Zelaya To Be Returned To Honduran Presidency

Good news:

The government of Roberto Micheletti, which had refused to let Mr. Zelaya return, signed an agreement with Mr. Zelayas negotiators late Thursday that would pave the way for the Honduran Congress to restore the ousted president and allow him to serve out the remaining three months of his term. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed on Friday that Mr. Zelaya and Mr. Micheletti had approved what she called an historic agreement.

Good. The principle is important and must be upheld. Practically speaking, Zelaya was, in essence, stopped in his campaign to overturn the Honduran Constitution's prohibition on reelection of Presidents. He gets to serve his last 2 months in office. A new President is elected on November 29. And this is all over in January 2010. In a way, this is a perfect ending to this story.

Speaking for me only

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    Zelaya never said (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by wagnert in atlanta on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 06:33:08 PM EST
    what changes he wanted in the Constitution.  According to the report by the Law Library of Congress, he decreed a referendum, to be held well before the election, to determine whether an extra ballot box be set up in every polling station to count votes for the calling of a Constitutional convention.

    The appropriate court (Court of Administrative Litigation) told him he had no such authority.  He repeated his decree, told the military to support the referendum logistically, and appealed the court ruling.  

    When the ruling was affirmed, he refused to acknowledge it.  The Chief Prosecutor filed a criminal complaint with the Supreme Court alleging treason against the State (and other things).  

    The Supreme Court removed Zelaya from office and ordered the military to arrest him.  This was to be followed by trial in a lower court (Zelaya no longer being an officer of the state) but, in what was apparently an excess of zeal, the military bounced him out of the country.

    On review, the National Congress endorsed his removal from office.  

    So, the Honduran courts, the National Congress, the military and (judging from the lack of blood in the streets, though there were a few lackluster demonstrations) most of the Honduran people approved of the removal of Zelaya from the Presidency.  

    Given that the Honduran Constitution does not have an impeachment provision per se, I think the whole thing was legally and neatly done.  

    Question:  What would the US and the OAS prefer be done with a President that defies the law, as interpreted by his Supreme Court?

    According to polls (5.00 / 0) (#31)
    by Watermark on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 07:37:04 PM EST
    most Hondurans disapproved of the coup.  Zelaya was removed for office for purely political purposes.

    Polls? (none / 0) (#32)
    by wagnert in atlanta on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 08:37:50 PM EST
    Link, please


    Is that the principle that the Honduran Supreme Court should be ignored in stoppong a presidential coup?

    Proposed vote wouldn't have illegally amended (none / 0) (#6)
    by fairleft on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 11:29:01 AM EST
    the Constitution.

    Zelaya is charged with trying to amend the constitution to allow re-election of the president (which would be illegal), yet no one has ever provided evidence to that effect. It is illegal to amend seven particular parts of the constitution, but the wording of the proposed vote did not mention any of them.

    I do not care if you are positive he wanted to, as that does not constitute evidence. He said before the coup that he would leave office in 2010. Maybe he was lying, maybe not. But it deserves more investigation before overthrowing him. Ousting a president requires more than just assumptions about intent.


    Greg Weeks
    I am an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I am the editor of the academic journal The Latin Americanist.


    It is incorrect (none / 0) (#17)
    by Watermark on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 04:17:59 PM EST
    to think that the Supreme Court of Honduras is anywhere near as respectable as ours.  Zelaya never said that he was going to reform the provision on presidential term limits.

    The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the Supreme Court justices, all of whom had been appointed either be right-wing liberal party presidents or right-wing National party presidents, were scared of the way he had started to tilt to the left.  This coup was established for purely political reasons.


    Works for me (none / 0) (#2)
    by Steve M on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 09:13:16 AM EST
    Being on the same side of an issue as Miguel Estrada was getting vexing for me anyway.

    Ha. (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 11:03:04 AM EST
    principles- Mark Penn will always lose.

    Maybe so (none / 0) (#13)
    by Steve M on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 02:27:34 PM EST
    but can you remind me what Mark Penn has to do with this story?

    Do you realize (none / 0) (#20)
    by Steve M on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 04:52:33 PM EST
    that Colombia and Honduras are actually different countries?

