Monday, June 29, 2009

Thoughts on Central America

I don't have many. However, there was a coup in Honduras. Which I find interesting for the reasons that it happened.

Basically, as I understand it, the president, who apparently thinks that Hugo Chavez is the cat's meow, and not some tin pot dictator, was trying to get himself reelected. Just one little, tiny problem: the Honduran constitution does not allow president's to be reelected. One and done.

So he was trying to hold a referendum that would allow him to run again. Just a little problem with that: it was not legal to do it that way. In order for it to have been legal, it needed to be approved by the Honduran legislature. It was not. So the president, a lovely fellow named Manuel Zelaya, decided to hold a "non-binding referendum".

The military, which administers elections in Honduras, refused to comply with the President's orders to go ahead with the election, even though it had been rejected by the legislature and declared illegal by the country's Supreme Court and human rights ombudsman. So the lovely gentleman fired the head of the military, probably in the hopes that he might find someone more malleable.

Now, it needs ot be pointed out that the constitution of Honduras is a bit different from the U.S. Constitution. Article 42 section 5 states that if a person tries to continue a president's time in office past his one term, they can be stripped of their citizenship. However, it does not seem to have a provision for how to remove a president via impeachment. Interesting oversight, especially in light of the obvious fear of a president running away with power and becoming a dictator.

Over the weekend, the military took it upon themselves to solve this problem. On Sunday, the military woke him up, a wee bit violently, and thew him on a plane and deported him to Costa Rica.

Was this the best way it could have been handled? Probably not. Was it the right thing to do? It looks like it was.

Now, in this day and age, a coup does not happen without everyone weighing in. Of course, Mr. Chavez is very, very upset. Mr. Zelaya was one of his supporters. Now, our President is in little pickel. On the one hand, the Honduran president was usurping the constitution of the republic. On the other hand, the military did stage a coup.

Given those choices, what do you think that the president wants to emphasize? Yeah, I guess it does make more sense to emphasize the coup over the fact that Mr. Zelaya was trying to violate the constitution and illegally maintain power. And its totally consistent with the tact that Mr. Obama has taken in regards to Iran and its electoral troubles.

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