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Presidents Chávez, Obama et al Are Meddling Egregiously with Honduras

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Over the weekend, Honduras was about to hold a referendum on whether its Constitutional prohibition against a sitting president running for a second term should be modified. The referendum was proposed by President Zelaya, whose term in office expires next year; an election is to be held in November.

 

The Constitution expressly states that its provisions concerning the presidential term of office and prohibiting reelection are among the very few provisions not subject to change.

Title VII, with two chapters, outlines the process of amending the constitution and sets forth the principle of constitutional inviolability. The constitution may be amended by the National Congress after a two-thirds vote of all its members in two consecutive regular annual sessions. However, several constitutional provisions may not be amended. These consist of the amendment process itself, as well as provisions covering the form of government, national territory, and several articles covering the presidency, including term of office and prohibition from reelection.

The text, in Spanish, of Article VII is provided in a footnote. Despite a ruling by the Honduran Supreme Court that he could not constitutionally do so, President Zelaya determined to go forward with the referendum.

The news reports on what happened next are often unclear and frequently contradictory; to some extent, the massive media coverage of Michael Jackson's death may have displaced them. Here, however, is my best effort at offering a summary distilled from multiple sources.

Sometime earlier this year, President Zelaya decided that the Constitution should be amended to permit him to run for another term. The Congress, controlled by the party of which President Zelaya is a member, refused to go along. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela provided the necessary ballots, and President Zelaya ordered the military to distribute them for a referendum to be held on 28 June. The Supreme Court determined that the referendum was violative of the Constitution, and ordered the top military commander, Gen. Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, neither to distribute the ballots nor in any other way to carry out the logistics of the vote as the military would normally do in elections. General Vásquez Velásquez so advised President Zelaya, who promptly fired him. The Supreme Court ordered him reinstated, and President Zelaya refused. On 28 June, President Zelaya led a group of his followers to the military installation where the ballots were being stored, took them, and had his followers distribute them. The Congress voted unanimously to appoint a committee to analyze the situation and investigate President Zelaya for his refusal to respect the Constitution and the orders issued by other branches of government. He nevertheless carried on with his preparations, and offered only a cosmetic change to the referendum: on Saturday night (27 June); he verbally stated that the referendum would not be binding, but confirmed that it would go ahead as planned the next day. A few hours before the opening of the polling stations, the Supreme Court ordered the president’s arrest and removal from office. The army carried out the order, arrested Mr. Zelaya and transported him to Costa Rica. A reason for doing so was to avoid a bloodbath in the face of the threat of other governments interfering in Honduras’ internal affairs, among them Venezuela and Nicaragua. The likelihood of substantial popular protests over the ouster of Mr. Zelaya seemed small, since Mr. Zelaya had low support — polls showed around 30 percent before his ouster — "as many Hondurans were uncomfortable with his tilt to the left in a country with a long conservative, pro-Washington position." As indicated below, that bloodbath now seems quite possible, largely due to outside interference from Washington, Caracas and elsewhere. The referendum was not held, and the Legislature, in emergency session, unanimously selected its president as the interim President of Honduras as provided by Honduran law, and stated that a presidential election would be held in November, as scheduled. The interim President is of the same political party as former President Zelaya.

The ouster of President Zelaya has frequently been termed a "coup." That seems, to me at least, to stretch the word well beyond its commonly understood meaning. The Honduran military acted to execute the lawful orders of the Supreme Court and with the blessing of the "democratically elected" legislature; I have seen no indication that the military instigated the ouster. Nor is Honduras under military control; it has an interim civilian president, properly selected by unanimous vote of the legislature in compliance with the laws of presidential succession.

The United States Government was very active during the days leading up the exile of Mr. Zelaya. According to an article in the New York Times,

American officials did not believe that Mr. Zelaya’s plans for the referendum were in line with the Constitution, and were worried that it would further inflame tensions with the military and other political factions, administration officials said.

Even so, one administration official said that while the United States thought the referendum was a bad idea, it did not justify a coup.

I do not understand that it is the proper business of the United States Government to dictate to a foreign government on such matters; the decision as to whether another country should ignore its Constitution in order to maintain tranquility and thereby please the United States Government is not for the United States Government to make. This is particularly the case here, since the United States Government recognized that the proposed referendum was not "in line with the Constitution" and was a "bad idea."

The situation in Honduras provides an interesting comparison to the recent situation in Iran. President Chávez of Venezuela, who had expressed great solidarity with his ally, the ruling theocracy in Iran, during the recent unpleasantness there came quickly and vigorously to the defense of one of his other allies, President Zelaya.  President Chávez said on state television that if his ambassador to Honduras were killed, or if troops entered the Venezuelan Embassy, the "military junta" would be entering a de facto state of war. Although he cited no credible evidence that these things were likely to occur, he put the armed forces of Venezuela on alert. "We will bring them down, we will bring them down, I tell you," he said, while hundreds of his supporters gathered outside Venezuela's presidential palace in solidarity with Zelaya. References to the current Honduran Government as a "military junta" were certainly erroneous; that, and characterizing the transition of power as a "coup" certainly are conducive to massive unrest. They would appear to serve no any other, legitimate, purpose. Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, an ally of President Chávez, said that he would also support military action if Ecuador's diplomats or those of its allies were threatened.

President Obama came quickly but with slightly less vigor to Mr. Zelaya's defense as well.

"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 said. "Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference."

Although that doesn't sound like much interference, and in fact asserts that there should be none, it omits any mention of President Zelaya's refusal to engage in dialogue, even with the active encouragement of the United States Government. Moreover, the Obama Administration inconsistently "called for Mr. Zelaya's return to office as legitimate president of Honduras. Secretary Clinton accused Honduras of violating "the precepts of the Interamerican Democratic Charter" and said it "should be condemned by all." The Governments of the United States and of Venezuela thus supported the Honduran status quo ante; both ignored President Zelaya's defiance of Honduran law, of the Honduran Constitution, of the Honduran Supreme Court and of the Honduran Legislative branch. The new Interim President of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti said, "nobody, not Barack Obama and much less Hugo Chavez, has any right to threaten this country."

President Chávez was to meet with Mr. Zelaya in Nicaragua on 29 June. Now, Argentina's president and the head of the OAS plan to accompany Mr. Zelaya as he tries to return to Honduras. The World Bank has "paused" all program lending. Mr. Zelaya plans to speak at the United Nations on 30 June. Meanwhile, President Chávez and his friends are trying their best to cause all of the confusion and violence of which they are capable.

President Chávez had rejected the recent Iranian protests and blamed them on outside interference:

"We call on the world to respect Iran because there are attempts to undermine the strength of the Iranian revolution," said Chavez on Sunday in his weekly radio and television address.

"Ahmadinejad's triumph was a triumph all the way. They are trying to stain Ahmadinejad's triumph and through that weaken the government and the Islamic revolution. I know they will not succeed," Chavez said.

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry also issued a statement blasting "the fierce and unfounded campaign from outside [of Iran] to discredit" Iran's president.

President Obama had tried to walk a very fine line in Iran — too fine a line, in my opinion — so as not to appear to "meddle" in its internal affairs.

The United States Government evidently viewed expressions of support for the Iranian protesters as meddling in internal Iranian affairs, yet it saw fit to express extraordinary support for Mr. Zelaya by demanding that Honduras  depose an interim president unanimously selected as provided for in the Honduran Constitution, and return to power a president who had sought to violate the Honduran Constitution and whose arrest had been ordered by the Supreme Court. Although President Obama called on Honduras to respect "democratic norms and the rule of law," he evidently did not mean the norms, Honduran laws and Honduran Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court of Honduras.

If it is the policy of the United States Government not to meddle in the internal affairs of other countries, there are stark differences in its treatment of the Iranian theocracy and the Government of Honduras. There are no significant differences in the treatment of the Iranian theocracy and the Government of Honduras by President Chávez of Venezuela, and I would expect none; he desires permanent and total power over Venezuela for himself, and evidently views any attempts at diminishing the power of governments sympathetic toward him as counterrevolutionary and therefore very bad. I do not think that President Obama shares such views, and certainly hope that he does not. Nevertheless, I consider the current Washington approach to the crisis in Honduras to be grossly confused.  Whatever may be President Obama's motives, I think that the United States Government made a very bad mistake in trying to upset the orderly transfer of power in Honduras.

The situations in Iran and Honduras warrant comparison.

—————————————

*Article VII states, in Spanish:

CAPITULO I
DE LA REFORMA DE LA CONSTITUCIÓN

ARTICULO 373.- La reforma de esta Constitución podrá decretarse por el Congreso Nacional, en sesiones ordinarias, con dos tercios de votos de la totalidad de sus miembros. El decreto señalará al efecto el artículo o artículos que hayan de reformarse, debiendo ratificarse por la subsiguiente legislatura ordinaria, por igual número de votos, para que entre en vigencia.

ARTICULO 374.- No podrán reformarse, en ningún caso, el artículo anterior, el presente artículo, los artículos constitucionales que se refieren a la forma de gobierno, al territorio nacional, al período presidencial, a la prohibición para ser nuevamente Presidente de la República, el ciudadano que lo haya desempeñado bajo cualquier título y el referente a quienes no pueden ser Presidentes de la República por el período subsiguiente.

CAPITULO II
DE LA INVIOLABILIDAD DE LA CONSTITUCIÓN

ARTICULO 375.- Esta Constitución no pierde su vigencia ni deja de cumplirse por acto de fuerza o cuando fuere supuestamente derogada o modificada por cualquier otro medio y procedimiento distintos del que ella mismo dispone. En estos casos, todo ciudadano investido o no de autoridad, tiene el deber de colaborar en el mantenimiento o restablecimiento de su afectiva vigencia.
Serán juzgados, según esta misma constitución y las leyes expedidas en conformidad con ella, los responsables de los hechos señalados en la primera parte del párrafo anterior, lo mismo que los principales funcionarios de los gobiernos que se organicen subsecuentemente, si no han contribuido a restablecer inmediatamente el imperio de esta Constitución y a las autoridades constituidas conforme a ella. El Congreso puede decretar con el voto de la mayoría absoluta de sus miembros, la incautación de todo o parte de los bienes de esas mismas personas y de quienes se hayan enriquecido al amparo de la suplantación.

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About Dan Miller

  • Baronius

    Troubling article, Dan.

  • Earl

    One wonders if Obama can win with you, Dan – he’s not interfering ENOUGH in Iran, he’s interfering TOO MUCH in Honduras! Not exactly unbiased, are you?

  • zingzing

    mhmm. so obama releases a statement saying “Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference,” which, of course, is a tad bit like “outside interference,” even if it’s saying that this is an internal matter–and you jump all over him?

    he’s essentially agreeing with you. and the amount of “meddling” by the u.s. gov’t which you describe is… minimal, to say the least.

    and, as you are want to forget, obama and others did send messages of support for the protesters in iran. why would you say he didn’t?

    i’m pretty confused by your reasoning here. our tensions with iran make extra-special care necessary in our diplomatic efforts towards them. that much is true. and the amount of “meddling” that i can see in honduras is next to nothing, other than a few words here or there expressing the need for level-headed thinking rather than a military coup.

    so what gives?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Um, Dan –

    Can you name ANY Republican presidents from 1900 on that haven’t been involved in regime change of other countries?

    I remember the Guatemalan (or was it Honduras?) general who came on board the USS Ranger back in ’83. We held a memorable air show for him (I was watching from the boiler stacks). He flew off and after a week or two we steamed west towards Hawaii…where we arrived 38 days later than originally planned before our sudden detour to do circles off the coast of Central America.

    In those days we used to get a one(!)-page news summary per month, and that’s all we got. But I noticed something a couple months later – the general we’d just had on board had taken over his country in a coup the very day after the air show.

    Gee, WHY were we there?

    Just thought you’d enjoy the sea story.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    A well-written and fairly informative article about a complex situation. Except for the conclusion(s).

    First, perhaps, just perhaps, the US interference in the Honduras situation is simply because we CAN – without risking much (goes without saying); not exactly the same as the case with Iran, where relationships are already strained and in need of repairing.

    Second, Obama statement wasn’t biting enough to be regarded as “meddling.” It was on the order of prompting, that’s all.

    Perhaps the real beef is that the perception lingers that the aministration is guilty of double standard – namely, of supporting socialistic governments (like in Venezuela), which would account for the difference in treatment and different application of foreign policy. But if that’s the perception and apparently great cause for concern, why not say it outright?

    Third, I find the following problematic:

    “I do not understand that it is the proper business of the United States Government to dictate to a foreign government on such matters; the decision as to whether another country should ignore its Constitution in order to maintain tranquility and thereby please the United States Government is not for the United States Government to make.”

    It has been a longstanding foreign policy of the US government to create foment and civil unrest whenever doing so serves American interests. To suddenly take a position which runs contrary not only to the spirit but also the very tradition American foreign policy and to insist that we should be neutral with respect to all countries, come what may and regardless of how they figure in our game plan, is again either naive or disingenuous.

    4) And the worst part, all these sins are inextricably connected with the Obama watch.

    In light of the above, I can’t help but agree with Earl (remark #2):

    “One wonders if Obama can win with you, Dan – he’s not interfering ENOUGH in Iran, he’s interfering TOO MUCH in Honduras!”

  • zingzing

    it’s been funny to watch dan as he’s been writing for this website. at first, his politics were rather nebulous, but as time goes on, he has become more and more right wing. it’s much like clavos’ transformation.

    i wonder if it’s got something to do with the lefties on this site. maybe we are creating right wing monsters.

  • Clavos

    Not exactly unbiased, are you?

    Did he ever claim to be? Is there a mandate somewhere that says he must be?

    It’s an opinion piece.

    Sheesh…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    We need Silas Kain, zing, to restore order in the conservative ranks. It’s the one Republican you can really like.

  • zingzing

    so you still back him up 100% of the time, eh, groupie?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Don’t shit disturb, zing. I’m still on parole.

  • Clavos

    Incredible.

    one administration official said that while the United States thought the referendum was a bad idea, it did not justify a coup.

    Coup? What coup?? The guy (Zelaya) broke the law of the country he was supposed to be leading, was admonished by their Supreme Court and then thumbed his nose at them, so they removed him. Where’s the “coup??”

    I never thought I’d live to see the day when the American President would side with that clown in Caracas.

    What a travesty.

    Stupid gringos.

  • zingzing

    hrm. #9 was for clavos, not roger. sneaky, sneaky roger, sneaking in between comments.

  • zingzing

    see, this is why i never fuck with the html. forgetful people forget to remember to close them things.

  • Earl

    A mandate to be unbiased? Not at all, Clavos. Just that Dan’s obvious bias hurts his credibility.

    Obama does A, Dan says he should have done B.
    Obama then does B; Dan says he should have done A.

    It’s becoming clear that Dan doesn’t much care what Obama does. Whatever it is, Dan will criticize him for not doing the opposite.

    So why should I or anyone else take those criticisms seriously?

  • zingzing

    siding with chavez? hrm. i think it’s more like having similar thoughts, although not necessarily actively agreeing with the man. if obama is like “i like steak,” and chavez says “i like steak,” it doesn’t mean they are of the same mind on everything, clavos. it just means they happen to agree on something. could be anything.

    i am of the opinion that breathing helps me get through the day. i’m sure you could say the same, but you’re still going to disagree with me on a number of other subjects.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #12: I’m well aware, zing. It’s just that I’ve done enough damage already.

    Time to be conciliatory.

  • zingzing

    never!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, let’s put it this way, zing. Most of the Latin American countries are being run by rich oligopolies, oppressing the people. Those that are not tend towards socialism. So you take your pick.

    The question is – what’s a poor gringo to do?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    So you’d rather I be ostracized forever?

  • Clavos

    Just that Dan’s obvious bias hurts his credibility.

    Once more, it’s an opinion piece, Earl.

    According to the Compact Oxford English Dictionary:

    opinion

    • noun 1 a view or judgment not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

  • Clavos

    @#15,

    Your analogies about steak and breathing aren’t relevant in this case, zing. The mess in Honduras is in keeping with what the US professes to be: a country of laws, Zelaya was removed entirely in keeping with the laws of his country, so it’s more than incongruous that the Obama Administration would call it a “coup,” and seemingly stand against the lawful actors in the incident. All the more so when such a stance puts the US in the same camp with all the anti-US regimes in LatAm, and in opposition to those who back us.

    Stupid, stupid gringos.

    Especially the gringo-in-chief.

  • zingzing

    roger: “The question is – what’s a poor gringo to do?”

    call it as he sees it. socialism>oligarchy. but latin american socialism hasn’t been the model of socialism i’d pick up.

    roger: “So you’d rather I be ostracized forever?”

    no… are you talking to me? i was saying that one should never be “conciliatory” in this sort of situation. attack! it’s only words.

    clavos: “a view or judgment not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.”

    well, it’s an excuse.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Zelaya broke his country’s laws. He tried to grab power for another term in violation of his nation’s Constitution. It is up to the people of Honduras to decide. If the military feels that the President should be deposed, then it is incumbent upon the military regime to submit its case to the United Nations. This is not a matter which requires U.S. intervention; however, I do feel that a U.N. Resolution with a solid plan of action be adopted.

    If I were Obama, I would restore full and complete diplomatic relations with Cuba in the interim. That act alone will send the Honduran establishment reeling not to mention disarm Venezuela and any other South American dictator.

  • Earl

    @21

    No shit it’s an opinion piece, Clavos. But a person generally writes an opinion piece with the goal in mind of swaying readers toward sharing that opinion. My point is that Dan’s not likely to do that by making clear that his worldview is “Whatever Obama does is wrong, regardless of what it is.”

    But I’m glad to note that you’re not expending any energy on thinking about these things, when stating and re-stating the obvious will apparently do just fine.

  • Earl

    oops looks like what was #21 is now #20

  • Clavos

    If I were Obama, I would restore full and complete diplomatic relations with Cuba in the interim.

    I wouldn’t stop there. I would also take all the grain and other foodstuffs we buy from our farmers to prop up prices, load it on US flag ships, and take it to Cuba to distribute free of charge. Publicize it widely here in Miami first, and all the people will be at dockside when the ships arrive.

    Fidel will have a heart attack and Raúl will commit suicide.

  • Clavos

    But I’m glad to note that you’re not expending any energy on thinking about these things, when stating and re-stating the obvious will apparently do just fine.

    Just tailoring my message to the audience, Earl.

  • Earl

    @ the new 21

    Like hell, Zelaya was removed in keeping with the laws of his country. There isn’t any law in Honduras that allows the military to arrest and forcibly remove its own Commander-in-Chief from the country. If that happened in the U.S. we’d sure as shit call it a coup d’etat, and that’s what it was in Honduras too.

    It’s hard to feel sympathy for Zelaya, considering that what he did was way outside the country’s constitution and law. But so was his removal. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And pretending that his removal was legally (or otherwise) justified is a flaming sack of shit, and what’s more you know it.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “Zelaya was removed entirely in keeping with the laws of his country, so it’s more than incongruous that the Obama Administration would call it a “coup,” and seemingly stand against the lawful actors in the incident.”

    he called for a public referendum in violation of a certain portion of the constitution, punishable by removal from office, but the process of punishment for violation of said portion is not spelled out. impeachment would seem like the best option to me, but taking him from his home and plopping him two nations over seems a bit much.

    to me, this looks like an opportunity taken by someone to oust someone from office in a particularly easy manner.

    if things were as simple as you say, i don’t think the situation would be as heated as it has become. so i’m not one to believe that the army is totally in the right here. either way, we now have a sitting president in latin america beholden to the army for his current position. and i’m sure you’ll agree with me that that doesn’t work out to well most of the time.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    American officials did not believe that Mr. Zelaya’s plans for the referendum were in line with the Constitution, and were worried that it would further inflame tensions with the military and other political factions, administration officials said.

