Monday, July 27, 2009

Louder, Please

Interim president Micheletti of Honduras patiently explains why Zelaya was not overthrown in a coup. The details have been reported and Micheletti addresses the issue of how Zelaya was removed:

I succeeded Mr. Zelaya under the Honduran constitution’s order of succession (our vice president had resigned before all of this began so that he could run for president). This is and has always been an entirely civilian government. The military was ordered by an entirely civilian Supreme Court to arrest Mr. Zelaya. His removal was ordered by an entirely civilian and elected Congress. To suggest that Mr. Zelaya was ousted by means of a military coup is demonstrably false.

Regarding the decision to expel Mr. Zelaya from the country the evening of June 28 without a trial, reasonable people can believe the situation could have been handled differently. But it is also necessary to understand the decision in the context of genuine fear of Mr. Zelaya’s proven willingness to violate the law and to engage in mob-led violence.

Yes, the removal by the military was outside of procedures, but given Zelaya's actions and allies, it is wrong to say that it was clearly a mistake. The Hondurans did the best they could. I think Zelaya should have been arrested and tried, but the Hondurans on the scene feared Zelaya could resort to mob violence if they did that. I guess I won't second-guess them on that. There was clearly a risk in letting Zelaya stay in Honduras.

It is ridiculous to claim that the Hondurans should have fought a man eager to violate their own laws only with means provided in law when the law was insufficient to combat Zelaya. No constitution can be a suicide pact.

The Hondurans did the best they could to preserve rule of law and they deserve our support. Micheletti needs to keep making his case in the State Department and the halls of Congress.