Friday, September 25, 2009

The Zelaya Affair Was Not a Coup

Congressional legal analysis has confirmed what I concluded over two months ago:

Available sources indicate that the judicial and legislative branches applied constitutional and statutory law in the case against President Zelaya in a manner that was judged by the Honduran authorities from both branches of the government to be in accordance with the Honduran legal system.

However, removal of President Zelaya from the country by the military is in direct violation of the Article 102 of the Constitution, and apparently this action is currently under investigation by the Honduran authorities.

I concluded much the same thing:

The vast majority of the international community is focused on the lack of formal removal procedures by condemning the admittedly unusual expulsion of Zelaya. But this incorrect focus ignores the initial violation of the constitution that apparently voided Zelaya's presidency. And this focus ignores the greater damage that Zelaya appeared to have planned for the constitution of Honduras, judging by the friends he kept.

Even though there is no formal mechanism for removing a president who voided their office by violating the constitution, the broad support in the legislative and judicial branches for removing Zelaya shows that the Hondurans did what they needed to do to defend their democracy. The military is to be commended for supporting rule of law rather than condemned for staging a coup.

For Hondurans, their constitution is not a suicide pact designed to thwart true democrats who would defend rule of law and shield proto-dictators from any consequences for their undermining of the rule of law.

Clearly, Honduras should have arrested and tried Zelaya for his crimes when he was ousted.

Micheletti needs to hold firm despite the pressure he and his fellow democrats are weathering. They are on the right side of this dispute and ever so slowly, it may finally be dawning on the world that siding with Chavez and Castro probably doesn't indicate we've made the right initial choice.