This blog describes some ideas that seem to be different from the current train of political thought. I will try to bring up somewhat unique and innovative ideas regarding political systems and policies in the US. I hope those who comment also bring in such ideas.
Friday, July 24, 2009
I don't believe the Obama administration wanted the crisis in Honduras at all. In all probability, they wanted nothing to happen, as they didn't want any distractions to their domestic agenda and diplomacy with Russia and Iran. It has been very inconvenient.
At first, they clearly had very little clue as to what was happening. One administrator even admitted as much in an interview. By coming out against it so quickly, Obama painted himself into a corner, though it was clear the ambassador was pro-Zelaya.
Now, the Obama policy is for talk and no military action. In this he has been consistent in Iran and Honduras. In Iran it could work - there wasn't much the United States could do short of declaring war on Iran. It should be the job of the other governments in the region such as Saudi Arabia to try to protect human rights.
However, with Honduras there is no such thing as not taking action. Inaction is a political choice with political consequences. On the one hand, Obama wants to stay "above the fray" and not get involved in foreign problems. This is good policy for the U. S., and good for his political career. But, by staying out of Honduras he would lose personal political capitol abroad, and have to admit his first statements were incorrect. It seems to me that this combination means the administration will be walking the tightrope for awhile. They will try to encourage talks and discourage violence. They hope it will blow under the radar, and all go away when there are new elections.
Zelaya is much more of a wildcard. He sees that violence is his only ticket back to the presidency, but he wants the interim government to start it. I think both his airplane trip and recent border crossing were deliberate attempts to incite violence. The November elections and January changeover are coming far too quickly for him. Without the powers of the executive branch he lacks the ability to directly manipulate the situation. He has generated significant sympathy among international leaders, but is losing real power as measured by his personal finances and ability to control power. He will continue to grandstand, but lacks the courage to enter the country in a way that could result in his capture. He will continue to try to draw fire.
The current government is in a difficult position. On the one hand they are doing a wonderful job cleaning up the mess Zelaya left, and instituting new policies that track where the money is going. It is likely to be as clean and free of corruption as it ever has been in the history of Honduras. They have gone the extra mile to avoid confrontations and violence. They have been quite passive.
On the other hand they really blew it by taking Zelaya out of the country. They need to hold the officer in charge accountable for that blunder.
Despite penury, the interim government is in a position of strength. They have the ability to freely investigate the many crimes of Zelaya, and they have time on their side. As long as there is not a big invasion, they can take it on. But, due to their mistakes and the reactions of outside leaders, they are in a tight spot. I hope they are able to hold on.
Many reports of Zaleya's games at the border, and the violence that ensued. It seems he may be getting on the bad side of Clinton, as she said in an interview in Iraq:
President Zelaya's effort to reach the border is reckless. It does not contribute to the broader effort to restore democracy and constitutional order in the Honduras crisis.
Meanwhile, Representative Connie Mack has made it clear that he feels the current administration should do more to help the legitimate government of Michaletti, and he plans on traveling there this next week. It would be a good idea to suggest to your senators and representatives that they go there as well.
the fact is that the people of Honduras did exactly what their constitution mandates. For the Administration to immediately call this a “coup” was both irresponsible and reckless.Hot Air offers the following analysis on the situation.
Sometime this weekend, Zelaya with backing from Chavez’ Bolivarian “volunteers” will try to force his way back into Honduras…and the United States will say nothing.
Jose de Cordoba writes a review of events leading up to the crisis.
The Washington Post has two opinion pieces. The first is by Edward Schumacher-Matos, in which he attacks the OAS for it's role in the crisis.
The outdated OAS Inter-American Democratic Charter, meanwhile, is designed to prevent coups, but it restricts the OAS from getting involved in internal maneuvers such as packing courts and gutting opposition parties under democratic guise that are the bigger threat in the region today.The second is by OAS president José Miguel Insulza. He does try to address sentiments that have been repeatedly stated in the crisis.