    Even so, one administration official said that while the United States thought the referendum was a bad idea, it did not justify a coup.

    This is the Grey Lady talking, showing how the Obama administration views a country enforcing its own laws as a coup d’etat. Given that Obama has never really produced a birth certificate to demonstrate that hew is a natural born citizen, given that the Obama administration illegally appointed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, it is no suirprise that it should view another nation as being law-abiding as a surprise.

    This man has no trouble contemplating stealing another country’s territory. Why should anyone be surprised that a Chicago thief views the legitimate operation of law as illegal?

  • Arch Conservative

    Birds of a feather flock together right?

    Then why is anyone suprised that Barry is sympathizing with his fellow left wing, fascist, dictators Chavez and Zalaya, both of whom have tried to circumvent their nation’s laws to make them president for life.

    We should start a pool on how long it will be before Barry (indirectly through one of his operatives of course) tried to make himself president for life.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    zing – I wasn’t being conciliatory on the issues – read my comment on this piece up the thread. I was talking about bedside manners – you know, the kind of things I do lots people here detest.

  • zingzing

    archie: “We should start a pool on how long it will be before Barry (indirectly through one of his operatives of course) tried to make himself president for life.”

    yay! if i say never, and he never does, do i win?

  • Bliffle

    Anyway, Dan, thanks for grasping the nettle and laying out the outline of the Honduras affair.

  • ma rk

    Earl, you note: One wonders if Obama can win with you, Dan…

    Read the bio. Parenthetical Dan is a Yale graduate…duh.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But zing. Give Archie credit for being honest. What he’s objecting to is left-leaning on the part of Obama, which seems to be the main beef in Miller’s article. Of course, Miller didn’t have to balls to state it outright, hiding as usual behind his smooth rhetoric and high-sounding phrases. So we do need Archie, if only to bring Miller’s Olympic theses down to the gutter – which is where it really belongs.

    Thanks, Archie, for your invaluable service to the BC community.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #35:

    So?

  • Bliffle

    Silas has a good idea:

    “If I were Obama, I would restore full and complete diplomatic relations with Cuba in the interim. That act alone will send the Honduran establishment reeling not to mention disarm Venezuela and any other South American dictator.”

    That would outflank the problem.

  • ma r k

    Sorry you don’t ‘get it’, Rog.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You mean everyone from Yale is by definition obstructed and a moral enemy of all Harvard grads?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Silas says,in Comment # 23,

    If the military feels that the President should be deposed, then it is incumbent upon the military regime to submit its case to the United Nations.(emphasis added)

    If that had been what happened, I might agree with you. It wasn’t and I don’t.

    As stated in the article, the Honduran Supreme Court held the proposed referendum to be violative of Article VII of the Honduran Constitution. The President ordered the top military guy to have the ballots distributed anyway. The Supreme Court ordered him not to do so. The military chief advised the President that he was bound by the decision of the Supreme Court and could not lawfully comply with the President’s order to distribute the ballots. The President fired him. The Supreme Court ordered him reinstated. The President refused. The Supreme Court reinstated him.

    When the President, in patent violation of Article VII and contrary to the decision of the Supreme Court, proceeded to have his followers distribute the ballots, the Attorney General or the Supreme Court (it seems unclear which) ordered the military to arrest the President. The Legislature agreed, and that happened. No military, as a junta or otherwise, acted on its own; no military, as a junta or otherwise, assumed power.

    Following the removal of the President, the Congress, unanimously as I understand it, followed the Constitution and the Honduran laws of succession and named the (civilian) President of the Congress as the interim president until a new President can be elected during the November elections. The Interim President, of the same party as the former President, has stated that he will not run in the Presidential election.

    If this sequence of events is to be labeled a “coup,” then it was a “coup,” not by a military junta, but by the Supreme Court and the Congress with the military acting under their orders, against a President who was attempting a “coup” of his own by persisting in his violation of the law by trying to change the Constitution — in a manner prohibited by the Constitution and to provide for something prohibited by Article VII of the Constitution.

    I don’t see that these events are any legitimate business of the United States Government or, for that matter, of the United Nations as Silas suggests.

    In these circumstances, I consider the former President of Honduras to have been the “bad guy,” and the Supreme Court, the Congress and the military to have been the “good guys.” Any attempt by foreigners to undo the Constitutional actions of the Congress, the Supreme Court and the military acting under their orders would, in my opinion be an attempted “coup.” That it may well be successful does not make it good.

    President Obama came down forcefully and quickly on the side of the bad guy and against the good guys in Honduras.

    Throughout much of Latin America, there has for many years been widespread fear of a democratically elected president who lusts for power and tries to remain in power despite what the country’s Constitution provides.

    Demagoguery has become a fine, if not subtle, art in this part of the world; when the people are sober they recognize it for what it is. They also know from sad experience that a leader, with all of the power of the State behind him, can threaten, bribe and repress in order to remain in power indefinitely as a “democratically” elected leader. Venezuela is a shining example of this sort of thing, and there is an almost palpable fear of it.

    In the recent presidential elections in Panama, the candidate from the majority party, who greatly admires President Chvez of Venezuela and had been very chummy with Manuel Noriega, was soundly defeated by a 62 to 31 percent margin in a record popular turnout; no other candidate subsequent to Noriega’s reign had received more than a plurality of the vote. One of the reasons she was so overwhelmingly defeated, I think, is that the then current President of Panama, of the defeated candidate’s own party but no friend of Chvez or of Noreiga, campaigned for her only in a very lukewarm fashion. The new President of Panama will be inaugurated today, 1 July. The country as a whole seems to be greatly relieved. I suspect, but do not know, that the people of Honduras breathed a collective sigh of relief with the departure of former President Zelaya.

    Here is a link to a blog written by a guy in Venezuela who has had some very pleasant things to say about President Obama. I think he puts the Honduran mess into proper perspective.

    In Iran, I consider the protesters to have been the good guys and the theocracy to have been the bad guys. President Obama waited a long time (substantially longer than in the Honduran context) until he finally came down against the bad guys, but not really in favor of the good guys. In Honduras, he came down quickly and strongly for the bad guys and against the good guys. I consider that very unfortunate.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Further to Comment #41 about President Obama’s belated reaction to the situation in Iran,

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged President Obama for two days to toughen his language on Iran before he did so, and then was surprised when he condemned Iran’s crackdown on demonstrators last week, administration officials say. . . . Behind the scenes, the officials, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because they were discussing internal deliberations, said Mrs. Clinton had been advocating the stronger U.S. response, but the president resisted. When he finally took her advice, the aides said, he did so without informing her first.

    It also appears that Secretary Clinton tried to get President Obama to soften his stance favoring the former President of Honduras. Evidently, she did not succeed.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Which goes to show that decisions emanating from the White House these days are subject to prior deliberations and extended discussions rather than being issued on the spur of the moment, in a Texas cowboy fashion, which was the trademark of the past administration.

    And that’s a change for the better.

  • Earl

    Since from the looks of things, nobody else here has actually read the fucking constitution of Honduras they’re all so quick to defend and explain, I’ll do the job.

    Title V, Chapter 1, Article 205 gives the National Congress the right to approve or reject the administrative conduct of the President and build a case against him, which Chapter 12, Article 319 stipulates be brought before the Supreme Court.

    What it does NOT do is give the Supreme Court any authority to issue orders to the Army, as happened in this case. The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Army; the National Congress has the authority to fund it, declare war, and authorize its foreign deployment; and the Supreme Court pointedly has NO powers related to military action. Yet they ordered the army to arrest its own supreme commander. That wasn’t a power grab? That wasn’t a coup?

    Zelaya acted against the constitution and the law, no question. And he should have been tried in accordance with that constitution and law. But he wasn’t, and if you read the Honduran constitution you’d know that.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    decisions emanating from the White House these days are subject to prior deliberations and extended discussions. . . Perhaps true, except in the case of Honduras.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Then you must regard that instance as a blurt.

  • Earl

    @41

    There are no good guys in the Honduran situation. Whichever side Obama came down on was going to be bad guys.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    According to Article 42.5 of the Honduran Constitution, the following action, among others, results in loss of citizenship: 5. Incite, encourage or support the continuity or re-election of President of the Republic. . . “ Honduras apparently takes very seriously the notion that changing its Constitution to permit a president to serve more than one term is a bad thing. Article 205.15, which formerly provided for the impeachment of a sitting president, was repealed in 2003 without being replaced. I don’t know why.

    According to an article in the Latin American Herald Tribune,

    the Congress voted unanimously to appoint a committee to analyze the situation and investigate President Zelaya for his refusal to respect the Constitution and the orders issued by other branches of government.

    President Zelaya would have none of that, and persisted in his unlawful, unconstitutional, efforts to change the Honduran Constitution to permit him to serve a second term.

    President Zelaya having taken the law into his own hands, in disregard of the Constitution, the Supreme Court and the Congress, the legitimate Government of Honduras took what it considered to be the best, and possibly the only, course in a Constitutional crisis to avoid very messy bloodshed. It did so despite substantial pressure from the United States Government.

    Unless the United States Government, the Venezuelan Government or the government of some other foreign country has become the supreme interpreter of the Honduran Constitution, with plenary powers over Honduran governmental institutions, I think that Honduras did the right thing. With further meddling by the Governments of Venezuela, the United States and other countries, that bloodshed seems likely to be a very real problem.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Baronius

    Earl’s right, Dan. You’re all over the place. First you favor the rule of law rather than totalitarianism in Iran, then you favor the rule of law rather than totalitarianism in Honduras. Such inconsistency discredits your arguments.

  • Earl

    @48

    President Zelaya having taken the law into his own hands, in disregard of the Constitution, the Supreme Court and the Congress, the legitimate Government of Honduras took what it considered to be the best, and possibly the only, course

    …also in disregard of the constitution.

    Suppose, for example, that the National Congress had gone to the Supreme Court and asked them to rule on constitutional grounds that pursuant to 42.5, Zelaya had repudiated his citizenship and was therefore, pursuant to 238.3, no longer eligible to hold the office of President. They could then have voided his presidency, sworn in his successor, and allowed that successor (in his capacity as commander-in-chief) to determine whether to use the armed forces to forcibly remove Zelaya.

    But they didn’t do that at all. Instead, in the name of a “constitutional emergency,” they usurped power that they did not have — command of the armed forces — and used it to force its own commander-in-chief out of office, then named his successor. That’s not a military coup, but it’s certainly a political one. And yes, it’s a huge power grab.

    Zelaya’s violation of the constitution does not justify the National Congress and Supreme Court’s violations of the constitution, no matter how hard you try.

  • Earl

    Dan doesn’t favor the rule of law in Honduras, Baronius. I have no doubt that he THINKS that he does. But he actually favors one totalitarian faction over another.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’ll raise you one, Earl. What Dan really seems to favor is whatever Obama does not. It’s that simple, really.

  • Baronius

    Could someone translate the following?

    ARTICULO 306.- Los órganos jurisdiccionales requerirán en caso necesario el auxilio de la Fuerza Pública para el cumplimiento de sus resoluciones; si les fuere negado o no lo hubiere disponible, lo exigirán de los ciudadanos.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    re Comment #47, There are no good guys in the Honduran situation. Whichever side Obama came down on was going to be bad guys.

    I disagree and, as stated, think that the Honduran Congress, Supreme Court, and the military acting pursuant to their direction, were the good guys, trying to protect the Constitution and the country from the sort of stuff which has happened in Venezuela and which former President Zelaya was trying to implement in Honduras.

    However, accepting for the sake of discussion the premise that there are only bad guys and that there are no good guys, I simply don’t understand why the Government of the United States intervened, dramatically, on behalf of one set of bad guys. Looking only at legitimate United States interests, I don’t think that a Venezuelan style permanent President in Honduras would be good for the United States.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Earl

    well that’s what I said at first, Roger – that Dan seems to define wrong as “Whatever Obama does.” But in my last comment I was just being situation-specific.

  • zingzing

    obama: “i hate maple syrup.”
    dan: “obama hates vermont!”
    obama: “i do not!”
    dan: “i do!”
    obama: “what?”
    dan: “i hate vermont!”
    obama: “i like you, you’re silly.”
    dan: “i hate myself.”
    obama: “poor baby… we’ll find you a nice cup of milk, ok?”
    dan: “milk is mean.”
    obama: “how about some tasty orange juice?”
    dan: “tasty? that shit is bland to my tongue.”
    obama: “well, what would you like then?”
    dan: “what is it that you hate most in the world.”
    obama: “injustice.”
    dan: “then i’ll have a big cup of injustice.”
    obama: “fuck you, man.”
    dan: “do you want to? cause then i don’t! but if you don’t want to, i’m game.”

  • Earl

    Looking only at legitimate United States interests, I don’t think that a Venezuelan style permanent President in Honduras would be good for the United States.

    Nor would a legislature and judiciary that illegally commandeers the military and ousts the executive whenever it deems it necessary.

    Having Zelaya reinstated as president does not necessarily mean that he would be the permanent president. Perhaps he’s reinstated and the government then goes through the proper and legal channels to remove him. Or, less desirable but possible, perhaps he’s reinstated, the referendum is thwarted, and he limps through the remainder of his term as a politically impotent lame duck. What’s important is that these things are done as legally provided for.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I understand. I would give so much more credence to Dan’s arguments if just once they were divorced from all-too-obvious partisanship and couched in a more or less neutral light – how about “What’s good for America.”

    Has it really become impossible to talk about what’s good for America without resorting to slurs and innuendos? I don’t think so. It’s just that, what can I say, some folks can’t help it. So perhaps I’m being unfair to dismiss the substantive argument, but how can I do otherwise when there’s a conflation of motives.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That’s terrific, zing. It’s like a picture that’s worth a thousand words.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Baronius, here is a Google translation of Article 306. Thank you for calling to article to my attention.

    ARTICLE 306 .- The courts if necessary require the help of the security forces to fulfill their resolutions, if they refused or were not any available, as required of citizens.

    My Spanish is not adequate to do much more than review the original and a machine translation to see whether the machine translation appears to be correct. I had to do that when I was writing the article, since the machine translation left out an important word: “Not.”

    Earl, Dan seems to define wrong as “Whatever Obama does.” Not true, see, e.g., my recent articles on the nomination of Judge Sotomayor. They are listed here. However, much that President Obama does does seem wrong to me; I am often amused by the comments, occasionally substantively responsive, of those who seem to define right as “Whatever Obama does.”

    Dan(Miller)

  • Earl

    Article 306 affirms that the court may require help from the military. The provision of that help is provided for in 245.10:

    “[The President of the Republic shall] Give the legislature, judiciary and National Electoral Court the assistance and force needed to implement its resolutions.”

    Note that that does not give the Supreme Court the power to commandeer the military from the President.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Here is an article about the current situation in Honduras, with the UN, the OAS et al demanding the restoration to power of former President Zelaya and the World Bank freezing loans.

    Young men wearing black T-shirts imprinted with the face of revolutionary icon Che Guevara used boulders, signposts and metal sheets yanked from fences to block all streets leading to the presidential palace on Wednesday, just hours after soldiers took down their own barricades and allowed traffic to flow.

    The faces of the Zelaya supporters were covered by bandannas and they had armed themselves with tree branches, metal poles and glass bottles filled with gasoline.
    Thousands of rival demonstrators supporting Micheletti packed the city’s central plaza on Tuesday.

    According to the acting President, If living in democracy implies living with fewer resources, Hondurans will adjust to the situation.” Meanwhile,

    Micheletti, who promised he would step down in January and had no plans to ever run for president, said a key goal of his short term in office would be fixing the nation’s finances. Zelaya never submitted the budget to Congress that was due last September, raising questions about what he was spending state money on.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    You know all this Constitutional debate about Honduras and these bursts of indignation over Iran’s elections crack me up. Folks, it took over 7 months to figure out who was Senator from Minnesota. It took SCOTUS to determine the outcome of the 2000 Presidential election. For the most technologically savvy country in the west, we suck when it comes to counting the votes of the people. Oh, I forgot, when the President of Diebold attended a GOP fundraiser in Ohio, he was quoted as saying that the GOP would be victorious. The problem? Diebold manufactures voting machines fort Ohio. So, before we start worrying about the other countries, fellow citizens, worry about what’s happening in our backyard. Members of Congress are bought and paid for by lobbyists and it has NOTHING to do with representing you, me, your kids, your damn pets or cable tv.

    IN the elections of 2012, I want independent International observers to supervise OUR elections. And let’s get the first boatload of observers to come in from Venezuela, Honduras and Iran.

  • Baronius

    Earl, Article 306 seems broader than you’re making it. It seems to go beyond telling the court to ask the president for help from the military. I’d love to have a Spanish lawyer interpret the phrase “en caso necesario” which appears only once in the Constitution. Why would it be worthwhile to mention the court’s relationship to the military, if not for precisely those cases where the president isn’t playing his proper role of using the military to enforce the law?

  • Earl

    Baronius, even if you’re right, Article 306 says that the military can help the courts “fulfill their resolutions.” Courts can only make resolutions to specific cases. No case for the removal of the president was brought to the Supreme Court, and thus they could make no resolution—and thus could not call the military in to assist them in implementing that resolution.

    So even if you’re correct in your interpretation of Article 306, the court still grabbed power that it had no rights to.

    Talk about activist judges!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Article 245.10 provides (according to a Google translation) that among the powers of the President is to Give the legislature, judiciary and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, helps and forces that need to implement its resolutions;

    Even if Article 306 were expressly dependent upon the grant of a request to the President for military assistance under Article 245.10, which it is not, the suggestion, implicit in Comment # 61, that the Supreme Court and the Congress should simply have asked the former President for military assistance to arrest him, and then failing the cooperative proffer of such assistance, sat on their collective thumbs, is somewhat difficult for me to take seriously.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    There you go, Silas. Put an effective end to this specious debate.

  • Earl

    Dan, the proper resolution is clear, and it’s the one I outlined in #50: Congress asks the court to rule that Zelaya forfeited his citizenship, his presidency is therefore voided, and the new president takes over.

    But instead you seem intent on condemning one egregious (failed) attempt at a power grab, while using it to justify an equally egregious (successful) attempt at a power grab.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Earl, it seems as though the Supreme Court was fully aware of what was going on, and supported the decision to have the former President arrested. It had declared his actions unconstitutional, and evidently was behaving as it should. The former President was not cooperative.

    I have difficulty understanding the laws of Panama, where I live, even with the guidance of a pretty good Panamanian attorney. Procedures seem a bit fuzzy, the doctrine of stare decisis is not applicable, and the courts have more latitude than in the United States. I suspect that Honduran law is rather similar.

    Dan(Miller)

  • zingzing

    looks like the world is against you, dan, according to the news…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    This specious debate is about to end, at least for awhile insofar as my participation is concerned, because we are now having a thunderstorm and I must turn off my computer.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Earl

    Dan, they didn’t SUPPORT the decision to have Zelaya arrested. They MADE the decision to have him arrested. I haven’t seen anything that leads me to believe they had any power to do so, and plenty that leads me to believe that they didn’t.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    56 – i don’t remember a better comment or when i laughed so hard, zing. but if i thought there should be a president, i’d vote for you. even if things didn’t get any better they’d be hilarious and international communications would be like poetry (or something). i’m sure we’d likely get a better anthem out of the deal too.

