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Jun 30

Honduras, Iran, and China

Written by raventhorn4000 on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 12:19 am
Filed under:-guest-posts, General, politics | Tags:, , , ,
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Honduran President was forced into Exile by a group of military soldiers who stormed his house and forced him onto a plane at gun point.

The reason? He tried to push for a referendum to extend his terms of office.

His replacement was quickly sworn in, but massive protests have broken out.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had this to say:

“Our immediate priority is to restore full democratic and constitutional order in that country. As we move forward, all parties have a responsibility to address the underlying problems that have led to yesterday’s events, in a way that enhances democracy and the rule of law in Honduras.”

*I’m all in favor of “all parties” owning up responsibilities. But it seems, the Honduran ex-President didn’t do anything other than push for a vote by the People.

His replacement now calls it NOT as a Coup, but an Exile by “legal process”, that Zelaya was arrested by a process of law.

But that excuse is rather flimsy. If Zelaya committed a crime, he should be arrested and tried, and not “renditional Exiled” in his pyjamas to another country where he can’t even have a day in court.

So, I wonder why US is tip-toeing around this little coup, when it is so obvious.

But here some interesting factoids that might hint the US motives:

(1) Military leader for the coup was General Romeo Vasquez, a graduate of the infamous “School of Americas”, a US military training school for Latin American military dictators and human rights abusers.

(2) Newly installed Honduran President, Roberto Micheletti, was born in Italy, and technically, according to Honduran Constitution, cannot serve as President.

*What’s going to happen if Honduran protest turns bloody? Who will bear responsibility? Will Honduras have an Iranian Revolution? Or will the US trained Honduran General roll the tanks (BTW, they are already sitting at the Presidential Palace)?


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54 Responses to “Honduras, Iran, and China”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Thanks for your insight.

    It seems that Ma, “president” of Taiwan, had a heads up on June 25, Taipei Times announced he would stay in Panama one day longer, because he was not sure if Zelaya would be in Honduras.

    Google Ma Honduras to see much intrigue re China, Taiwan, Us and Honduras.

    Then, google Iran contra Honduras to discover how the more things change the more they stay the same.

  2. pug_ster Says:

    The deposed president General Romeo Vasquez was favored by the Venezuelan president Chavez because of his leftist views. So the guy who overthrew him probably have little outside support.

  3. raventhorn4000 Says:

    This thread made to the Google blog index!

    *Update: Honduran military junta has officially shut down all media.

    US rightwing group Heritage Foundation, not surprisingly, cheered the coup. “Zelaya’s swift removal from Honduras probably saved many lives”, and of course, tying Zelaya to other Leftist leaders in Latin America, and forecasts this Honduran event as a potential show down with Hugo Chavez.

    Somehow, it feels like this plot is going to turn into an Iranian Revolution in Latin America.

    UN is allowing Zelaya to address the UN General Assembly, and the Latin American group ALBA are condemning the coup.

    Here is a good picture of a Honduran Tank and soldiers guarding the capital.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/slideshow/ALeqM5jAkMGKIUDg_ngUiZboxQbYj5_DPwD994JGC80?index=1

  4. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Pug-ster,

    You got the names wrong. The deposed president is Zelaya. General Romeo Vasquez is the military coup leader.

  5. Zachary Says:

    I think that you should look into the history of the events before you have an opinion about them. The military did not run an official coup…
    1) Zelaya has been trying to push this through congress/court for months and has continually failed.
    2) The Supreme Court already ruled the referendum illegal weeks ago.
    3) The Congress voted unanimously to oppose the referendum
    4) Zelaya ignored repeated calls to stop the referendum
    5) The main goal of the referendum (changing the term limits) is illegal. In Honduras there are 8 articles of the constitution that are set in stone, one of those is that the president may only serve ONE term. Is it a coincidence that Zelaya is pushing this through just before his term expires?
    6) When Zelaya refused to obey Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Attorney General what option is there left to do but remove him from power?
    7) The US tried to avoid the coup….by doing what? They did nothing to prevent the illegal referendum that was being pushed by Zelaya. If the US did nothing to stop him from becoming the latest Chavez then they can stay out of it along with every other country. This is a question of Honduran law, which is best interpreted by the Honduran Supreme Court. Or am I mistaken in this?

    The situation is much more complicated than calling this a simple coup….

  6. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Zachary,

    as far as I know, if a sitting president has committed a crime, removal is allowed. But the Honduran court can “remove” a sitting president into “exile”?

    I have never heard of any such legal procedure.

    Even a “removed” president should have a right to challenge his removal in public and urge support of the public for his positions.

    Unless of course, Honduran Supreme Court has suspended free speech and referendums in general.

    In which case, it does sound like a coup.

  7. Zachary Says:

    Last time I checked about 80% of the Honduran population was against the reformation…and I’ve heard of many dictators or those aspiring to be placed into exile. Have you heard how many people are rallying to his aid in a country of 7 million? I’ve heard that hundreds of people are rallying…that’s it? On Tuesday in San Pedro the estimate is that 100,000 people marched against him and his referendum…in Teguc when he held a rally in his support on Thursday a whole 1500 people showed up. Looking at those numbers it doesn’t even look like he has 20% on his side…
    “I have never heard of any such legal procedure.” -> just because you’ve never heard of it doesn’t mean that it’s illegal or against the Honduran Constitution…

  8. Steve Says:

    Since the title of raventhorn4000’s post says “Honduras, Iran and China”, I was wondering how China fit in to all of this. So I’ll ask a question (this is not rhetorical, I really don’t know the answer or have an opinion).