Now, with the recent events in Honduras, they have gathered more rhetorical ammunition to claim that the OAS is ignoring threats to democracy in some cases and actively subverting it in othersWhile Insulza tries to debunk criticisms, he offers excuses, not evidence. He never does explain why Cuba was admitted without having to undergo even cosmetic democratic changes. Nor does he bring up the curious case of the mayor of Caracas. While complaints from Venezuela were routinely dismissed, it seems that the criticism in the wake of the Honduran crisis have forced Insulza to listen.
Kathleen Moore presents a lengthy piece on the legality of the removal of Zaleya.
In his attempt to rule by mere brute power, Manuel Zelaya has brought strife to Honduras, and it is therefore particularly strange to see the man who currently occupies the American President's Office urge the lawful government of Honduras, and its lawful courts to submit to that brute.Canada Free Press has posted an English version of the certification of the Honduras National Congress.
Compliance by the three branches with the constitution’s laws is achieved by the effectiveness of the boundaries of action of each, and respect for its prohibitions, in order to ensure the fulfillment of duties by the public officials and to avoid abuse of power and breaking of the constitutional order.The picture is from La Gringa. The sign can be translated as:
Honduras is an example for the world. We don't have oil nor dollars, but we have courage!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
The Washington Posts writes an editorial subtitled "Why defend the rule of law in Honduras but not in Venezuela?" One comment makes a really important point:
Should Nixon have been kept in office after Watergate, merely because he won a landslide election in 1972? No. Even Democratically-elected presidents forfeit their right to remain in office when they behave unconstitutionally.
Mary Anastasia O'Grady brings up the idea that should Zaleya be returned to power, his mobs will show little restraint or respect for the rule of law.
Yet the U.S. continues exerting enormous pressure for the return of Mr. Zelaya. If it prevails, it is unlikely that Mr. Zelaya's mobs or Mr. Chávez will suddenly be tamed.Pam Roach, State Senator in Washington, founded La Escuela de Esperanza (School of Hope) in Honduras, and would seem to much more well informed of what is going on. Here is an excerpt from an editorial she wrote:
The United States should support strengthening the rule of law and democracy in Latin America rather than join a Marxist bandwagon.
The state motto of Virginia is "Sic Semper Tyrannis," which is commonly translated as "thus always to tyrants." Whenever it comes to standing up to a outlaw like Zaleya, I say sic semper tyrannis.
The image comes from Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugged. It also has a good accompanying article.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
A security video from the Central Bank of Honduras made available to The Washington Times shows officials entering the bank June 24 and withdrawing large amounts of Honduran currency. The money was driven to the office of Mr. Zelaya's chief of staff, Enrique Flores Lanza, according to depositions by three witnesses to Honduran prosecutors.She quotes Jaime Daremblum, former ambassador to Costa Rica.
It's really remarkable how corruption has become a trademark for the Chavez model in Latin America. You find corruption in Venezuela, Nicaragua and obviously it has been found in Honduras. It's big-time corruption.The Washington Post reports that at least one senator is doing something positive to bring attention to the situation. Jim DeMint has delayed the confirmation vote on the assistant Secretary of State when he refused to discuss Honduras. DeMint stated:
The Miami Herald has an article on Zalaya's plan to return. Ramón Vasquez, a border resident, is quoted as saying:
President Obama rushed to side with Chavez and Castro before getting the facts. Now it's clear that the people of Honduras were defending the rule of law.
Hot Air also chimes in with some analysis basically stating that time is on the side of truth.
The U.S. should be thanking us for throwing Chávez out of the country. All we have been asking for is to be allowed to follow the constitution of our country.
The more time passes, the more opposition grows among Republicans and even moderate Democrats.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Election fraud by Zalaya seems to have been overlooked by most powers. However, it is being reported by Selwyn Duke from the New American. It was also picked up by Jeff Schreiber:
Although there was no election on June 28th ... these machines each contain "certified" voting records. And - not surprisingly - every single one indicates that Zelaya won the referendum overwhelmingly.
