Jul 04

Honduras, Iran, and China, Part Deux, Detractors missing basic point

Written by raventhorn4000 on Saturday, July 4th, 2009 at 6:18 pm
Filed under:-chinese-posts, -guest-posts, -mini-posts, Analysis |
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There has been much comments, analysis, blogs over the Honduran “Incident”.

But the detractors of the current “new government” of Honduras miss the fundamental contradictions of their own arguments.

They argue that “this is not a coup, because ex-President Zelaya was removed for a good reason”. But that is simply an “end justifies the means” argument. Military Coups are wrong, not because we judged upon the justifications of the coups, but because we recognize that use of military force to change a government is simply the wrong means. It cannot be a Constitutional method.

They argue that “this is not a coup, because the military acted under the order of the Supreme Court of Honduras.” But they simply miss the point of even having a Supreme Court. A Supreme Court cannot simply make an order legal, when the Articles of Constitution of Honduras clearly does not prescribe “exile”.  “Removal” simply means removal from official authority.   After that, Zelaya would be powerless to act upon anything, but he should still be able to rally his supporters as legitimate politcal expression.  “Arrest” or “Exile” are fundamentally beyond the scope of “removal” as written in the Constitution of Honduras.

In this, I am reminded of the foundational principle of “Separation of Power”, and “Judicial restraint” in many Democracies.

In US history, a case was decided by the US Supreme Court, Marbury v. Madison, where the justices refused to sanction President Thomas Jefferson for ordering non-delivery of “appointment letters” for several judges. Thomas Jefferson had essentially refused to execute laws and appointments passed by the US Congress on the previous term. The US Supreme Court avoided the confrontation with the Executive body by dismissing the case on a “standing” issue.

The US Supreme Court believed that such issues would work themselves out by the People over the long term. And “judicial restraint” means that the court should refrain from making any orders to compel the other 2 political branches in show downs. Let alone use the military or side with the military in any arguments with the President.

They speak of the “unconstitutional referendum”, and how unpopular Zelaya is. But if he is indeed unpopular, then why worry about the “referendum”? Even if he won the “referendum”, it would not legally change the “Constitution”. The Honduran high court has already ruled that the “referendum” would have no legal effect on the Constitution.

The detractors have simply missed the whole point. The fundamental wrongfulness of “military coup” is in the madness of the “method”. Undoubtedly, many previous military coups listed similar “justifications”, but we do not look up the “justifications”, only the process of law. Whether Zelaya should be removed is not the question, but whether the Supreme Court of Honduras had the legal authority order “exile”, and whether the military of Honduras could legally execute such an order.

For such an order, and such justifications, the Supreme Court and the Military of Honduras, have done far more damage to the Democratic process of Honduras than a single Zelaya could possibly do with his “referendum”.

Had Zelaya succeeded in his “referendum”, it would at least be representative of the People’s will, and political branches of Honduran government can reach compromises, or even stand firm and refuse to accept Zelaya as President for a new term. (Surly that cannot be that difficult, if Zelaya is so unpopular.)

But now, we have a precedent of Honduran Supreme Court ordering the military to “remove” a president into “exile”.

The damage to the credibility of the Court’s impartiality and the military’s non-involvement in politics is untold.

And now, the Supreme Court of Honduras will have to deal with the consequential question, can they now be “removed into exile” by the foreign and domestic supporters of Zelaya?  Whatif tomorrow, 1 of the generals use his troops to “remove” the Justices into “exile” on the order of Congress?

I for one, now finally and fully appreciate the wisdom of Justice Marshall in Marbury v. Madison, and the principle of Judicial restraint.

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51 Responses to “Honduras, Iran, and China, Part Deux, Detractors missing basic point”

  1. Ron Sparkman Says:

    You are wrong, you are basing your argument on the laws and constitution of your country, not from the veiw of the Honduran courts. The difinition of ”Removal” is up to the Honduran courts to decide. How would you feel if the Chineese were to start interpeting your courts decisions based on one word. Thier law clearly states that any president attempting to remain in power is guilty of treason. There is nothing, no articles of impeachment or anything else in the Honduran Constitution that offers instructions or states how it is to be carried out.