    How is this removal different from the removal of Zhao Ziyang after 6/4? Are they both considered coups? Neither? One a coup and the other not a coup? I’m not sure how to differentiate the two. Was that the reason you put “China” in the title of the post? I know there’s been a lot of ink dedicated to the anniversary of 6/4 on this blog lately. I wasn’t sure if that was the driving factor for this particular post.

  9. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Zach,

    “aspiring to be placed into exile” is a self-choice. If Zelaya chose to go into exile by himself, that’s fine. I don’t think he wanted to go.

    I think the Coup was an attempt to silence him more than anything else.

    If you are not concerned about his supporters, why force him to leave Honduras?

    Speaking of Honduran Constitution, it specifically states that a President must be “born in Honduras”.

    Roberto Micheletti was born in Italy.

    Seems like someone is going around the Constitution.

    *
    Steve,

    They have tanks out in Honduras.

    Zhao Ziyang was not the highest ranked leader in China when he was removed. He was “sacked” by committee that voted him into position in the first place.

  10. Steve Says:

    @ R4K: Are you saying that a General Secretary of the Communist Party in China can get ‘sacked’ at any time, simply by a vote of a committee? The current General Secretary is Hu Jintao. Are you saying a simple committee vote can remove him from office and place him in permanent home detention? And how does this fit into your definition of a democratic constitutional republic? Is this one of the ‘Chinese characteristics’ that you’re so fond of pointing out? Seems to me that whatever the CCP decides to do fits your definition. You can expand or contract it by whim.

    Does that mean Honduras’ President got ‘sacked’ by decisions from the Supreme Court, Congress and army? They have tanks in a lot of places. I still don’t see how this has anything to do with China. Nor do I see what any of this has to do with the United States. You’re making a lot of implied accusations without providing any evidence whatsoever, something you rightly like to call others out on regarding Chinese issues. Then please explain this:

    MADRID, June 28 (Reuters) – Honduran President Manuel Zelaya told Spain’s El Pais that a planned attempt to wrest power him was thwarted after the United States declined to back the move.

    “Everything was in place for the coup and if the U.S. embassy had approved it, it would have happened. But they did not … I’m only still here in office thanks to the United States,” he said in the newspaper interview published on Sunday.

    “Last (Friday) morning, at around 1 or 2 a.m., Congress was passing a decree to incapacitate me and the armed forces were mobilised. But phone calls were made — I can’t say by who or from where — but these calls stopped the coup,” he said.

    Seems the United States doesn’t have as much power in the region as you seem to think, and that Zeleya doesn’t feel the United States was behind his removal. If he doesn’t think so, then why do you?

    And what’s with the single sentence paragraphs? Are you a beat writer for the Taipei Times? Quite frankly, it’s poor English composition and annoying to read.

  11. D Says:

    First of all the reason why they put him into exile was bc of fraud. He fired the chief military without consent from the supreme court. The court told him why are u firing the chief military without our consent u cannot do that. Not only that he had recieved extra ballots from Venezuela saying that the ppl from Honduras want him as president. There is a certain amount of ballots and they are counted there cannot be extras. Thats when the military and the courts realized that he was tryng to do a dictatorship in Honduras. So in the middle of the night at 4 in th morning the military went into his mansion with consent from the court to take him out. If Honduras was really dictator then the military would have already killed Zelaya and not thrown him to Costa Rica. Just like Roberto Michelletti says there has not been one drop of blood in Honduras. If it was China or Cuba or Russia everyone would be dead. The government wants Zelaya back because he needs to be tried. And when you break the law as president you are not allowed to finish your term whatsoever. So, please ppl don’t look at Hoduras bad. They clearly said that they rather be poor and suffer then to have a dictator in power like Chavez who supports Zelaya. Hello Chavez just wants control of Honduras so that he can gain control of the rest of central america. And Honduras will not let herself fall. Michelltti says no country is allowed to enter or tell Honduras on what she should do. Thats why they have their own laws. And their laws is that Zelaya has to return and be tried and eventually go to jail for fruad. You committed a crime, u pay the time under Honduran LAWS. (NOT ANY OTHER COUNTRIES)

  12. Zachary Says:

    Mr. Raventhorn, I believe that the Honduran Constitution says:
    Article 239:
    “El que quebrante esta disposición o proponga su reforma, así como aquellos que lo apoyen directa o indirectamente, cesarán de inmediato en el desempeño de sus respectivos cargos y quedarán inhabilitados por diez (10) años para el ejercicio de toda función pública.”
    Translated:
    He who breaks this provision [on the one-term limit] or proposes its amendment, as well as those who help him directly or indirectly, shall cease immediately in discharge of their respective offices and remain ineligible for a period of ten (10) years from exercising any public function.

    What was the goal of the “non-binding referendum?” Do you really believe a deposed wanna-be dictator that it was going to be non-binding? You accuse Micheletti of being born in Italy? Maybe you want to check all your information. Apparently the Supreme Court has found no illegality with his birth in EL PROGRESO, HONDURAS to two Italian immigrants. Read into your “facts” a little bit more please.
    Now, maybe you should look into the order turned into Interpol today by the Attorney General’s Office for the arrest of Mel Zelaya…apparently he was doing something illegal…hmmmm…have a fun homecoming on Thursday Mel!

  13. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Zach,

    Even if assuming that he did “propose its amendment”, I see nothing in the “removal” procedure to even suggest the punishment of “exile”.

    On the face of the article, it is purely an administrative and civil “sanction”, to remove a person from his official privileges, it is not a criminal statute that defines a penal sanction against an individual as a citizen.

    A law may say a President should be removed from office for “propose amendment”, but that is NOT a criminal law.

