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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

McCain Gets It Right On Honduras

Once again, John McCain shows his experience makes him capable of understanding the difference between a "coup" and a legitimate ousting, as he acknowledges publicly that Honduras former president Manuel Zelaya violated his country's constitution, forcing the country's lawmakers and courts to order the military to oust him from his position.

Members of Congress are also showing support for the so-called coup, via UN dispatch:

Support for the coup in Honduras extends beyond the pages of right wing political magazines to the United States Congress. Tomorrow, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen will host a private meeting for her Republican colleagues with former Honduran President Ricardo Maduro and former Costa Rican Ambassador to the U.S. Jaime Daremblum. According to the invitation, obtained by UN Dispatch, "President Maduro will help to outline the sequence of events leading to the shift in power in Honduras and removal of Manuel Zelaya; provide insight into Honduran constitutional authorities; and discuss how the U.S. can now work to support the democratic institutions and rule of law in Honduras." Ambassador Daremblum will discuss his Weekly Standard piece titled "A Coup for Democracy."

In related news, Florida Republican Connie Mack (pictured) is circulating a congressional resolution that effectively supports the coup. So far, the Congressional Coup Caucus includes Dan Burton (Republican from Indiana), Jeff Fortenberry (Republican from Nebraska) and Dana Rohrabacher (Republican from California) who are co-sponsoring the resolution.

While Barack Obama makes statements in support of Zelaya, his words, actions and foreign policy is starting to draw more criticism, via The Hill:

But that support for Zelaya, who was arrested and forced into exile on Sunday after pressing ahead with a constitutional referendum that would have allowed for his reelection, is gradually drawing more criticism of the White House.

"Manuel Zelaya trampled the Honduran Constitution by pushing for his illegal referendum to allow him to rule indefinitely, and by firing the top military official, General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, when he refused to comply with Zelaya's unconstitutional orders," Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) said in a statement to The Hill on Tuesday.

"There is little doubt that Zelaya, in his blatant power grab, has moved Honduras down a dangerous path toward less freedom, less security, and less prosperity. He consistently ignored the checks and balances which are essential to a democratic government."

The referendum had been judged illegal by Honduras's highest court and was opposed widely through political and military circles, including within Zelaya's own party.

Soldiers took away Zelaya, still in his pajamas, from the presidential palace Sunday morning and put him on a plane to San Jose, Costa Rica. An interim president, Roberto Micheletti, was selected by the country's Congress on Sunday. Micheletti says that no coup occurred and Zelaya was legally removed by the courts and Congress for violating Honduras's constitution.

"Zelaya has used the Chavez playbook to turn Honduras into a satellite nation for the spread of Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution, joining the likes of Ecuador, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and others," Mack said. "It's not surprising that Zelaya decided to head to Nicaragua after his ouster and is being flown by a Venezuelan chartered jet."

By Monday, Zelaya was in Managua for the meeting of the leftist Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), whose member states are Honduras, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

And in his regular "Reflections of Fidel" column Monday, Cuba's Fidel Castro said "what is happening [in Honduras] will be a test for the OAS and for the current United States administration."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich spoke out against Obama's siding with the likes of Castro and Chavez against Democracy on his twitter feed, saying "Sadly the obama administration has joined castro and chavez attacking honduran supreme court and congress for defending their constitution. Having castro call for defending democracy should convince any reasonable person that honduras was on the edge of a leftist dictatorship."

Obviously Obama didn't know the legalities before opening his mouth and now he is backed into a corner, or worse yet, he did know and he still decided to side with Zelaya, Castro and Chavez anyway.

One would think that someone that criticized George Bush constantly and referred to our own constitution in doing so, Obama would have more respect for the Honduras constitution.

At the end of The Hill piece, we see that tensions are about to escalate. Zelaya is determined to go back to Honduras and the Honduras' attorney general said Tuesday that he will be arrested "as soon as he puts a foot on Honduran soil" on criminal charges that could carry a 20 year prison sentence.

"The Honduran Supreme Court, attorney general, and the Congress were right to confront Zelaya as he ignored the law and gutted the Honduran Constitution," Mack said. "The United States and our allies in the region must now stand with the Honduran people to ensure the respect of freedom, the rule of law, and democracy."