  2. raventhorn4000 Says:

    “Judicial restraint” is a basic constitutional concept of law, not unique to US.

    If Honduran court can decide that “removal” can also contain “exile” or “arrest”, that’s contradicting to their Constitutional obligations to protect freedom of speech.

    It’s plainly obvious that the ONLY purpose for “exile” or “arrest” is to shut him up.

    “Treason”? Such a broad definition of “treason” would be unconstitutional if passed as a law, let alone by mere Judicial interpretation.

    Constitution of Honduras only prescribes “removal” for violation of office of President. Treason would require an impeachment by Congress. They didn’t get to it.

  3. Otto Kerner Says:


    I hope you will remain equally invested in your demand for rule of law, free speech, freedom of assembly, civilian government, and the right of opposition figures to rally their supporters when the topic shifts to China, Tibet, etc. in the future.

  4. bud mckinney Says:

    TREASON?……when did Zelaya say he was remaining in office past January 27?….you knot heads on the right seem to flaunt “democracy” when it suits you and espouse militarism when you cannot any longer stand democracy. TREASON……you and Mitchiletti are the traitors.

  5. Otto Kerner Says:

    (comment deleted by author)

  6. bud mckinney Says:

    otto….yes but Ron is NOT

  7. bud mckinney Says:

    and ron……if there is nothing in the Honduran constitution about impeachment and removal of a president or official….maybe it is time to review that constituiton…ya think?

  8. raventhorn4000 Says:


    I demand minimally that nations follow their own rules. Imposition of foreign standards, is a different matter.

    Here, what some of you have proposed for Honduras only shows your own observance of your own rules of “democracy”.

    That is the only inconsistency here.

    I do not demand that you should follow some ideal foreign to you. I do not demand that Honduras follow some US standard, but the basic standard of Honduras’ own Constitution and Democracy.

    You and SKC (and many many conservatives) have only demonstrated how far you are willing to bend the “means” to suit your “ends”.

    Undoubtedly, you intend well, but you are quite willing to disregard the methods and the side effects of your “ends”.

    Until you sort these out for your own “democracy”, you have no “democracy”. And China should set to a path different and a distance from yours.

  9. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Incidentally, Honduras has over 50% population below the poverty line (almost all rural communities), 25% unemployment.

    Hmm. Maybe Honduran Elites should worry. Exiling Zelaya might be a quick solution, but it won’t last long with those numbers.

    Here is another scenario: Zelaya could run a separate Government from the countryside. He already has the legitimacy of OAS, UN, US, EU. And he has money and arms support from his neighbors. Many of his ministers escaped into exile or are hiding in the countryside.

    He could run the countryside and seal off the cities, if he can’t return.

    Then, consider how long the current interim government, Supreme court can last.

  10. Otto Kerner Says:


    Har. Democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of demonstration, and regional autonomy are China’s own rules according to its Constitution, not a foreign imposition. When will China begin to follow its own rules?

  11. raventhorn4000 Says:


    Each nation have their own restrictions on Freedom of Speech, freedom of assembly and association.

    “Regional autonomy” is well defined in Chinese laws.

    I see nothing from Chinese laws that would contravene the ideas.

    *I find similar arguments about Chinese laws rather indicative of Western ideological bias applied to Chinese laws.

    “Article 37. The freedom of person of citizens of the People’s Republic of China is inviolable. No citizen may be arrested except with the approval or by decision of a people’s procuratorate or by decision of a people’s court, and arrests must be made by a public security organ.”

  12. Aaron Ortiz Says:

    “this is not a coup, because ex-President Zelaya was removed for a good reason”

    The president broke the law, and not just any law, the constitutional prohibition on seeking reelection. That was the reason he was removed. That validates the actions taken against him, but not the way they were carried out.

    Zelaya admitted in national TV that he came to power through fraud. How could we trust him not to commit fraud in the referendum, which was illegal anyway. The Supreme Court and Congress had ruled it illegal. The ballots were printed in Venezuela. The referendum was illegal, and likely to be fraught with fraud.

