Costa Rican President Arias To Mediate Honduran Crisis


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that Costa Rican President Oscar Arias will serve as international mediator in the Honduran political crisis. . . . [Clinton] said Zelaya as well as the politician who took over as Honduran leader, Roberto Micheletti, agreed to the Arias role as mediator. . . . "He is the natural person to assume this role," she told reporters.

In addition, the BTD Plan gained traction (snark):

One option being considered to end the crisis is to try to forge a compromise between Zelaya, Micheletti and the Honduran military under which the ousted president would be allowed to serve out his remaining six months in office with limited powers, according to a senior U.S. official.

Zelaya, in return, would pledge to drop his aspirations for a constitutional change that might allow him to run for another term, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the diplomatic exchanges.

I missed my calling as a diplomat (joking - this is the obvious compromise.)

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    Send your resume to Sec. Clinton! (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 05:29:39 PM EST

    Did you see this? (none / 0) (#39)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 11:53:07 PM EST
    I did not (none / 0) (#42)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 12:22:47 AM EST
    Thank you.

    BTW, I think we need to choose (none / 0) (#43)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 12:27:01 AM EST
    between the Supreme Court and the Senate. I pick the Court.

    I think it's a bit optimistic (none / 0) (#49)
    by CST on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 10:24:06 AM EST
    to think either one is possible.  Although I'd say abolishing the senate is impossible and stacking the court is only highly unlikely.  If FDR didnt have the clout do it, I can't see how Obama does.  Not to mention he is cautious to a fault.  Abolishing the senate makes more sense in terms of fairness, but it's gonna be an even bigger landmine to get around, which is why no one has really tried it.  I think the most we could possibly achieve is getting rid of the electoral college.

    Actually Neither is possible (none / 0) (#55)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 03:42:34 PM EST
    A Constitutional amendment requires three fourths of the states to concur.

    States, over represented in the Senate, will never go along nor will they go along with diluting their disproportionate clout in Presidential elections.

    It only takes 13 states to thwart such measures.

    We're stuck.


    Admit new states (none / 0) (#56)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 03:47:27 PM EST
    PR? (none / 0) (#58)
    by CST on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 03:55:44 PM EST
    Or Canada...

    Where are you gonna get new states?

    Or do you mean break up existing ones?

    California could be like 3 states.  Although so could Texas.


    DC aside from the federal govt (none / 0) (#59)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 03:58:51 PM EST
    And "reorganize" California. It's effed anyway.

    You know (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 06:31:31 PM EST
    when you turn the big states into a bunch of small states, you may find that they're going to be less interested in eliminating the Electoral College!

    That's ok, because the impact is very similar (none / 0) (#63)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 08:15:03 PM EST
    Rather like eliminating the Senate vs. making it much fairer.

    Dividing up states (none / 0) (#64)
    by cal1942 on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 03:00:03 AM EST
    requires the concurrance of its legislature.

    The western counties of Virginia split off to form West Virginia but that was done by a rump legislature during rebellion.

    Actually combining small states would be helpful but that's not going to happen.


    Combining small states (none / 0) (#65)
    by CST on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 07:51:54 AM EST
    would be counter-productive.  Many of the small (in size) states have larger population densities.  It's the states with no people that are the problem with regard to the senate.

    By small states (none / 0) (#67)
    by cal1942 on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 02:12:58 PM EST
    I'm talking about states like Wyoming.  

    I don't count empty acres.

    Only people count.  Massachusetts is many times larger than Wyoming.  Rhode Island is larger than Wyoming.  

    Hell, every state is larger than Wyoming.

    In fact, combine Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, South and North Dakota together.


    Don't they already... (none / 0) (#61)
    by EL seattle on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 05:12:50 PM EST
    ... have the quarters circulating?

    limited powers? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dadler on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 05:42:53 PM EST
    this seems odd, and is not elaborated upon.  why not simply return him with his normal, constitutional presidential powers?  also, if everyone in the gov't doesn't like him, and hasn't for awhile, how was he going to have the power to change the constitution?  

