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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Did the military act justly to restore constitutional democracy and rule of law in Honduras?

Peter Kent Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), today issued a statement condemning what the Canadian government is calling a coup d'état in Honduras. But is Canada rushing to judgement in criticizing military action to preserve constitutional democracy and the rule of law in this Central American country?

In response to military action that saw Honduras President Jose Manuel Zelaya driven from office and the country, and replaced by provisional president Roberto Micheletti, Kent said:

 “Canada condemns the coup d'état that took place over the weekend in Honduras, and calls on all parties to show restraint and to seek a peaceful resolution to the present political crisis, which respects democratic norms and the rule of law, including the Honduran Constitution.”

It has been debated on the Western Standard here and elsewhere as to whether or not countries should meddle in the affairs of other nations, even when it comes to issuing statements condemning violence. Putting aside this debate, are the Harper Conservatives right in describing the actions of the Honduras military a coup d'état?

Here’s a review of the facts from a CNN story:

Ousted President Jose Manuel Zelaya was pushing forward with an illegal referendum in search of a mandate to extend his presidency beyond constitutionally set term limits. The Honduran Supreme Court ruled the referendum illegal, but Zelaya pledged to proceed in violation of the law. The military intervened to stop Zelaya and Congress voted to strip the president of his powers, naming democratically elected Congressman Roberto Micheletti provisional president.

According to CNN, “The political developments that swept Honduras over the past weeks and led up to Sunday's coup had the makings of a crisis, but the situation in the Central American nation of 8 million people was calm.” The news outlet also reported that Roberto Micheletti was “sworn in as provisional president to the applause of members of Congress” and that protests are “limited” and “mostly peaceful.”

If these facts can be relied on, Kent’s comments may be needlessly inflammatory and could fuel violence and instability in the country. If the Harper Conservatives are genuinely interested in improving the political, and thereby the economic, situation in Honduras, they should look to colleague Stockwell Day. As Minister of Trade, Day has been working hard to liberalize trade with Honduras and other countries in Central and South America.

(Picture: Peter Kent)

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on June 28, 2009 | Permalink


Since the wannabe dictator and close buddy of Hugo Chavez, Manuel Zelaya, has been exiled to Costa Rica, there won't be any trouble unless Venezuela invades Honduras, as Chavez has threatened, to overthrow the will of the Honduran people.

Somehow the Canadian government is either missing the boat on this or they should be warning of the threatened imminent invasion of Honduras by Venezuela.

Reversing the coup d'etat isn't an option here.
The Canadian government should be recognizing the new interim Honduran President, Roberto Micheletti, if it wants to cool things down.

Peter Kent looks like a putz.
Instead of delegitimizing the new Honduran government and laying the ground for Hugo Chavez to launch an invasion, Kent should be backing the new Honduran President, Micheletti, and warning against foreign invasion of a sovereign American state.

Posted by: Speller | 2009-06-29 12:07:33 AM

"Today's events originate from a court order by a competent judge. The armed forces, in charge of supporting the constitution, acted to defend the state of law and have been forced to apply legal dispositions against those who have expressed themselves publicly and acted against the dispositions of the basic law," the country's highest court said.


11:00 AM
Planes from the Venezuelan Air Force had landed in Honduras to bring all the materials required for Sunday's referendum, despite the decision by Honduras' Supreme Court that it was illegal.

YES, I'd say that the military acted justly to restore constitutional democracy and rule of law in Honduras.

Posted by: Speller | 2009-06-29 12:54:57 AM

This is a legal removal of a president that is in violation of Honduran law.

Zelaya's actions of the past 5 months have been in blantant disregard for the Honduran Constituion, which he sought to rewrite, the Honduran Supreme Court, which he has undermined, the Honduran Congress, which he has tried to delegitimize,the Honduran Military, which he has tried to purge, his own party that has resisted Hug Chavez, and 72% of the Honduran public, that feel disenfranchised by Zelaya. This was not a coup. Zelaya was legally removed by the military at the request of the Honduran Congress and the Honduran Supreme Court that have the following two articles of the Honduran Constitution as the legal authority to do so;

