Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Bit of Good News on Honduras

The administration appears to be backing off its reflective backing of leftists, such as the one pictured at left, and has stated that it will not impose sanctions on Honduras' interim government. The State Department, while not condoning the so-called coup, harshly criticized Manuel Zelaya's actions that led to his removal from office. This was made known in an awkward fashion by the release of a State Department reply to Senator Dick Lugar, ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee.

I am glad to see the administration start to think this issue through with more clarity. Zelaya brought this on himself by illegally attempting to change the Honduran constitution to allow himself more years in office. He did so by attempting to use mob rule to force an election that the Honduran Supreme Court had ruled illegal. The action of the military prevented a constitutional crisis and potential civil war. While it may be true that they jumped the gun, it was also clear that the Honduran Congress would have impeached Zelaya for his disregard of the constitution.

This matters deeply, because the rule of law is fundamental to the preservation of liberty; the goal to which this blog hopes to make a small contribution. By backing off, the administration has probably effectively precluded Zelaya's return to power before the next Presidential elections in Honduras in November. Then Honduras can emerge from this crisis with a democratically elected leader. While the actions of the Honduran military in removing Zelaya may not have been perfect, it was Zelaya, not the military who was undertaking a wholesale assault on the democratic principles of the Honduran constitution.

I think the administration should be praised for their change of heart, but I think they are too embarassed by their earlier mistake to want to trumpet this change. I also note that Team Obama was much more disciplined during the campaign. This quote from a State Department staffer who literally didn't get the memo:

A State Department spokesman, who was unaware of the letter to Mr. Lugar's office, said "there has been no decision to soften the policy on Honduras." He added that the administration still supports a return of Mr. Zelaya to power, as called for in the mediation plan by Costa Rica's President Oscar Arias.

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