  13. Honduran Immigrant Says:

    Article 239 of the Honduran Constitution specifies that Zelaya was no longer President immediately upon proposing a change to the one-term limit, and was further barred from any and all political office for the next ten years.

    There are accordingly exactly two possible interpretations as to what happened in Honduras:

    1) Zelaya was no longer in power in Honduras. The military accordingly did not perform a coup, but instead forced a private citizen illegally trespassing in the presidential palace into exile from the country. The correction for this illegal exile is to allow Zelaya to return to Honduras as a private citizen. As a private citizen, he can be fully expected to have to face arrest and criminal charges for, for example, when he led a mob to steal court-impounded materials from a military base. In the meantime, the Presidency devolved constitutionally upon Zelaya’s Constitutionally-designated successor (the president of Congress, the vice-presidency currently being vacant).

    2) Zelaya was still in power in Honduras, but illegally, in violation of the Honduran Constitution’s Article 239. The military then exercised its positive duty under Article 272 of the Honduran Constitution to remove him to allow succession of the Presidency to his Constitutionally-designated successor (the president of Congress, the vice-presidency currently being vacant). If Zelaya returns to Honduras, he can fully expect arrest and criminal charges relating to the period where he unconstitutionally held power.

    Whether the military should be punished for its actions is a separate question from the one of who is the legal, Constitutional president. Either way, Zelaya is not the legal President of Honduras, while Roberto Micheletti is. And whether there was a crime committed by the military or not, Zelaya is wanted for legitimate criminal offenses, and so is legitimately subject to arrest.

  14. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Whether or not the Honduran supreme Court committed a violation of Constitution with its order to the military is the bigger question.

    How should the Supreme Court of Honduras be sanctioned for its role?

  15. bud mckinney Says:

    Zelaya was NOT seeking re-election….never said that , never gave any indication that he had that intent…..rightwing propaganda. And the ” referendum” was not a binding vote, it was nothing more than a public opinion poll, and was never represented by Zelaya as anything but that. Makes me wonder what the Courts and Congress were really afraid of?

  16. Ron Sparkman Says:

    Raventhorn, the term impeachment is not in the Honduran Constitution. As Honduran immigrant mentioned artcle 39 of their constitution clearly states removal for a president for merely mentioning changing term limits. Mel went way beyond mentioning and has been actively campaigning to do just that. Furthermore thier constitution clearly states this is an act of Treason. These are laws, not subject to “feelings” because you do not like them. If you do not like their laws and would like to see them changed, move here, become a Honduran Citizen and attempt to change them. Otherwise, keep your “feelings” to your self and quote some “Honduran” law that was broken.

    Here’s a twist for you, big headline this morning. Military Officier in charge of arresting Mel felt he broke the law by doing so. But then he went on to quote the law contained within the constitution that allows the military to break the law if so required in order to insure safety of the public. I did not write that law, if it really bothered me I guess could become a Honduran Citizen and lobby to change the law. But since I am not a Honduran Citizen, I will leave it to them to make changes to their Constitution, even though I live in Honduras. I would be offended if they started telling me how to interpet the U.S. constitution.

    Aaron, as always, you are right on all things Honduran. I have not posted on H.L. in over a year but you have consistantly earned my respect.

  17. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Certainly, “campaigning” is not a violation of the Presidential 1 term limit. He was still in office for his 1st term when he was “removed”.

    Article 4 of Honduran Constitution merely says that President must change after 1 term. (violation of that term of change is treason). He certainly is still in his 1st term. His referendum is non-binding. There is no legal certainty that he would have violated the Constitution at the end of his term.

    He and his supporters are certainly entitled to express their opinions in a referendum to urge the change of Constitution.

    Seems like “treason” based upon his referendum is rather flimsy excuse.

    *and if the military admits that they have broken the law, I’m not arguing with that.

    But I still want to know, what sanctions should the Supreme Court bear for ordering the military to do so?

