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Honduras teaches the United States about Democracy
“Is the future of the United States democratic system being played out in Central America today? I hope so.
You may or may not have heard what has happened in Honduras during the past couple of weeks. Here's the story in a nut shell.
Honduran President Manual Zelaya has been at odds with the Honduran Congress and Courts for many months, seeking to increase his power and authority to levels similar to those wielded by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. But according to the Honduran Constitution, its president can only serve a single four year term. With his Presidency coming to an end in January, Zelaya wasn't happy with that situation, so he decided to try an end around play.
He decided to sponsor a constitutional referendum to allow him to continue to serve as president. The only problem is, the Honduran Constitution doesn't give him the right to do that. Any constitution referendum must be called by the Honduran Congress. Not bothered by that minor detail, Zelaya contacted his buddy, Hugo Chavez, and had ballots printed and ballot boxes prepared in Venezuela and flown to Honduras. The Honduran Supreme Court declared Zelaya's actions unconstitutional, but again, he was not deterred.
A couple of weeks ago, when Zelaya directed the military to distribute the ballots and boxes, the top military commander refused, citing the orders of the Supreme Court. President Zelaya promptly fired him. The Supreme Court ordered him reinstated. Zelaya refused.
Still undeterred, last Thursday Zelaya led a group of his supporters to break into the military installation where the ballots from Venezuela were being stored and then had his people distribute them in defiance of the Supreme Court's order. By the way, elections in Honduras are supposed to be managed and overseen by the Honduran Election Tribunal, which was not involved in any of Zelaya's efforts.
Sunday morning, acting under orders of the Supreme Court, the Honduran military dragged Zelaya out of bed at 6 AM, arrested him, put him on a plane in his pajamas, flew him to Costa Rica, and released him. They literally threw him out of the country.
The Honduran Congress immediately met in emergency session and designated its president as the interim executive as stipulated in Honduran law. It also said that presidential elections set for November will go forward.
Honduras has one of the strongest democracies in the world. When Presidential elections are held, typically 80-90% of the eligible population votes (compared to only 50% in the U.S.). This situation clearly shows how democratic checks and balances are supposed to work.
When the President tried to overstep his bounds, the legislative and judicial branches stepped in and did not allow it. You might make a case that Zelaya should have been arrested and held in Honduras, but I understand he was exiled in order to minimize the probability of violence. Obviously, he will have an even better opportunity to state his case while not in confinement. In fact, he has already been invited to address the U.N. General Assembly.
So where does the U.S. government stand on this situation? Well, Obama stands shoulder to shoulder with Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro and Daniel Ortega in calling for Zelaya to be re-instated as President! President Obama said the U.S. government believed the takeover was "not legal" and that Zelaya remained the country's leader! U.S. press secretary Robert Gibbs said "We're seeking to restore that democratic norm in Honduras, and haven't changed the recognition of who we believe is the president of that country"!
So much for the United States being the world's biggest supporter of democracy! Even worse than the situation in Iran, where Obama remained silent while protesters were slaughtered in the streets by an oppressive government, in Honduras Obama has gone on record as calling for the re-instatement of a leader who has been ousted by his country's legislative and judicial processes!
One might ask WHY?
Well, consider this;
No where in the U.S. Constitution does it give the government the power to fire private company employees. But how many bank and automotive executives have been forced out by Obama's administration since January 20th?
No where in the U.S. Constitution does it give the government the power to own private companies. So how did the government end up owning 70% of General Motors Corporation?
No where in the U.S. Constitution does it give the government the power to set salaries in the private sector, as Obama's administration is currently doing in banks that have taken TARP money.
No where in the U.S. Constitution does it give the executive branch the power to appoint Czars to make rules governing private industry, that role is reserved for the legislative branch of our government..
No where in the U.S. Constitution does it give the President the power to set aside contracts. So how did GM bond holders end up getting the shaft while the unions profited?
In fact, all of these things are prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.
Like Zelaya, Chavez, Castro, and Ortega, President Obama does not believe a country's Constitution should limit his power.
Unfortunately, our Congress and our Courts have yet to show the courage and determination that the Honduran Legislators and Supreme Court have shown.
Isn't it amazing that we have to look to a small country in Central America to see how democracy is supposed to work, while our President sides with the likes of Zelaya, Chavez, Castro, and Ortega!
WAKE UP AMERICA!