    To be clear (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 05:45:47 PM EST
    The Supreme court of Honduras ruled his attempts to hold a referendum unconstitutional and Zelaya chose to defy that order.

    Presumably, the fear is more defiance of such orders by Zelaya.

    The astounding thing remains that a Honduran Presidential election is still scheduled for November 29 and Zelaya's term of office would end December 31, less than 6 months from now.



    Do you know the (none / 0) (#9)
    by dk on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 06:12:23 PM EST
    court's reasoning for declaring the referendum unconstitutional?  (Or do you have a link to what you consider a good explanation)?  

    The COnstitution (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 06:17:37 PM EST
    Forbids explicitly a referendum to change the constitution in order to extend a Presidential to having more than one term.

    What squeaky said (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 06:26:33 PM EST
    Ah. (none / 0) (#16)
    by dk on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 06:49:13 PM EST
    So the only way to change the one-term provision (if one would want to do that) is through some kind of legislative supermajority that would call a constitutional convention (or something to that effect)?

    No (none / 0) (#17)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 06:52:46 PM EST
    Not even a supermajority could change that provision. THe only thing would be a revolution and new constitution.

    Other changes to the constitution are allowed by referendum and supermajority, etc.


    Wow. (none / 0) (#19)
    by dk on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 06:58:07 PM EST
    Talk about term limits, eh?

    You betcha (none / 0) (#46)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 08:18:21 AM EST
    Their constitution in that part is meant to ensure that there will never be a "leader for life" strong man.  Messing with that is what caused the Supreme court to order Z's arrest.  The military carried out that order, but took a step further and put him on a plane for elsewhere.  

    Whatever this was, it does not appear to be a military coup.  The arrest order came from the court.  The military is still subordinate to the civilian constitutional government.  It may be more accurate to say that Z's attempted coup was averted.


    The context (none / 0) (#18)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 06:56:42 PM EST
    is explained very nicely by Charles Lemos here: Continuismo

    Any links for this? Thnx! n/t (none / 0) (#53)
    by jawbone on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 01:50:45 PM EST
    OK (none / 0) (#54)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 02:34:13 PM EST
    Summary of Houduran constitution in english.

    Google english translation of entire Honduras Constitution.


    A Diplomat? (none / 0) (#4)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 05:46:00 PM EST
    I think that you would need a diplomat to do your diplomacy work even though your political solutions are usually right on the money... just a guess.

    We'll see if Zelaya goes for it. I guess the other option would be to hold elections in two weeks.  Given that as the only other option,  staying in for six months more might seem appealing to Zelaya.

    I never quite understood (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 05:50:26 PM EST
    Zelaya's play here. At best, he would get 6 months in power UNLESS he was going to try the referendum thing again.

    Reinstatement is worth 6 months (with one month having a President-Elect in the wings) to him. Hard to see all this hubbub being worth that to him.


    Working towards his own coup? (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 05:51:32 PM EST
    ("we wuz robbed!")

    Seems Obvious (none / 0) (#11)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 06:20:14 PM EST
    He was going to try to stir up his base to demand another term, by a poll and or other means. Chavez is the model, and obviously the Military, congress and SC thought it had some chance of working, or at least making life difficult for them.

    I understood the play (none / 0) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 06:25:56 PM EST
    BEFORE he was removed.

    After he was removed, I do not understand it.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#15)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 06:48:57 PM EST
    Seems like a done deal to me. Obama and Clinton figured out how to have their cake and eat it too. Whether or not Zelaya joins the party is up in the air.

    Maybe Zelaya wants to have a chance get his money out before he moves to Venezuela in six months, or he still thinks he can somehow get the people to rise up and change the constitution.

    More likely he is addicted to fame and needs to feel the love of his adoring fans, even if it is only for six months. Oh the rallies, speeches and cheering...


    Zelaya doesn't want to move anywhere. (none / 0) (#30)
    by weltec2 on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 09:09:48 PM EST
    His family owns too much land. Costa Rican President Oscar Arias is the right person to negotiate. He'll twist his arm and get him to obey the constitution. The military take over was done under the command of the supreme court, so there isn't really anyone who wants to fight with him over this. They only want him to obey the constitution.

