Sounds like a headline from the 1980’s.
Honduras is a peaceful democratic country where I have worked and visited numerous times, as I have neighboring Nicaragua. Nicaragua is different, in its culture, climate, people — and in its history of revolutionary violence.
Venezuela is all together different from Honduras and Nicaragua and from other poor Latin American countries — a nation that would be rich, held hostage in poverty by a deranged socialist, Hugo Chavez. Chavez, as we all know, is militarizing and destabilizing the entire region and exerting influence with his power — Venezuela’s vast oil and natural gas reserves.
Contrary to press reports and the US position on Honduras, there was no “military coup” when president “Mel” Zelaya was exiled earlier this year. Mel is a Chavez-backed opportunist accused of breaking several laws. After proceeding with an illegal plebiscite (with ballots printed in Venezuela) to extend his term of office beyond the one-term limit established by their Constitution, the Honduran military arrested and exiled Mel. This move by the military was ordered by the Honduran Supreme Court and supported by the Honduran Congress (controlled by Mel’s own party). The Congress then immediately appointed a civilian politician, Roberto Micheletti, to serve as interim President, according to their Constitution, until the scheduled elections in November. After the elections, Honduran Law will preclude Micheletti from continuing as President — he is done after the current term finishes.
The legal fight in Honduras is all about preserving the one-term limit for any president, right wing or left wing, as established by their Constitution. It is very important to note that this constitutional measure serves as a FIREWALL to prevent anyone from becoming a de facto dictator — precluding what we see in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and other Chavez-backed socialist regimes.
Thus, it is a mistake for the Obama administration to compare this current situation in Honduras to what we saw in Latin American during the Cold War — where a strong man violently took power and established a military dictatorship. The situation in Honduras is nothing of the sort.
While some point to the exile of Mel as an illegal move by the Honduran government, this matter can be resolved in Honduran court. There is no call for outside intervention. The government’s position is that exile was the only alternative to placing Mel under arrest and thus they avoided mob violence that would have been incited by Mel’s followers and Chavez-backed thugs. The exile also prevented Zelaya from potentially becoming a martyr. The exile is arguably justifiable because the ultimate responsibility of any government is to care for the safety and welfare of its citizens.
Why is the one-term presidential limit such an important constitutional firewall?
To understand this, it helps to have lived in Latin America, I will try to explain. In Latin America, in general, it is very difficult for the democratic process to work, because there are so many poor, uneducated and undereducated people that fall prey to charismatic demagogues — who win elections by corrupting the democratic process, then install themselves in power, indefinitely in some cases. They violate their existing constitutions and/or create new ones, like soup du jour. New constitutions being written or modified by a new wave of leftists in Latin America embrace Chavez’ “Socialism of the 21st Century” — the same old stale socialist theories of the Cold War era repackaged in a shiny new wrapper.
In Latin America, in general, obtaining a simple majority vote to support a referendum — just about any sales pitch — is easy. Simple people give their votes (which are typically MANDATORY) in exchange for campaign tokens & trinkets, promises of government subsidies / handouts — mostly empty populist rhetoric. Of course, once the despots take power, they sprinkle the poor with some tangible benefits, which provide a veneer of legitimacy, such as a new government subsidy, a new hospital or a new school here and there.
–These (and other) tactics are tools used by despots of both the right and the left to corrupt the democratic process–
I don’t think that anybody can argue that what some of these modern-day socialists achieve while in power actually does provide some basic level of quality of life improvement to part of the population, at least on a temporary basis. And that is good. But overall most of the people remain in poverty and become captives to poverty by the very systems they put in power. That is, when the leftist apply their ideology, they destroy jobs and REAL opportunities for poor people to improve their quality of life. These socialists make it impossible for poor people to move into the middle class. The relatively few super rich, leave and/or send their money out of the country. The productive sector shuts down or reduces output of their factories and businesses under regressive government regulations. In some cases, the government confiscates private property and takes over businesses driving them to the ground.
— In the end, the middle class becomes poor, as misery spreads up, rather opportunity spreading down —
These leftist ideologues quickly move to take absolute control by silencing free speech and creating class conflict, as we can see happening in Venezuela just about every day. They pit the poor against the “rich” — which is anyone who is not poor.
Ultimately, these poor nations held captive under socialist rule, are kept in an indefinite state of poverty, where the very poor are often stupefied by just enough government cash to buy liquor to wash down their ration of rice and beans — if there are any. And because there are fewer-and-fewer jobs, there is less-and-less wealth created to spread around, so crime rate and misery increases, especially among the poor and declining middle class.
But I digress, back to Honduras.
With Mel having snuck back into Honduras this week, and now being sheltered in the Brazilian embassy, Hondurans are living under a state of emergency with violent leftist thugs looting and rioting. The middle class, ordinary people like you and I, are afraid of an imminent military invasion from Chavez-supporters in Nicaragua.
According to Nicaraguan press, the sandinista president Daniel Ortega (think Qaddafi, Ahmadinijad, Chavez, Castro) called for URGENT authorization of US and Venezuelan military to enter Nicaragua. The measure was approved by the Nicaraguan Parliament headed by a sandinista. Now we have US and Venezuelan military personnel about to participate in URGENT military training exercises.
Could this have anything to do with the Honduran Constitutional crisis?
Are these US and Venezuelan military personnel, advisors? To do what? Help orchestrate an invasion of Honduran territory?
President Obama, the young and inexperienced politician who ran on the slogan “Hope and Change,” appears to have taken another step on the wrong side of history. Obama already castigated Honduras by withholding visas from their diplomats, he halted tens of millions of dollars in US aid, and stated that Honduran November elections would not be recognized by the US — now is Obama poised for US military intervention alongside Chavez?
I pray not.
There is not a single principled position, or any reasonable argument, to justify US intervention in Honduras. The fact is that Honduras is being punished for refusing to violate their Constitution in preventing a Chavez-puppet to resume his role as President.
A bizarre contradiction in the deeds and words of President Obama
President Obama stated that the US would not interfere with the internal affairs of other nations and, in particular, with respect to Iran after the recent widespread protests of electoral fraud in the Iranian national elections. Multitudes protested over the stolen election — many innocent people were brutalized, killed and jailed by Ahmadinijads regime — and President Obama stated that he would not interfere with their democracy.
Why then is President Obama interfering with the internal affairs of Honduras, an ally, a trading partner, a peaceful democracy, and one of the poorest nations in Latin America — and not with Iran, a rouge state and a US antagonist?
I am not suggesting, in any way, that the US should interfere militarily with the internal affairs in Iran. As horrific as the recent violent suppression of Iranian democracy was, Iranians must resolve their own struggle for democracy. And so, I find it despicable that the US would now interfere in the internal affairs of Honduras in support of Chavez!
Can anyone please help explain this contradictory foreign policy of the Obama administration?
“El ingreso de los militares estadounidenses y venezolanos fue propuesto por el presidente de Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, con carácter urgente, y aprobado hoy en la sesión plenaria por 63 de los 92 diputados ante la Asamblea Nacional, precisó el presidente del Legislativo, el sandinista René Núñez.”
Hat Tip to the links provided by Gerardo Enrique Paredes http://www.elpergamino.tk