    *By “exiling” the ex-president, the military commander and the Supreme court has gone beyond the scope of sanctions allowed by the Honduran Constitution.

  14. Zachary Says:

    So you would rather that he have been arrested and thrown straight into jail than shipped to Costa Rica? Jail sounds like a much better option to me as well (tongue in cheek). Now if you were given an option between exile and jail which would you choose? I believe that’s what happened. There is no evidence at this point to support it, I admit that. But I know the way Honduras and it’s politicians function.
    Now back to the real issue, this is not just about proposing an amendment! Number one, the constitution states that ONLY a Congressional Assembly may edit the constitution in ANY WAY. This power does not lie with the President. Then the point of the Constitution that he wanted to change is one of 8 laws that are UNCHANGEABLE. The term limits may not be changed by anybody including a Congressional Assembly.
    I enjoy this quote by a Honduran politician in the early 90’s…this is the reality of Honduras and it’s democracy:
    “the armed forces are charged with fulfilling eminently political functions: maintaining the rule of the Constitution, the principles of free suffrage, and the alternation of the office of the presidency of the republic. In any liberal democracy these are the tasks of the judicial branch. Because of the armed forces’ role in judging the conduct of civilian government, Honduran democracy finds itself under the permanent threat of a coup d’etat. The armed forces determine, in fact, whether the civilian government is maintaining the Constitution.”

  15. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Zach,

    “So you would rather that he have been arrested and thrown straight into jail than shipped to Costa Rica?”

    I don’t see jail term listed as a valid sanction in that Constitutional article of yours.

    Why make up criminal punishment for him, when clearly the article only imposed a simple “removal from office”?? NOT jail terms, NOT “exile”, just “removal from office”.

    Sounds like the Honduran Supreme Court and the Military leader was making up new laws as they went.

  16. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Steve,

    “Are you saying that a General Secretary of the Communist Party in China can get ’sacked’ at any time, simply by a vote of a committee? The current General Secretary is Hu Jintao. Are you saying a simple committee vote can remove him from office and place him in permanent home detention? And how does this fit into your definition of a democratic constitutional republic? Is this one of the ‘Chinese characteristics’ that you’re so fond of pointing out? Seems to me that whatever the CCP decides to do fits your definition. You can expand or contract it by whim.”

    You do know that General Secretary of the CCP is a position within the party, Not within the actual government, right?

    Hence, Hu Jintao is both the General Secretary of CCP, and the President of China.

    Committee has the voting power to vote someone into the general secretary position, or to vote someone else in replacement. Or to add party sanctions and punishment for violations of official duty.

    It’s possible if Hu abused his office, the committee can sack him as “general secretary”, and impose some punitive measures on him.

    How is that “Constitutionally Democratic Republic”?? Well, intra-party membership sanctions is a personal political contract matter. If Zhao enlisted himself into the CCP, he must observe its rules and consequences. He has to take the responsibilities for his acts as a CCP member. That’s the party rule for its members. Nothing to do with the Constitution. Zhao didn’t have to take the job as General Secretary. Once he did, he has a duty and a responsibility.

    *
    “Does that mean Honduras’ President got ’sacked’ by decisions from the Supreme Court, Congress and army? They have tanks in a lot of places. I still don’t see how this has anything to do with China. Nor do I see what any of this has to do with the United States. You’re making a lot of implied accusations without providing any evidence whatsoever, something you rightly like to call others out on regarding Chinese issues.”

    I don’t doubt that Zelaya could be “sacked” by a legal process, which is what they are claiming in Honduras. But I see no such laws in Honduras that could “exile” Zelaya. It seems strange that they would claim a valid exercise of law through the courts, when no one could quote the actual laws that would allow this “exile” as a punishment.

    Note: and they replaced him with a man born in Italy, which is contrary to the Honduran Constitution, in terms of qualification for Presidency.

    *the picture I linked to was specifically for a tank outside of the Honduran Presidential Palace.

    and I already stated, US’s position on this event is curious. Considering that the military commander who did the “exiling” was trained by US’s infamous “School of Americas”. That’s just simple common knowledge in the background.

    That’s enough evidence for now.

    I haven’t accused US of doing anything in Honduras.

    Not nearly as accusatory as some others about China.

    I’m just curious to see what will happen to Honduras, and what will US do.

    I think the discomfort level is sinking into the White House by itself without my need for any “accusations”, implied or otherwise.

    Many people in Latin America are already implying something about US in all this. And that says much about the “trust” for the “democracy”. I have no credit in any of that implication.

    🙂

  17. Zachary Says:

    I’m sorry, I never heard any new law that was invented…do you want to cite that one? If you go ahead and read the Constitution you see that it’s ILLEGAL for the president to change the constitution. Now you may go ahead and read about all 18 indictments of the former President Zelaya. It sounds like he should have a fun homecoming on Thursday when he gets arrested upon return. Oh wait, nothing was illegal, right? Let’s let the interpretation of the Honduran Law be interpreted by the Supreme Court, they are the ultimate authority on that. Or is there another institution that knows Honduran law better than them?
    Now, if you won’t agree with jail time and exile…it sounds like you do agree with removal from office. So what’s your next proposed step? Let him back in the country? Then what? Break the Constitution by letting him back in office? Follow the constitution by keeping him out of the presidency? Well then who takes over the office? I believe the Constitution says that the president of the Congress takes over…and I do believe that he did. So what is your quarrel again? Just with the whole exile but not with the removal? Then what’s the big deal? It seems like you’re needing to back track an awful lot here….
    As for implications of US involvement….go no further than Zelaya’s press conference on Saturday night. He himself said that he was only sitting before the press because of the efforts of the US against those planning a coup. Zelaya would have been removed from power mid-week last week if it weren’t for the US trying to keep him in. There was NO US involvement in this one. That may be a first in the entire world…but it’s definitely out of the question.