    Zelaya Move to Venezuela? (none / 0) (#68)
    by El Sabio Pedro on Sun Jul 12, 2009 at 01:25:06 PM EST
    My friend, why would Zelaya move to Venezuela? The crime rate is very high. Zelaya is a rich man, he will not have a secure place to invest because Venezuela is marching towards "21st Century Socialism". It makes more sense for the man to move to a suitable location with low crime, such as Spain.

    OK (none / 0) (#70)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 12, 2009 at 03:52:47 PM EST
    Just thought since he is such a pal with Chavez that he would like it there.

    Not so useful friend (none / 0) (#71)
    by El Sabio Pedro on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 06:59:23 AM EST
    I believe his usefulness as a friend will disappear when the new Honduran government is in place in early 2010. By that time, Chavez will move on to the next crisis, or the crisis after that.

    Right now he has some problems with lack of cash flow to sustain all his ambitious plans he has, and has been gradually nationalizing all the big companies he can nationalize, so there's less and less to take over to give him a meaningful cash flow. In reality, what one must observe is the cash he gets from oil sales, and as the oil prices drop below $60 per barrel, things don't work very well.

    PDVSA recently sold bonds into the black market to provide some money to pay off their huge debt to contractors, but the money from the bonds isn't enough, so they will owe billions of USD to private companies, and the crisis continues.

    Thus, the system they have in place isn't sustainable. Their sugar daddy, the Chinese, are willing to lend, but they extract oil production as a payment mechanism. This means Chavez is gradually mortaging Venezuela's future - similar to what Bush did when he borrowed trillions from China to fight his wars and waste all that money favouring the rich.

    I'm afraid this whole thing is going to collapse soon, and there will be a lot of Venezuelans taking boats and planes to flee to other nations. Unfortunately, Chavez will be destroying the economy in such a way it will take many years to recover, if it ever does.  And I don't think a rich man like Zelaya will have much stomach to share this unfortunate future. Zelaya will move to a suitably capitalist nation, and Spain seems to be willing to take him in. So why not build a house on the beach and raise his cows in the hills, and enjoy life for a change?


    I think Honduran internal politics (none / 0) (#26)
    by MsExPat on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 07:27:18 PM EST
    is a big reason why Zelaya wants to come back, even if he only gets 6 months. I've been following the money and the power.

    And--surprise!--it overlaps with Honduran politics.

    Zelaya wants back so he can knock Roberto Micheletti (the new "president") back out of office. They are both members of Honduras' Liberal Party, but the party has split into rival factions.

    I'm guessing that Jaime Rosenthal Oliva, the Honduran tycoon and former Zelaya patron, has shifted his support from Zelaya to Micheletti in a play to advance the political career of his son Yani Rosenthal (Zelaya's former top minister).


    How much money can he wire out of the country (none / 0) (#27)
    by steviez314 on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 07:28:11 PM EST
    in 6 months?

    Zelaya probably read the news accounts (none / 0) (#31)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 10:18:50 PM EST
    of Palin's resignation and decided he didn't want to go down in history as a quitter.

    BTD seems to deny that this is a coup (none / 0) (#38)
    by Andreas on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 11:40:15 PM EST
    This is not a "play", but a military coup (supported by the Obama administration). In line with the Obama administration BTD seems to deny that.

    It isn't a coup (none / 0) (#40)
    by weltec2 on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 12:01:18 AM EST
    in the traditional sense of a coup. The Supreme Court simply called upon the military to step in and remove Zelaya for violating the constitution. I don't believe that anyone has been set up as a permanent replacement. This leaves the doors open for negotiation between Oscar Arias and Roberto Micheletti (who as I understand it is only in an acting role) and of course Zelaya himself.

    Seems like usually the military (none / 0) (#41)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 12:11:20 AM EST
    removes the supreme court!

    I think that the Honduran... (none / 0) (#7)
    by EL seattle on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 06:07:57 PM EST
    ... presidential campaign has been underway for a while now.  It would be interesting to hear what the various candidates there have been saying about Zelaya in their speeches. (Even before last Sunday's event.)

