would be next in line. Given that the military has not attempted to take power and has in fact followed Honduran law in terms of who would assume power, its actions can hardly be condemned but rather seen as defending the rule of law.

Barring unforeseen changes or new evidence coming to light, this author applauds the Honduran military and is happy to see another blow against the leftist fascism creeping through Central and South America, emanating from Caracas. It should therefore come as no surprise that Venezuela has even threatened military action in response! My prediction is that Zelaya will end up in Caracas living off the oil money that rightfully belongs to the Venezuelan people and serving as a living ‘martyr’ of Yankee imperialism, giving speeches and rallying support for Chavez. I also strongly disagree the remarks of both President Obama and SecState Clinton who were quick to condemn the action.

About Chirol

Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol (1852 - 1929) was a journalist, prolific author, world historian, and British diplomat. He began his career as a foreign correspondent and later became editor of the London Times. After two decades as a journalist he joined Her Majesty's Foreign Ministry as a diplomat and was subsequently knighted for his distinguished service as a foreign affairs advisor. Additionally, he wrote a dozen books on foreign affairs including The Far Eastern Question (1896), Serbia and the Serbs (1914), The End of the Ottoman Empire (1920) and The Egyptian Problem (1921). He is generally credited with popularizing "Middle East" in reference to the Arabian Peninsula with his book The Middle Eastern Question (1903). "Chirol" is a US citizen and graduate student studying Defense and Strategic Studies and government contractor. As with the historical Chirol, he has traveled to over two dozen countries and lived abroad for many years. Chirol speaks English and German fluently with basic knowledge of manyl of others.
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23 Responses to Quick Thoughts on Honduras

  1. Couldn’t have said it better myself. While Obama, for the most part, has handled the Iranian crisis well he’s way off the mark on Honduras. The idea that every democracy needs to function, fit and form, as the US does is ludicrous. That seems to be the basis for this administrations reaction (it’s “undemocratic”) to what seems to me to be a rather efficient removal of a potential oligarch. If that isn’t the administrations modus then I have to speculate whether or not it’s an attempt to appease Zelaya’s allies in the region in an effort to not “rock the boat,” as it were. The latter makes sense as the administration is likely a bit behind in forming a cogent Latin American foreign policy. The former makes zero sense and suggests a degree of either incompentance or naivete.

  2. ADenisJ says:

    Are you wondering at all why the OAS, including conservative Colombia, and the European Union disagree?

  3. Brand X says:

    Huh? In what strange world is it laudable for a military to settle constitutional issues?

  4. Grant says:

    While I will admit that on its face the situation seems to be laudable, may I remind the readers that we have little data on the political tendencies or history of the nations Congress, military, or Supreme Court. For all I know, it’s entirely possible that the Congress and Supreme Court is stacked with large numbers of land owning elite who were opposed to a populist president. It’s not as though the news agencies have given us a detailed background on the situation.
    Besides that, the fact remains that an elected leader was apparently forced out of office which is never a good trend to start. However I do note with great annoyance that Chavez still blames the United States for the affair even though our president and state dept. were generous enough to continue to recognize Zelaya as president.

  5. Eddie says:

    He was an elected leader breaking the law in a manner suited to advance himself and not his country. The law has to be upheld in these countries or we will be forever experiencing such instances. That Uribe in Colombia is complaining about this is not a surprise, he has been busy trying to usurp the law there in order to hold on in office. No matter that he is a US ally or a good leader, the law is the law.

  6. Eddie says:

    Also, what do you expect from the US when they put rank and file leftists in charge of the State Dept and other organs of power related to Latin America whose ideas of US policy there were created during the formative 70′s & 80′s?

  7. Chirol says:

    Brand X: In a world where there is no check on presidential power and the military steps in, removes the problem and then steps out, allowing congress to appoint the next leader in line as designated by law.

    One fun fact is that the ballots for the referendum were made in and shipped from Venezuela!! Probably all pre-voted too.

  8. Chief Wiggum says:

    Coming to a country near you?

    In January of this year, Democrat Representative José Serrano introduced HJ Res 5, a measure to repeal the 22nd Amendment, which provides the only term limit on federal office — the Presidency. The amendment, added in 1951, restricts anyone from seeking a third term in office. Who ever thought we would be having the “President for Life” argument again here? It has a nasty third-worldishness about it.

  9. Eddie says:

    Why does the OAS and the US feel it necessary to spit on the democratic wishes of a majority of the Honduran population and society that opposed this naked power grab? I somehow doubt this will be the last power grab by a Chavez related thug.

  10. Thomas says:

    Who are your sources?

    I’m given to distrust blogs as a source of news in general so without some kind of corroboration, this is kind of a non-starter.