  18. Steve Says:

    @ R4K: If Zhao was simply removed from his party position, that would not explain house arrest for the rest of his life. If a party can do that, then the party IS the government, isn’t it? What constitutional law did Zhao break? What trial did he receive? Where in the law does it spell out house arrest for the rest of your life if your vote does not agree with the majority on a committee? To me, that disproves your argument.

    A guy in Honduras claims this new appointee was born in Honduras to Italian immigrants. You claim he was born in Italy. How do you know where he was born? And how can you claim to be an expert in Honduran law? Did you take the Honduran bar exam? Have you practiced law there? How do you know what their law sanctions and what it does not?

    Many people in Latin America are implying the US is behind this? The only person I see implying it is you. Even Zelaya didn’t imply it. In fact, he stated the opposite. These are all very weak arguments. You’re reaching badly on this one…

  19. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To R4000 #15:
    “Why make up criminal punishment for him, when clearly the article only imposed a simple “removal from office”?? NOT jail terms, NOT “exile”, just “removal from office”.”
    —ok, so the removal from the country and “exile” to Costa Rica is still up for discussion. But you seem to acknowledge that “removal from office” for what Zelaya proposed is in fact constitutional. So you were really a bit ahead of yourself by labeling the event as “this little coup”, wouldn’t you say?

    R4000 #16:
    “You do know that General Secretary of the CCP is a position within the party, Not within the actual government, right?”
    —while technically different, practically, not so much.

    “That’s enough evidence for now.”
    —evidence of what? Evidence of innuendo, perhaps, as Steve has kindly pointed out to you.

  20. raventhorn4000 Says:

    SKC,

    You obviously can’t distinguish between “removal from office” and “exile”. Exile is not valid sanction in the Constitution.

    “—while technically different, practically, not so much.”

    Law is technical, not based upon personal views.

    “—evidence of what? Evidence of innuendo, perhaps, as Steve has kindly pointed out to you.”

    I’m not discussing evidence with your assumptions.

  21. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Steve,

    Personal contract can impose punitive sentences.

    Perhaps not in modern West, but “Debtor Prison” used to be very common in the West.

    Modern Western laws tend to deem criminal sanctions for economic matters or private matters as too harsh, but in China, “debtor prison” and other confinement sanctions are available for Personal contracts.

    Additionally, Modern West still has “contempt of court” jail sanctions for even private disputes, such as refusal to pay child support, refusal of child custody and visitation, etc. All of these can be sanctioned by prison or jail time.

    *CCP contract of membership allows CCP to impose sanctions on its members for violations. That’s not part of the Government proceedings. It’s completely within the party itself to determine what punishment to impose upon its members.

    Hence, it was a “house arrest”, not a penal confinement (which would have required a court trial).

    China, unlike the US, still has substantial amount of “self-help” remedies available for legal disputes. And by virtue of CCP’s membership contract, CCP can do so to its members outside of the courts.

  22. Steve Says:

    @ R4K #21: I’d reply to your argument except I can’t find anything in there to respond to. What you wrote validated my argument, except at the end where your conclusion disagreed with me.

    Punishment from a party that does not have civil authority (government) could only result in a maximum sentence of expulsion from said party. House arrest moves it beyond party to a government function.

    Debtor prisons? How many hundreds of years do you have to go back to try and prove a point? You’ve gotta be kidding!

    “Contempt of court” is a governmental function. The Republican or Democratic party cannot hold a member of the party in contempt of court and throw them in jail or impose house arrest. The examples you mention aren’t “private disputes”, they are violations of court orders concerning child custody, visitation and child support. They were decided in a courtroom, not by a party committee vote. Are you telling me that a Masonic Lodge in Nebraska could order a member undergo house arrest because that punishment was voted on by a Masonic Lodge committee, just because the Lodge had it in their rulebook? By saying that the CCP can impose an internal punishment independent of the Chinese constitution, you are telling me they are above the law.

    Like I said, you’re really reaching on this one…

  23. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Steve,

    “Debtor prison” is still viable in many countries, including China.

    And “contempt of court” is merely an example to show that contractual violations can result in penal confinement.

  24. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To R4000:
    “You obviously can’t distinguish between “removal from office” and “exile”. Exile is not valid sanction in the Constitution.”
    —rather than just telling you to read it again, perhaps I’ll just show you the salient parts: “so the removal from the country and “exile” to Costa Rica is still up for discussion. But you seem to acknowledge that “removal from office” for what Zelaya proposed is in fact constitutional.” (SKC #19). I mean really, how much clearer can a guy be? If you need to be zeroed in a bit more, try “still up for discussion”.

    “Law is technical, not based upon personal views.”
    —when CCP is the only party, and there’s no debate that CCP = CHinese government? In fact, when the situation becomes both “technically” and “practically” different, that will be the day.

    “I’m not discussing evidence with your assumptions.”
    —and really, there’s not much point discussing your innuendo either. But it’s just too much fun.

    “It’s completely within the party itself to determine what punishment to impose upon its members.”
    —expulsion from the party seems like the kind of punishment a party can mete out. House arrest? Sure, not the same as jail; but how can a political party impose confinement unless that party was also the government? And house arrest is still a form of judicial punishment, only in that instance levied without the benefit of a day in court.

  25. raventhorn4000 Says:

    SKC,

    Did I say “removal” was unconstitutional? Why are you bringing it up?