  • zingzing

    people turn their computers off when sky go boom?

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    i don’t. but i am a risk-taker. maybe i should.

  • zingzing

    i’m glad you enjoyed the comment, cindy, but the anarchist vote is fairly useless in a presidential election. as it should be, i suppose.

  • Baronius

    Earl, I don’t know. It doesn’t sound like you do, either. But the fact is that the court, the congress, and the military unanimously agreed to the removal of the president. That doesn’t sound like a coup, which are typically characterized by one individual usurping power from the established structure.

    The president called for an illegal vote. When rebuked, he organized a mob to carry out the vote. Is there any way that could have played out in a stable and democratic fashion?

  • Earl

    I’ve given the formula for stable and democratic fashion twice now, Baronius. In comments #50 and #68. But the definition of a coup d’etat is when a faction from within the government (regardless of the size) overthrows the primary apparatus of that government by extra-constitutional means, and that’s what happened here.

  • Lumpy

    Zing. When u start agreeing with Chavez that should be a sign to anyone sane that they are starting to lose perspective.

    For the rest Clavos had it dead right in #11.

  • Baronius

    Earl, the president was actively subverting the law with outside help. I imagine that the Honduran government didn’t have the luxury of time. The situation constituted a caso necesario for the courts and military, perhaps?

    But I was talking about the president’s actions. They were calculated to destabilize the country. If they had been allowed to proceed, there’s no scenario with good results.

    BTW, Earl, I don’t recognize your name. If you’re new to the site, welcome.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    This is THEIR problem, not ours. Again, normalize relations with Cuba. Prepare for the post-Castro regime. It’s only a matter of time. Last week it was McMann, Fawcett and Jackson. This week it could be Karl Malden, Raul Castro and me. I wish people in the U.S. were such great students of our own Constitution. I don’t give a rat’s ass about Honduras’ Constitution it belongs to them. If the military feels that it was necessary to stage a coup, then it is up to them to present their case.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Here is a link to a letter from a Gringo(?) expat living in Honduras to the editor of a blog site here in Panama. It provides quite a lot of useful perspective on the recent happenings in Honduras. After a lengthy account of the events leading up to the end of the presidency of Mr. Zelaya, the article says:

    I have been disgusted at the world reaction to these events. It’s like they only looked at what happened on Sunday morning and ignored what events led to that day. I don’t understand how the removal of Zelaya was anything less than a small country demanding that their country remain democratic. Their constitutional process worked exactly right to remove a rogue president with an agenda that was detrimental to the Honduran constitution and society. While the actions of June 28 would fit some definitions of a coup, it was certainly a legal and CONSTITUTIONAL coup. There have been several articles written that state that it was a MANDATORY coup. That’s a very difficult concept for most people from the first world to understand, but there are some coups that are good and even required.

    The editor of the site here in Panama says,

    Editor’s Comment: Amen to that, brother. I’ve been there since I first heard about this. The world is hearing the knee-jerk reactions from other regional politicians who are mostly thinking about their own asses, and not one of them is willing to go out on a political limb to state the obvious. I bet there was a lot of quiet back-room telephone calls, saying stuff like “hey, you know we have to denounce this in public, be in reality we got your back…”

    I share the view that most of the “news” accounts have been disgusting, and wish that I could share the hope of the editor of the site about the “back-room telephone calls.”

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Silas says in Comment #81,I don’t give a rat’s ass about Honduras’ Constitution it belongs to them.

    Perhaps President Obama doesn’t “give a rat’s ass about” it either. That may be part of the problem. Some of us do care about it. Not because the Honduran Constitution belongs to us, but because what happens even in pitiful little Honduras — and how the United States Government elects to meddle — does have an impact on us. So do events in Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua and elsewhere. Some of us would even like to see the United States support the substance of the democratic process, rather than the mere forms. It is more pleasant to be proud than ashamed.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Closely following the trajectory of the actions of the United States Government in nearby Honduras, I am coming to have a greater appreciation of Ruvy’s often intemperate disparagements of United States “policy” toward Israel. It is becoming painfully clear that the fools know not what they do.

    Dan(Miller)

  • zingzing

    dan: “It is becoming painfully clear that the fools know not what they do.”

    what about the iraq war hadn’t clued you in to that already?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But that was the kind of meddling that many have approved of, zing. That’s the difference. You have to view everything from the perspective of America’s interests. If you don’t, you’re clueless.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Zing, re Comment #85 — Although I very much enjoyed the experience and would gladly do it again, I’m sorry to say that my wife and I were sailing our boat in the Caribbean and were busy with other stuff from 1996 until mid 2002. Occasionally, we had an opportunity to check our e-mail at an internet cafe. Between October 1996 and a couple of years ago, I had no even barely reliable internet access. I wasn’t paying much attention to the rest of the world. Had I been, and if I had had a suitable venue for articles, I probably would have written several. Now, I am paying attention. I began to write stuff for BC in April of last year.

    Dan(Miller)

  • zingzing

    ignorance is not an excuse!

  • Arch Conservative

    It’s more like this zing…….

    Obama: Ladies and gentlemen I’d like to commence by saying….

    I did it like this. I did it like that. I did it with a whiffle ball bat.

    Kiss my ass America.

    Goodnight.

    Zingzing, Glenn C et al: Did you see that speech Obama gave last night? It was better than the Gettysburg address.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Re Comment #88 — Zing, I assume that you refer to President Obama. He sought, and spent lots of money to obtain, the Presidency. He WON! The rest of us pitifully ignorant cretins did not.

    Dan(Miller)

  • zingzing

    mine’s better, archie. keep trying though. if we can fill up the comments with little dialogues and monologues, this place will get real dramatic…

    oh, that’s bad.

  • zingzing

    no, dan, i wasn’t referring to obama. your attempt at turning that around got all tangled up on something, but i’m not quite sure what it is…

  • Baronius

    You know, Dan, the Obama administration may have the wrong read on the situation in Honduras, but they haven’t “egregiously meddled”. A non-totalitarian government is in place in Honduras; they didn’t even change parties. The US largely hasn’t responded. Things could be a lot worse.

  • zingzing

    yay! a non-groupie!

  • Clavos

    Article 306 translation:

    Jurisdictional entities (authorities) shall require, when necessary, the assistance of the Public Forces (military) to ensure that their decisions are carried out; if such assistance is denied or not available, they shall require the assistance of the citizenry.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Baronius, we disagree on whether the U.S. has meddled egregiously. True, A non-totalitarian government is in place in Honduras. However, with the governments the United States, Venezuela and a whole lot more joining hands to boot it out, I am concerned that may soon cease to be the case, following the spilling of much blood. As to your observation that Things could be a lot worse, I not only agree, I think they soon will be; and that, as I see it, is the one of the biggest problems. I hope that I am very wrong.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Again, we need to stay out of the Honduras political situation. Things are volatile in Latin and South America. Normalization of relations with Cuba will go a long way in sending a message to the remainder of the region. If the OAS, as a united front, take a position on Honduras then it is appropriate for us to comment and offer non-financial support. We’ve spent enough time and money meddling in political affairs.

    Insofar as Barack Obama’s lack of action, I tend to be of the thought that a President who deliberates a situation carefully far outwits a President that shoots testosterone from the hip.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The president’s words on both Iran and Honduras seem pretty carefully thought out, as indeed one would expect. Obama is not a guy who likes to improvise, particularly on foreign policy.

    His main objection seemed to be that this was a military action removing an elected president. I tend to agree with this.

    The administration’s words seem far from heavy-handed, and they seem to be in harmony with much of the rest of the world [not just Chavez et al]. So I’m not sure why this is even controversial.

    And indeed, Dan’s opinion seems to be mostly his own.

    As for Iran, again, the White House’s message seemed pretty carefully modulated. To somehow twist the administration’s reactions to these two very different situations as evidence that Obama is soft on dictators is just, well, softheaded….ridiculous.

    If Obama says or does something, your immediate reflex is to criticize. That’s what this really is about, isn’t it?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Thanks, Clav for the Article 306 translation. Perhaps the seven (as I recall) members of the Supreme Court, robes flowing sedately in the breeze, could have led a bloodthirsty procession of enraged citizens to deal with the former President rather than pursue the rather more civilized course of getting a bunch of soldiers to arrest him.

    What the Hell; the United States Government is all wise and might have been delighted to share its unbounded wisdom with them igorant mestizos in Honduras. I guess it may even be possible that in the days leading up to the “coup,” that’s what was suggested. Nah, El Presidente Chávez probably wouldn’t have agreed. He likes bloodthirsty processions of enraged citizens only when He leads them. Had the United States Government suggested such a thing to the Honduran Supreme Court, the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Venezuela might not have been able to resume full diplomatic relations. That would have been simply dreadful.

    Silas, you say we need to stay out of the Honduras political situation. The United States Government didn’t. It jumped in, quickly, with both feet. Now it seems to have been overtaken by President Chávez and his merry men. The damage would be difficult to undo, even if the United States Government were interested in doing that; it does not appear to be.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Handyguy, re Comment #98:

    The president’s words on both Iran and Honduras seem pretty carefully thought out, as indeed one would expect. Obama is not a guy who likes to improvise, particularly on foreign policy.

    He certainly took enough time to think out his position on Iran; not so Honduras. As to the less than heavy handed position he took on Honduras, we disagree; we must be reading different things. Here, for example, is something from the notorious right wing source, Reuters:

    World leaders from President Barack Obama to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have told the new rulers of the Central American country to restore Zelaya, a leftist who was toppled by the army on Sunday and sent into exile after a dispute over presidential term limits.

    Fortunately,

    The Honduran interim government defied international pressure on Wednesday and vowed there was “no chance at all” of ousted President Manuel Zelaya returning to office.

    As you correctly observe, my opinions are my own.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Clavos

    Erratum re Article 306 translation:

    “they shall require the assistance of the citizenry” should be “they shall demand the assistance of the citizenry.”

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Well, the first REAL test of Mr. Obama as Commander in Chief is underway in Afghanistan. Warm thoughts and prayers are extended to every U.S. Service member who are embroiled in battle this evening. Regardless of our politics, we must never forget the sacrifices made by our men and women (gay and straight).

  • Clavos

    Well, the first REAL test of Mr. Obama as Commander in Chief is underway in Afghanistan.

    Agreed. Interesting how, so far at least, he bears an interesting resemblance to GWB as C in C.

    Warm thoughts and prayers are extended to every U.S. Service member who are embroiled in battle this evening. Regardless of our politics, we must never forget the sacrifices made by our men and women (gay and straight).

    Quoted for Truth.

  • Baronius

    Zing, were you saying that I’m usually a D(M) groupie? I sure am. From what I’ve read, he’s right about who the good guys are in this crisis. And like Dan, I hope he’s wrong about how this crisis may proceed. Watch the OAS.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    As part of its moderate and considered response to the situation in Honduras,

    The Obama administration said Wednesday it has suspended joint military operations with Honduras to protest a coup that forced President Manuel Zelaya into exile. The U.S. withheld stronger action in hopes of negotiating a peaceful return of the country’s elected leader.
    *****
    At the State Department, spokesman Ian C. Kelly said the department’s top diplomat for the Americas, Thomas Shannon, met with Zelaya at OAS headquarters on Tuesday evening. Kelly would not reveal details, except to say Zelaya thanked the administration for supporting his unconditional return to power.
    *****
    Kelly said the administration was still studying whether the forced removal of Zelaya was a military coup in a legal sense that would trigger a cutoff or suspension of American financial assistance.

    “Our legal advisers are actively assessing the facts and the law in question, which we take very seriously,” Kelly said.

    Not having finished studying “the facts and the law in question,” but nevertheless taking them “very seriously,” one wonders why the United States Government has been so intent upon having former President Zelaya promptly and unconditionally restored to power. Perhaps the United States Government should try harder to decide which way is up before trying to compel a sovereign nation to yield to its wishes.

    Dan(Miller)

  • zingzing

    baronius, it’s always good to get behind your man and pump him full of shit.

    i’m not sure who the good guy is and who the bad guy is, but i do know that a coup’s a coup’s a coup, and that the anti-obama slant put on this article was ridiculous, even from what dan wrote. “egregious” doesn’t mean “making a mild statement,” especially when said statement says exactly what you’re arguing for…

  • zingzing

    dan 105/6: ahh, see, that’s a little more serious of a move. still, let’s say there’s a serious possibility that a military coup has just taken place. the military (maybe) has taken over a nation. does one engage in joint exercises with the (probably very busy) military in question, or does one back off a bit to see what’s going on? you tell me, sir. you tell me.

  • Baronius

    Zing, credibility is a two-way street. You know that if these events had happened a year ago, there would be people saying that Bush/Cheney were kowtowing to oil interests in Venezuela and Iran. Think hard before you play that “people are biased against my president” card.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The analogies are false, too, zing. The military and other elements of Latin American governments – democratic or not, however constitutionally grounded – are not exactly comparable to what we know in the West. So there’s another rather hasty extrapolation going on in here, dubious if you ask me and certainly ill-considered.

    You just can’t take the US government and draw the required parallels to the Latin American countries. The traditions are way too different for valid comparisons.

  • Clavos

    Except that LatAm is part of “the West,” your #110 is dead on, Roger.

  • zingzing

    baronius: “You know that if these events had happened a year ago, there would be people saying that Bush/Cheney were kowtowing to oil interests in Venezuela and Iran. Think hard before you play that “people are biased against my president” card.”

    probably true. equally probably true is that you’d be backing b/c up. nevertheless…

    let the stupid game go on, i guess.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    #

    overthrows the primary apparatus of that government by extra-constitutional means, and that’s what happened here.

    Except that when the president himself is intent on violating the constitionion, don’t other branches of the government have an obligation to step in and defend it?

    Dave

  • zingzing

    yes, dave, but not by violating the constitution themselves.

    i’m beginning to see the futility of all of this.

    baronius is right. if there was a fucking republican in office, the sides would switch. and when ruvy calls us libs “useful idiots,” he doesn’t realize that he’s just a useful idiot for those who want to keep the middle east in turmoil. and it goes on and on. we’re all equally stupid and equally vapid and fucking wasting our time.

    ignorance really is bliss. just do what the master says.

  • Bliffle

    IMO, Dan made good points and I don’t see them satisfactorily refuted yet.

  • Annie

    Obama is a communist sympathizer. That’s why he’s taking the Castro and Chavez position on the Honduras crisis. That’s really all you need to know.

  • Annie

    Speaking of “troubling” – what I’ve noticed from conservative writers is their weak response to this situation. They point out all the facts, and they point out Obama’s response, and then they just shrug and claim they are “confused.”

    There is no confusion to be had. Obama is a leftist Marxist socialist. If he could become President-for-life of the United States, he would jump at the chance. In fact, a Democrat Congressman has already submitted a bill that would repeal the 22nd Amendment, and allow Obama to rule forever.

    Obama is our Chavez. He’s taking over industries, his Cabinet is marking political opponents as potential traitors to be monitored by law enforcement, his fellow Democrats are seriously talking about silencing dissent in the media, and he’s filling his “public discussions” with planted sycophants. And the mass media hardly reports on this, because they have become the State Media, fully complicit.

    In short, Obama supports the would-be communist dictator Zelaya because he himself is a would-be communist dictator.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    If he could become President-for-life of the United States, he would jump at the chance. In fact, a Democrat Congressman has already submitted a bill that would repeal the 22nd Amendment, and allow Obama to rule forever.

    Obama is our Chavez. He’s taking over industries, his Cabinet is marking political opponents as potential traitors to be monitored by law enforcement, his fellow Democrats are seriously talking about silencing dissent in the media, and he’s filling his “public discussions” with planted sycophants. And the mass media hardly reports on this, because they have become the State Media, fully complicit.

    In short, Obama supports the would-be communist dictator Zelaya because he himself is a would-be communist dictator.

    It is truly a shame that a woman who so accurately perceives the evil nature of her own president, is unable to perceive reality outside of her bailiwick….

    One should hope, but not too optimistically – something like that has got be somewhere in the I Ching….

  • Arch Conservative

    Don’t worry Annie…I have the sneaking suspicion that Karma is going to give one Barry Hussein Obama the nastiest of bitch slaps in 2012, if not before then.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Well, Arch, on THAT we agree. The Far Right has one mission — unseat Barack Obama. They will use the woes of the nation against Barack Obama and in the process pretend that the failures of GWB had nothing to do with our current state of affairs. The truth is that the Far Right, in conjunction with the Democrat leadership in Congress, brought us to this political crossroad. While Barach Obama tries to inspire, the Far Right turns a deaf ear and continues to conspire.

    The only difference, Arch, is that Karma isn’t giving the President the bitch slap — we’re doing it to ourselves.

  • zingzing

    annie: “There is no confusion to be had. Obama is a leftist Marxist socialist. If he could become President-for-life of the United States, he would jump at the chance. In fact, a Democrat Congressman has already submitted a bill that would repeal the 22nd Amendment, and allow Obama to rule forever.”

    um, it’s not like this is the first time someone has tried to repeal the 22nd amendment. it happened during bush’s time in office as well. lest you forget. and you do. obviously.

    other than that, you’re paranoid as fuck. it’ll never pass, even if it would get rid of the lame duck syndrome and the fact that second-term presidents aren’t accountable to voters anymore.

  • zingzing

    continuing #120: and just to be clear, i wouldn’t want such legislation to pass.

    it still doesn’t mean it’s anything more than a pet project for some congressman. as it was the last time. and the time before that.

  • Baronius

    Zing, that’s not exactly what I meant. I don’t take conservative positions because I’m a conservative; I’m a conservative because I take conservative positions. A lot of people take party-line positions because they believe them. Some people take them because they’re the party line.

    If you see the world through a filter, your opinion is never going to be more interesting than the filter is. Silas’ comments analyze the American response to the Honduran crisis in terms of homosexuality and the Far Right. It’s just about guaranteed that his comments won’t ever be interesting.

    Do I let my filter distort things? I hope not. I didn’t complain much about the administration’s Iran response, because it’s about what I expected. I haven’t complained much about our Honduras response so far, but I’m afraid.

    Do you let your filter distort things? I can’t answer that, because I don’t exactly know your convictions or your compromises (if any).

  • zingzing

    baronius: “Silas’ comments analyze the American response to the Honduran crisis in terms of homosexuality and the Far Right. It’s just about guaranteed that his comments won’t ever be interesting.”

    you have to be kidding. a far right homosexual? not interesting? you have a perverse sense of “interesting.”

    “Do I let my filter distort things? I hope not.”

    unfortunately, we all do, to some degree or another. it’s recognizing the filter, instead of totally denying there is one (see: nalle, dave) that helps you to avoid it. we’ll always have ways to rationalize our adherence to our filters. it’s just too easy in politics, where nothing is truly black and white. we’re all predisposed to certain ideas that fit out agendas, as we think they all connect. sad thing is, they don’t. there’s no reason i should believe in both gay rights and abortion, other than some overarching “liberal” something or other.

    i’ll go against my liberal leanings sometimes, but it seems only in minor ways. i think my position on a subject is pretty easy to figure out before i open my mouth. even though the economic side of politics interests me far less than the social side, and i’m more conservative fiscally than i am socially, i’ll still usually back the dems in economic matters, for absolutely no good reason. (my only possible excuse is that republicans, no matter what they claim, are no better at not spending money than the dems are.)

    still, i think i’m further to the left than this government, so my biggest complaint is that they don’t go far enough. (stem cell research, you bastards. it’s like having the rosetta stone for the human body, and you’re pussy-footing around the damn thing.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Great response, zing, except too relativistic to my taste. There are some ideals like love of justice, compassion, empathy, concern for people, as individuals and in any other way – none of those things are a filter. It’s the way. And anything that detracts a person from these things – those are the filters.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Silas’ comments analyze the American response to the Honduran crisis in terms of homosexuality and the Far Right. It’s just about guaranteed that his comments won’t ever be interesting.

