The Hill blog: "Support democracy in Honduras"

Sep 11, 2009

Washington, Sep 11, 2009 - In late June of this year, the small Central American nation of Honduras faced a constitutional crisis. The president at the time, Manual Zelaya, was scheming, Hugo Chavez style, to remain in office beyond the single four-year term the constitution grants presidents.

The Honduran Attorney General found Zelaya’s actions and intentions were a violation of law and thus charged him accordingly. The nation’s Supreme Court in conjunction with the Congress and military ordered his detention. Zelaya was taken into custody and sent into exile. Perhaps prison would have been a more fitting location for his current residence.

Crisis was averted and the constitutional democracy in Honduras was preserved. In an orderly manner the Congress voted to make its leader, Roberto Micheletti, the interim president until the free election in November, 2009.

Instead of applauding the nation’s allegiance to their constitution the United States government has refused to recognize Micheletti as the newly appointed President, wrongly labeled the nation’s action a coup d’état, and isolated Honduras by cutting off vital humanitarian aid.

President Obama called Micheletti’s stand against authoritarianism “backwards.” Honduras will become backwards if President Obama continues to side with a caudillo like Zelaya. It is Zelaya’s relationships with anti-American leftist dictator thugs like Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega, and Raul Castro that will undermine Honduras and U.S. national security interests in the region.

Honduras and the United States have a rich history of cooperation. The U.S. worked hard during the 80s to protect Honduras from the former Soviet-backed communist regimes in Nicaragua and Cuba.

At the very least, it would be a shame if the Obama administration ignored that long and important relationship without regard to the allegiance, by the people of Honduras, to their constitution. Penalizing Honduras by cutting off aid with threats to not recognize the upcoming free elections in November are wrong. Further, how can this administration encourage Honduras to return someone to power that has deliberately violated his nation’s law? It was not Zelaya’s loyalty to his constitution, rather his own caudillismo that threatens to subvert the democratic rule of law.

We must insist that President Obama not change course on our commitment to freedom in our hemisphere for the sake of caudillo thugs and their ilk. The good people of the world are watching, and no less than American national security in the region is at stake.
Original Article: The Hill