    “—when CCP is the only party, and there’s no debate that CCP = CHinese government? In fact, when the situation becomes both “technically” and “practically” different, that will be the day.”

    I think I already posted a list of non-CCP parties allowed in China. So, you are wrong.

    “—and really, there’s not much point discussing your innuendo either. But it’s just too much fun.”

    Then, don’t respond to my post. Your “fun” is irrelevant to this topic.

    “—expulsion from the party seems like the kind of punishment a party can mete out. House arrest? Sure, not the same as jail; but how can a political party impose confinement unless that party was also the government? And house arrest is still a form of judicial punishment, only in that instance levied without the benefit of a day in court.”

    Nope, under CCP membership contract, members accept responsibilities and penalties for violation of CCP rules.

    Don’t like it? Tough. Zhao knew the rules when he signed up. and you keep forgetting this point.

    🙂

  26. raventhorn4000 Says:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0702/p06s01-woam.html

    CURFEWS, PROTESTS, ANGER

    It has been four days since Hondurans awoke Sunday morning to find that instead of voting in a nonbinding referendum to consider drawing up a constituent assembly, their president no longer was in power.

    Since then, curfews have been put in place. Warring street protests have clogged the streets. Anger is palpable.

    As two soldiers walked toward the pro-Zelaya march Wednesday, protesters rushed at them screaming, “Soldiers, get out of here!” They toppled the stands where newspapers, which heavily favor the new government, are sold, placing them in the middle of the road as barricades.

  27. raventhorn4000 Says:

    An increasingly isolated Honduras braced for more protests Wednesday with authorities threatening to immediately arrest ousted President Manuel Zelaya if he dares to return. As tension rose in the Central American nation, unidentified attackers hurled a grenade, which failed to explode, at the Supreme Court late Tuesday.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-carlsen/zelaya-postpones-return-m_b_224309.html

    “The coup dug in at a rally held yesterday. It issued an arrest order for Zelaya on 18 charges including “abuse of authority” and “betrayal of the country.” Attorney General Luis Alberto Rubi said the president would be “immediately arrested” on landing in Honduran territory.

    In an interview with AP, the leader of the coup government, Roberto Micheletti, stated, “No one can make me resign if I do not violate the laws of the country.”

    “If there is any invasion against our country, 7.5 million Hondurans will be ready to defend our territory and our laws and our homeland and our government.” AP reports that Micheletti said it was too late for Zelaya to avoid arrest.”

    *
    Well, this is odd, Why throw him into “exile”, now they want to “arrest” him?? “too late to avoid arrest”?

    *
    “Meanwhile, the international community continued to close ranks against the coup and has begun to issue sanctions and ultimatums to the Honduran coup leaders. The General Assembly of the United Nations issued a resolution deploring the “interrupted the democratic and constitutional order and the legitimate exercise of power in Honduras.” The text demands “the immediate and unconditional restoration of the legitimate and Constitutional Government of the President of the Republic, Mr. José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, and of the legally established authority in Honduras.”

    Robert Zoellick, head of the World Bank, announced that the Bank will suspend loans to Honduras — around $80 million planned for the next fiscal year.”

    US President Obama is now calling this a “coup” and US has suspended military cooperation with Honduras.

    *

    Well, now I’m getting really curious. If Honduras was valid in “exiling” Zelaya, then what does that say about the “International pressures”?

    Do foreign nations really have a valid stake in the “internal affairs” of Honduras?? Or the Internal affairs of Iran??

    *
    disclaimer: I’m not saying who is right or who is wrong in this conflict, or whether intervention is good or bad.

    But here is 1 sentiment I agree with, “Ricardo Calix, a gas attendant, says he is hopeful that unity will find its way to Honduras. He does not agree with Zelaya nor the protesters. “But they are my neighbors,” he says. “We will have to move on.””

    Amen to stability, unity, and moving on.

  28. Otto Kerner Says:

    Raventhorn,

    “Did I say ‘removal’ was unconstitutional? Why are you bringing it up?”

    Indeed you did. You described event in question as a coup. The phrase coup d’etat means “the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group”. If you agree that the removal was not unconstitutional, then there was no coup.

  29. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Otto,

    I wrote, “as far as I know, if a sitting president has committed a crime, removal is allowed. But the Honduran court can “remove” a sitting president into “exile”?”

    Actually, Obama called it a “coup” on Monday, 1 day before I posted this post.

    EU are pretty much agreeing too.

    🙂

    I don’t know, do you care to dispute President Obama’s contention? Please, state your reasoning.

  30. Otto Kerner Says:

    As far as I can tell, President Zelaya was removed from office legally according to the Honduran constitution. If that’s the case, then there was no coup, which means that Obama and the EU are completely wrong. The general reaction of the international community is quite baffling and I should like to ask them what their logic is.

    To be more specific about my reasoning: a “coup d’etat” means that an existing government is removed from power forcefully by a small group. If a president is removed from office lawfully, then a) the goverment is not removed from power; one of its offices changes hands. This is no more of a coup than a regular election is; b) the official in question is removed from office not by force but by law. The succeeding government might do lots of bad things, but they nevertheless came to power by legal processes rather than by a coup. Not every bad act committed by a government is a coup.

    In fact, if a country’s president is removed from office legally and then he refuses to accept that he is no longer president, and he attempts to continue acting as president, then he is guilty of attempting to carry out a coup. This is especially true if the former president gives orders to military personnel or attempts to replace military leaders with the goal of shoring up his position. My guess is that the new government of Honduras expeted Zelaya to do that sort of thing, so they acted against him preemptively. This preemptive reaction to an expected crime may or may not be acceptable in extreme circumstances, depending on one’s view of the legal issues involved.