    OK< I want some of what you’re smoking. I look at Honduras and I see a country in transition. I see legitimate concerns from the perspective of the military. You see, other countries don’t have it quite down yet. We do the Constitutional transition of power well albeit sloppily. The Hondurans need to decide what is best for them so long as it is within the confines of International law and Human Rights. How that includes homosexuality is beyond me. And to think that I only speak from that point of view is a telltale sign that you don’t respect a thing I say because of your own point of view. I am concerned about the Far Right and their hold on American politics because as I see it rule from the Far Right has done damage to us domestically and abroad. So, don’t be so eager to pigeon hole me, I may impart some wisdom and if you bring back reasonable arguments, I may just change my mind.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Silas, I don’t think you need to defend yourself, Whatever remarks you make now and then expressing your sexual preference, I haven’t seen yet how they affect the content of your thought. Let your words stand for you, as they have thus far. Worry not about the rest.

  • zingzing

    silas, i think it would be hilarious if you could somehow bring homosexuality into a military coup situation. could you PLEASE tell us how homosexuality affects your thoughts on the situation in honduras?

    at least it would make baronius feel kinda silly.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Don’t entertain any hopes, zing.

  • Baronius

    Well, Silas’ last two comments were about the gay and straight soldiers and the Far Right versus President Obama.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I was struck by the last two paragraphs of the NY Times story this morning:

    The United States, which provides millions of dollars in aid to Honduras, is the only country in the region that has not withdrawn its ambassador from Honduras. France, Spain and Italy have recalled their ambassadors.

    “There is a lot of concern about hurting the people of Honduras any more than they have already been hurt,” said a senior administration official, referring to American reluctance to impose sanctions. “There’s enough trouble and poverty in Honduras already.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Very interesting point, Handy. Kind of puts it in perspective, doesn’t it?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Annie’s comments 115 and 116 are beamed to us direct from the [ex-] planet Pluto.

    Some of the relatively reasonable rightist voices on here could do a service by pointing out looniness from ‘their side’ when it shows up on here.

    Obama’s position on Honduras is shared by every other nation I’m aware of. It’s about the military removing an elected leader, and it is certainly not about sympathizing with the likes of Chavez.

    The notion that Pres. Obama has plans to permanently extend his rule, and that this is inevitable because leftist leaders in Latin America have done it or tried to, is quite ridiculous and laughable. I’m not sure Annie actually believes this herself. Could anyone actually believe it?

    I hope the author of this article and his usual band of yea-sayers agree with me [and zing] on this, at least.

  • Baronius

    I bet that Annie does believe it. I remember a few BC regulars saying the same thing about Bush. I hate to keep hitting the same note, but I don’t remember a lot of lefties loudly disagreeing when that accusation was made by some of their members.

  • zingzing

    #133–yeah, well, that mother fucker was devious. or at least cheney was. no denying that. he’ll shoot a friend in the face. ugly too. got a fake heart. no hair. hates his daughter. drives a camaro.

  • Baronius

    Heh.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Well, I admit, I did end that post with “gay or straight” but it was more in tandem with the President’s assurance to the LGBT community that the issue of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is something that will be addressed in this Administration. Baronius, I find the current military policy to be archaic and just plain cruel. Patriotism comes in many flavors, and patriotism should be applauded for what it is not for who stands for it. Our military upper echelon should get with it. The greatest military mind of all time (Alexander) was one who loved man and woman. He wasn’t looked upon as some deviant freak. What saddens me is that revisionist historians with a Biblical bent like to forget pertinent facts. That does our young a great disservice.

    Insofar as the Far Right, I have a major problem with the way we entered the war in Iraq. It was done under the most suspicious circumstances and there is ample evidence proving that we were mislead by the previous Administration. I understand fully why the BUsh Administration went forward with deposing Saddaam Hussein. The manner in which they went about it is unacceptable. $,000+ American lives were lost in the Middle East. Some say for oil. Some say for peace. Some say for deposing a dictator. Regardless of why, the bottom line is that we should never enter into a military conflict with another country without the HONEST input from the Administration. Honesty isn’t a virtue, Baronius, it is COMPULSORY.

  • Arch Conservative

    Tries to inspire……?

    You made me spit out my chicken pot pie. shame on you.

    You haven’t figured out yet that Barry doesn’t give a damn about the American people Silas?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    I wonder when my colleagues to the left, middle and right will recognize “pertinent facts” and demand honesty. The ouster of former Honduran President Zelaya was promptly labeled a “coup,” and on that basis the United States Government, the Venezuelan Government, the OAS, the UN, et al, slammed it and demanded that the status quo ante be restored — regardless of what actually happened and regardless of what the people living in Honduras might or might not want. By applying such labels to things without regard for the pertinent facts, any hope that there might be some consideration of whether the labels accurately reflect the situation vanishes. I attempted as best I could in the article to show that Mr. Zelaya was properly removed from office and replaced by the Congress, in accordance with Honduran laws of political succession, by a civilian member of his own political party; I can do no more here.

    Even assuming for the sake of argument that Honduras could or even should have found a cleaner way to deal with its own internal mess, the persistent ignoring of the pertinent facts should be astonishing; unfortunately, it is not.

    Here and here are articles suggesting, correctly, I think, that the people of Honduras do not want to have Mr. Zelaya back in power. Yet, the powers-that-be, while insisting upon his immediate reinstatement, appear have given no consideration at all to what the people of Honduras may want; that is a disgrace.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Clavos

    Some of the relatively reasonable rightist voices on here could do a service by pointing out looniness from ‘their side’ when it shows up on here.

    No need to. You lefties usually handle it very efficiently.

  • Clavos

    I remember a few BC regulars saying the same thing about Bush.

    I only remember one: Ruvy.

    And maybe Pablo (not sure — don’t care).

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Here is an article quoting Octavio Sanchez, an attorney in Honduras (J.D. Universidad Nacional Autonóma de Honduras; LL.M. Harvard Law School; presidential adviser, 2002 – 2005; Honduran Minister of Culture, 2005 – 2006) dealing with the Honduran Constitutional prohibition against screwing around with the one term limit on presidents. It says,

    The key legal elements for that constitutional protection to be triggered are the following ones. Constitutional assemblies are convened to write new constitutions. In Honduras, you have 365 articles that can be changed by Congress. When Zelaya published that decree to regulate an “opinion poll” about the possibility of convening a national assembly he acted against the unchangeable articles of the constitution that deal with the prohibition of reelecting a president and of extending his term. His actions showed intent.

    How is that kind of intent sanctioned in our Constitution? With the immediate removal of those involved in the action as stated in article 239 of the Constitution which reads: “No citizen that has already served as head of the Executive Branch can be President or Vice-President. Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform, 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.” Notice that the rule speaks about intent and that it also says immediately – as in instant, as in no trial required, as in no impeachment needed. (emphasis in original)

    Here is an interesting take on how the State Department got its information wrong in Honduras.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Baronius

    I disagree with Annie’s comment. First of all, because I think she’s wrong. I can’t imagine Obama trying to finagle an extra term. Secondly, because as we’re recently seen, obsessive criticism of the president can drive a person mad.

    Thirdly, I think she makes the same mistake that DeMint made in his statement. They personalize the issue, making it about Chavez. It isn’t about Chavez unless Chavez gets involved (and please, God, may that not happen). The debate doesn’t turn on whether you like the president of Venezuela. The issue is the legal system of Honduras. If the Constitution of Honduras mandates that the presidency be restricted to porn addicts with IQ’s under 80, so be it. That’s not a great slogan to rally around, but it’s completely fair.

    And that is a pretty weird constitution they have. It mentions that the president can’t have more than one term about 20 times. But there’s human nature for you: the big restriction on the presidency makes it irresistable for a corrupt politician to try to break it.

  • Clavos

    It isn’t about Chavez unless Chavez gets involved

    Actually, Chavez was involved, he supplied the extra-official ballots to Zelaya.

  • Arch Conservative

    Maybe our own King Barry should aquaint himself with the Honduran constitution as Dan points out in 141 that what happened in Honduras was in accordance with this document.

    But when you get right down to it Obama doesn’t give a damn about Honduras or it’s people. He’s just wants to come to the aid of his leftist dictator homies Chavez and Zelaya…… aka mini-Chavez.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Baronius, you say, it isn’t about Chavez unless Chavez gets involved (and please, God, may that not happen).

    President Chavez is up to his red beret in this. Not only did he have the ballots printed in Venezuela when the Honduran Government refused to print them, he led the charge at the OAS, ALBA, etc; he mobilized the Venezuelan armed forces and is making noise about an invasion. I don’t think he could actually pull off an invasion — Venezuelan troops would most likely have to go by air, and I doubt that there are sufficient transport aircraft for the purpose. Nor do I think there are enough sea transports for the purpose. Going over land, through Colombia, Panama, and Costa Rica would present insurmountable problems; only when they got to Nicaragua would the problems be fewer. During the dispute with Colombia several months ago, there were lots of problems merely in crossing Venezuela to get to the border with Colombia, and it took about ten days for his tanks to get there. Still, Chavez carries lots of weight throughout much of Latin America, and the rest of Latin America seems very worried about him.

    There simply is no way not to personalize this mess around Chavez.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    According to Reuters this morning,

    TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – An interim government in Honduras warned ousted President Manuel Zelaya to stay away but indicated it could be more conciliatory in talks on Friday with the Organization of American States over the country’s crisis.

    Roberto Micheletti, head of a caretaker leadership set up after an army coup, said he welcomed the chance to talk with OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza, who was expected to arrive in Honduras early on Friday with an ultimatum to reinstate Zelaya or be suspended from the regional body.

    Micheletti said he could be open to holding an early presidential election and even a plebiscite on bringing Zelaya back to serve the last few months of his term, if that would calm the global storm over his ouster.

    ***

    The hitherto bloodless overthrow in the impoverished coffee and textile exporting country of 7 million people has created a test for regional diplomacy and for U.S. commitment to shoring up democracy in Latin America.

    “For the peace and calm of the country I would prefer he (Zelaya) does not come in,” Micheletti told Honduran radio on Thursday. “I do not want even one drop of blood spilled in this country,” he said, adding that Venezuela’s firebrand socialist President Hugo Chavez was steering Zelaya’s moves.

    Earlier, Micheletti told reporters he would be “in total agreement” with bringing forward a November 29 presidential election.

    “I have no objection if it would be a way of resolving these problems,” he said. A referendum on reinstating Zelaya to serve the rest of his term also was possible, he said, although it would be difficult to hold one immediately.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    How about we look at the other side of the story?

    All Zelaya did was propose a NON-binding resolution using legal processes that had long been in place…yet what happened?

    In 2005, Zelaya ran promising to help the country’s poor majority — and he kept his word. He increased the minimum wage by 60 percent, saying sweatshops were no longer acceptable and “the rich must pay their share.”

    I guess this makes Zelaya a terrible man like Hugo Chavez…you know, the Really Evil Man from Venezuela under whom incomes rose 60 percent (after inflation) for the poorest half of the country, and under whom infant mortality is plummeted?

    See, Dan, that’s part of the problem. To the Republicans, it’s ‘patriotic’ to oppose any hint of left-wing politics…even when those left-wing politicians make life better for the country.

    “When left-wingers like Chavez and Zelaya try — democratically — to repeal term limits, they are described as “dictators.” Yet when right-wingers like President Alvaro Uribe in Colombia do exactly the same thing, the same people applaud him as “bold” and “brilliant.””

    You see, Dan – I was surprised to find the positive things that Hugo Chavez has done. As far as I knew he was a Really Bad Man – for that’s all we’ve heard from the Bush administration and the media over the past eight years. Then, when I find out that Venezuela has greatly improved during his presidency (unlike what the right-wing pundits would have us believe), well, that’s another example of what led me to leave the Republican party in the early 90’s.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thank you, Glenn.

  • Baronius

    Dan, I’ve read about Chavez’ role in this. I should have been clearer in my statements. But in letting the conversation revolve around Chavez rather than the law, you introduce a distraction. You’ll get comments like Glenn’s. You’re solid on the facts, so pound on the facts.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Glen, re Comment #147: I have read the piece in Huffington Post and it is a joke; a sad, sick joke but a joke nonetheless. I have written elsewhere about the great emancipator, Hugo Chvez, who has increased poverty in Venezuela but remains in power by eliminating the media which do not support him and arresting opposition politicians. He has taken over very substantial parts of the Venezuelan economy, and run them into the ground. He has squandered Venezuela’s resources to gain what he deems a proper place on the world stage. Today, it was reported that

    CARACAS – A rash of attacks by rowdier elements among President Hugo Chvez’s supporters is reported to have broken out across the country. A radio station and local journals came under attack in Sucre state, while two newspapers in Carabobo state were also targets of unwanted violent attention earlier this week.

    ***

    Garca urged the head of the Assembly’s media committee, Deputy Manuel Villalba, to provide information that would “bring tranquillity to the citizenry.” But by then, it seemed, he’d thoroughly alarmed Deputy Yaritza Ballenilla, a PSUV stalwart.

    Radio 2000, she said, had been taken over by the “socialist battalions” because it was “misinforming the collective.” The station was attacking the government’s social policies with the aim of creating an “unfavourable scenario.” But in saying all this, she wasn’t denying that the attacks took place.

    This sort of thing is an ongoing problem in Venezuela; fortunately, the successes of President Chvez in other countries seem to be diminishing and, were there to be a free election in Venezuela, I have little doubt as to the outcome: he would be defeated.

    The citizens of Panama, in the recent elections, overwhelmingly rejected the candidate — from the ruling party — who had embraced both Chvez and former Panamanian strongman Noriega. She lost by an extremely wide margin, and her opponent became the first President of the country since the time of Noriega to receive more than a plurality. The number of votes cast in the election was high even by Panamanian standards, where popular participation substantially exceeds that in the United States. The Peronist Party of the President of Argentina recently lost big time in the congressional elections there, despite continuing support from Chvez. From what I have seen, the people in Panama and in several other Latin American countries have an increasing and quite legitimate fear of a Chvez type government, and that is what former President Zelaya was trying to accomplish. Since his popularity is down to about thirty percent, he would most likely have failed.

    As to the specific points in your comment, All Zelaya did was propose a NON-binding resolution using legal processes that had long been in place…yet what happened? Only on the eve of the proposed referendum did Mr. Zelaya announce, verbally, that the referendum would be non-binding. As pointed out in my article and in later comments, even that was prohibited by the Constitution and the consequences of his having proceeded were in line with the Honduran Constitution.

    The article linked in connection with your comments about President Chvez and Venezuela was written in December of 2006. Since then, lots of things have happened. Some of them are referenced in my article linked above. These include shutting down the principal media voices of the opposition, ordering the arrest of an opposition candidate elected as Mayor of a principal city, and greatly curtailing the ability of other mayors from opposition parties to function. Inflation has become endemic, there are very bad shortages of most necessities, and Venezuela is now a very different place from what the 2006 article claims.

    You say, “When left-wingers like Chavez and Zelaya try — democratically — to repeal term limits, they are described as “dictators.” Yet when right-wingers like President Alvaro Uribe in Colombia do exactly the same thing, the same people applaud him as “bold” and “brilliant.””

    President Uribe was reelected in 2006 in a landslide vote, winning 62 percent of the vote.His closest challenger, left-wing senator Carlos Gaviria, took 22% A recent poll by the Invamer-Gallup firm released May 8 showed that 84 percent of those who said they would cast a ballot in a referendum said they would vote “yes” to give Uribe right to run. Even after nearly seven years in office, 71 percent of Colombians approve of his leadership. President Uribe has not indicated whether he will run again for President in the May, 2010 elections; he is being encouraged by some members of his party not to do so, and he may well not.

    As noted in my Comment #146,

    Micheletti told reporters he would be “in total agreement” with bringing forward a November 29 presidential election.

    “I have no objection if it would be a way of resolving these problems,” he said. A referendum on reinstating Zelaya to serve the rest of his term also was possible, he said, although it would be difficult to hold one immediately.

    If that’s what Honduras wants, it seems very reasonable to me. The immediate restoration of former President Zelaya to power because the Presidents of the United States and Venezuela, the OAS, ALBA et al demand it does not.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    This blog quotes extensively from a letter received from some missionary folks in Honduras. They say that the situation there needs to be looked into by reporters on the ground in Honduras, and that popular support for the ouster of former President Zelaya is overwhelming. They seem to be very concerned that the situation on the ground in Honduras is being ignored.

    From all that I have read in the mainstream media, that is surely the case.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Here is an article by Carlos Alberto Montaner entitled Preventing a Honduran Bloodbath. According to the article,

    Fortunately, Zelaya’s expulsion from the presidency and from his country was bloodless. It wasn’t exactly a military coup: the Army acted on orders from the Supreme Court after Zelaya’s continued violations of the law. The ousted president seemed intent on getting reelected, even if it meant violating the Constitution, and on dragging the nation into Hugo Chávez’s “21st century socialism” camp against the will of the Honduran people.

    Nevertheless, if there is still something worse than the depressing spectacle of a freely elected president forced to leave his country at gunpoint, it is that same leader trying to force his way back in. If Zelaya returns, he will be arrested and charged with an array of crimes. His imprisonment will embarrass any who decide, irresponsibly, to accompany him on such a mad adventure.

    This is most grave. Hugo Chávez and Daniel Ortega are already talking about invasions and resorting to force. That could unleash a bloodbath and would certainly destroy the weak political institutions that Honduras labored to achieve three decades ago, when the era of military dictatorships mercifully ended. Peter Hakim, president of Inter-American Dialogue, put it this way: “Zelaya is fighting with all the institutions in the country. He is in no condition really to govern.”

    And that’s the truth. According to Mexican pollster Mitofsky’s April survey, Zelaya was Latin America’s least popular leader. Only 25 percent of the nation supported him. Another survey found that 67 percent of Hondurans would never vote for him again. Why? Because the Hondurans attributed to him a deep level of corruption; because they assumed he had links to drug trafficking, especially drugs originating in Venezuela, as former U.S. Ambassador to the O.A.S. Roger Noriega revealed in a well-documented article published in his blog; and because violence and poverty — the nation’s two worst scourges — have increased dramatically during his three years in power.

    Simply put, a huge majority of the country — including the two major political parties (including Zelaya’s), the Christian churches, the other branches of government and the armed forces — do not want him as president. All agreed that he should finish his mandate and leave power in January 2010, but no one wanted him to break the law to keep himself in the presidency. Hugo Chávez has already done that, and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and probably Ecuador’s Rafael Correa are also trying to do the same. The Hondurans, without question, do not want to go down the path of Hugo Chavez’s collectivist and anti-Western “caudillismo,” allied to Iran, Cuba and North Korea.

    What to do under these circumstances? The worst idea is to resort to force. The government of interim President Roberto Micheletti already is summoning reservists and the Army is preparing to defend the nation’s sovereignty. The nationalist discourse is heating up with talk of “defense of the motherland” against foreign enemies. They worry about foreign aggression, shrewdly propelled by Chavez and his crew, in which — inexplicably this time — the Americans have sided with the enemies of democracy and the rule of law.