  18. Aaron Ortiz Says:

    “Campaigning” is a violation of the constitution, when article 239 says that anyone who has been president, cannot ever be president or vice president.

    But is also says that anyone who proposes the reform of this article, or support someone who does, directly or indirectly, will immediately cease their respective charges, and cannot be elected to any public office for 10 years.

    read it:

    ARTICULO 239.- El ciudadano que haya desempeñado la titularidad del Poder Ejecutivo no podrá ser Presidente o Vicepresidente de la República.

    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

  19. raventhorn4000 Says:

    “But is also says that anyone who proposes the reform of this article, or support someone who does, directly or indirectly, will immediately cease their respective charges, and cannot be elected to any public office for 10 years.”

    that’s not the same thing as “treason” is it?

  20. raventhorn4000 Says:


    Reports: Two Military Battalions Turn Against Honduras Coup Regime

    Posted by Al Giordano – June 29, 2009 at 4:38 pm
    By Al Giordano

    Community Radio “Es Lo de Menos” was the first to report that the Fourth Infantry Battalion has rebelled from the military coup regime in Honduras. The radio station adds that “it seems” (“al parecer,” in the original Spanish) that the Tenth Infantry Battalion has also broken from the coup.

    Rafael Alegria, leader of Via Campesina, the country’s largest social organization, one that has successfully blockaded the nation’s highways before to force government concessions, tells Alba TV:

    “The popular resistance is rising up throughout the country. All the highways in the country are blockaded…. The Fourth Infantry Battallion… is no longer following the orders of Roberto Micheletti.”

    Angel Alvarado of Honduras’ Popular Union Bloc tells Radio Mundial:

    “Two infantry battalions of the Honduran Army have risen up against the illegitimate government of Roberto Micheletti in Honduras. They are the Fourth Infantry Battalion in the city of Tela and the Tenth Infantry Battalion in La Ceiba (the second largest city in Honduras), both located in the state of Atlántida.”

  21. robina creaser Says:

    Eloquent argument, thank you; I had it instinctively, but required a formal framework 🙂

    The separation of powers in a democracy, infers that the parties must work towards acceptable compromise, and that `the voice of the people` – the demos in democracy, the vote, will decide major or contentious issues. The removal of one of the parties, Zelaya in this case, is moving outside of fundamental democratic principles and certainly was an assumption of the prerogative of the voters.

    Constitutions must be open to change, within their fundamental principles – universal suffrage required such change, and often quite recently; we all nibble at our constitutions as society develops (for good or ill).
    President Zelaya was asking a question of the people, and as you pointed out, they would have given the answer.
    The coup seems to have been provoked by the question from Zelaya, but sadly the coup leaders did not want to hear the answer and reverted to guns and repression. Really sad for Honduras and I hope it is resolved soon, and peacefully, with a return to democracy.

  22. Aaron Ortiz Says:

    It is treason, raventhron, it’s in article 4:

    The alternability of the exercise of the Presidency of the Republic is obligatory.

    Infraction against this norm constitutes the crime of treason to the Fatherland.

    (source: http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Honduras/hond05.html)

    read it:

    ARTICULO 4.- La forma de gobierno es republicana, democrática y representativa. Se ejerce por tres poderes: Legislativo, Ejecutivo y Judicial, complementarios e independientes y sin relaciones de subordinación.

    La alternabilidad en el ejercicio de la Presidencia de la República es obligatoria.

    La infracción de esta norma constituye delito de traición a la Patria

  23. raventhorn4000 Says:


    I know it’s treason in Article 4, for violation the “alternability” of office. But Zelaya hasn’t violated that “alternability” clause yet, he’s still in his 1st term.

    His violation is for article 239, for “campaigning” for a reform in the constitution, which is NOT “treason” as defined.

    Seems like you are reading 2 articles into 1 law and redefining “treason” as applying also to Article 239, which is plainly not the case.

