Today the State Department announced it was cutting off aid to Honduras:
The Department of State announces the termination of a broad range of assistance to the government of Honduras as a result of the coup d’etat that took place on June 28. The Secretary already had suspended assistance shortly after the coup.
The Department of State recognizes the complicated nature of the actions which led to June 28 coup d’etat in which Honduras’ democratically elected leader,
President Zelaya, was removed from office. These events involve complex factual and legal questions and the participation of both the legislative and judicial branches of government as well as the military.
Restoration of the terminated assistance will be predicated upon a return to democratic, constitutional governance in Honduras.
The Department of State further announces that we have identified individual members and supporters of the de facto regime whose visas are in the process of being revoked.
A presidential election is currently scheduled for November. That election must be undertaken in a free, fair and transparent manner. It must also be free of taint and open to all Hondurans to exercise their democratic franchise. At this moment, we would not be able to support the outcome of the scheduled elections. A positive conclusion of the Arias process would provide a sound basis for legitimate elections to proceed. We strongly urge all parties to the San Jose talks to move expeditiously to agreement.
De Facto? Return to democratic, constitutional governance in Honduras ? This is the same State Department that recognized the illegitimate election in Iran. The ousting of the President of Honduras was legitimate according to the constitution of Honduras.
The Honduran Constitution may be amended in any way except three. No amendment can ever change (1) the country’s borders, (2) the rules that limit a president to a single four-year term and (3) the requirement that presidential administrations must “succeed one another” in a “republican form of government.”
Article 239 of the Constitution specifically states that any president who so much as proposes the permissibility of reelection “shall cease forthwith” in his duties, and Article 4 provides that any “infraction” of the succession rules constitutes treason. The rules are so tight because these are terribly serious issues for Honduras, which lived under decades of military rule.
Earlier this year, with only a few months left in his term, Zelaya ordered a referendum on whether a constitutional convention should meet to write a brand spanking new constitution.The motive for the convention was to amend those three un-amendable parts of the existing constitution, this was nothing but a backdoor effort to change the rules governing presidential succession.
The Honduras constitution says that all referendums must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Honduran Congress before they may be put to the voters. Instead of approving Zelaya’s proposal, Congress voted that it was illegal.
Honduras’ attorney general filed suit and secured a court order halting the referendum. Zelaya then announced that the voting would go forward just any, but it would be called an opinion survey (I assume because Climate change was already taken).The courts again said this illegal. Zelaya then directed the head of the armed forces, Gen. Romeo Vasquez, to proceed with the “survey” and fired the General when he decided instead to follow the rule of law. The Supreme Court ruled the firing illegal and ordered Vasquez reinstated.
Zelaya had the ballots printed in Venezuela, but these were impounded by customs when they were brought back to Honduras. On June 25 — three days before he was ousted — Zelaya personally gathered a group of “supporters” and led it to seize the ballots, restating his intent to conduct the “survey” on June 28. That was the breaking point for the attorney general, who immediately sought a warrant from the Supreme Court for Zelaya’s arrest on charges of treason, abuse of authority and other crimes. In response, the court ordered Zelaya’s arrest by the country’s army, which under Article 272 must enforce compliance with the Constitution, particularly with respect to presidential succession. The military executed the court’s order on the morning of the proposed survey.
Leave it to our President, to attack a democratic government trying to avoid being taken over by a Socialist Despot.