  11. Chirol says:

    Long time family friends in Honduras.

  12. Brand X says:

    Chirol, thanks. Granted I don’t know anything about Honduran politics, it strikes me as a bad thing for the military to be enforcers. Aren’t arrest and impeachment options? I also find it ironic that force was the preferred method over the much more democratic action of holding a referendum.

  13. Chirol says:

    Brand X: I’m not saying that my information is perfect either. I just wanted to mention I got current information from on the ground.

    To be clear, my preferred method would have also been democratic, i.e. that the president himself would have respected the rule of law. But in the context of Central America, I think this is about the best we could hope for and given that the intention of the military seems to be to protect the constitution, NOT to seize power, I’m ok with this.

    Also, awesome post by Michael Waller on the subject here. If you haven’t heard of him or read his work, do so. His blog is updated infrequently but worth the wait.

  14. Brand X says:

    Chirol, I guess we’ll have to agree that we disagree. The form of democracy practiced in Honduras might be what you and I expect, but the military is not supposed to be enforcing the law, or whisking people out of the country in the wee hours of the morning. That’s a big problem, IMO. Another question: If Zelaya was on his way to becoming a dictator, how would that be possible as he doesn’t have the support of the military?

  15. Kit says:

    The whole situation makes no sense to me; it’s not just the US refusing to recognize the new government, but as far as I know no government has recognized the new Honduran government. In fact I’ve read people who have argued that because Obama hasn’t called for the immediate restoration of Zelaya to power, he must be somehow involved in the coup. The biggest problem seems to be that there exists no mechanism in the Honduran constitution for removing a President who violates the constitution.

  16. Alvaro Llosa had an interesting op-ed in todays NYTimes pointing to Hugo Chavez as the essential “winner,” when all is said and done in Honduras. (If you haven’t already you’ll have to go through a pain in the ass free registration process to read the article on line.)

  17. Darin says:

    I’m going to have to disagree too.

    He was going to put to referendum to change the constitution to allow the president to serve two terms correct? But before he even made it that far, the military stepped in. That’s a coupe in my book.

    Now said referendum was illegal to hold to begin with. I think that’s a problem. Constitutions need to be modified but stay within the original intensions and guidelines. A constitution that establishes no way of updating itself is a bad constitution.

    Had his term ended yet refused to vacate the office and then the military stepped in, it would have been a great day for Honduran democracy. But as I understand it, that’s not what happened.

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  19. bobby gibson says:

    I am a Christian Missionary living and serving in Honduras. I and most of the people here support the National Congress and its decision, after being forced, By Zelaya, to take action to prevent a Chavez run by proxy government in Honduras.
    As i write this email, all that stands between me, my family, our orphans, the other Americans, and the good people of Honduras from being under mob rule are the brave soldiers and police standing in the streets being hit by rocks, bottles, and curses. Apparently most of the leaders of the paid mobs were sent in by Venezuela, and his other dictator friends. Zelaya has ordered them to return to their quarters, while Chavez has called for rebellion in Honduras.
    We may owe our lives to those brave men, so don’t critize them unless you want to releive one of them for a shift. President Obama has thrown his support to Chavez and the thugs roaming the streets of Tegucigalpa. While i am thankful to be a U.S. citizen by birth, and i think it is the greatest country on earth, I am ashamed of its president. He is more like a rock thrower than a peace maker. I wish that we had some congressmen in the U. S. as brave as the ones here.
    Bobby Gibson

  20. T. Greer says:

    I think a comment I left over at Chicago Boyz is relevant here:

    “I am not sure I buy this.

    The opposition would be in the right if they had waited. If they had waited until the Honduran congress had impeached the President. But they didn’t. Instead, the military broke the standstill. It was not the courts, nor the congress that removed Zelaya from power, but the military. They produced a court order seeking his arrest — after they had arrested him. Congress produces a letter of resignation (mostly likely forged or produced under duress) after Zelaya is gone.

    And what does the interim government do once they take power? They shut down dissenting media outlets, refuse international media access to the country, break up protests, issue a curfew and send tanks down the street.

    Yes, what Zelaya was doing was illegal. Yet in cases of democratic governance, fire should not be used to fight fire. The abandonment of democratic institutions before they have been tested by the opposition cannot be supported. Nor can any coup that removes a democratically elected leader before it is given the authority to do so. Post-hoc approval by the remaining branches of the Honduran government is not enough to justify this coup.

  21. T. Greer says:

    It seems I forgot to link to the Chicago Boyz post I was referencing. You can find that Here.

  22. Chirol says:

    Update: I noted there were possibly troops in Nicaragua trying to move into Honduras. Seems there may be some truth to that afterall


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