    If a conflict explodes, one of the Western hemisphere’s poorest countries will suffer the bloodletting that Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua experienced during the Cold War.
    The solution is to move forward with the general elections planned for November. It’s a solution within everyone’s reach: the candidates are already there, freely elected in open primaries, and both enjoy much popularity. Why plunge this society irresponsibly into a maelstrom of violence? Once the new government is selected, a government that enjoys the legitimacy generated by a democratic process, the Honduran people can push this lamentable episode into the past.

    That will be best for almost all parties in the conflict. Zelaya may lose the game, but Hondurans will not pay with their blood for the mistakes and misdemeanors of a maladroit ruler.

    I wish that more attention would be paid to what actually went on, and is now happening, in Honduras than to the babbles of those familiar with neither. As noted previously, interim President Micheletti has consistently maintained that the November elections will go forward as scheduled, and has even expressed willingness recently that they be held sooner.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    This is a paraphrase of an e-mail from someone in Honduras. It was forwarded to me by a friend who asked that should I want to publish it here, I condense it and delete any information as to the identity of the author. I have no difficulty understanding his concern, and am doing so. It seems particularly appropriate in view of the dearth of actual hard news coming out of Honduras, and the spin being given to what is.

    Although many seem to think that we had a coup, we did not. About ninety-five percent of the population in Honduras agrees with the measures which were taken. It´s unusual for Honduras, but Nationalists, Liberals and Independents are satisfied with the recent measures. Only small numbers of people are picketing in the streets in support of the former President. A lot of money was given away to peasants to support Zelaya’s project to become Venezuela´s backyard. Micheletti, the previous President of the Congress and now President of Honduras, is a good liberal. We simply didn’t want to join Comandante’s Chávez’ form of government.

    Zelaya rejected a Supreme Court order that the referendum intended to change our Constitution (to become a new Chávez in Honduras) was illegal and moved to go ahead with it. Perhaps the mistake was sending him to Costa Rica. We should have kept him in Honduras behind bars.

    What happened here is similar to the Nixon event. Unfortunately, Honduras is still a member of the ALBA group where Zelaya placed us, and we will have a lot of opposition. . .

    The US knows exactly what is going on in Honduras, and I believe they approve the measures taken (John Dimitri Negroponte would) but….they can´t give an open approval to what has been mischaracterized as a coup de etat.

    In case of an invasion by Chávez I will ask for your support.

    For reasons stated elsewhere, I very much doubt that Chávez’ Venezuela will invade, due to the distances involved and the intervening countries, one of which is Panama. However, it is at least conceivable that Nicaragua may, at Chávez’ request. Although I doubt the 95% support referenced in the e-mail, based on what I have read, I think that nationwide support for the new Government is very substantial.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    The Supreme Court of Honduras has formally rejected the OAS demand that former President Zelaya be restored to power. Unfortunately, the next step is up to the OAS.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Glenn,

    Just read the article as per link in #147. Very informative and provides the much needed corrective to what’s being presented as “the official line.” I can’t of course vouch for the accuracy of the article in the Huffington Post, but at least of one thing I’m certain – it fills in some of the gaps that thus far everyone just chose to take for granted while focusing on “the externals” of the story – namely the demographic/economic composition of most of the Latin American countries and their use of the military to maintain the status quo (or more, if need be).

    The article in the Wiki is rather general and not very informative as to the present, although it does mention, e.g., that

    “During the early 1980s, the United States established a continuing military presence in Honduras with the purpose of supporting the Contra guerillas fighting the Nicaraguan government and also developed an air strip and a modern port in Honduras. Though spared the bloody civil wars wracking its neighbors, the Honduran army quietly waged a campaign against Marxist-Leninist militias such as Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Movement, notorious for kidnappings and bombings[10], and allegedly some non-militants. The operation included a CIA-backed campaign of extra-judicial killings by government-backed units, most notably Battalion 316.[11]”

    so these facts provide a backdrop of sorts for the Huffington’s article claim as to the large oligarchy controlling most of the countries resources, the oligarchy’s influence in drafting the present constitution, and the role/function of the military. Again, all the important elements without which understanding of most of the Latin American governments – give or take minor variations on the theme – would not be possible.

    So yes, you’ve done a good job digging up this article, and it should be read by anyone who is really interested in what’s going on in that particular country.

    It’s not just a constitutional crisis (as we would tend to understand) but more like just another episode of class conflict (of the landed aristocracy vs the peons) – and don’t forget the military – that the history of the region is so well-known for.

    I had a great collection of texts on all of Latin America – tracing the histories and brought up to date – but misplaced it in CA, so I am kind of shooting in the dark; but Clavos should be more qualified then anyone to interpret these events most accurately.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Another interesting take on Honduras. Insightful!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Nicaragua is mimicking its ally Venezuela by closing down opposition media voices. Nicaragua’s move — possibly encouraged by the noise being made by President Chávez et al about neighboring Honduras — has been condemned by the Radio Broadcasters Union, the national press and the Inter-American Press Association. Even the United States Government seems slightly interested.

    It strikes me that if Honduras yields to pressure from the OAS, ALBA, President Chávez, President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, President Obama of the United States and even the UN, which it has thus far steadfastly refused to do, there will be massive bloodshed and the Honduran Constitution will have been rendered impotent. This would be a great victory for those who view mere constitutions and the rule of law as bothersome nuisances.

    Although I am not in complete agreement with the Washington Post article linked in Roger’s Comment #155, it is certainly more perceptive than most. It says,

    Honduras is guilty of two sins: impatience and size. The rest of the world is committing two more: hubris and hypocrisy.

    ***

    Polls and the tepid demonstrations in Zelaya’s favor indicate that he has little popular support. That is not reason enough for a coup, but the many factors suggest that while his removal should have been better handled, some humility is called for in helping Honduras work through a constitutional crisis.

    Zelaya was not ousted because he was unpopular; he was ousted at the request of the Supreme Court and the Congress because he sought to flout the Honduran Constitution, after being warned that he should not do so. A civilian interim president was appointed by the Congress, in accordance with the Constitution and the Honduran laws of presidential succession. The military is not in control of the country; the civilian government is. The article continues,

    President Obama was correct in calling Zelaya’s ouster illegal, while Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declined to call the action a coup — in hopes of bringing Zelaya back into government but with wings clipped.

    I disagree, strongly, with the notion that the ouster was illegal. I also disagree with the notion, expressed in the article, that the U.S. government played the morally right hand. I think it played the hand of expediency, dealt from a deck of cards it simply did not understand. I disagree that it is the proper function of the United States Government to do that sort of thing.

    Perhaps, as Roger suggests in Comment #155, it would be useful for Clavos to opine on the situation.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Whoo-hoo!

    Dan, I well remember all the negative press coming out of Central and South America back in the Reagan era…and despite the mountain of claims you’re presenting (and I’m sure many of them are as true as you believe) I’m not so eager to buy the ‘official line’ anymore.

    I do know this, however – some of the ‘banana republic’ dictators were put into place by us, and others received much aid…and in EVERY case I can think of, those dictators that we either installed or aided were RIGHT-wing.

    Remember Pinochet? He received active support from the CIA…and of course there’s the 1983 coup in Guatemala in which I can personally attest our military was standing by to provide aid.

    But if there were a left-wing government, what did we do? Does Iran-Contra ring a bell?

    And that’s before we even start talking about what we did to install and/or aid regimes in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan (and, a long time ago, Saudi Arabia).

    Dan, IMO the more we interfere, the more our international reputation is damaged…and every time we castigate Chavez (whether he’s good or bad), we strengthen his position because he can then rightfully point out that we want regime change in Venezuela.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    Here’s a little interesting tidbit from Columbia, where we’re providing $750M in military aid to help prop them up. It seems that the local government is paying a bounty for dead FARC rebels…which means that the soldiers are killing innocents and dressing them up as FARC rebels.

    Yep! Another SHINING example of America’s efforts to support democracy across the face of the earth!

  • Clavos

    It’s Colombia

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Glen, in Comment # 158 you say, I’m not so eager to buy the ‘official line’ anymore. Good for you!

    I’ve spent a hell of a lot of time and effort in recent days trying to deal with the “official line.” The official line is, of course, that the Honduran military staged a terrible, unconstitutional and unlawful coup and must be put in its place by its betters — here the United States, Venezuela, the OAS and others.

    It is, at this point, unimportant to me which banana republic dictators the United States Government may have put in power years ago. It’s a new ballgame, and President Chávez of Venezuela is now in charge.

    I wish the United States Government would stay out of affairs about which it knows little and as to which it is therefore likely to behave stupidly. Intervening in such affairs on the side of the present Venezuelan Government — which knows exactly what is happening — is, to me, unpardonable.

    I feel very strongly about this, and not only because my home is in Panama, between Venezuela and Honduras.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Glen, I almost forgot: Happy 4th of July. We will be celebrating here in Panama.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    According to this article, the top lawyer in the Honduran military, Colonel Herberth Bayardo Inestroza, said that the decision to arrest former President Zelaya was made by the Attorney General, and the Supreme Court ordered the military to do it. The decision to get Zelaya out of the country, rather than to jail him in Honduras, was made by the military. According to Colonel Bayardo, the deportation of former President Zelaya was unlawful, but it was necessary to do it.

    In the moment that we took him out of the country, in the way that he was taken out, there is a crime. Because of the circumstances of the moment this crime occurred, there is going to be a justification and cause for acquittal that will protect us.
    ***
    Had Zelaya been jailed, throngs of loyal followers would have erupted into chaos and demanded his release with violence.

    “What was more beneficial, remove this gentleman from Honduras or present him to prosecutors and have a mob assault and burn and destroy and for us to have to shoot?” he said. “If we had left him here, right now we would be burying a pile of people.”

    According to this article, Honduras has withdrawn from the OAS, stating that the decision to remove the former president will not be reversed and that he will not be restored to office. Honduras told the OAS to do as it pleases.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Bliffle

    Tough call to make. On the one hand we have a ruler who illegally sought to extend his rule, and the rest of the government forcefully expelling him. Neither are legal, so what does a supporter of “rule of law” do?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The reaction of the US government has so far been almost entirely verbal. We haven’t withdrawn our ambassador or pushed for sanctions.

    And nearly all the other governments in the world have had the same or even harsher reaction: France, Spain, Italy withdrew their ambassadors, the UN has made clear its disapproval.

    All of this is predicated on the disturbing mental image of an elected president being removed from office at gunpoint by soldiers.

    This doesn’t make the reaction correct. But only the OAS and Chavez and Ortega are likely to take stronger actions. Their military threats are probably just bluster, but there will probably be sanctions.

    Lumping Obama and Chavez together, as Dan does even in the title of his piece, is not exactly a thoughtful addition to his argument.

    And if the exiled president had been a rightist rather than a leftist, would Dan’s reaction be the same?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Handyguy, you ask And if the exiled president had been a rightist rather than a leftist, would Dan’s reaction be the same?

    That’s not an easy one, because I am confused over the meanings of right and left in the current political context. Possibly, “right” is intended to mean “conservative” and “left” is intended to mean “liberal” — although I have seen little consistency. I have often heard Chávez referred to as a “leftist,” but rarely as a “liberal” and never as a “rightist” or as a “conservative.” He appears to me to be a world class demagogue, striving for one man rule for the foreseeable future. In the process, he has done much to destroy freedom of the press and to repress, through force in many cases, challenges to his continued rule. He has done great damage to the liberties of his subjects as well as to the Venezuelan economy. His policies have brought endemic shortages of food and various other necessities to the country. Inflation is rampant. My recent article on Venezuela fleshes out some of this stuff. Are these the actions of a “leftist?” Of a “liberal?” I would have expected that sort of thing more from a “rightist,” but not from a “conservative.”

    On the other hand, great “leftist” governments, such as those in Russia during Stalin’s rule, in China for as long as I can remember, and a bunch of others resemble in many respects the “rightist” governments of such places as Saudi Arabia and Iran insofar as human rights are concerned. Were the people in Iraq living under a “leftist” or “rightist,” a “liberal” or “conservative” government during the rule of Saddam Hussein? Was Hitler’s National Socialist Party a “leftist” or “rightist” organization? Is the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea “rightist” or “leftist?”

    I find it difficult to use or to understand words which seem to have no consistent meaning. Perhaps you can enlighten me. In the meantime, I shall continue to try to look at what governments do and how they do it rather than at labels attached to them.

    Dan(Miller)

  • zedd

    Republicans like things black and white.

    The real issue here is that Obama expressed the same views as Chavez on some level.

    Our modern Reps like simple: good guys vs. bad guys. Nuance is evil; something close to moral relativism. Reps consist of fudi duddies who don’t like high falutin thinking and messing with things “as they always been”, be they Yale law grads or corn shuckers. It’s always very simple for them. There is always a clearly drawn line in the sand regardless of the details.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    The aircraft in which former President Zelaya had intended to return to Honduras, with various Latin American presidents and some three hundred reporters, to be met by ten thousand supporters, has been refused permission to land.

    As more than 10,000 of his supporters protested Saturday near the heavily guarded presidential palace, Zelaya posted an audio message on the Internet urging loyalists to greet his arrival.

    “We are going to show up at the Honduras International Airport in Tegucigalpa … and on Sunday we will be in Tegucigalpa,” Zelaya said in the taped statement carried Saturday on the Web sites of the Telesur and Cubadebate media outlets.

    He implored supporters to remain peaceful.
    “I ask all farmers, residents, Indians, young people and all workers’ groups, businessmen and friends … to accompany me on my return to Honduras,” he said. “Do not bring weapons. Practice what I have always preached, which is nonviolence. Let them be the ones who use violence, weapons and repression.”

    “I hold the coup plotters responsible for the lives of each and every person,” he said.

    In comments to a local radio station, Zelaya said he would be accompanied by Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, several foreign ministers and 300 journalists.

    Catholic Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez implored Zelaya not to confront the interim government amid the high tensions, saying in a statement broadcast Saturday that “your return to the country could unleash a bloodbath.”

    It seems incredible that the former president anticipated no violence upon his intended media event – photo op arrival, and the Honduran Government acted wisely to prevent it. It seems obvious that former President Zelaya anticipated that the Honduran Government would deny permission for the aircraft (must have been a big one) to land. It will be interesting to see what backup plans he, and others, may have.

    Dan(Miller)
    .

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Apparently, former President Zelaya has postponed his return to Honduras, and intends to hold a press conference today (5 July) in Washington, D.C. to “clarify” his plans.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    He’s going. No he isn’t, he’s going to hold a press conference in Washington, D.C. instead (see links in previous comments). No he isn’t, his departure for Honduras is imminent. Various Latin American presidents will or will not accompany him.

    Oh well.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Now, former President Zelaya says that he is going to Honduras with U.N. General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann.

    Other Latin American presidents are not traveling with Zelaya. The presidents of Ecuador, Argentina and Paraguay and the secretary-general of the Organization of American States will fly separately to El Salvador.

    Born in the United States, the current UN secretary-general is a Nicaraguan diplomat and politician. He has staunchly supported the Ortega regime, and was a member of the Sandinistas.

    The simplest and safest way to keep them from landing would be to close the airport, have the control tower so announce to all arriving aircraft, and station fire trucks and other vehicles so as to block the runway(s).

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    It now appears that former President Zelaya has left for Honduras in a Venezuelan jet aircraft.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Regardless of the political outcome, Hondurans lose. The military leaders and their com padres are supported by the elite of Honduran society while the followers of depo-Prez Zelaya are the poor and disenfranchised. Gee, sounds like Hondurans aren’t the only ones devoid of getting the proper education.

    Perhaps Sarah Palin would like to go down there and give a Presidency trial run.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    According to an earlier but consistent report, former President Zelya will be accompanied by the UN “General Assembly president.”

    Several other planes were leaving Washington separately to avoid a direct confrontation, trailing Zelaya to see what happens in the skies over Honduras before deciding where to land. They include two planeloads of journalists and a group of Latin American presidents flying with the secretary-general of the Organization of American States.

    It would have been quite useful had the “two planeloads of journalists” going with former President Zelaya been in Honduras for the past week to get a feel for what has been happening there and why.

    Former President Zelaya appears to be set upon a physical confrontation; I hope there is none in the air or at the airport, and that the runway is merely blocked to prevent the Venezuelan aircraft from landing.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    According to an Associated Press report,the interim president of Honduras has

    alleged that Nicaragua is moving troops to their border in an attempt at psychological intimidation, and warned them not to cross into Honduras, “because we’re ready to defend our border.” A spokesman for Nicaragua’s army called his allegation “totally false.”

    Dan (Miller)

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    This looks like a developing story, Dan. What the vast majority of commenters here seem to fail to recognize is that the Honduran military has been following the country’s constitution in arresting and ousting former President Zelaya. This was not a golpe, this was a removal from office of a potential tyrant according to the Honduran basic law.

    Obviously, Zelaya wants a civil war, so that he can seek Venezuelan and American aid in controlling the country and imposing a dictatorship over the heads of the constitution of his country.

    It is no surprise that a slimy liar like Obama would go along with the violation of Honduras’ constitution; it is no surprise that a power-hungry ego-maniac like Chavez would seek to undermine a democracy in Central America.

    It is a surprise that the commenters on this site fail to comprehend simple facts. I don’t think much of politicians – if they’re not kissing the baby, they are stealing his candy. But I thought my fellow commenters to be more savvy than the slimy politicians creating the situation necessary for a bloodbath.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Ruvy, as you may have detected, clever person that you are, I find this mess very distasteful. I wish that there had been at least a few “journalists” in Honduras seeing what’s been happening there for the last couple of weeks. Instead, a whole flock is trying to accompany former President Zelaya to Honduras in hopes of getting gory pictures of bloodshed to be printed with misleading captions and associated with stories illustrating their ignorance of what led up to the mess.

    Should former President Zelaya be returned to Honduras to stand trial, I am convinced that he will get a much fairer trial in the Honduran courts than Honduras has had in the media, at the OAS and at the UN — and even by the United States Government, which should know better.

    Once the term “military coup” was applied to the situation, that became the whole of the matter for many. It is, of course, far easier to conceptualize that way; no thought and no further information are required

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Military is shooting & killing marchers awaiting President Zelaya, journalists attacked. TELESUR EN VIVO

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    CNN posted this at 6:10 EDT, about 1 hour ago.

    And now I have to get some sleep. It’s after 2 AM here.

    Over to you, Dan.

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Clashes as Zelaya attempts return: A child has been killed and several people injured.

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The link in 178 appears to be a live video feed (still going) through Venezuelan TV. Of course, it’s in Spanish.

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Photo of 10-12 year old boy murdered by the Honduras military.

  • Clavos

    Cindy,

    You’re posting viDeo from Telesur Venezuelan TV, which is owned and controlled by the Chavista government. In light of the Chavistas’ record vis-a-vis the truth, those videos cannot be regarded as authoritative or even truthful, and the twitterpic is of a dead kid — anything further you may think you know aboutthe circumstances of his death is coming from unverifiable sources.

    Sorry, but the pics and videos are meaningless until verified by independent sources.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Of course there have been injuries and deaths. Former President Zelaya had been asked not to return in the present circumstances due to the bloodshed certain to result. He insisted on attempting a return, accompanied by Venezuelan outlet TeleSur and other media.

    TeleSur is an organ of the Venezuelan Government; it has very little credibility with me for that reason. I don’t know what, if anything, it may mean, but it is now quite dark here in Panama, almost due south of Honduras. Yet the “live feed” suggests that it is still broad daylight in Honduras, which is impossible. Yet it continues; it is now 7:45 PM in Panama and the sun set well over an hour ago; the “live broadcast” continues in full daylight.