The Miami Herald, who has far and away had the best coverage of any major newspaper on this situation, comes through again. Carlos Alberto Montaner writes:
Venezuelans, Cubans, Nicaraguans and Salvadorans are already in Honduras forging that subversive operation with weapons and briefcases filled with petrodollars. If all goes well, once the participants reach a critical number, Zelaya would be helicoptered in from a neighboring country to lead the movement.The trend of "letters to the editor" an opinoin pieces supporting the removal of Zelaya continues. It shows once again that the power brokers are unable to silence all dissent. William Ratliff writes in the LA Times:
The OAS declaimed its eternal rejection of the “anti-democratic, anti-constitutional military coup” by the new government. But it was Zelaya who was in the wrong.
The OAS diplomats can’t have it both ways — professing their unshakable dedication to national constitutions and the rule of law even as they militantly make a hero of a country’s No. 1 lawbreaker.
If Zelaya returned to govern Honduras he would start a witch hunt to imprison all those who had some responsibility for his removal, would initiate a purge within the Honduran armed forces to remove the suspects, and would begin a relentless persecution of government dissenters with the excuse that all opponents were involved in the coup, which would facilitate that Zelaya completes the Chavez plan to make the Honduran political system a copy of the Castro-Chavez model.
David Dick from Examiner.com asks why the United States is supporting Zalaya. Shouldn't we be supporting consitutional laws and legal institutions that are designed to prevent domination by a strongman?
It's hard to see Zelaya as a sterling example of a democratic leader. Instead he looks like a petty tyrant who is more than willing to take the law into his own hands when things don't go his way. And this is the man we are supporting in Honduras?
Saturday, July 18, 2009
The real problem for Honduras isn’t a rebellion, but an invasion of Nicaraguan and Venezuelan troops to put Zelaya back in power and back to being a Chavez stooge.Zelaya refused to recognize the Congress and Supreme Court when he was president, so it is unsurprising that he remains dismissive of their legitimate constitutional claims. As reported in the Miami Herald, he claims he will not agree to any power sharing. However, what I found really interesting was in the comments section that one poster had such a sheep mentality that they posted:
But some posters insist on disagreeing with each and every one of (the world leaders). They know better than ALL OF THE WORLD'S LEADERS.To that, every thinking human must certainly answer "yes, we do know better than all the world leaders." First of all, there have been world leaders speaking out against Zelaya's attempt to overthrow democracy, as has been reported on this blog and elsewhere, so there is a factual error there. Second, how many of the world leaders have actually read the constitution of Honduras, or are in some other way experts on the country? Third, we are humans, not sheep, and will not blindly follow the dictates of demonstrably corrupt politicians with ulterior motives. Such a suggestion to cowtow to "world leaders" would be an insult to humanity even if they had the facts right.
In "A Better Choice for Honduras" Jorge E. Ponce makes some really good points.
To bring back Mr. Zelaya as president would be a grave mistake. He would seek the help of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to achieve through military means what he could not accomplish through democratic ones -- to become another caudillo in perpetuity and destabilize Central America. The best way to defeat Mr. Zelaya is by letting provisional President Roberto Micheletti call for new, internationally monitored elections immediately.Kurt Schultze , a lawyer from Georgia, makes this conclusion:
The Honduran Supreme Court and legislature acted entirely within the bounds of their Constitution in removing a man who sought to become a Honduran Hugo Chavez. Obama’s support of Manuel Zelaya’s return to power is 180-degrees against the interests of the Honduran people and the United States.Meanwhile, it is interesting to see what has been happening in the South American cocaine trade. It seems that Venezuela is turning to the cocaine trade, confirming earlier reports that Zalaya had been cooperating with Venezuela in the drug trade.
In the past few years, drug trafficking through Honduras has risen sharply, with many shipments of cocaine arriving in flights from Venezuela on their way to Mexico and the U.S.Jason Shaved of Joplin, Missouri (near the junction of Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas) makes an important point in an editorial. It seems that a totally pertinent and logical point seems to escape both the current administration and the OAS. I wonder whether it is due to ignorance or intentional malice.