ARTICULO 239.- El ciudadano que haya desempeñado la titularidad del Poder Ejecutivo no podrá ser Presidente o Designado.
El que quebrante esta disposición o proponga su reforma, así como aquellos que lo apoyen directa o indirectamente, cesarán de inmediato en el desempeño de sus respectivos cargos, y quedarán inhabilitados por diez años para el ejercicio de toda función pública.
TRANSLATION - Article 239.- The citizen that has been the head of the Execute Branch cannot be President or Vice-President (again).
Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform, as well as those that support such violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years.
ARTICULO 205.- Corresponden al Congreso Nacional las atribuciones siguientes:

15. Declarar si ha lugar o no a formación de causa contra el Presidente
20. Aprobar o improbar la conducta administrativa del Poder Ejecutivo, Poder Judicial y ….
TRANSLATION - Article 205 - Congress has the following authority:
15 To indict the President
20 To approve or disapprove of the administrative conduct of the Execurive Branch, …
Why is Obama now meddling in the internal affairs of a soveriegn nation and why is he siding with Hugo Chavez against the nation of Honduras?

Posted by: Hondureno orgulloso | 2009-06-29 2:18:11 AM

This was not an illegal referendum, it was a non-binding poll, which the President does have the right to carry out. And if this were really a "legal removal from power" why would it be necessary for the army to cut power to cell phones, shut down the media and take over independent radio stations? See report below.


Radio Es Lo De Menos, an independent radio station reporting from Honduras, issued a press release before its power was cut. The press release states that several cabinet members have been detained, and there are arrest warrants out for other cabinet members as well as leaders of social organizations. It calls on the international community to hold protests outside Honduran embassies and consulates.

TeleSUR reports that the soldiers have also arrested the Cuban, Venezuelan, and Nicaraguan ambassadors to Honduras, as well as Chancellor Patricia Rodas. The Venezuelan ambassador told TeleSUR that the soldiers beat him during the kidnapping. La Prensa reports that soldiers have detained at least one pro-Zelaya mayor, San Pedro Sula's Rodolfo Padilla Sunseri.

Cell phones are reportedly no longer working in Honduras. The power has been cut in at least some parts of the country, disabling independent media and state television stations for the time being. Before the state televisions went off the air, Channel 8 managed to communicate to its viewers, "It appears as though the soldiers are coming here." Seconds before it went off the air, Channel 8 told citizens to gather in the Plaza de la Libertad. Channel 8 appears to have been taken over by the military, but it is still not transmitting.

Honduras' privately owned Channel 12 and Channel 11 are showing classic soccer clips.


Soldiers have also moved to block the opinion poll that sparked the coup. Today Hondurans were supposed to register their opinion in a non-binding poll that asked them, "Do you think that the November 2009 general elections should include a fourth ballot box in order to make a decision about the creation of a National Constitutional Assembly that would approve a new Constitution?" The poll would have had no legal weight.

In the town of Trujillo, soldiers have taken the streets and are not allowing citizens to vote in the opinion poll. In Santa Rosa, soldiers reportedly under the orders of the Federal Prosecutors Office have seized ballot boxes from schools and public places. Soldiers seized ballot boxes in Dulce Nombre Copan as well, but citizens have gone to the military base to take them back again. In Santa Barbara, La Prensa reports that the opinion poll is going on as planned, with no interference thus far from the military.

Soldiers are also carrying out operations on the country's major highways, according to La Prensa. The situation could get ugly on the highways, as La Prensa reports that peasants from the Guadalupe Carney community have taken over some highways.

Posted by: JLion | 2009-06-29 8:50:11 AM

Obama is meddling because he is always on the side of communists like his friends Bill Ayers and Hugo Chavez (obviously this is an abbreviated list). When Communists seize power, that is what our genius president calls community organizing.

Posted by: Willis | 2009-06-29 12:44:25 PM

Why can't the Canadian Army do the same in Toronto? Roll in one day under the guise of clearing garbage or shovelling snow (a perfect ruse, I admit!), and kidnap Mayor Miller and the entire City Council and the school board that brought back Apartheid.

Once in custody, they can be waterboarded into confessing their crimes, put before show trials and denounced, then "punished."

They can then replace them with a magic eight-ball and a bunch of day-care kids, who most certainly could do a better job than those clowns.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-29 12:54:10 PM

I agree with Speller that we missed the boat and supported the wrong side. By all accounts Zelaya was a thug who considered himself above the law and the constitution. According to what I have read from people there, he was receiving funding from Chavez. Our government, if determined to meddle, would do better by reminding Chavez that any attempt of invasion will not be tolerated.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-06-29 1:16:25 PM

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