    The mess which would have resulted had former President Zelaya’s aircraft been permitted to land would have been far worse. He commands the support of roughly thirty percent of the population, and I can’t imagine anything else happening. The foreign interference with Honduran affairs has been absurd, and in its absence the mess there would not now be occurring. It has brought out both supporters and opponents of former President Zelaya, in numbers which are not known.

    According to this report, the aircraft bearing the former president has headed for Nicaragua, and he plans to try again on Monday or Tuesday.

    If he cares about the Honduran people, he would be very wise not to do so.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    TeleSur is still (8:35 PM here) broadcasting “live” in the exceptionally long daylight of Honduras and Venezuela; if we had such bountiful sunlight in Panama at this (or any) time of year, it would be marvelous. Unfortunately, we get about twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of dark per day, with a variation of about thirty minutes from the longest to the shortest day. Honduras is about the same.

    A few minutes ago, Telesur was interviewing a woman in Argentina who, as I understood her Spanish, said that even the wicked United States recognizes the travesty being conducted by the interim Honduran Government. Moments ago, it broadcast a phone conversation with Nicaraguan President Ortega denying that the Nicaraguan Navy is heading to Honduras.

    Former President Zelaya is now in Nicaragua.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dan(Miller), I didn’t guarantee they would remain on for eternity, they replayed the military firing at the protesters for about 1/2 hour. Then they were done. I watched it for hours.

    Everyone, please feel free to trust whomever you prefer. I am posting this for people who might like to have information as it was happening.

    It certainly cannot hurt to verify information. However, it is a bit too late to get it fresh while waiting for your favorite MSM outlet. So, take it or leave it.

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Clav,

    If I remember I think I verified with an AlJazeera post? Did I forget to post that?

    Honduras coup: violence claims first life as president tries to fly home

    Telegraph UK above

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Yeah, I didn’t label it, but #180 was AlJazeera which I posted for verification as soon as I had it.

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Of course there have been injuries and deaths.

    Of course there have been injuries and deaths?

    The military should shoot citizens with bullets because they told him not to return? The military should fire into the crowd and murder a child?

    You are kidding me? Right? NO one could possibly believe such a thing.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Cindy, when former President Zelaya tried to return to Honduras, and urged his supporters to mass at the airport to greet his triumphal arrival, he surely knew that his return would be far from triumphal and that there would be injuries and even deaths. Even the Cardinal Archbishop of Honduras and many others had warned him of that; it was obvious. With his supporters all over the place, encouraged by Zelaya, Chavez et al, and with the military trying to keep some semblance of order, it is not surprising that a very few were killed or injured. It is surprising that there were not many more injuries or deaths. It is very unfortunate in any event. It is also very unfortunate that former President Zelaya intends to repeat the same exercise tomorrow and/or the next day.

    If Zelaya were interested in a peaceful resolution, which he does not appear to be, he would surrender at the Nicaraguan border with Honduras and turn himself over for a trial by the Honduran courts. With the world spotlight illuminating the affair, Honduras would have had to afford him a fair trial — far more fair than that given to Honduras by the world media and by nearly all other countries thus far. Or, he would agree to holding the November presidential election earlier. That has not happened, and it almost certainly will not.

    As to the Twitter photo,I suggest that you use Google or some other translator for the Spanish comments associated with it; most that I read damn Zelaya for causing the violence.

    Like it or not, countries have governments. Some are much worse than others. The Chavez government is doing its worst to cause situations like that in Honduras. Were I an anarchist, which I am not, I would throw at least some fury at Zelaya and his enabler, Chavez of Venezuela.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I believe Dan is being disingenuous about ‘left’ and ‘right.’ He knows I mean ‘more socialist’ and ‘less socialist.’ And he despises Zelaya first and foremost because he is a socialist allied [somewhat] with Chavez. Placing the names Chavez and Obama side by side in the article’s title is a deliberate rhetorical device, and quite misleading.

    He has also, depite quoting numerous news articles, studiously avoided reacting to the nuances and relative restraint of the US govt in this situation, continuing to insist that Obama is ‘meddling.’

    Dan is obviously an intelligent man and a skilled writer, so it is unfortunate when he settles for being a propagandist.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    This article was updated about an hour ago on CNN. Even it is little better than a recitation of what the deposed leader who tried to violate Honduras’ constitution did to illegally re-gain power. Not much of an improvement over the one-sided “reportage” of the Chavista run Telesur Vivo.

    Dan’s tag on this story – egregious interference in Honduran affairs – is becoming painfully true. Obama has hit the “pause” button on Honduran aid, Chavez and Ortega, the OAS, the EU, and a host of other “worthies” are trying to shove their version of reality down the throats of Hondurans with little or no regard for the truth. Telesur Vios’s reporting was little more than showboat reporting of a dog and pony show by ex-president Zelaya. And as we see, sometimes phony baloney dog and pony propaganda shows get people killed.

    Zelaya has a whole bunch of “best buds” to shovel his shit for him world-wide. The Honduran people and their beleaguered leaders have only their faith in democracy and the rule of law – which may not be enough in a world filled with robbers and liars who pretend to righteousness but who incite to violence and death.

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    “With his supporters all over the place, encouraged by Zelaya, Chavez et al, and with the military trying to keep some semblance of order…”

    Zelaya and Chavez told them to? Is that what you tell yourself?

    Have you ever protested? Do you understand what you are saying? Do you realize what you are justifying because of your beliefs?

    The military shoots bullets at citizens to keep order?

    Asked and answered.

    Consider the reiterations necessary to my exercise of restraint. We’ll not likely get anywhere repeating ourselves another round. I have already heard your answer. Of course you are still free to answer if you wish.

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    AlJazeer video confirms that the photo I posted earlier is the child who was murdered by the military.

    I know these people aren’t ex pat gringos who know everything, they’re just actual people who live in Honduras, probably to stupid and gullible to know what’s best for them, but just in case anyone wondered what they think about their own situation, here are two article:

    Resistance and Repression in Honduras

    Generals Who Led Honduras Military Coup Trained at the School of the Americas

    “Romeo Vasquez, a general who led the military coup in Honduras against President Manuel Zelaya, received training at the US School of the Americas. The SOA has trained more than 60,000 soldiers, many of whom have returned home and committed human rights abuses, torture, extrajudicial execution and massacres.”

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Ther voice of reasonableness and truth on the one side, the voice of the ideologue pushing lies and half truths on the other, while pretending to restraint.

    And now we see the ideologue pressing lie upon lie in a campaign to distort truth and bury it altogether in the wind and fury of the false words screamed in accusation.

    Golly gee, this looks awfully familiar. I wonder where I might have seen it before?

  • Arch Conservative

    Cindy even if the military killed that little boy how does that justify Zelaya violating the Honduran constitution and trying to make himself president for life?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Cindy, re your Comment #193, Zelaya and Chavez told them to? Is that what you tell yourself?

    Please read or re-read the article linked in my Comment #168.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Clavos

    Placing the names Chavez and Obama side by side in the article’s title is a deliberate rhetorical device, and quite misleading.

    Misleading?

    Were they (Chávez and the gringo) not, at the time of publication, in agreement on the Honduras crisis?

  • Clavos

    And he despises Zelaya first and foremost because he is a socialist allied [somewhat] with Chavez.

    Talk about “disingenuous”!

    Dan has made it abundantly clear, both in the article and in subsequent responses in the comments, that his objection is to Zelaya’s illegal attempt to, in imitation of his mentor, Chávez, secure for himself the presidency of Honduras for life in direct contravention of Honduran law

  • Clavos

    Cindy,

    This morning’s Miami Herald features that photo you describe as that of a “10-12 year old boy” on thwe front page, but describes the individual as a “man.”

    On closer inspection of the much larger photo in the newspaper, I have to agree, that’s no kid, and the Herald further reports that he was shot while trying to climb the security fence at the airport.

    Zelaya is deliberately trying to foment unrest in Honduras — that’s what his repeated attempts to, as the Hreald puts it, “make the brazen trip home” are all about.

    What’s more, this whole contretemps is being orchestrated by Chávez; Zelaya is nothing but his puppet.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Here is the perspective of an anti-Chavez blogger in Venezuela. I think he get it right.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    So, Clavos and Dan, as if I really have to explain this to you, a dog and pony show is being rigged to get rid of constitutionally authorized leadership in Honduras, replacing it with un jefe on the model of Chavez.

    A similar dog and pony show took place off Gaza last week with that boat filled with terrorist sympathisers and terrorists, the ISM, and the has-been politician and the Nobel Laureate stuck on the boat to take the stink of Arab terror away from the whole operation.

    What the legitmate Honduran leaders are enduring now is the exact same kind of lying, villification, distortion of facts and delegitimization that we who are attempting to build Jewish towns and villages in ALL of Eretz Yisrael have been dealing with since the late 1980’s when the Labor Party here decided to ditch socialism and take on Arabs as a major constituency.

    One last shot, and then I’m through making linkages here. The B’tzelem Youtube films are short telenovelas with the single plot of inciting religous Jews to anger (often on the Sabbath, when Arabs and the violence inciters who go under the name “peace activist” choose activities like “harvesting” [really harvesting propaganda]) and then taking photos of the incited and angry Jews to make them look like evil Nazis in the eyes of a world that barely understands what really is going on.

    We saw a dose of this yesterday on the Telesur broadcast: the constant hectoring voice of the woman broadcaster in Spanish, the distorted pictures of the “ten year old boy” who was shot…. a teleplay of “supporters” called out, designed to incite the Honduran soldiers to kill – and then “sympathizers” overseas complaining that the soldiers fired bullets to keep order. Like the dog and pony show off of Gaza last week, this too was “news”.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Handyguy — you say, in Comment #191, that I despise Zelaya first and foremost because he is a socialist allied [somewhat] with Chavez. Wrong. I despise him because he was making a mockery of the Honduran Constitution and, with all the force Chávez could help him to muster, trying to remake Honduras in the shape of Venezuela — contrary to the will of the majority of the people in Honduras. To do that, he needed to remain in power indefinitely, in patent violation of the Constitution. The Honduran Congress and Supreme Court took action to prevent this, properly under the Constitution and the laws. Former President Zelaya’s actions have precipitated and encouraged violence; that he sought that violence seems clear. If you would read a bit more about Venezuela, perhaps my article and the multiple links provided there, you might find it interesting. If Chávez meets the test of being a socialist, then my opposition to socialism is boundless. His brand of “socialism” has come very closely to resemble the National Socialist Party in Germany under Hitler, and is becoming worse daily. The situation in Venezuela has become very bad, as noted in the article. Rather than deal with the problems there, Chávez is trying to convert other Latin American countries into clones of Venezuela — perhaps in hopes of diverting the attention of the citizens of Venezuela. I think that is very unfortunate.

    I suppose that one man’s “propaganda” is another man’s truth, and vice versa. Based on what I know of Venezuela, and of the current happenings in Honduras, I think that most of the stuff being reported about the situation in Honduras is propaganda. Interestingly, the news being broadcast in Panamá, where a Presidential candidate very supportive of Chávez (and formerly of Noriega) lost by a very wide margin, seems to be far less supportive of former President Zelaya and far more supportive of the interim President than that which I understand is being broadcast in the United States and in many other countries.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    201 Clav,

    First of all the photo on the Miami Herald does not say that is a photo of a man. It says that photo is of a supporter.

    Secondly, in the body of the story, the article discusses a man with no relation to the photo.

    Thirdly, if you have read the news, you will understand that it has been stated widely that there are at least two dead, maybe three (as of yesterday). Likely the man is another victim.

    Forth, Did you look at the AlJazeera video I posted in 194 of the boy with his mother screaming about her son?

    It is a very close up video. It is a boy.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Ruvy, It is a dog and pony show or, perhaps more accurately, a lamb show in which the lambs are being led to harm. No harm done to Zelaya or Chávez; merely to their lambs.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dan(Miller),

    I am having a very difficult time following your reasoning here.

    I agree with your blogger here: The fact of the matter is that the Zelaya supporters as numerous as they might have been were still not that many, and certainly not enough to storm Tocontin Airport. CNN camera pointed at them all the time.

    This does not seem to jive with your contention that there was bound to be bloodshed or your defense of the military having to control the protesters using real bullets.

    Also, in reference to your blogger’s opinion, I have no stake in how many people oppose the coup. I don’t really care if they are a majority or a minority. That said, I have a question.

    If they are a minority then what is the problem? This is all about holding a vote. Did you see the photos of people carrying around ballot boxes, as symbols of protest demanding their right to a vote while the military tore them from their hands? Why–if they are such a small minority?

    So, which is it, were there so few people that they were impotent to ‘storm the airport’. Or was there such a threat to the military that real bullets were required!

    Here is my stake, I don’t care how many people support some asshole president. I care about this: People should make their own decisions and not have governments and militaries murdering them while they do it.

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Clav,

    WSJ reports on two deaths.

    …clashes at the airport here appeared to lead to the first two deaths in the country’s deepening political crisis.

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    205

    Yes, indeed, they’re lambs. These brainless people who just happen to have lived there for a lifetime, should be all over blogs by white guys who grew up in the USA to figure out how they should see the world and what they should do.

    Maybe Ruvy can give them some tips on nuclear warfare. Dan(Miller) and his team of gringo bloggers can straighten them out, probably none of them even went to Yale. So, what do they know?

  • Clavos

    First of all the photo on the Miami Herald does not say that is a photo of a man. It says that photo is of a supporter.

    The print edition (for which you’ll have to take my word) caption says: “KILLED: Manuel Zelaya supporters carry a man who was shot to death Sunday at Tegucigalpa’s international airport. At least 30 people were treated for injuries, the Red Cross said.”

    As I said, I can see the much larger photo in the print edition; it is of a young man who is obviously in his twenties.

    You say:

    Likely the man is another victim.

    But, as I told you, it’s the identical same photo.

    I looked at the Al Jazeera video. Al Jazeera is one of the most questionable sources in the world, IMO, so the video does not convince me. I watched it multiple times in full-screen mode as well as normal, with High Quality on, and if that guy is ten or 12, I’m 18.

    I’m not convinced, Cindy.

    It seems to me that you are much too quick to accept as gospel truth any account which fits your preconceptions.

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    196-

    Arch,

    You seem to be under a few misconceptions. One: the creepy president was not trying to make himself a dictator for life. He was doing the same thing that was done in NYC, in fact. He was offering a vote on extending term limits. This would mean he would be able to run for office again–not extend his time in office.

    Two: I would reiterate what Bliffle said in #164, then I would add what Earl said.

    Here are the very clear points made by Earl, that you no doubt already read, which did not seem to support your personal bias, so you likely discarded them. This is the most sensible and unbiased opinion here:

    #28 Earl- “There isn’t any law in Honduras that allows the military to arrest and forcibly remove its own Commander-in-Chief from the country. If that happened in the U.S. we’d sure as shit call it a coup d’etat, and that’s what it was in Honduras too.

    It’s hard to feel sympathy for Zelaya, considering that what he did was way outside the country’s constitution and law. But so was his removal. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And pretending that his removal was legally (or otherwise) justified is a flaming sack of shit, and what’s more you know it.”

    #50 Earl- “They could then have voided his presidency, sworn in his successor, and allowed that successor (in his capacity as commander-in-chief) to determine whether to use the armed forces to forcibly remove Zelaya.

    But they didn’t do that at all. Instead, in the name of a “constitutional emergency,” they usurped power that they did not have — command of the armed forces — and used it to force its own commander-in-chief out of office, then named his successor. That’s not a military coup, but it’s certainly a political one. And yes, it’s a huge power grab.

    Zelaya’s violation of the constitution does not justify the National Congress and Supreme Court’s violations of the constitution, no matter how hard you try.”

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Here are some stupid people talking about why they are against the coup. Please be careful about believing it, it’s eye witness accounts by those sheep actually present. We know we can neither trust stupid Hondurans who upload pics of their murdered children or evil socialists! so these are probably all lies:

    All Quotes follow:

    I asked why she supported Manuel Zelaya, or “Mel”, as his supporters call him. “The government said he broke the law and is guilty of 18 crimes”, she said. “Do you know what they are?” She pulled out her cell phone and started to read from a list: He raised the minimum wage, gave out free school lunches, provided milk for the babies and pensions for the elderly, distributed energy-saving lightbulbs, decreased the price of public transportation, made more scholarships available for students.” Suddenly a crowd gathered around us and started chiming in. “He fixed the roads”, said one. “He put schools in remote rural areas, like my little village, that never had them before”, added another. “He let anyone go into the Presidential Palace and converted it from an elite residence to the people’s house”, said another.

    “You see?”, Alejandra smiled. “He is guilty of even more then 18 crimes. That’s why the elite classes can’t stand him and why we want him back. This is really a class struggle.”

    “I’ve never had anything like this in my lifetime”, said an ecstatic Miriam Nunez, a 46-year-old teacher from Tegucigalpa. “Look around you-you can’t even see the beginning or the end of this march! It’s full of teachers, students, campesinos, union workers, indigenous people. One thing the coup succeeded in doing is bringing together the social movements in a way that never exited before in this country.”

    What made the march particularly exciting is that as it approached the airport, there were rows and rows of soldiers and police in riot gear blocking their path. Each time the security forces tried to stop the crowd, there would be negotiations with the police, who would finally back down and allow the protesters to get closer and closer to the airport.

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Clav,

    I will grant that a mother would be screaming about her child, if her child was 40. That is the information I got so far. I will concede awaiting details on the age of the ‘child’ until some source you find more reliable reports the actual age.

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Video, uploaded to youtube 25 minutes ago.

  • Baronius

    “He was offering a vote on extending term limits.”

    Cindy, you recognize that it’s unconstitutional to do so? That it’s unconstitutional to fire a general for refusing to do so? That it’s unconstitutional to refuse the court’s order to reinstate a general? That the court can use the military to implement its decisions?

  • Clavos

    Cindy,

    The printed info (in Spanish) which accompanies the video says he was 19 yo.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Baronius,

    Getting the simple facts of the case straight here is the big problem. Some countries recognize the constitutional use of the military in enforcing court decisions. But folks hear the words golpe (coup) and that is all they need – their minds are made up. Most normal folks do not spend their time on the intricacies of politics or of legal documents, so if somebody says golpe (coup) repeatedly, then golpe it is.

    Commenters here who use that word to describe events in Honduras – in spite of the facts of the case – are no different from the folks reading golpe in the papers repeatedly. Repeat a lie often enough….

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Cindy, in Comment # 206, you say I care about this: People should make their own decisions and not have governments and militaries murdering them while they do it.

    That said, I don’t understand the implicit position that Venezuelan President Chávez and his many friends in the OAS, ALBA and elsewhere can properly meddle in the internal affairs of Honduras on behalf of former President Zelaya to undermine the Honduran Constitution and to precipitate just the sort of killings we both abhor. I understand that the interim Government of Honduras asked those who support its actions to stay away from the airport, to avoid the sort of violence which would almost certainly have occurred and been far worse that what actually happened.

    You say, This is all about holding a vote . . . That’s almost true. It is about holding a referendum expressly forbidden by the Honduran Constitution, to permit former President Zelaya to mimic his ally President Chávez and remain in power indefinitely. It’s also about whether the Constitutionally selected Honduran Interim President, a civilian, should be deposed and replaced by former President Zelaya. Here is a link to a certification by the Honduran Congress explaining the necessity to remove former Zelaya from office. Would the entire Supreme Court, the Congress, and all officials who supported the ouster of Mr. Zelaya have to go as well?