  31. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To R4000:
    “Did I say “removal” was unconstitutional? Why are you bringing it up?”
    —because you called the event a coup in your post.

    “I already posted a list of non-CCP parties allowed in China. So, you are wrong.”
    —that parties have to be “allowed” to exist means they’re not independent. And let me know when one of these so called non-CCP parties gains control of government. Good thing I’ve got lots of time.

    “Your “fun” is irrelevant to this topic.”
    —true enough. But you’re a good source of it. Which is why I keep coming back.

    “members accept responsibilities and penalties for violation of CCP rules.”
    —like I said, expulsion, sure. But house arrest? How can a party dole out judicial-style punishment? Besides, who enforced this house arrest? Does the CCP have its own party police to enforce its prescribed punishments? Or do you think it was government police that was keeping watch? Are you saying that this CCP party allows it to take away someone’s personal freedom? That’s quite a party.

    “Zhao knew the rules when he signed up. and you keep forgetting this point.”
    —I’m sure he knew “the rules”; but I’d like to see where the party constitution describes house arrest as a form of party discipline, and how the party (without the help of the police or the government) planned on enforcing something like that.

  32. raventhorn4000 Says:

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/americas/story/1125872.html

    Top Honduran military lawyer: we broke the law

    Honduran Col. Herberth Bayardo Inestroza
    BY FRANCES ROBLES
    FROBLES@MIAMIHERALD.COM
    TEGUCIGALPA — The military officers who rushed deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya out of the country Sunday committed a crime, but will be exonerated for saving the country from mob violence, the army’s top lawyer said.

    In an interview with the Miami Herald and El Salvador’s elfaro.net, army attorney Col. Herberth Bayardo Inestroza acknowledged that top military brass made the call to forcibly remove President Manuel Zelaya — and they circumvented laws when they did it.

    It was the first time any participant in Sunday’s overthrow admitted committing an offense, and the first time a Honduran authority revealed who made the decision that has been denounced worldwide.

    ”We know there was a crime there,” said Inestroza, the top legal advisor for the Honduran armed forces. “In the moment that we took him out of the country in the way that he was taken out, there is a crime. What happens is that that crime, the moment that the circumstances that it occurred, there is going to be a justification and cause for acquittal that will protect us.”

  33. Steve Says:

    Carlos Alberto Montaner is a Cuban-born writer, journalist, and former professor. He is one of the most influential and widely-read columnists in the Spanish-language media, syndicated in dozens of publications in Latin America, Spain and the United States. He is also vice president of the Liberal International, a London-based federation devoted to the defense of democratic values and the promotion of the market economy. He has written more than twenty books, including Journey to the Heart of Cuba; How and Why Communism Disappeared; Liberty, the Key to Prosperity; and the novels A Dog’s World and 1898: The Plot. He is now based in Madrid, Spain. Here is an article he wrote that appeared in this morning’s Washington Post:

    Preventing a Honduran Bloodbath

    The United States Ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, an extremely competent diplomat, tried very hard to keep Honduras’s Congress from ousting President Manuel Zelaya. After his arguments and pressures were exhausted, and faced with something that seemed inevitable, he did what he could: he sheltered the president’s son at his residence to save him from any violent outcome.

    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.

  34. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    nice article. Imagine that…a democratic solution! Democratically elect a president to replace the guy who tried to break the law in order to stay past his term limit. What a novel and refreshing concept.

  35. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Imagine, US Conservatives supporting the “Exile”.

    Shocking, Fox, Cheney, SKC on the same side?

    Otto against Obama and EU, ALBA, and OAS and UN?

    Yes, let’s go for “do-over” elections. And if the next Honduran President is another Chavez or Zelaya, there can always be another Supreme Court order for “removal” and “exile” or “arrest” for some foul.

    *Self-inconsistencies of “democracy” is finally catching up to the Principles of the detractors. 🙂

    Everyone is tripping over themselves to declare the “Will of the People”, while playing the same old game of “end justifies the means”.

    Irony, thy name is “demo-crazy”.

    Afterall, the next election will validate and cure all ills of the present. What a concept! “End justifies the Means” is still the universal rule apparently.

  36. Denny Says:

    Zachary do you speak spanish u crazy dude. Hahaha. Supposedly Zelaya was suppose to go to Honduras on thursday. Switched it to saturday now on the news it says that he’s going to go to the U.S. to get the last word because he doesn’t want to be detained by honduran military. They said that supposedly before sunday.

  37. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Since obviously, OAS and UN will not recognize the interim government, the new “election” would be in doubt.

    Zelaya would undoubtedly declare a “Government in Exile” to be established somewhere near the border of Honduras, and draw upon the support of the poor rural Hondurans, for an election in Exile. (I don’t think he’s stupid enough to go back and risk an arrest, unless he is sure to return to power.)

    OAS will impose economic sanctions against Honduras.

    I don’t think the Supreme Court of Honduras thought this one through.

    But hell, the world is full of “do-gooders” who think they know better, isn’t it?!

    China has lots of people and land. Iran has oil. They can at least afford to be stubborn.

    Honduras…. Well, my sympathies.

  38. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To R4000:
    are you suffering from some kind of comprehension deficit? Where did I say I supported the exile? For the second time, this is what I wrote:
    “ok, so the removal from the country and “exile” to Costa Rica is still up for discussion.”(SKC #19)
    —I’d draw the intestines, but crikey I drew them the first time.

    “let’s go for “do-over” elections”
    —how is it a “do-over” if the office is vacant because the previous occupant was lawfully removed? (from office, not from the country).