  24. Ron Sparkman Says:

    Aaron, I am unsubscribing to this link, no sense talking to a fools. Apparently raventhorn really does not have clue what has happened down here. Mel, as everyone down here knows has stated publicly what his intent was for the referendum for almost a year. He even addmitted to the U.N. in front of everyone that if placed back in office he would no longer seek re-election. Now this goof-ball raven is posting that there is a split in the military and is using a blog dated from last monday. Never happened, one of the minions intent on spreading mis-information to incite unrest.

  25. raventhorn4000 Says:

    I don’t make the news, I just post them.

  26. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Seems obvious enough that Article 2 was the clause for “violating” the alternability term of office, while Article 239 was the clause for “attempting to violate” the term of office through reform.

    Article 2 defines Treason. Article 239 does not, only describes “removal”.

    I have no idea why people are reading 1 law into the other. They obviously carry different meanings and different punishments.

  27. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Interesting news,

    earlier Honduran interim government says, if Zelaya attempts to return, he would be arrested.

    Now they are saying, Zelaya’s plane would not be allowed to land in Honduras.

    It seems they really don’t want to arrest him afterall.

    1st, they “exile” him, instead of “arresting” him.

    Now, they won’t let him land, instead of “arresting” him.

    Hm…. It’s starting to sound like a bluff from the interim government.

  28. Aaron Ortiz Says:

    I undestand your point Raverthorn, but I don’t agree.

    As for not allowing Zelaya to land, this is to proctect him and the Honduran people from the violent on both sides of the equation, and the great anger around this situation.

  29. bud Says:

    Aaron, what is it that you are so afraid of?…..the interm government said they would arrest Zelaya first, now they will not allow him to land? A legit government would have the force of law and support of the people and would not fear his arrival.

  30. raventhorn4000 Says:

    I understand public “necessity”.

    Not sure the world will see it that way though. Like I said, my sympathies. This would not end well for Honduras 1 way or another.

  31. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Zelaya supporters clash with military guarding the airport.

    Reported 2 dead, 2 injured, out of 1000’s of protesters.

    Zelaya’s plane forced to divert to Nicaragua.

    (I think Government in Exile is coming up.)

  32. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Otto #3:
    good luck with that. I think the post author has a healthy set of double standards.

    To R4000:
    “They argue that “this is not a coup, because ex-President Zelaya was removed for a good reason””
    —once again, you need to be more clear. He was removed from office for good reason; he wasn’t removed from the country for good reason.

    “The fundamental wrongfulness of “military coup” is in the madness of the “method””
    —which part of the method? See above.

    “Whether Zelaya should be removed is not the question, but whether the Supreme Court of Honduras had the legal authority order “exile””
    —as has been said many times before, the “exile” is up for question. At least here you seem to stipulate that his removal from office is not in question.

  33. Charles Liu Says:

    Um, was Zelaya even asking for term limit change in the referendum? From what I’ve read the referendum is asking for a separate ballot box to ask if people support convening the National Constitution Assembly.

    There’s nothing about changing term limit. Also what the Hunduran supreme court decided is calling for referendum is an over reach in authority by the president, based on Article 5 (not treason per Article 4 as claimed.)

    Article 5 of the Hunduran constitution states referendum is part of the legislative process, that’s all. Nothing about discharge of public office. Anyhow, whatever the referendum decides, actual vote on the constutiton convention is at the next election – after Zelaya’s term is over.

    Given our history meddling in South America (thank you Ronald Reagan), I think Americans really should butt out and let the Hunduran people work it out themselves. Are we so desparate to control oil, that we’ll resort to fomenting coup?

    Here’re couple articles on the subject:

    Counterpunch – why Zelaya is being punished by Hundura’s political/military elite installed by Reagan/Negriponte for giving participatory democracy to Hunduran people.

    Washington Post – Obama condems the coup

  34. robina creaser Says:

    Treason, what sort pf nonsense is that ? Zelaya was asking an administrative question and those who were afraid of the answer enacted a coup. The fact that the Military coup leaders were products of the infamous School of the Americas, and as pointed out above, allies of Reagan and Negriponte, should call their motivation and tactics into question. Just who would support them, and why ?

  35. Steve Says:

    And what, pray tell, does any of this have to do with China?