    You know, it is hard to keep track (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by MKS on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 05:18:48 PM EST
    Especially the countries in Central America....

    Team Hillary did really good here in negotiating a resolution....Even Sully today complimented what she has done as Secretary of State.


    Amazingly enough, I haven't seen any (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 05:33:40 PM EST
    criticism of Hillary Clinton's wearing a head covering while in Pakistan.

    For some reason (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Steve M on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 06:18:59 PM EST
    people seem to have forgotten how to criticize Hillary.  I thought she was the polarizing one and Obama was the charismatic friend-maker.

    Of course, reverse the job descriptions and it probably would be just like that, but it's still funny.


    Yes...heh. The popularity polls (none / 0) (#29)
    by oldpro on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 06:28:11 PM EST
    are what's cracking me up!

    Go, Hil!


    Criticism? When in Rome.... (none / 0) (#23)
    by oldpro on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 05:43:02 PM EST
    ...what's to criticize?  Repect for culture is one thing...when she wears it in DC, THEN's the time to raise the alarm!

    Remember the sh#t storm when (none / 0) (#24)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 05:54:21 PM EST
    Pelosi covered her head in Syria?  Or was it Lebanon.  

    Guess I missed that...oh, well.. (none / 0) (#25)
    by oldpro on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 06:11:23 PM EST
    Tempest in a teapot IYAM.

    For sure. Caused by GOP. (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 06:16:38 PM EST
    Their stock in trade. Yawn....! n/t (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by oldpro on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 06:27:06 PM EST
    Why was it ever called a coup in the fisrt place (none / 0) (#4)
    by Saul on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 10:33:23 AM EST
    As a rule a coup is a complete fresh set of agents that are now ruling the country and the old guards that was overthrown is no longer ruling but that was never the case when Zelaya was removed since the duly elected Zelaya government was still in power just absent of Zelaya.   The only questionable thing was that Zelaya was escorted out of the country. I did not agree with that but that in itself does not make it a coup.  

    I do not agree with bringing him back to serve his last 2 months.  Seems that you are rewarding someone with a slap on the hand for trying to over throw the very constitution that allowed him to get elected.  You can never reward that IMO.

    Yes let him come back to his country but he can no longer run for any govt office any any level  period.

    Trying to amend the constitution (5.00 / 0) (#12)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 02:13:58 PM EST
    by vote is not overthrowing it, if he had attemped amendment by fiat that would be what you so fear.

    It is (none / 0) (#34)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 11:18:04 PM EST
    It is it it is an extralegal vote.  Z had no consititutional authority to conduct such a vote.

    yes, but (none / 0) (#7)
    by bocajeff on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 11:37:36 AM EST
    I'm against the exiling, but not the ouster. I hope I'm wrong, but I think this will turn out poorly...

    That is a secondary issue. (none / 0) (#8)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 01:12:01 PM EST

    The Z man was trying to become prez for life, and the democrats defended their constitution and stopped him.  

    but, (none / 0) (#9)
    by bocajeff on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 01:47:50 PM EST
    he's for the people...

    Zelaya never tried to set himself up as president (none / 0) (#18)
    by Watermark on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 04:19:07 PM EST
    for life.  That is a lie, pure and simple.

    Hardly a lie (none / 0) (#33)
    by Steve M on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 08:58:24 PM EST
    An opinion, I guess.  A great many people in Honduras, including members of Zelaya's own political party, understood the removal of term limits to be his agenda.  Personally I find it hopelessly naive to discount the notion altogether, but it's true that he didn't come out and admit to it.

    Zelaya (none / 0) (#16)
    by Watermark on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 04:12:02 PM EST
    There was never a campgaign to abolish term limits.  Zelaya never said anything about abolishing them.  Most importantly, the constitutional referendum he was going to hold took place at the time of his election and there was no way any changes that would have been made to the constitution could have applied to him.

    It's NOT illegal to request a new constitution.  I'd even go as far to say that if a constitution says that it can never be replaced, the people have a moral right to ignore that provision.  No constitution has a right to set itself up as a legalocracy.