Honduras followed constitutional policies with the approval of the legislature and the Supreme Court to remove a president who was trampling constitutional law, even receiving help from Anti-American Hugo Chavez to ignore democratic checks and balances.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Ignoring the people that oppose Chavez and his hired help will only create future problems for the US, and the West. Chavez, like the Chinese leadership, is on a trip of racial/cultural superiority and those things end up in disaster. If in China such claims are clear, in Venezuela it is politically clear and soon enough will acquire additional cultural and racial action, as we can see in Peru or Bolivia.
While I am certainly not a neo-con, I do happen to agree with this post:
tyrants very often use “democracy” as an excuse to get the people to override a constitution and grant them what turns out to be dictatorial, or near-dictatorial, powers, as well as the ability to extend or abolish term limits and stay in power longer than the constitution says (and in many cases indefinitely). Once the rules are changed about term limits, and power is consolidated and the voting apparatus compromised, staying in power is a relatively easy matter, really a trifle.From the Wall Street Journal:
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.From the LA Times:
Article 239 states clearly that one who behaves as Zelaya did in attempting to change presidential succession ceases immediately to be president. If there were any doubt on that score, the Congress removed it by convening immediately after Zelaya's arrest, condemning his illegal conduct and overwhelmingly voting (122 to 6) to remove him from office.
While these articles hardly make up for the mass of misinformation in the wake of the crisis, it is refreshing that a more balanced light is being shone on the subject. I think people were caught up in the momentum of the situation, and took a "shoot first, aim second" mentality.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
if those engaged in serious work want their work to be accorded the respect they seek, they need to emerge from their hushed sessions and do something about the prominent place their profession grants to scholarship that promotes narrow values, spouts incomprehensible nonsense, and studies the semiotic conceptualization of hegemonic linguistic genocide (or dyadic co-questing in Quest Atlantis).
It seems to me that the initial statement that it was a coup was very shortsighted. If so, does the coup refer to the actions of Zalaya, or the actions of the rest of the government? The removal of a tyrant intent on taking over the country would seem to be the responsibility of any citizenry.
The initial reporting seems to be rather slanted. Only more recently have articles appeared discussing the other side, and actually referring to the constitution. While laws are imperfect, the constitution of Honduras seems to be set up precisely to stop a single powerful person from taking over, reflecting a deep inner value of the people.
Here is an article from England with the memorable phrase "neo-masochism" to describe the approach of the Obama administration. Another article asks whether the world has rushed to judgement, including quoting representative Connie Mack, "It seems to me that the more we look at Mr. Zelaya, the more we find a man who believes he is above the law, untouchable, and clearly a man who has no respect for democracy." Another article also discusses the congressional hearings, quoting Dana Rohrabacher as saying "They’re a group of people within the democratic process who are stopping a power-grab by someone who’s trying to concentrate power unconstitutionally." In an article entitled Coup for Democracy the weekly standard adds "Let's be clear: Zelaya's illegal referendum was a transparent attack on democracy. It was part of his broader scheme to rewrite the Honduran constitution, lift presidential term limits, and extend his rule."
Chavez has been very outspoken about this situation, blaming the US among other things. But, while talking about democracy, he moves ahead to silence media critics in his own country. Such duplicity is quite horrible. However, in the United States there have also been attempts to silence media through putting restrictions on radio. So, this may just be standard operating procedure for government types.
I think it is pretty clear the Obama administration and the state department really bungled. First, they were not pro-active enough in preventing the expulsion. Second, when it happened they immediately dismissed it as a coup. Third, with Chavez threatening to invade Honduras, the US government should have verbally backed up our allies in Honduras. They should have looked at the constitution. Bush, for all his failings, knew Spanish. Obama doesn't.
Finally, Castro is worried that if this coup stands, other countries in central and South America may also have coups. I hope the next ones happen in Cuba and Venezuela. It would certainly be an improvement.