    I believe that both of the major candidates for the office have been campaigning since last December, although I don't know how active the Honduran presidential horserace is.  Compared to, say, the leisurely pace of the rubber chicken suppers in the boring ol' US of A.


    Tell me if this is correct (none / 0) (#8)
    by Saul on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 06:08:38 PM EST
    The way I heard it was that Zelaya was trying to do what was unconstitutional.  According to the constitution no one could run for more than one term. The only people that can change the constitution is their congress.  Zelaya said no I will change the rules.  Their Supreme Court said no you are wrong and can't do that.  Zeyla turned his nosed at the SC and order the military to start the referendum.  The military said we can't do it and the SC has told us not to follow your orders.  The SC then order to arrest his and exile him.

    Seems that Zelaya was totally  wrong and got what he deserved if the above is true.  

    So was the U.S  on the side of Zelaya? If so then this does not make sense.

    Also I heard they exiled him rather than keep him in prison for trial was because they feared he would get his way anyway if he stayed in Honduras.

    Got what he deserved? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 06:25:04 PM EST
    Nah. The rest of your comment is accurate as far as I know.

    Seems to me (none / 0) (#25)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 07:18:50 PM EST
    that the situation is, at best, ambiguous, which is as good a reason as any for the US to let Honduras sort it out themselves.  Imagine how we would have liked it if Honduras had attempted to broker a compromise between Bush and Gore.

    Just because Honduras is a "minor" country in the greater scheme of things doesn't mean we need to go around disciplining them like an errant child.  This is an internal constitutional crisis, not a clear-cut case of legal right and wrong, and there ought to be a presumption that free nations can work through these situations on their own.


    The Biden philosophy. Every country (none / 0) (#32)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 10:20:56 PM EST
    for itself.

    I am honored (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 10:33:28 PM EST
    to be compared with such a distinguished elder statesman of the Democratic Party.

    not what i've read/heard. (none / 0) (#34)
    by cpinva on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 10:40:59 PM EST
    The rest of your comment is accurate as far as I know.

    the referendum (as far as i've seen it) was a non-binding question, along the lines of "if given the opportunity, would you vote to change the constitution, to allow the president to run for another term in office?"

    no matter how you slice it, this doesn't constitute an "attempt" to change the current honduran constitution. i'm no honduran legal expert and (unlike BTD) i don't play one on tv, but if that's correct, then the honduran SC clearly overstepped its bounds.

    the military legal dept. has already admitted that the military committed an illegal act, by transporting zelaya out of the country. i remain unconvinced that the country's SC isn't also guilty of illegal (or just plain stupid) acts.

    now, if they bring him back, with some sort of "compromise" worked out with the military, they've created a martyr for the masses. my guess: this was inspired by the military, who decided to bypass all the legal niceties, and just get rid of him now. The SC just did what they were told to do, to give the military cover.

    not the single brightest move on their parts. the guy may be a slug (and i honestly have no idea), but he's a freely elected slug. how better to show his constituents that their votes are meaningless, if the military doesn't like the outcome?

    nope, not very bright at all.


    Article 239 (none / 0) (#37)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 11:14:02 PM EST
    of the Honduran Constitution bans anyone from even "proposing" reform of the term limits law.  Harsh, but I'm not prepared to say that I'm more of an expert on what it means than the Supreme Court of Honduras.

    again, (none / 0) (#45)
    by cpinva on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 08:00:03 AM EST
    Article 239 of the Honduran Constitution bans anyone from even "proposing" reform of the term limits law.

    the referendum "proposed" nothing (as far as i am aware), it merely "inquired within". the military (as is its wont, in latin and s. america) screwed the pooch. the SC and legislature have been scrambling to cover for them. as a result, i think zelaya has to die, accidentally of course.

    if he'd really acted illegally, there was a formal process available, to legally remove him from office. that they chose not to follow it should be a dead giveaway.


    Kinda seems like (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 09:06:34 AM EST
    you are being a little too blithe in assuming that you can interpret the Honduran Constitution better than the Supreme Court of Honduras can!

