June 29, 2009
Let’s review the stages of what happened in Honduras:
-President calls for a vote on having a referendum to allow his reelection
-Supreme Court and Assembly say it is illegal and Court rules so. Military warns that the law should be obeyed. Constitution actually says even promoting reelection is illegal.
-President removes Chiefs of Staff of military, Court tells him he can’t do that.
-President continues with plans to carry out vote on Sunday. On Sunday, military arrests him.
-National Assembly votes unanimously to name a new President, Supreme Court backs it.
-World is in outcry over Zelaya’s overthrow but was not over outright coup against Constitutional order.
The first question is why was the removal of Zelaya illegal, despite all independent institutions backing it, while similar removals of elected Presidents in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia did not even raise an eyebrow in the world’s international “democratic” institutions and Nations?
The second question is why it appears as if democracy in our Hemisphere refers only to the fact that Presidents are elected, but somehow they can ignore the laws, the institutions and the Constitution once they get there and its fine with the world, but any attempt to force these elected Presidents to respect the institutions is somehow ignored and even considered suspect by world opinion, particularly if the elected President seems to be left wing. There is clearly a double, if not triple standard in all this.
Finally, why is it that the OAS can meet so fast to meet in these cases but has yet to look at the rape of the Venezuelan Constitution by Hugo Chavez or even his role in the Honduran affair. Chavez was indeed elected by the people but that does not give him the right to violate our rights, anymore than Zelaya attempted to violate everyone’s rights in Honduras by carrying out an illegal vote.
Until institutions like the Supreme Court, the National Assembly and others are not allowed to curtail Presidential power, by maintaining checks and balances and limiting what Presidents can do, our countries will not have a true democracy. The Constitution is there for everyone and the President should be the first person to defend it and promote. If not, it is the people that are left defenseless from the Dictadorcitos that fate throws upon us like Hugo Chavez and wannabe Zelaya.
Zelaya simply tried to stage a Constitutional coup because he was the President, but somehow the world seems to have ignored all of this, against the background of institutions that in the end did follow the law and the Constitution in order to remove him