    “there can always be another Supreme Court order for “removal” and “exile” or “arrest” for some foul.”
    —not exile or arrest, unless specifically allowed by law. But that’s how a law-abiding society works; even the executive can’t run roughshod over the law. Why do you assume that the next president would run afoul of the law?

    ““end justifies the means”
    —again, you need to be clear about what you are referencing with “means”. If it’s removal from office, then absolutely; if you’re talking forced exile, then you may have a point. But again, over-arching general statements aren’t gonna cut it.

  39. raventhorn4000 Says:

    SKC,

    You wrote, “So you were really a bit ahead of yourself by labeling the event as “this little coup”, wouldn’t you say?”

    Guess what, you were denying a “coup”.

    “—how is it a “do-over” if the office is vacant because the previous occupant was lawfully removed? (from office, not from the country).”

    “Lawfully removed”, hmm… Sounds like a Conservative. Fox News used the EXACT same phrase.

    “Do-over”, well, they stopped 1 referendum, and now start their own “vote”. Seems like a “do-over”. (Maybe it’s legal, but still a “do-over”. But we’ll let you and Fox news agreed on that point at least.)

    “—not exile or arrest, unless specifically allowed by law. But that’s how a law-abiding society works; even the executive can’t run roughshod over the law. Why do you assume that the next president would run afoul of the law?”

    And Supreme Court running their own definition of “removal” outside of Constitution is what? Why do you assume I was talking about the next president, when I was writing about the “Supreme court”??

    “—again, you need to be clear about what you are referencing with “means”. If it’s removal from office, then absolutely; if you’re talking forced exile, then you may have a point. But again, over-arching general statements aren’t gonna cut it.”

    What “means” do you think we are talking about here? Just “removal”? I think I did write “little coup” several times. Why are you pretending not to read?

  40. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “Guess what, you were denying a “coup”.”
    —the removal from office is not in question; the removal from the country is. You can define a coup however you like.

    “another Supreme Court order for “removal” and “exile” or “arrest” for some foul.”
    —so in your sentence, who is committing the “foul”. If you say you’re talking about the Court, then yet again another goofy sentence from you.

    “What “means” do you think we are talking about here?”
    —if I knew what you were talking about, i wouldn’t be asking. It should not surprise you that people are perplexed by what you say- both in content and in style…you should be used to that by now.

  41. raventhorn4000 Says:

    “—the removal from office is not in question; the removal from the country is. You can define a coup however you like.”

    I don’t see your problem then.

    “—so in your sentence, who is committing the “foul”. If you say you’re talking about the Court, then yet again another goofy sentence from you.”

    Obviously whomever the Supreme Court wants to see as “committing the foul”, President/Congress/protesters/etc., isn’t that what you say as “lawful” for them to do? (As Fox News agrees with you?)

    “—if I knew what you were talking about, i wouldn’t be asking. It should not surprise you that people are perplexed by what you say- both in content and in style…you should be used to that by now.”

    That’s odd, I did WRITE “coup”, why are you talking about “which means”? Obviously I already said “if a sitting president has committed a crime, removal is allowed.” Post #6.

    It’s just you again. 🙂

  42. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “whomever the Supreme Court wants to see as “committing the foul””
    —and in this case, the guy committing the foul was Zelaya, who was seeking a second term despite the constitutional prohibition.

    “I already said “if a sitting president has committed a crime, removal is allowed.” ”
    —then in this case, the end does justify the means. Unless of course you’re referring to the exile part, but clearly you’re not, right? Cuz, I mean, you’ve never contradicted yourself…since yesterday at least.

  43. raventhorn4000 Says:

    “—and in this case, the guy committing the foul was Zelaya, who was seeking a second term despite the constitutional prohibition.”

    Well, again, at least you and Fox News agree on that point. Not so much for the most of the governments around the world. 🙂

    “—then in this case, the end does justify the means. Unless of course you’re referring to the exile part, but clearly you’re not, right?”

    I thought I said “coup”. Why you talking about “removal” again?

  44. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “Well, again, at least you and Fox News agree on that point.”
    —and it seems you do too, since you apparently said this in #6, as you were keen to point out: “Obviously I already said “if a sitting president has committed a crime, removal is allowed.” Post #6.” (R4000 #41)

    “I thought I said “coup”. Why you talking about “removal” again?”
    —and conveniently, you answered your own question with the same, albeit longer, quote: “I did WRITE “coup”, why are you talking about “which means”? Obviously I already said “if a sitting president has committed a crime, removal is allowed.” Post #6.”

  45. raventhorn4000 Says:

    “—and it seems you do too, since you apparently said this in #6, as you were keen to point out: “Obviously I already said “if a sitting president has committed a crime, removal is allowed.” Post #6.” (R4000 #41)”

    I didn’t say it was a “removal”. I said a “little coup”.

    “—and conveniently, you answered your own question with the same, albeit longer, quote: “I did WRITE “coup”, why are you talking about “which means”? Obviously I already said “if a sitting president has committed a crime, removal is allowed.” Post #6.””

    You do see the word “IF”, don’t you? Obviously I was talking about “COUP”, for the last time.

  46. S.K. Cheung Says:

    You know what, you can define “coup” however you like. You seem to have your own personal lexicon anyway…what’s another word added to that growing list.

  47. raventhorn4000 Says:

    “You know what, you can define “coup” however you like. You seem to have your own personal lexicon anyway…what’s another word added to that growing list.”

    Your personal observation has nothing to do with this topic.

  48. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “Your personal observation has nothing to do with this topic.”
    —is this your latest tagline? It must be most disappointing for you that you can’t control what other people say. Such is life, at least on this side of the pond.