    Does a nonbinding referendum fit within the meaning of "propose" (or, to be more accurate, the Spanish word that we translate as "propose")?  Gosh, I have no idea!  Kind of seems like there's a controlling legal authority with the knowledge and the power to make that determination.  I'm sure they're not infallible, but I'd require more than 30 seconds' study of the issue to conclude that they're wrong.


    given the history (none / 0) (#50)
    by cpinva on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 10:27:30 AM EST
    of the region, i wouldn't place a great deal of trust in the honduran SC's ability to "interpret" what seems a fairly straightforward item.

    however, it's possible that it's been misinterpreted, and what it really means is:

    "any mention whatsoever, by anyone, even remotely positing the remotest possibility of changing the constitution, with regards to the term limits imposed on the president, shall be guilty of a crime."

    that would seem to be stretching the colloquial definition of a single word, even in spanish (or any other language), but it's certainly possible.


    the referendum "proposed" nothing (none / 0) (#47)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 08:29:07 AM EST

    You can't really be that naive.  Even a blind man could see this was a part of Z's attempt to remain in office unconstitutionally.

    now starring in (none / 0) (#51)
    by cpinva on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 10:33:55 AM EST
    Missed the Point Theatre's production of "i really can't read", our good friend, abdul.

    no, i'm not:

    You can't really be that naive

    but, that isn't the "crime" he's accused of, and that's specifically what i addressed. as such, the rest of the gov't would appear to have committed their very own crimes.


    Is that correct? (none / 0) (#52)
    by EL seattle on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 01:41:55 PM EST
    Is there a formal process available in the Honduran constitution?  I've been assuming that Dan Rosenheck's Monday item in Slate was accurate about these sorts of details:

    In virtually every other country in the world, Zelaya would have been removed from office. But, peculiarly, the Honduran Constitution does not include an impeachment procedure--Congress is entitled to name a new president only in the absence of the current one.

    If the Slate story is wrong about there being a lack of a legal removal process in Honduras, it'd be a pretty big screw-up on their part, I think.


    The Honduran Supreme Court (none / 0) (#69)
    by El Sabio Pedro on Sun Jul 12, 2009 at 01:31:28 PM EST
    My friend, it appears the Supreme Court is the authority regarding interpretation of the Constitution. It also appears the Honduran Congress supported the Supreme Court, therefore this is indeed a muddy terrain.

    I am not a bettor, but I would say the odds are that Zelaya will not return to the Presidency. They are having elections soon, therefore the most pragmatic thing for other nations to do is to ask the Honduran government to allow the elections to be supervised by a neutral group of nations, for example Japan, Canada, and Norway, which are not nations with anything to bake in this Honduran oven.

    One must also ask, if the OAS is so interested in democracy, why not proceed to ask Cuba to hold elections in which people other than communists are allowed to propose ideas, party platforms, etc etc? It makes sense to this person.


    Right (none / 0) (#36)
    by weltec2 on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 11:11:42 PM EST
    which is why Sec Clinton called in Oscar Arias to rattle him back to reality.

    "Who is the richest man in Honduras?" (none / 0) (#20)
    by lambert on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 06:59:43 PM EST
    That's the question to ask; a decidedly different take.

    that's interesting and all (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 07:03:42 PM EST
    But sort of knocks out the nobility of the struggle no?

    Cynical Lambert.


    Or realistic (none / 0) (#22)
    by lambert on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 07:07:22 PM EST
    Seriously, do read the post and the followup; there are some interesting ideas about narrative, especially "The Epiphany Narrative."

    methinks btd were being facetious... (none / 0) (#23)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 07:13:07 PM EST
    Indeed (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 07:15:08 PM EST
    No one is more cynical than me.

    Perhaps we should have a contest (none / 0) (#28)
    by lambert on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 07:36:49 PM EST
    Though I have the feeling it might go meta rather rapidly.