  36. raventhorn4000 Says:


    We are obviously learning the critical values of “democracies” and meanings in this historical crisis.

    How the world is defining “democracy”, and how Honduras defines “democracy”. It has a great deal of value for China, obviously.

    *the underlying question for China, should China go through this kind of painful transitions.

    Obviously, China has a lot of poor people too. The economic disparity in China is significant as well.

    What could happen to China? What would China do if this type of things happened in China?

    Should the Supreme Court be able to “remove” President in similar manners, in China, in US?

    *tons of possible implications for China. (For US too, if one seriously think about it.)

  37. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve #35:
    good question. Who knows, really.

  38. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Yes, Who knows. First honest answer. Try repeating it more often from now on.

  39. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Alrighty then. “Who knows, really”, certainly not R4000. Dude don’t know much.

  40. raventhorn4000 Says:

    1st part good, 2nd part your own speculations.

    Try again. I said REPEAT, not FANTASIZE UPON! I can repeat that simple instruction if you like.

  41. robina creaser Says:

    From the horses mouth: Coup legal advisor admits it was illegal and motivated by their SOA `anti-leftist` training. Zelaya increasing the minimum wagw might also have had some thing to do with it !
    //Meanwhile, the Honduran military’s top legal adviser was talking to the Miami Herald. Army attorney Col. Herberth Bayardo Inestroza was, shall we say, a little off-message.

    First: he admitted that the coup was initiated by the military, and that it broke the law:

    “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.”

    This much, of course, was obvious. But much more remarkable was Inestroza’s admission of what the core issue for the Honduran military was: taking orders from a leftist.

    “We fought the subversive movements here and we were the only country that did not have a fratricidal war like the others,” he said. “It would be difficult for us, with our training, to have a relationship with a leftist government. That’s impossible.”

    So, this is democracy, according to the Honduran military: we won’t take orders from a leftist, because of our “training.”//

  42. Steve Says:

    @ R4K #36: Thank you for actually using the word “China” in your comment. It’s the first time it’s been mentioned on this thread so far. Could you or someone else answer the questions you posed so this post becomes relevant to the overall theme of the blog?

  43. bud Says:

    I have never heard of a crimminal comming to the jail to surrender to a warrant and the police locking the jail and refusing to arrest him……hmmmm…have stranger things happened?

  44. raventhorn4000 Says:


    As the drama is unfolding in Honduras, it is difficult to answer all the implications for China (and for others).

    I think we all do some soul-searching in light of Honduras.

    Though, it’s interesting how quickly some in the US have ignored the Honduras events. I think it shows a certain level of discomfort with the subject, when it pushes the boundary of one’s understanding of “democracy”.

    No doubt it is a tough problem, and a tough question, “What if “Democracy” actually leads to bloodshed?” as in Honduras.

    What if “democracy” leads to cycles of violence in Honduras? (Some speculated that if ROC never conducted egalitarian land reforms in Taiwan, ROC would have never achieved Democracy today, or ROC would have been overthrown by bloody coups.)

    Does Honduras need more basic socio-economic egalitarian reforms or simply stick to its current “voting”?

    It seems evident that even with Zelaya exiled, the economic disparity is the root problem, and it’s going to keep causing discontent. (Or maybe it is the “external influence” from Chavez and the others. Ironically, a very CCP like explanation, isn’t it.)

    I would be interested to hear from your view on this.

  45. brainfood Says:

    Interestingly, the Honduran Constitution of 1982 does provide for loss of citizenship for those who “incite, promote or aid in the continuation or re-election of the President” http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Honduras/hond05.html (article 42):
    ARTICULO 42.- La calidad de ciudadano se pierde:
    5. Por incitar, promover o apoyar el continuismo o la reelección del Presidente de la República; y,
    Further, Article 239 indicates that anyone who has held the office of chief executive cannot be president or vice president and anyone who proposes reform to that prohibition can be barred from holding public office for ten years:
    ARTICULO 239.- El ciudadano que haya desempeñado la titularidad del Poder Ejecutivo no podrá ser Presidente o Vicepresidente de la República.
    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.
    My educated guess on that provision is that it is aimed move at banning past military dictators from pursuing the office than it is a stricture contra re-election, per se.
    Additionally, Article 374 bars any amendments regarding the length of the presidential term (amongst other things:
    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.
    As such, it is pretty clear why the Supreme Court of Justice ruled against Zelaya’s plebiscite proposal in the first place. It also means that if the vote had been allowed to happen it would have had no legal standing.