    I understand that the former President may have been exiled from the country improperly. As noted in a previous comment, the military’s judge advocate general acknowledged this, but maintained that it was necessary in order to avoid bloodshed. Perhaps the former President should have been arrested, imprisoned in Honduras, and made to stand trial. I suspect that this would have resulted in far more violence than thus far experienced.

    Suppose that several thousand “Tea Party” types in the United States attempted to storm the White House to demand that President Obama be ousted, right now, and that a new election be held, in blatant disregard of the United States Constitution? Suppose that the Supreme Court and the Congress unanimously rejected the claims of the protesters and of their desired replacement President. Suppose that the protesters were encouraged and otherwise supported by Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, President Chávez and Fox News, with arranged media coverage? If they tried to down the fence surrounding the White House, it seems quite likely that some would be injured or killed. And why? They would only be asking for a chance to vote. It would provide great press for their supporters, but otherwise be very bad.

    Cindy, as an Anarchist, you must recognize that actions of former President Zelaya and of Venezuelan President Chávez have been far from pure. Both sought and are seeking great power for themselves at the expense of their people, and both seem determined to cause violence in Honduras in support of their quests. I think that any more government than is necessary is bad. President Chávez appears to hold a very different view, as does former President Zelaya.

    As noted in a previous comment, the Interim Government of Honduras expressed willingness to hold the scheduled November election early, and even to consider a plebiscite on whether former President Zelaya should be reinstated. These ideas were firmly rejected by the OAS “negotiator,” who had a non-negotiable demand: that the former President be restored immediately. Either an early election or a plebiscite could have averted much anger and violence. Perhaps, despite the rejection by the OAS, further consideration may be given by the interim Government to these efforts.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Honduras has suspended rights, murdered protesters, closed independent media, and purged the governmentt, but at least its not a dictatorship!

    Why was press banned from Honduras at the airport? Why was the military attacking both protesters AND the journalists?

    I can’t wait to see what the answer to that question is.
    ——-

    Thanks Clav. I guess some thought he looked younger. 19 is young enough to be shot while voicing an opinion. They got the age wrong.

    (If it were my niece, who is 19 in one week, I would feel a child was murdered. It is difficult to feel differently about someone else’s child. But still he was not 10-12 as first described.)

  • Clavos

    Cindy,

    A significant number of the soldiers (American and otherwise) with me in Vietnam were 18 or 19 yo. At 22, I was the “old man” of my squad.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Ruvy, re Comment #216 — I agree.

    The problem is that we label things simplistically, and then accept that label as dispositive. Sometimes, as here, that is a silly and unfortunate procedure. If I correctly conclude that all horses, milk cows, bulls and chickens are animals, decide on that basis that they are the same in all other respects, and try to ride my chicken out to the field to rope my bull and then try to milk him, it is entirely foreseeable that I will experience difficulties.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    I seem to recall 19 was the average age of soldiers killed in Vietnam.

  • Clavos

    Oh, and one other thing, Cindy:

    According to reports, including the one in the Miami Herald, he wasn’t merely “voicing an opinion,” he was attempting to scale a security fence, which presumably is there to keep people off the airport property. While I’ll grant that here in the US, the scaling of a security fence is rarely a reason for being shot to death (unless of course it’s the security fence of the prison in which you’re an inmate), Honduras is not the US, and there was a near (if not full-blown) riot going on.

    Context is important.

    Protesting here in the good ol’ USA can get you shot, too — Kent State.

  • Clavos

    Dan(Miller),

    The mental picture of you attempting to ride your chicken caused me to have to take a break to clean up the coffee sprayed all over my laptop screen.

  • rick

    maybe if obama hadn’t condemned the new honduran govt from the outset, they’d be doing just fine right now…

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Rick, Obama has to condemn the new government because they challenge the spread of pseudo-socialist totalitarianism.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    According to former President Zelaya, the United States Government under President Obama must bear much of the blame for the problems in Honduras:

    Zelaya today blamed the world powers, particularly the government of the United States, which is presided over by Barack Obama, for the political and institutional crisis in his country. Zelaya said that the U.S., being the power “that controls the sphere of those dependent on the dollar, has more than enough influence over its constituents to take immediate action” to address the conflict.

    He promised to

    return tomorrow and the day after that and every day thereafter, with the intention of liberating my people; all is going according to plan with the other presidents.(emphasis added)

    In the last sentence, I think he spoke the truth about all going according to plan. He continued,

    Zelaya indicated that he had flown four and a half hours to land at Toncontín Airport in the capital, but that the military had parked cars in the middle of the runway. When I came up to the cockpit of the plane, the pilots who came with me indicated that we couldn’t land because the plane would crash.”

    “If I had had a parachute, I would have immediately jumped from the plane, but we didn’t,” said Zelaya, after revealing that he would meet with his colleagues from the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, “to design the next step of the agreed-upon strategy.” There in El Salvador, awaits Argentine President Cristina Fernández, the president of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, Ecuadorian leader Rafael Correa, OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza and the President of the U.N. General Assembly, Nicaraguan Miguel D’Escoto.

    The unspecified “agreed upon strategy” is very likely to precipitate further violence if all continues to go “according to plan with the other presidents.”

    Perhaps the former President should have anticipated the refusal to allow his aircraft to land — it had been announced in ample time — and brought a parachute. The video from TeleSur would have been spectacular!

    Cindy, you say in Comment #218 that the press was barred from the airport. I recall having watched the “live coverage” by Venezuelan outlet TeleSur to which you provided a link; I have difficulty imagining a more pro-Zelaya press than TeleSur.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Clav, re Comment #223 – Gosh Darn! I’m sorry ’bout that. When I tried to convince the chicken to let me ride, she refused; the bull was snickering at a distance. Had the chicken not refused, I would have asked TeleSur to broadcast the entire show.

    Sancocho de pollo anyone?

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    It now seems likely that former President Zelaya will meet with Secretary Clinton this week, probably on Tuesday, in Washington, D.C. This may suggest that the former President will not attempt before then to return to Honduras, by parachute or otherwise.

    It is reported that

    The State Department says the administration remains committed to seeing a restoration of democratic order in Honduras and deplored the use of force against Zelaya’s supporters.

    I must wonder whether the State Department intends to discuss matters with any representative of the interim Honduran Government. Thus far, the answer has been “NO.” I wonder why.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I must wonder whether the State Department intends to discuss matters with any representative of the interim Honduran Government. Thus far, the answer has been “NO.” I wonder why.

    What is there to wonder, Dan? Do you negotiate with the guy you are about to have ditched? If you do, what is the point? The Blessed of Hussein intends to see to it that Zelaya gets restored to power. And afterwards, this interim government is going to stand trial for treason. What does Obama have to talk about with them? The weather? The rain? Thwe newest fashions in prison wear? From Obama’s standpoint, there is nothing to negotiate.

    There is more to all of this, a reason that I keep an eye on this. Just like the NATO bombing of Serbia, this is a shot over the bow at someone else – someone who is about to have an ultimatum delivered to hin on 10 July – Benyamin Netanyahu.

  • Baronius

    I bet that the State Department is talking to everyone. It’s funny that officials in offices can do things “unofficially”. State is always biased toward continuity. That’s a bias that’s stronger than any administration. Really, it’s the bias that allows State to function.

    The new Honduran president offers stability and the promise to resign soon. That’s not the stability of the old president returning to office, but it might be enough. Remember that President Obama is not particularly interested in foreign policy, especially not in acts of force. He’d have to exert an effort to make the State Department get riled up about a situation that’s going to resolve itself in five months, and I don’t see that happening.

    Maybe I’m hoping more than analyzing, though.

  • Baronius

    Ruvy, you’re right that some people won’t look at the facts, but that shouldn’t be the case on this thread.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Clav,

    You saw the photos and the video of the security fence. That a government would shoot a citizen for this display of what Thoreau would call civil disobedience is the context.

    That Honduras is not the US is really not very important to a person who holds both governments as illegitimate.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Baronius, re # 230 — I very much hope that you are right, even though the stuff I have seen coming out of Foggy Bottom suggests that your hopes — and mine — are not realistic.

    With Secretary Clinton’s possibly “diplomatic” elbow keeping her in town, and with President Obama dealing with far more important problems in Russia, it seems quite unlikely that Secretary Clinton will do much on her own.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Clavos

    Dan(Miller),

    If you ever do get that chicken to cooperate, I would like the job of managing the two of you for performances.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    It’s a little after 16:30 EDT right now. Has any news broken that ex-prez Zelaya may try another shot at landing in Honduras today?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    By the way kids, Lisa McKay was nice enough to post my latest story: on a Arab clan war in Silwan, near Jerusalem. My reason for posting this seeming insignificant news article was to drive home a point.

    Nobody cares about the Arabs at all – unless, if by doing so, they can stick it to the Jews.

    Nobody has bothered to comment on that article yet, which doewn’t say too much – I do not have stats telling me how many people are reading the article. That would be nice. But nobody has bothered to comment at all. It’s news – mnot a dog and pony show – which is what this whole deal turned into yesterday – and which is what happened off Gaza last week.

  • Clavos

    Cindy,

    There’s quite a difference between civil disobedience and overt acts of agression. Attempting to scale a security fence is the latter. While I’ll grant you that shooting hI’m dead is overreaction, it is also true that he had no reason and certainly no excuse for trying to go over the fence.

    I raise the issue of USA vs Honduras because it’s relevant to the context of the act. Honduras cannot be looked at and judged through the prism of your American lifetime of experience. As in much of Latin America, life, death, and the value of life are regarded very differently than they are here.

    I’m typing this on my phone. All typos and errors are the responsibility of Apple.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    “Obama has to condemn the new government because they challenge the spread of pseudo-socialist totalitarianism.”

    Thus spake Dave Nalle. Virtually his only contribution to this discussion is a ridiculous bit of slander with no factual basis of any kind. It’s far worse than the borderline, ‘we will choose the facts we wish to acknowledge and ignore the rest’ tone of the article itself and the comments by Dan and Clavos.

    I am not pro-Zelaya necessarily [and neither, I suspect, is Obama]. But this story has become another excuse for the same 4 or 5 voices on here to berate the President of the United States. It’s both irritating and tedious.

    A genuine, back and forth discussion that acknowledged nuances in the actual positions of various countries would not take the closed-minded, know-nothing tone the comments section for this article has fallen into.

    [Just like the comments section for most other articles here.]

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Zelaya is at the end of his first term [and he has G W Bush level approval ratings in the 30s]. Maybe he wouldn’t have even won the referendum had it gone forward.

    And there seems to be some conflicting information about whether the vote would have been to allow him a second term immediately, or just to run again in the following election [after skipping one].

    In any case, the ‘president for life’ factoid that has been repeated here several dozen times may not even be accurate.

    Finally, the hasty, inflexible way our rightist Blogcritics commentators have defended a president’s removal by soldiers at gunpoint [“It’s the law!”] is a bit chilling.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Honduras and all governments can and will be judged by me based on the principle that authority needs to justify itself or it is illegitimate. That is my perspective. I am not interested in making concessions to governments based on their histories.

    I don’t accept apologist perspectives, that explain why it is okay to support a govt that shoots its people in the head and bans independent media while doing so.

    A significant number of the soldiers (American and otherwise) with me in Vietnam were 18 or 19 yo. At 22, I was the “old man” of my squad.

    Indeed and Christopher’s age of 19 is what I also recall as the average age. I think it was part of a song.

    Excuse me for what I am about to say if you weren’t, but were you using this as some kind of point to justify something?

    That children of 19 and old men of 22 were sent to war by the U.S.; that Honduras is not the U.S. and presumably it’s understandable that they shoot people for civil disobedience (on specific acts we will have to agree to disagree) there…

    Arguments along any of these lines are arguments I don’t accept; they are apologist arguments. I’m not an apologist for governments or war. I have no interest in seeing why any of these things are justified by some people. They are unjustifiable to me.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    240 was to you Clav. I’ll be back after dinner to answer your posts Dan(Miller).

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Meantime here is what the UN has to say about the rule of law.

    From Alive in Honduras: In the original Spanish. In English (via google translate).

    Rule of law *

    “For its part, the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Mr. Leandro Despouy urged the Honduran authorities ‘to reestablish the rule of law, guaranteeing the free exercise of the judicial function and prevent further deterioration of the situation of rights human.’

    The experts urged the Government of Honduras to guarantee the human rights of all people, to ensure the free exercise of fundamental freedoms, banning the use of excessive force by the armed forces and police, order the reopening of all media communication closed or suspended, allowing the free practice of journalism and reestablish the rule of law and democratic institutions.”

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Meantime here is what the UN has to say about the rule of law.

    Heavens to Betsy! The UN has spoken!!! Let us all bow and tremble in fear upon the utterings of the voice of righteousness!!!

    O Truth! Cause the evildoers to flee!

    The last time the united nothings did anything of use for anybody was in the middle of 1950 when the Russians walked out of a Security Council meeting in anger. Since then, they have been lying through their teeth and wasting billions upon billions of dollars doing nothing. If those jets had hit the UN in Sept. 2001, it not only wouldn’t have been a loss, it would have been a favor!

  • Clavos

    So sorry we’re irritating, handy. Perhaps you would be happier if we were muzzled and thus prevented from critcizing your wonderfully charismatic, brilliant president.

    I would not be at all surprised to see it happen during his regime, nor would I be surprised if you were to support it, given the tone of your remarks in this forum.

  • Baronius

    I agree with Handy that we should avoid using this as an occasion to bash President Obama. I disagree with him to the extent that most of the comments on this thread have been about Honduras, not the US.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I have no interest in muzzling anyone. You often pull that line when someone criticizes your use of rhetoric and selective ‘facts’ in place of argument.

    Criticize Obama, Zelaya, me all you want. But your criticism would be more effective if it weren’t so stubbornly narrow-minded and repetitively one-note — if you acknowledged that there is validity to other points of view.

    There are nuances, shades of gray, in a story like this one. Reducing all the layers and all the inconvenient facts to just another instance of “I Hate Obama” serves no worthwhile purpose.

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    244- Ruvy

    I do assume that legal advisers at the UN might actually understand such a simple idea as the rule of law even though they may not have been to BC (to see among other things, why a nuclear war is an option that should be considered) and been set straight about their misinterpretations.

    Not really caring much for the rule of law myself, it makes no real difference to me who gets it right. It’s when people bend it to their own bias that I get to have a problem.

  • Baronius

    “I do assume that legal advisers at the UN might actually understand such a simple idea as the rule of law”

    Upon what historical events do you base that assumption?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Former President Zelaya has stated that he plans another attempt to enter Honduras on Thursday, after a trip to Washington, D.C., apparently to drum up further support. More violence is likely should he try to return with the backing of Venezuela or other countries.

    Meanwhile, President Martinelli of Panama, who assumed office on 1 July after an overwhelming victory in Panama’s recent elections, issued a statement asking other countries to cool it. He

    made a call to the political actors in the Honduran crisis asking them to find ways to overcome the crisis through dialog, and he said he does not share the position of former President Manuel Zelaya who made a call requesting the intervention of other foreign governments in the Republic of Honduras. “This action can aggravate the present situation that exists,” he said. He made a call for sanity, and said the interests of the people should come before the political or personal interests of any one individual. “It is necessary and urgent to avoid the generation of violence and institutional destabilization,” he added. Martinelli reiterated that any intervention, direct or indirect, on the part of any outside government in the internal subjects of the Republic of Honduras would only aggravate the tense situation that exists there, and he called upon the various countries involved in the conflict to assume a position of mediation and not one of interference.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Clavos

    There are nuances, shades of gray, in a story like this one.

    There’s a classic line! I love it, it leaves the door open for the legitimization of virtually anything.

    Ask either Zelaya or Micheletti if he sees “nuances” or “shades of gray” in the story. Or ask Chávez (he of the simian visage).

    Handy, you may not have any interest in muzzling anyone. I’ll take your word on that, but I have noticed over the past few months that your comments in the threads are far more often concerned with complaining about the people with whom you disagree criticizing Obama or some other of your favorite shibboleths, and decreasingly with the issues being discussed, so it was a logical conclusion after reading your #238.

    Most of the comments I have posted on this thread have dealt with the Hondurans on both sides of the issue, and to a lesser degree, the Venezuelan thug; I think he’s the author of the crisis, I think he egged Zelaya into attempting to extend his regime, knowing full well what would happen, and I don’t think he’s done yet meddling in the affairs of the LatAm countries not already in his thrall.

    Obama and the US are just one of the pawns in his hemispheric chess game.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    For some of the ambiguities/unanswered questions in the story, see my #239.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    your comments in the threads are far more often concerned with complaining about the people with whom you disagree criticizing Obama or some other of your favorite shibboleths, and decreasingly with the issues being discussed,

    Nearly every BC political article and its accompanying comments devolve into anti-Obama rants of one sort or another. I respond when I think this goes over the top and beyond the factual/provable.

    Fair criticism [of the president, or anyone or any idea] is one thing. It’s vital, necessary, welcome.

    Nasty caricatures, name-calling, exaggeration, oversimplification, however, get my goat. And especially when they come from apparently intelligent people, I will continue to point them out and refute them. [I try to ignore the commenters who just blast stupid inanities full of ignorance and typos. They provide their own refutation.]

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dan(Miller),

    I realize you are either awaiting my reply OR you don’t give a hoot if I ever reply.

    Whatever the case, I won $225 for 1st place playing poker tonight which gives me another $200 for the next worthy cause on my list. Something I can never do when I am arguing with anyone. So, whether you miss me or not, I will be back tomorrow. :-)

  • Clavos

    Hell, Cindy, my wife made more than that without doing anything to earn it; Obama gave her a “stimulus” payment of $250 a few weeks ago.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I do assume that legal advisers at the UN might actually understand such a simple idea as the rule of law….

    There is more understanding of “rule of law” nd “due process” in your cat’s litter box – or mine – that in the entire mechanism of the united nothings. I have a book at home on UN “peacekeeping”. It’s funnier than a comic book.

    The only thing that saves the UN are the organizations that existed prior to it, like the Universal Postal Union. Otherwise the whole shebang could be shut down and the only loss would be to the restauranteurs and whorehouses (I mean “escort services” ) in New York.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Here is a scary article purporting to explain why Presidents Obama and Chavez appear to speak with one voice on Honduras. I very much hope that it is inaccurate.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Here is an article which, I fear, is quite accurate.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Bliffle

    IMO, Dan(Miller) is carrying the day on this matter. He’s presented the best background facts and drawn the best conclusions, IMO.

  • Clavos

    The IBD report you cite in #257 is indeed disturbing, Dan(Miller).

    It was the source for my remarks in my comment #250 about Chávez’ masterminding and manipulating the Honduran crisis.

  • Baronius

    bad news, but some hard political reporting about Obama’s support for Zelaya

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    According to this article, the President of Costa Rica will mediate the crisis in Honduras. Secretary Clinton said that

    Zelaya as well as the politician who took over as defacto Honduran leader, Roberto Micheletti, agreed to the Arias role as mediator. She said Arias would work on the problem from Costa Rica, not in Honduras.

    Although were I an Honduran I might find the somewhat disparaging reference to “the politician who took over as defacto Honduran leader” somewhat offensive, this may ultimately result in a peaceful solution to the crisis — provided that Venezuelan President Chávez keeps his nose out.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Now, an Honduran Supreme Court official has stated that amnesty may be offered to former President Zeyala, but that the “decision would be up to lawmakers and it would only be for political crimes.” Mr. Zelaya is also facing charges of corruption and of profiting from drug trafficking through Honduras, either of which may or may not be “political crimes.” Based on the caveat in the Supreme Court official’s statement, it seems likely that either or both may be so considered.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Not sure if Dan and others saw this NY Times Op-Ed this morning.