  49. raventhorn4000 Says:

    “—is this your latest tagline? It must be most disappointing for you that you can’t control what other people say. Such is life, at least on this side of the pond.”

    —is this your latest tagline? It must be most disappointing for you that you can’t control what other people say. Such is life, at least on this side of the pond.

    See how you insult yourself with your own words?

  50. Steve Says:

    Another viewpoint on Honduras~

    This article presents a different angle about recent events in Honduras. It also delves deeper into the circumstances that took place before the removal of Zelaya from the country.

    Why Honduras Sent Zelaya Away
    The former president threatened to use force against the Congress and other institutions.
    By MARY ANASTASIA O’GRADY

    In a perfect world former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya would be in jail in his own country right now, awaiting trial. The Honduran attorney general has charged him with deliberately violating Honduran law and the Supreme Court ordered his arrest in Tegucigalpa on June 28.

    But the Honduran military whisked him out of the country, to Costa Rica, when it executed the court’s order.

    His expulsion has given his supporters ammunition to allege that he was treated unlawfully. Now he is an international hero of the left. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Cuban dictator Raúl Castro, and Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez are all insisting that he be restored to power. This demand is baseless. Mr. Zelaya’s detention was legal, as was his official removal from office by Congress.

    If there is anything debatable about the crisis it is the question of whether the government can defend the expulsion of the president. In fact it had good reasons for that move and they are worth Mrs. Clinton’s attention if she is interested in defending democracy.

    Besides eagerly trampling the constitution, Mr. Zelaya had demonstrated that he was ready to employ the violent tactics of chavismo to hang onto power. The decision to pack him off immediately was taken in the interest of protecting both constitutional order and human life.

    Two incidents earlier this year make the case. The first occurred in January when the country was preparing to name a new 15-seat Supreme Court, as it does every seven years. An independent board made up of members of civil society had nominated 45 candidates. From that list, Congress was to choose the new judges.

    Mr. Zelaya had his own nominees in mind, including the wife of a minister, and their names were not on the list. So he set about to pressure the legislature. On the day of the vote he militarized the area around the Congress and press reports say a group of the president’s men, including the minister of defense, went to the Congress uninvited to turn up the heat. The head of the legislature had to call security to have the defense minister removed.

    In the end Congress held its ground and Mr. Zelaya retreated. But the message had been sent: The president was willing to use force against other institutions.

    In May there was an equally scary threat to peace issued by the Zelaya camp as the president illegally pushed for a plebiscite on rewriting the constitution. Since the executive branch is not permitted to call for such a vote, the attorney general had announced that he intended to enforce the law against Mr. Zelaya.

    A week later some 100 agitators, wielding machetes, descended on the attorney general’s office. “We have come to defend this country’s second founding,” the group’s leader reportedly said. “If we are denied it, we will resort to national insurrection.”

    These experiences frightened Hondurans because they strongly suggested that Mr. Zelaya, who had already aligned himself with Mr. Chávez, was now emulating the Venezuelan’s power-grab. Other Chávez protégés — in Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua — have done the same, refusing to accept checks on their power, making use of mobs and seeking to undermine institutions.

    It was this fondness for intimidation that prompted Mr. Zelaya’s exile. Honduras was worried that if he stayed in the country after his arrest his supporters would foment violence to try to bring down the interim government and restore him to power.

    It wouldn’t be a first. Bolivia’s President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada was removed in 2003 using just such tactics. Antigovernment militants, trained by Peruvian terrorists and financed by Venezuela and by drug money from the Colombian rebel group FARC, had laid siege to La Paz. As the city ran short on supplies, Mr. Sánchez de Lozada issued a decree to have armed guards accompany food and fuel trucks. The rebels, who had dynamite and weapons, clashed with the guards. Sixty people died. The president was pressured to step down.

    Mr. Sánchez de Lozada told me by telephone last week that he only presented a letter of resignation to the Bolivian Congress when the U.S. threatened to cut off aid if he left the country without doing so. He signed under duress but the letter was then used by the international community to endorse what was in effect a brutal Venezuelan-directed overthrow of the democracy.

    The fact that the Organization of American States and the U.S. never defended the Bolivian democracy cannot be lost on the Hondurans or the chavistas. You can bet that Venezuela will try to orchestrate similar troubles in an attempt to bring condemnation to the new Honduran government. Honduran patriots have better odds against that strategy with Mr. Zelaya out of the country, even if Washington and the OAS don’t approve.

  51. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To R4000:
    “See how you insult yourself with your own words?”
    —for the second time today, huh? Disagree with you, sure, absolutely, all the time. But try to control what you say? Trust me, even if I could, I wouldn’t bother. Where else would a guy get some of the gems you come up with?

    To Steve:
    great article. The very first sentence, and the first sentence of paragraph 4, seem to sum up the situation nicely. THe rest of it is interesting, but seems speculative. It would be most intriguing if there was more substantive proof that he tried to strong-arm his way into molding the new court. I also wonder, if Zelaya’s supporters were to “foment violence to try to bring down the interim government and restore him to power”, whether his being in jail in Honduras vs sitting somewhere in Costa Rica would make all that much difference.

  52. Steve Says:

    @ SKC #51: Personally, I think it was a mistake to whisk Zelaya out of the country. It created a rallying point for his supporters to say that he was being mistreated and a coup was occurring. I doubt the constitution calls for deportation without trial for being on the wrong side of the law.

  53. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Steve,

    My thoughts exactly. Now the Honduran Interim Government faces over 50% of its poor population and an exiled President with international backing.

    Rallying point indeed.

  54. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Update:

    Honduran Labor Union Groups calling for general strike across the country.

    Rally for the Rallying point.

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