  46. Steve Says:

    @ R4K #44: I don’t think Honduras is being ignored but superseded by events in China and elsewhere, and rightfully so.

    I also don’t think democracy leads to bloodshed. I just wrote a pretty long post today on the Democracy thread that gets into some of this, but it’s the system of government that prevents or allows bloodshed.

    I can’t compare what is happening in Honduras to Taiwan’s democratic development. I’m very familiar with Taiwan politics because of my wife’s family history in government there, but just as unfamiliar with Honduras’ political development. It wouldn’t be fair to the people in Honduras for me to comment when so many who live there are already available on this thread to supply the details.

    I’m sure there are external influences at work in Honduras along with internal influences. But most government issues are internal. From what I’ve read, there is a high degree of public discontent with Zelaya so it would seem he’d work on improving those numbers rather than trying to start a process of constitutional changes. I also don’t know the procedure for changing the Honduras constitution. From some of the comments here, it seems that term limits are a “third rail” of Honduran opinion. That might relate to their previous history.

    I know this isn’t a very thorough answer, but I’m just not informed enough to go much beyond what I’ve said.

  47. raventhorn4000 Says:


    Interesting theory on that law, except, you didn’t quote the “implementation procedure clause” for article 42, which says for section 5 violations, “executive government agreement” to court decision must be in writing statement before the loss of citizenship can be carried out.

    Obviously article 42 section 5 is not intended for the President, since he is the “executive government”. Additionally, Article 42 is in Chapter 3 of the Honduran Constitution, which relates only to “citizens”, not official sanctions.

    (Of course, the President could be legally removed from the office 1st, and then stripped of his citizenship. But seeing that no “executive agreement” actually took place, Zelaya didn’t lose his citizenship).

    Additionally, the Supreme Court of Honduras never said they stripped Zelaya of his citizenship, merely that they “exiled” him.

    As far as the legal definition of “exile”, generally, “exiled” people are refugees who retain their original citizenship, and under International Human Rights Law, have the right of “return” to home countries.

    (Honduras can arrest him if he returns, but they can’t prevent him from returning under International Laws.) (Unless of course, Honduras want to renounce its adherence to international laws.)

  48. raventhorn4000 Says:


    I get the hesitation to pass judgment on Honduras.

    But if we are that dependent on a system to determine whether there will be bloodshed, I think we might as well say “the law is the law” and give up. (I’m all for stability, but if there is that much chaos around the central leader, it’s not the system any more.)

  49. Allen Says:

    Good post…

    A more “cynical” or perhaps “practical” reading of Madison like incidents is that the lesson to be drawn is that all branches of gov’t – legislative, executive, judicial – should work together to avoid a true “Constitutional crisis.”

    I remember reading about several “War Powers” related incidents while in law school where conflicts between the President and the Congress in the U.S. were settled by deft political maneuvering where each side, carefully sensing its strength and support among the populace, advanced or retreated its positions so as to avoid a true Constitutional crisis…

  50. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Yes, law teaches much about history, and yet so few desire to learn it.

    I always felt that the true strength of any government system is its ability to avoid nasty confrontations, as a practical matter, and yet hard press advantages when available.

    Bush’s problem was his irrational “confrontational approach”.

    Yet, Lincoln, who suspended Habeus Corpus, and imposed martial law, was extremely practical to employ critics as his advisors. (a very diverse soft plus hard approach. Typical of a good lawyer. 🙂

    Thus, the limitation of a nation is not in the system of governance itself, but the practicality of its leaders in preserving the system’s integrity.

    In Bush’s hand, the system turns ineffective and self-contradicting. In Lincoln’s hand, avoidance of dissolution of the union.


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