From Daniel F. Villamar:
Sounds like a headline from the 1980’s.
Honduras is a peaceful democratic country where I have worked and visited numerous times, as I have Nicaragua. Nicaragua is different, it has a history of revolutionary violence. Venezuela is a country held hostage by a deranged socialist, Hugo Chavez, who is militarizing and destabilizing the entire region — and exerting influence with his power — Venezuela’s vast oil and natural gas reserves.
Contrary to press reports and the US position on Honduras, there was no “military coup” when president “Mel” Zelaya was exiled. Mel is a Chavez-backed opportunist accused of breaking several laws. After proceeding with an illegal plebiscite (with ballots printed in Venezuela) to extend his term of office beyond the one-term limit of their Constitution, the Honduran military arrest and exiled Mel. This move by the military was ordered by the Honduran Supreme Court and supported by the Honduran Congress, which is controlled by Mel’s own party.
The Congress then immediately appointed a temporary civilian politician, Roberto Micheletti, to serve as President until the scheduled elections in November. After the elections, Honduran Law will preclude Micheletti from continuing as President — he is done after the current term finishes.
So, the legal fight in Honduras is all about preserving the single-term limit for any president, right winger or left winger, as established by their Constitution. It is very important to note that this constitutional measure serves as a firewall to prevent anyone from becoming a de facto dictator — precluding what we see in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and other Chavez-backed socialist regimes.
Thus, it is a mistake for the US and other countries to compare this current situation in Honduras to what we saw in Latin American during the Cold War — where a strong man violently took power and established a military dictatorship. The situation in Honduras is nothing of the sort.
While some point to the exile of Mel as an illegal move by Honduran government, this matter can be resolved in Honduran court. There is no call for outside intervention. The government’s position is that exile was the only alternative to placing Mel under arrest and thus they avoided mob violence instigated by Mel’s followers and Chavez-backed thugs. The exile also prevented Zelaya from potentially becoming a martyr. The ultimate responsibility of any government is to care for the safety and welfare of its citizens, so the exile is arguably justified.
Why is the one-term limit for presidents such an important constitutional firewall? To understand this it helps to have lived in Latin America, so I will try to explain.
In Latin America, in general, it is very difficult for the democratic process to work, because there are so many poor, uneducated and undereducated people that fall prey to charismatic demagogues — who win elections by corrupting the democratic process, then install themselves in power, indefinitely in some cases. They either violate their existing Constitutions or create a new ones — like soup de jour.
In the case of Ecuador, where I have lived for almost a decade, there have been something like 20 Constitutions — the latest one was crafted for “Socialism of the 21st Century” –the same, stale, old socialist theories of the Cold War era, repackaged in a shiny new wrapper by a new wave of leftist despots.
In Latin America, in general, obtaining a simple majority vote to support a referendum — just about any sales pitch — is easy. Simple people give their votes (which are typically MANDATORY) in exchange for campaign tokens & trinkets, promises of government handouts and mostly empty promises. Of course, once the despots take power, they sprinkle the poor with some tangible benefits, which provide a veneer of legitimacy, such as a new government subsidy, a new hospital or a new school hear and there.
–These tactics, of course, are the tools of corruption of the democratic process used by despots of both the right and the left–
I don’t think that anybody can argue that some of what these modern day socialists achieve while in power actually does provide a basic level of quality of life improvement to part of the population. And that is good. But overall most of the people remain in poverty and become captives to poverty by the very systems they put in power. That is, when the leftist apply their ideology, they destroy jobs and real opportunities for poor people to improve their quality of life.
These socialists make it impossible for poor people to move into the middle class. The relatively few supper rich, leave and/or send their money out of the country. The productive sector shuts down or reduces output of their factories and businesses under regressive government regulations. In some cases, the government confiscates private property and takes over businesses driving them to the ground.
— In the end, the middle class becomes poor, as misery spreads up, rather opportunity spreading down —
These leftist ideologues quickly move to take absolute control by silencing free speech and creating class conflict, as we can see happening in Venezuela just about every day. They pit the poor against the “rich” — which is anyone that is not poor.
These nations, held captive under socialist rule, are kept in an indefinite state of poverty, where the very poor are often stupefied by enough government cash to buy liquor, rice and beans. But there are no jobs, because the despots squashed the productive sector and very little wealth remains to spread around.
But I digress, back to Honduras.
With Mel having snuck back into Honduras and now being sheltered in the Brazilian embassy — Hondurans are living under a state of emergency with violent leftist thugs looting and rioting. The middle class, ordinary people like you and I, are afraid of an imminent military invasion from Chavez-supporters in Nicaragua.
According to Nicaraguan press, the sandinista president Daniel Ortega (think Qaddafi, Ahmadinijad, Chavez, Castro) called for URGENT authorization of US and Venezuelan military personnel to enter Nicaragua. The measure was approved by the Nicaraguan Parliament headed by a sandinista.
Now we have US and Venezuelan military personnel about to participate in URGENT military training exercises.
Could this have anything to do with the Honduran Constitutional crisis?
Are these US and Venezuelan military personnel, advisors? To do what? Help orchestrate an invasion of Honduran territory?
President Obama, the young and inexperienced politician who ran on the slogan of “Hope and Change,” appears to have taken another step on the wrong side of history. Obama already castigated Honduras by withholding visas from their diplomats, he halted tens of millions of dollars in US aid, and stated that Honduran November elections would not be recognized by the US — now is Obama poised for US military intervention alongside Chavez?
I pray not.
There is not a single principled position, or any reasonable argument, to justify US intervention in Honduras. The fact is that Honduras is being punished for refusing to violate their Constitution in preventing a Chavez-puppet to resume his role as President.
A bizarre contradiction in the deeds and words of President Obama
President Obama stated that the US would not interfere with the internal affairs of other nations and, in particular, with respect to Iran after the recent widespread protest of electoral fraud in Iranian national elections. Multitudes protested that the election was stolen — and many innocent people were brutalized, killed and jailed by Ahmadinijads regime — and President Obama stated that he would not interfere with their democracy.
Why then is President Obama interfering with the internal affairs of Honduras, an ally, a trading partner, a peaceful democracy, and one of the poorest nations in Latin America — and not with Iran, a rouge state and a US antagonist?
I am not suggesting, in any way, that the US should interfere militarily with the internal affairs in Iran. As horrific as the recent violent suppression of Iranian democracy was, Iranians must resolve their own struggle for democracy.
And so, I find it despicable that the US would now interfere in the internal affairs of Honduras in support of Chavez!
Can anyone please help explain this contradictory foreign policy of the Obama administration?
“El ingreso de los militares estadounidenses y venezolanos fue propuesto por el presidente de Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, con carácter urgente, y aprobado hoy en la sesión plenaria por 63 de los 92 diputados ante la Asamblea Nacional, precisó el presidente del Legislativo, el sandinista René Núñez.”
Hat Tip to the links on Gerardo Enrique Paredes’ FB page!