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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Peter Kent on the situation in Honduras: Canada condemns coup

Peter Kent Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), today issued the following statement on the situation in Honduras:

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.

“Democratic governance is a central pillar of Canada’s enhanced engagement in the Americas, and we are seriously concerned by what has transpired in Honduras.

“We will continue to closely follow developments on the ground. Through our mission to the Organization of American States (OAS), we are also working with hemispheric partners to determine what role the organization can play to help diffuse the situation.

“The Government of Canada encourages Canadians in Honduras to exercise prudence, and for Canadians considering travel to the country to consult Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s travel report, which will be kept updated.”

The government is warning against non-essential travel to Honduras.

(Picture: Peter Kent)

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on June 28, 2009 | Permalink


This was a preemption of an Iranian style power extension on the part of the ousted Honduran President.

The Canadian government isn't covering itself in glory on this particular Foreign Affairs statement.

"President Manuel Zelaya was awakened Sunday by gunfire and detained while still in his pajamas, hours before an unpopular constitutional referendum many saw as a power grab.


"Zelaya(the ousted Honduran President) denied resigning and insisted he would serve out his term, even as the Supreme Court backed the military takeover and said it was a defense of democracy.

His ouster came hours before polls were to open on a constitutional referendum that Zelaya was pushing ahead even after the Supreme Court and the attorney general said it was illegal. The constitution bars changes to some of its clauses, such as the ban on a president serving more than one term, they said.


Posted by: Speller | 2009-06-28 10:48:57 PM

Everyone interested at the situation in Honduras should know:

•That the honduran people has resisted stoically for over 3 years the governo of an individual that changed its mind at every tip creating confrontation between the institutions of the state.

•That the honduran people had as president someone who considered Honduras as his particular state.

•That his continued reject of the law has been the custom and not the exception.

•That his intention its and have been to seek indefinite reelection trying to becoming a Chavez line dictator.

•That the venerable Army of the Republic of Honduras did only the will of the law by removing Manuel Zelaya Rosales from the presidency.

•That Honduras is only in a process of transition of powers as is written in the constitution of our Republic.

•That several contries are trying to meddle into our soberanity by promising to send troops into our country to reinstate a fellow chavista to power

Please help us to change the denomination that the international news networs give to this situation naming it a “Coup of Etat” when what is really going is a peaceful transition of power as is written by law and that will avoid Honduras to become another Chavez Filial.

Posted by: Gerardo Paredes | 2009-06-28 11:28:41 PM

Gerardo P.
Well said, even if your English translation could use some help. I expect Canada to reverse its position as soon as it is evident that this is not a coup, but an orderly removal of a potential dictator.
The S. Court, and the people's congress are in agreement that the former president was violating the constitution.
Canada has a problem with getting real facts quickly. It has no real fact gathering organization on the ground anywhere, and the ambassadors and diplomatic staff tend to lean hard left. Canada is left to get its briefings from other countries like the U.S. and U.K.
Honduras already has sworn in a new President that has the approval of Congress. He probably could win in an election outright if it were held today.
You will all note that the military did not assume power and was just acting like policemen.
(As far as we know) It is apparent that some meddling by foreign countries were culpable as most of the "Chavez group" ambassadors got roughed up or kicked out.
This may have been the only illegal move made.
I expect a lot more trouble in the area, but there will be a new alignment of socialist vs. democratic countries in S. America.
I also expect the hard left in Canada and the U.S. to scream, rant and rave, make up stories about a "coup", lie about how the people feel in Honduras and generally try to convince everyone else that the socialist/Marxist crew in S. Amer. is the victim of some conspiracy started by Bill O'reilly.

Posted by: bmatkin | 2009-06-29 1:58:06 AM

This is a legal removal of a president whom is in violation of the Honduran Constitution.

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 2:44:52 AM

I expect Canada to reverse its position as soon as it is evident that this is not a coup, but an orderly removal of a potential dictator.

That would be nice. It does seem unfortunate that Peter Kent's wording seems to echo these people:

“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,~Peter Kent

I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.~U.S.President Barak Obama
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday condemned the ouster of Honduras' President Manuel Zelaya in a military coup and urged a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

"We call on all parties in Honduras to respect the constitutional order and the rule of law,

It looks to me as though the Canadian government is just America's lap dog again.

Removing Manuel Zelaya as President of Honduras WAS the RULE of LAW, not a coup d'etat.

What the Honduran Army did was LAW Enforcement on the order of the Honduran Supreme Court.

From the Honduran Constitution Of 1982:
ARTICLE 239 .- The citizen who has ownership of the executive branch may not be President or Vice President of the Republic.

Anyone who violates this provision or the proposed reform, and support those who directly or indirectly, immediately cease the discharge of their duties and shall be disqualified for ten (10) years to exercise any public function.

Manuel Zelaya wanted to have an illegal referendum.
Why was it illegal?
Because according to the Honduran Constitution referendums amending the constitution require a super-majority of 2/3rds of the Honduran National Congress which Manuel Zelaya did not get.

But Manuel Zelaya was going to force the referendum anyway and Hugo Chavez had all the ballots and machinery flown in from Venezuela to make it happen.
However, Roberto Micheletti, who has been elected Honduran President by the Honduran Congress, may be barred from being interim President by Article 240 which states:

ARTICLE 240 .- They can not be elected President or Vice-President:

1.Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries of State, Judges of the Supreme Electoral Court, Magistrates and Judges of the Judicial Power, Presidents, Vice Presidents, Managers, Manager, Directors, Assistant Directors, Executive Secretaries of decentralized and devolved institutions, members of the High Court of Accounts, Attorney and Attorney General's Office, and Assistant Director of the National Registry of Persons, and Deputy Attorney Ambiente; Attorney-General and Deputy Attorney General, Superintendent of Concessions and the National Commissioner for Human Rights who have exercised their duties for the year preceding the date the President of the Republic. The President of the National Congress and the President of the Supreme Court may not be candidates for the presidency for the constitutional period following that for which they were elected.

Roberto Micheletti was President of the Honduran National Congress just yesterday morning.

Interesting times.

Posted by: Speller | 2009-06-29 2:55:21 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 8:48:17 AM

The coup prevented another DICTATOR from taking power in Central America. It's no wonder that Chavez and Noriega have their undies in a bind.

Democracy has been preserved!

Posted by: Hugo C. | 2009-06-29 8:55:55 AM

So those who think this was a legal move on the part of the Honduran military are condoning a kidnapping in the middle of the night under gunpoint. Hard to imagine what you people are thinking. If Zelaya's actions were illegal, 'due process' would have eventually seen him charged, BEFORE being forcibly removed. As it stands, this was a kidnapping under gunpoint of a democratically elected leader. The military decided it has power to remove him (because it has guns) without due constitutional process. yes, that's a coup d'etat.

Posted by: Tyler | 2009-07-06 5:37:39 PM

Whether or not the events that past here in Honduras can be called a coup depends on who you talk to and how you define coup. The facts are that Mel did something illegal. But his ousting by the military in the manner in which it was done, in the middle of the night, at gunpoint, is also illegal. The removal of basic rights to Honduran citizens who have been under curfew for the past week and many of whom are living in fear, sounds more like a coup than a democratic transition of governments.

And when we talk about Canadas role in this issue, we need to remember a few things. Mel had recently banned further mining concessions in Honduras, an industry Canadian businesses dominate, and which I would argue is just as exploitative as both of these political puppets. If we get Mel out, our companies get to come back in. Peter Kent needs to check out our own companies and their democratic governance before he attacks any political leader here.

Posted by: Ash Holly | 2009-07-08 10:26:38 AM

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