    Also this interesting bit from the front-page news coverage in the Times:
    “Up until now, the United States has largely tried to stay behind the scenes while letting the Organization of American States take the lead in pressing for Mr. Zelaya’s reinstatement, as part of an effort by the Obama administration to end American dominance in the hemisphere and to demonstrate greater collaboration with its neighbors.

    “I don’t want to pretend we’re without influence,” said a senior administration official. “But we’re talking about the development of democracy here, and our goal is to help Honduran actors resolve their own problems. Intervention short circuits that goal, and allows the people who created the problems to walk away from them.”

    Many nations in the hemisphere have praised the more cooperative stance that the United States has taken since the Honduran military took Mr. Zelaya from his home on June 28 and put him on a plane to Costa Rica.

    While all of the countries in the European Union and most of the nations in the hemisphere have recalled their ambassadors from Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, the United States has kept its envoy in place, saying it wanted to keep open channels of communication with Honduran civil society.”

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Cute article, handyguy. The Grey Lady is white-washing Obama’s interference in Honduran internal politics by making the Europeans look like arrogant colonialists by comparison.

    That is the same kind of garbage we read by apologists for the States when they say that America is Israel’s only “friend” in the world.

    I’ve been reading bull like this out the NYT for decades coincerning Israel – I still remember the “Jews” there beating the propagand drum for “thoughtful Israelis” to take “risks for peace”.

    “The piano sounds like a carnival
    The microphone smells like a beer….”

    Sing me another tune, handyguy….

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I don’t usually respond to you, Ruvy, because it serves no useful purpose. You are what you are, and a sensible arguer is not it. You write a nasty post without specifically refuting anything in the Times article. Calling it garbage and bull without explanation says more about you than about the article.

    And the Op-Ed I also cited was written by a Honduran journalist and gives a ‘third way’ perspective that may be closer to what the Honduran middle class is feeling.

    But you go right ahead writing slimy, unpleasant posts and I will go back to ignoring them.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    And the Op-Ed I also cited was written by a Honduran journalist and gives a ‘third way’ perspective that may be closer to what the Honduran middle class is feeling.

    It seems that I picked up (without even knowing I was) the tenor of the Grey Lady hustling what amounts to kissing foreign ass by a Honduran – just like the “Jews” at the NYT kiss American ass and push Israelis to do the same. They’ve pushed Israelis to be the same bent-back ghetto kikes that they are.

    And here you show me that they can pick up on Hondurans willing to be the Honduran equivalent of the same thing – sellouts to foreign interests. I didn’t even realize that I knew the editorial game of the NYT that well! I guess that comes from reading a newspaper since fourth grade, handyguy, and knowing in my gut what is in it.

    You didn’t mean to compliment me – but you managed to anyway. LOL!!!

    Thank you!

    And now you can go back to ignoring what I have to say.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    [I try to ignore the commenters who just blast stupid inanities full of ignorance and typos….]

    I figured that this was handyguy’s way of referring to me…. I’m a proficient speller – but a miserale typist. I never got more than a 75 in Mrs. Joseph’s typing class in 7th grade. I probably deserved less.

    I used to use Mozilla Firfox, which highlights spelling errors in the comments box (thanks, Clavos!). But after finding Firefox to be more and more of a problem, I stopped using it and now use Opera. Well, the “fat lady” sings, but she does’t point out my typing errors – which is why you’ve seen so many more of them in the last couple of weeks.

    As for “inanities” they, like all else, are in the eyes of the “beviewer”.

  • Clavos

    And the Op-Ed I also cited was written by a Honduran journalist and gives a ‘third way’ perspective that may be closer to what the Honduran middle class is feeling.

    Or not.

    You have a uniquely American perspective, handy, which in this case ignores the reality that in Honduras, as in nearly all Latin American countries, the “middle class” is so tiny and powerless as to be effectively insignificant. This is especially true in the most impoverished countries, and Honduras is ranked third from the bottom in that regard.

    When discord erupts in LatAm, it is invariably between the ruling oligopolists (also a tiny group in numbers, but holding all the power) and the peasant class, or campesinos, who often are as much as 90% of the population, and usually totally powerless, until they awake (or, more frequently, are awakened) to the fact that there is power inherent in numbers.

    Honduran society is still stratified in the traditional manner, and it is this stratification that Chávez is attempting to exploit by his meddling.

    If Chávez were Honduran, his legitimacy would be far more difficult to question, but he’s not, and his motivation has nothing to do with justice in Honduras and everything to do with spreading the power and influence of Hugo Chávez Frias and his “Bolivarian Revolution.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Handy,

    A very sensible op-ed piece in the Times, Handy – very well written and down to earth. Glad you brought it to our attention. I really fail to understand Ruvy’s all so negative reaction.

    As I’ve stated in the beginning of this thread, this entire article was conceived on false premises – of comparing Honduras “constitutional crisis” to what would obtain if it were to happen in the good ole US of A. Well, no such comparison would fly. Furthermore, the real concerns of the author haven’t really been spelled out: they had to be fleshed out through a number of incisive comments, indicating to say the least that “fear of socialism” and “antipathy towards Obama and the party in power” were some of the hidden, ulterior motives which were instrumental as well, masquerading at the hands of a somewhat skillful writer under the guise objectivity (or quest for objectivity). I say “somewhat skillful” because the biases and prejudices which fired up this article were rather glaring. And indeed, it was the author himself who for a great while kept on posting to his own post, trying to keep it going, making an issue out of a “non-issue,” really – as if trying to vindicate his own point of view, because he didn’t really find that many adherents and avid supporters (except for the usual BC suspects, of course, who can be rightly ignored). And apparently, he succeeded to a point because the thread is still alive. Talking of self-promotion.

    Clavos appears to have the best handle on things when he speaks of the usual demographic distribution in Latin American societies, and of the distribution of wealth and economic and political power that goes with it. Naturally, the role of the military in such societies is hardly comparable with what we’re familiar with, and the thoughtful reader would do well to read some of Isabele Alliende’s novels to get a better feel. It’s only natural that most of Latin Americans would tend to view the use of the military in such societies with a great deal of suspicion. Indeed, even the party line divisions (if one goes by Alliende’s novels, for one) between the Liberal and Conservative parties are not really translatable into any familiar terms. None of those parties are really “of the people,” although the Liberal party is recognized as speaking “for the people.” Add to this a certain ethnic bond that’s characteristic of the South Americans (which the Anglos don’t share), and it’s rather easy to see not only that the majority (the peons, that is) really have no voice in the government, and that the constitution in these countries is not really representative of the majority (or intended to promote the majority’s interests). Indeed, everything seems to suggest that the one-term limit placed on the presidency is designed for no other purpose than to prevent the spread of populism (or a version of socialism); and it’s orchestrated by the parties in power (Liberals and Conservatives) – not the people.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Roger, I see that you fail to comprehend th basic point of the article itself – that a constitutional procedure in another country forced the ousting of a man who wanted to violate that constitution. This is a point that most all of you fail to comprehend. The actions of Honduran Supreme Court, Congress and of its military in support of both, were in defense of the constitution of the country against a man who wanted to violate it. And more to the point, they were not only not illegal but legal and necessary. I guess you have to go to law school to learn how to rezd the small print, Roger.

    You read “coup d’etat”, and that settles it for you. You, like most folks, think conventionally, and conventional thinking says that if military officers force an elected official from office, it must be illegitimate. In this instance, conventional thinking ignores the facts – which require the military in Honduras according to its constitution to support other branches of government when the constitution appears to be in danger of violation by a different branch.

    But that is not really the issue raised by the author here. The issue raised by the author is that outside powers are intervening in the affairs of Honduras for their own reasons. The officials of the United States government, which is so loaded with lawyers as to stink from them (one grafitto I read in law school said there were heterosexuals, homosexuals and lawyers), can certainly read the constitution of Honduras, as Dan did here. But for reasons of policy, reasons that are not clear to us at all, the United States government has decided to interpret legal defense of a constitution as a coup d’etat. Following its lead, like so many sheep, so have the rest of the “civilized” countries of the world.

    Added to this is the saber rattling of the Venezuaelan dictator, Chavez, and his running buddy, Ortega, and you have the possibility of a real war.

    Central America, like the Middle East, is a small place, and a war in one country of Central America can easily upset events in another. Dan Miller and his bride live in Panama. And this is a developing story. Dan has not been guilty of self-promotion, he has been keeping you up-dated. Nice of you to show your gratitude. But he has not been doing it to be nice to you, he is doing it because wars are scary things. War, and the possibility of war, is what is underneath all the flapping of jaws about “negotiations”.

    As for the NYT guest editorial, having read Jew after Jew sell out Israel using the argument that the United States was Izrael’s “best friend” – even when it was obvious that American policy is screwing this country over – it was no surprise to see an Honduran do the same thing in the NYT, which encourages just such behavior. If you had read the NYT for a half-century, like I have, you would know the patterns and the signs of sellout-itis. That is the source of my contempt.

    The Honduran constitutional regime is being subjected to the same campaign of lying, villification, and de-legitimization that we Jews in Israel have suffered under for decades.

    I wouldn’t expect you to see that. Why should you? But I sure as heck do.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Your contempt for NYT editorials on other matters is no reflection on the article that Handy highlighted. You fail to address the points raised by my comment; consequently, I have no response, except to reiterate the failure by such as Miller and company to appreciate the differences between Latin America and the Anglo-Saxon tradition as regards constitutional issues. That is the crux of the matter: viewing the Honduras situation through the prism of ethnocentrism and what’s regarded as America’s best interests.

  • Baronius

    Dan, I may be no more than a BC usual suspect, but I’m glad that you’ve been self-aggrandizingly updating us on the events in Honduras. Still, if you really want to understand Central America, you should move back to the US and start reading South American fiction.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    A singular view by a solitary settler in Panama is hardly a qualification for relevant updates from Honduras. Allende’s fiction is far more convincing and realistic than deliberations of an arm-chair philosopher committed to Anglo-Saxon ideology and view of the world whilst sitting on his veranda, sipping rum, and overlooking his plantation.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Roger,

    Let’s see if I can summarize what I see here rather quickly. Bottom line of #271. The mere fact that the Honduran constitution says “x”, “y”, or “Z” does not count at all when weighed aginst how you view the aspirations of what you call “the people”.

    Summary from comment #273: facts related by a mere American “settler” in Panaoma (we’re bsack to those “damned settlers” again, aren’t we?) have no weighty against the fiction of an iffy Chilean author.

    One heck of a way to view the world there, Roger!

    Way to go!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Damn right! That Chilean “iffy author” has far greater credibility about Latin America and Latin American politics than an American expatriate with watching the world unfold from his Panamanian hacienda. And it doesn’t matter whether Allende’s work is fiction or a fart in the dark. You ought to know better. But since you play as though you didn’t – “an iffy Chilean author,” is all I need to hear – count me out.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The fact that Sec. Clinton seems to have helped broker a mediation by Costa Rica’s Arias seems somewhat promising. And it certainly doesn’t seem to promote Chavez’s influence much.

    The Op-Ed in the Times, which has been unreasonably attacked and misrepresented here [possibly by people who didn’t bother to read it] is actually fairly close to Dan’s point of view, minus the ideological distaste for Chavez and the gratuitous slams at Obama.

    The ‘middle-class’ interpretation was my own; I meant politically active, literate people like the journalist who wrote it.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    I spoke an hour or so ago with a “middle class” Panamanian. He has a gut feeling — and seems to hope — that the United States Government, well behind the scenes, is doing what it can to resist Zelaya and Chavez, without appearing to do so. I hope that he is right.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Clavos

    I meant politically active, literate people like the journalist who wrote it.

    Still only a minuscule group in the overall population.

    The majority of Hondurans lead far too hardscrabble an existence to concern themselves with much beyond acquiring the basics necessary to sustain life.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    That’s why I put “middle class” in quotation marks, and that’s how I used it. I sense that there is a larger “middle class” here in Panama than in Honduras, but have nothing to support that feeling.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Bliffle

    Michael Krasny (as usual) had an interesting discussion on KQED the other morning about the Honduras situation. Here’s a link to the audio for those who didn’t hear it:

    FORUM

    Interesting, as always.

  • Héctor

    I am a Honduran and my opinion is that Mr. Dan´s article is strong and well founded, in Honduras there was no coup, only the removal of a want to be dictator, who thought he was above the Law.

    What is highly concerning is Mr. Obama support of Zelaya, a pseudo neo-communist and Chavez´s puppet (a highly well paid puppet). That is meddling into Honduras’ internal affairs.

    And the point is correct, why Honduras is being sanctioned by the US? And why the restitution of a loony is strongly pushed by Mr. Obama and Mrs. Hillary Clinton?
    I have not heard or read about the US calling for sanctions against Chavez or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. No doubt about it, there is a clear double standard.
    Worst yet, Honduras has been an allied of the US in Central America, but clearly Chavez an enemy of the US daily is calling Americans: “Yankees de mierda, vayanse a la mierda”.

    Even worst, Chavez has not hiden his intentions about establishing strong relations with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a very dangerous combination for the US security.

  • http://lagringasps.blogspot.com Cynthia in San Pedro Sula

    I live in San Pedro Sula, Cortes, Honduras. I am an American ex pat. So I would like to weigh in here. It is correct that Zelaya ignored a Supreme Court ruling and was removed as a consequence of this. Can you imagine the dangerous precidence of a US president ignoring Supreme Court rulings he doesn´t like? Bush with Roe v Wade, Obama with the Second ammendment, ect..what if horrors, Buchanan ever did win the presidency and decided to disregard presendence of the 14th ammendment and Brown v Board of Education…and reinstitute the pattern of discrimination that occurred in the 50´s with segregation..

    There are very good reasons for the seperation of powers…especially in countries like Honduras. Allowing a president to ignore his Supreme Courts ruling because he doesn´t thing them correct is laughable and scary at the same time.
    Who is the Supreme law the president or the Supreme Court? In both the US and Honduras the Supreme court has the final say on all constitutional issues.

    If he wanted to get around constitutionality he could have hired Gallup to do a poll…it wasn´t a poll though it was a referendum which he didn´t have the power to do and changing the constitution was even further out of his power. These powers rested in the hands of Congress. The Supreme Court ruled him constitutionally out of order and he said clearly he didn´t care…he suffered the consequences.
    Sure one could argue about the scary big guns, but they are a fact of life here. The military and the police and security detail for private businesses all carry assault weapons on a regular basis…we are used to them and they don´t frighten us or signal a repression of any sort…they are equalizers to criminals who have Uzis and Ak-47´s. This is commonplace to say the least..you could argue taking him out of the country is wrong opposed to arresting him and trying him but there are many factors you must concider…
    1. Given the situation now do you really think it would have been prudent to keep him in the country? Further with the stance of Alba members it is likely they would have sent guerilla fighters in to release him.
    2. Article 42 of the constitution says that the acts he committed including the violation of 239 would remove his citizenship.
    3. The possibility of had they waited that he had press releases already in possession that would have disolved congress and the supreme court immediately taking us into a Constitutional assembly that would have also extended his rule for two years. His press release also announcing the cancelation of elections until after the two year period of the constitutional assembly…can you imagine the blood letting over that one?

  • Rubicon

    Zeyala was arrested & exiled. Exile was NOT what the military was told to do. They were to detain him. Those officers now face Honduran courts for allowing Zeyala to go into exile. The military guys were afraid Chavez planned to send in troops to free Zeyala so they sent him to Costa Rico. Not a good idea, but not a bad one either. It was understandable if they feared Venezuelan troops coming in. After all, those nightly plane landings from Venezuela transporting illegal drugs to America left the military w/ the feeling that Chavez may try almost anything. The military figured, no Zeyala, no reason to send in troops.
    Zeyala openly & notoriously violated the Honduran Constitution, which also calls for the ouster of the President if he attempts to change the constitutionally mandated term limit of the presidency.
    Are we against constitutions, or are we against ouster of elected officials who represent policy ideals we support or like, such as socialism? An election does not a democracy make. Hamas proved that. Honduras has a functioning constitutional republic. Why would we tell them to violate their own constitution? And why would we stipulate now that we will not recognize a future election? What’s w/ Zeyala saying he wants his days out of office to be credited to his current term?
    A thug got pushed out by a people who believe in freedom & the law of their land. Let em alone & stop punishing them by pushing them around by refusing aid we already promised to that nation… NOT that specific president that apparently Obama likes.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Here is an article I wrote a few days ago and which, I hope, puts the recent United States Government action against Honduras in perspective.

    Here is another which adds additional perspective.

    Dan(Miler)

  • Mark

    Hi ya, Parenthetical Dan. How goes your struggle over your land?

    Hope you’re enjoying life over at PM. A bit ‘child-mild’ and one sided for my tastes, but ‘to each his own’ as They say.

    ps – as has been pointed out in the comments section to your article over there – Obama is Lenin.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Mark,

    Our land struggle continues. The gate was locked by Citricos on 16 July. The mayor authorized us to remove it and we did. The next day, Citricos came with some earth moving equipment and dug a ditch about 6 feet deep, 7 feet wide and the width of the road. Then, the community got together and filled in the ditch. That evening, Citricos came with its equipment and dug three ditches of the same dimension.

    Now, President Martinelli has taken an interest and the new Governor is on the case. We hope for a favorable resolution soon, or at least by ???.

    We’ve pretty much worked out the logistics, and with help from a bunch of friends, local and Gringo, it isn’t too bad. During a brief period just after the first ditch had been filled in, Jeanie managed to get out to do a major grocery shopping. By the time she got back, the three new ditches were in place making the road impassable again. So, we got the car unloaded, took the provisions to our house by wheelbarrow, and our car is now at the home of some friends only about 1 KM away. It’s a bit of a bother, but that’s life.

    And, it gives me a bit more time to write.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Mark

    I don’t understand what Citricos hopes to gain from this confrontation. Is there much of a chance that the government will deny the traditional right of way setting some kind of precedent for the Co?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Mark,

    We’ve been trying to figure out Citricos’ motivations for a long time and haven’t been successful. Personally, I think that the Colombian owner of the company has long had his way and personally resents any challenge. We are challenging his power.

    No, I don’t think the current Panamanian Government will “deny the traditional right of way.” The former government might have tried to do so, but it’s gone and President Martinelli (who won the election 61:36 and now has a popularity rating in the 70s) is going after corruption big time. Things tend to move slowly here, but resolution of our problem is on the fast track due, to some extent, to the interest he has taken in the matter.

    SO, we are keeping our fingers, legs, eyes and toes crossed and hoping for the best.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Mark

    Sounds like you’re paying the price for the election results and the change in the ‘weather’ down there.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dan(Miller),

    Best wishes for your defeat of the the corporate usurper, comrade. Did you get a tape player yet?

    (just wondering how your sense of humor compares)

    :-)

  • Mark

    guffaw out loud

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Cindy,

    Thanks. The tape player is on our list, but getting the essentials (food for us, food for our dogs, food for our horses and that sort of thing) takes priority right now. Soon, I hope.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Citricos SA Panama is holding people hostage in rural Panama

    Citricos SA a Panama corporation is holding two retired americans, Dan a Jeanie Miller and at least three Panamanian citizens hostage on their farm. Citricos in violation of both a judicial and political order has cut three large trenches across the right of way used by these people to access the rest of the world.

    A picture of the trench is featured.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That’s news, the Paranthetical Dan against the corporate usurper. What is this world coming to? Can we dare hope?