    What's the evidence ? (none / 0) (#29)
    by oldpro on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 08:22:37 PM EST
    And what would you accept for evidence from others?

    care to place (none / 0) (#35)
    by cpinva on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 10:42:27 PM EST
    No one is more cynical than me.

    a large wager on that? :)

    look up the word "cynical" in the dictionary, there'll be an arrow, pointing to my picture.


    WSWS: A warning to the working class (none / 0) (#44)
    by Andreas on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 12:29:06 AM EST
    The WSWS writes today:

    Over 60,000 Honduran teachers have carried out an indefinite strike since June 29, the day after the elected president, Manuel Zelaya, was seized at gunpoint by the military and bundled onto a plane that flew him out of the country. Schools remain shut nationwide, with students and parents supporting the action. Other sections of the Honduran working class have joined in this struggle, threatening to escalate it through the erection of barricades on the nation's highways.

    This heroic resistance has been carried out in the face of a de facto state of siege. Honduras remains under curfew, with the military controlling the streets. Basic democratic rights have been suspended, and nearly 1,000 opponents of the coup regime have been arrested. Sections of the media that voiced opposition to the takeover have been shut down, with broadcasting facilities taken over by armed troops and individual reporters threatened with death.

    On Sunday, the coup claimed its first fatality, 19-year-old Isy Obed Murillo, shot down by Honduran troops at the Tegucigalpa airport, where thousands turned out to show support for Zelaya, whose plane was not allowed to land.

    There is every reason to fear that this is only the beginning, and not just in Honduras. The country's ruling oligarchy is among the most backward and reactionary in the region, while its military command is trained by the Pentagon, which maintains a key military base at Soto Cano, where over 600 US troops are deployed.

    The danger that workers in Honduras could face a bloody tragedy like those inflicted upon working people in Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina more than 30 years ago is real and present.

    The Honduran coup:
    A warning to the working class

    8 July 2009, by Bill Van Auken

    Hmmm (none / 0) (#57)
    by DancingOpossum on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 03:50:33 PM EST
    Sorry but, this qualifies as a coup in every sense of the word. Some things little mentioned, for instance, are that the referendum was a non-binding opinion poll, not a reform per se; any changes it led to wouldn't have gone into effect until after Zelaya's term ended anyway; and under Honduran law, anyone can actually introduce reform measures if they wish to, under the Law of Citizen Participation. Also, Zelaya claims that the Constitution was written under a repressive regime that makes no allowance for any reforms that might benefit the poor and working class; I don't know if this is true but he claims that was his motivation.

    And the military has instituted what's essentially martial law in Honduras now, cracking down on protesters,instituting a curfew, and intimidating reporters.

    Justin Raimondo (hardly a crazed left-winger) has an excellent analysis of the sitch here:

    Understood in the context of Honduran history, the effort by Zelaya to change the constitution has to be seen as an effort to wrest power away from the military and invest it in the civilian sector, not a quest for personal power. What's going on in Honduras is yet another chapter in the protracted struggle against the unrestrained power - economic as well as political - of the military, and, as such, Zelaya's is a righteous cause.


    Here's some background on what led up to the coup and information on the referendum, from the always-good Narco News:

    http://narcosphere.narconews.com/notebook/kristin-bricker/2009/06/honduras-prepares-sundays-controve rsial-opinion-poll

    Here's a report from Democracy Now with their reporter Andres Conteris in Tegucigalpa:


    I find it hard to believe (none / 0) (#60)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 04:21:05 PM EST
    that Zelaya went through this whole ordeal just for the sake of proposing a wholly non-binding measure that couldn't have possibly benefited him in any event.  I'm not that credulous.

    All right (none / 0) (#66)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 09:18:32 AM EST
    I find it hard to believe that Zelaya went through this whole ordeal just for the sake of proposing a wholly non-binding measure that couldn't have possibly benefited him in any event.  I'm not that credulous.

    Point taken. I'm skeptical of most pols, and this one in particular (even though he is the duly democratically elected leader of his country and should not have been removed by military force), so I agree. But then the question is: So what? So what if he did it for purely personal reasons? Still doesn't make his ouster legal.

    This site (linked to from antiwar.com) has a direct translation of the EXACT wording of the referendum and what it means in terms of Honduran law: