#Honduras: Zelaya postpones his trip back “for the weekend”

UPDATED
Please scroll down for the afternoon updates.

If you can read Spanish, please read this:
Informe especial I: Decreto PCM-020 era una celada de Zelaya contra la democracia, also at a discussion board.

zonu2x30

Yesterday Mel Zelaya was talking tough at the UN and said he would fly back to Honduras on Thursday, accompanied by the head of the Organization of American States. Cristina Fernandez, president of Argentina, said from Argentina that she would accompany him back to Honduras. Zelaya also said that he’d bring along the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. I guess Hugo Chavez is still too busy to join them.

Be that as it may, following Zelaya’s speech at the UN, Zelaya headed to the OAS, after which the OAS gave Honduras an ultimatum,

The Organization of American States gave Honduras three days Wednesday to restore the deposed president, Manuel Zelaya, or face suspension, as the interim leader of the country defied international condemnation of the coup that led to his appointment and said only force could unseat him.

In a sharply worded resolution, concluded after marathon talks that ended at 2 a.m. Wednesday, the organization called the coup an “unconstitutional alteration of the democratic order.” The envoys demanded Mr. Zelaya’s immediate and safe return to power, and issued an ultimatum to Honduras, saying that it will expel it from the organization if Mr. Zelaya is not returned to power.

As you can read in the OAS resolution, they invoke

the importance of the importance of strict adherence and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms

and

the principles established in the Charter of the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Democratic Charter on the strengthening and preservation of the democratic institutional system in member states

The OAS, which recently voted to let Cuba back in, is talking about principles, and “the importance of strict adherence and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”? Where the hell is the OAS when it comes to the Ladies in White, their husbands and relatives, and the Cuban political prisoners that Marc Masferrer blogs about, week after week? When has there ever been democracy in Cuba in the past decades?

Where was the OAS before the “coup”?

For weeks, Zelaya — an erratic leftist who styles himself after his good pal Hugo Chávez of Venezuela — has been engaged in a naked and illegal power grab, trying to rewrite the Honduran constitution to allow him to run for reelection in November.

First Zelaya scheduled a national vote on a constitutional convention. After the Honduran supreme court ruled that only the country’s congress could call such an election, Zelaya ordered the army to help him stage it anyway. (It would be ”non-binding,” he said.) When the head of the armed forces, acting on orders from the supreme court, refused, Zelaya fired him, then led a mob to break into a military base where the ballots were stored.

His actions have been repudiated by the country’s supreme court, its congress, its attorney-general, its chief human-rights advocate, all its major churches, its main business association, his own political party (which recently began debating an inquiry into Zelaya’s sanity) and most Hondurans: Recent polls have shown his approval rating down below 30 percent.

After the OAS ultimatum, Zelaya postponed the date of his return to “the weekend,” in order to “give the diplomatic process a chance.” He didn’t specify a date but says Insulza, Correa and Fernandez are tagging along all the same. Reportedly Zelaya slept at the OAS.

Today Zelaya’s heading to the inauguration of the president of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli.

For his part, Insulza didn’t specify when he’d be heading to Honduras or whether he would just telephone in (I’m translating from Noticias 24), but insists that his job is not to negotiate with the new administration, but “to exert pressure” towards Zelaya’s reinstatement.

Yesterday the Honduran government (which AP refers to as “the regime that ousted Manuel Zelaya”, ignoring the fact that a. it was members of his own party and b. the Congress, Courts and institutions remain the same as when he was in power) accused Zelaya of drug ties

“Every night, three or four Venezuelan-registered planes land without the permission of appropriate authorities and bring thousands of pounds … and packages of money that are the fruit of drug trafficking,” its foreign minister, Enrique Ortez, told CNN en Espanol.

“We have proof of all of this. Neighboring governments have it. The DEA has it,” he added.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Rusty Payne in Washington said he could neither confirm nor deny a DEA investigation.

That clouds the issue at hand: Zelaya, as I have posted over the past three days conspired over a lengthy period of time to act unlawfully, and indeed acted unlawfully against the Constitution, in spite of repeated warnings by the electoral authorities, the Congress, the Supreme Court and his own party.

Honduras News, in a post from last May, also explains that Zelaya had been working at this since at least November 2008:

Zelaya first broached the topic on November 11, 2008. That day, the San Pedro daily La Prensa reported that the president had proposed that a fourth ballot box be installed at polling places on November 29, 2009. Honduran voting booths presently contain three ballot boxes: one to vote for the president, one for the congressional, and one for local mayoral candidates. Zelaya suggested installing a fourth box to vote on whether or not the electorate wanted to choose a National Constituent Assembly. According to Zelaya, this proposed body would draft a new Honduran constitution. Zelaya seeks a changed constitution which would allow him to run for reelection. On March 24, Zelaya upped the ante by announcing, via executive decree PCM-05-2009, that this national referendum would take place no later than June 28, and that it would be administered by the National Statistical Institute (INE)

The Honduran constitution, which contains 375 articles, can be amended by a two-thirds majority vote in congress. However, there are eight “firm articles” which cannot be amended. These include presidential term limits, system of government that is permitted and process of presidential succession. Since the president has the ability to amend the remaining 368 provisions by means of a congressional majority, some have called into question what the president’s true intentions may be.

Critics immediately labeled Zelaya’s action as a blatant and cynical attempt to extend his term limits. Some, such as Honduran political analyst Juan Ramon Martinez, argue that we are witnessing a concerted effort on Zelaya’s part to discredit some of the country’s key democratic institutions in order to possibly extend his rule. “There appears to be a set of tactics aimed at discrediting institutions…he has repeated on several occasions that democratic institutions are worthless and that democracy has not helped at all,” said Martinez.

The president’s comments on a number of occasions have buttressed the grounds for this type of interpretation. He has stated several times that the constitution has been repeatedly violated by politicians and that it needs to be adapted to the new “national reality.” Zelaya has not precisely spelled out what changes would be necessary to make in order to adapt the country’s social contract to that new national reality. Zelaya announced on May 22 that the new constitution would include direct democracy initiatives such as popular referendums and recall elections. However, the current constitution already contains provisions for popular referendums and does not expressly prohibit recall elections.

I’ll be talking about this in today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern, and will update you as news develops.

And by the way, thank you to the blogger who referred to my posts on this subject as “Fausta’s hysteria.” Coming from the ideology of the person saying that, and in view of the inherent sexism in the remark, it is a compliment indeed.

A brief roundup of posts
White House backing of Zelaya starts to draw criticism
Honduras under the bus

ob-dz087_1hondu_d_20090630200520
WSJ editorial The Wages of Chavismo
The Honduran coup is a reaction to Chávez’s rule by the mob.

In Honduras Mr. Chávez funneled Veneuzelan oil money to help Mr. Zelaya win in 2005, and Mr. Zelaya has veered increasingly left in his four-year term. The Honduran constitution limits presidents to a single term, which is scheduled to end in January. Mr. Zelaya was using the extralegal referendum as an act of political intimidation to force the Congress to allow a rewrite of the constitution so he could retain power. The opposition had pledged to boycott the vote, which meant that Mr. Zelaya would have won by a landslide.

Such populist intimidation has worked elsewhere in the region, and Hondurans are understandably afraid that, backed by Chávez agents and money, it could lead to similar antidemocratic subversion there. In Tegucigalpa yesterday, thousands demonstrated against Mr. Zelaya, and new deputy foreign minister Marta Lorena Casco told the crowd that “Chávez consumed Venezuela, then Bolivia, after that Ecuador and Nicaragua, but in Honduras that didn’t happen.”

It’s no accident that Mr. Chávez is now leading the charge to have Mr. Zelaya reinstated, and on Monday the Honduran traveled to a leftwing summit in Managua in one of Mr. Chávez’s planes. The U.N. and Organization of American States are also threatening the tiny nation with ostracism and other punishment if it doesn’t readmit him. Meanwhile, the new Honduran government is saying it will arrest Mr. Zelaya if he returns. This may be the best legal outcome, but it also runs the risk of destabilizing the country. We recall when the Clinton Administration restored Bertrand Aristide to Haiti, only to have the country descend into anarchy.

Ousting a Chávez Wannabe
We should support the removal of Manuel Zelaya.

What happened in Honduras was not a standard coup. The Supreme Court ordered the army to remove Zelaya from office. The Congress, albeit after his detention and exile, voted unanimously for his removal and confirmed his constitutionally mandated successor to fill the remainder of his term in office.

Prior to his exile, Zelaya had insisted on a referendum to allow for his reelection in direct violation of the Honduran constitution. In other words, he set out to perpetuate himself in office. Roger Noriega, a former Bush administration official and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, puts it clearly: “Zelaya brushed aside every other institution of the state in insisting on a referendum that would benefit his selfish interests.”

Shredding constitutional prohibitions to presidential reelection has become a popular political ploy in several Latin American countries in recent years. To date, leftist regimes in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela have scrapped constitutional presidential term limits, each time using extralegal ploys to do so. Most recently, Washington’s best friend in the region, Álvaro Uribe of Colombia, has sought a constitutional change to extend his presidency for a third term, but so far he is working within the law.

Supporters call such moves vital for their nation’s peace and well-being; opponents say they reflect presidential hubris and greed. Call the penchant to scrap presidential term limits what you will: The efforts have clearly negated each and every country’s constitution.

In the case of Honduras, President Zelaya stood alone among political, legal, economic, media, and military leaders. Backed by a noisy rabble and funded by Venezuela’s ever-meddling autocrat, Hugo Chávez, Zelaya’s campaign was seen as a way to reverse the defeat of the pro-Chávez candidate in Panama’s recent presidential election.

The ballots for Sunday’s suspended referendum were actually prepared in Venezuela. On Saturday, Zelaya made an abortive effort to storm and steal the ballots from the Honduran military base where they were stored.

2:10PM
Gateway Pundit has a photo that says a thousand words:

chavez-castro

Indispensable reading (in Spanish):
Informe especial I: Decreto PCM-020 era una celada de Zelaya contra la democracia, also at a discussion board.
¿Resistirá Honduras? Si cede a la presión exterior, el chavismo comenzará a roer las instituciones hondureñas, que caerán en la órbita de Venezuela y que se deslizarán hacia una dictadura.

2:45PM
Two from Noticias 24:
Guatemalan president Alvaro Colom rejected Hugo Chávez request that the UN invade Honduras if Zelaya’s not reinstated.
Micheletti asks Cristina Fernandez and Rafael Correa to not interfere in Honduras

And another link, at Heritage Honduras Fires Its Runaway President: Constitutional Order Is Preserved, via Babalu

3:45PM
Honduran coup leader to AP: Zelaya won’t return

Honduras’ interim leader warned that the only way his predecessor will return to office is through a foreign invasion, even as the hemisphere’s leaders gave him 72 hours to hand over the presidency.

4:10PM
Pro-Micheletti’s government demonstration in Honduras, via Val

manifestacion-empresarios-centroamericanos-condenan-bloqueo-comercial-contra-honduras_noticia_encabezado

4:50PM
Video via Adam

5:25PM
Very interesting interview of former Venezuelan ambassador to the U.N. Diego Arria (h/t Venezuela News and Views:

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18 Responses to “#Honduras: Zelaya postpones his trip back “for the weekend””

  1. Bill Says:

    Fine, bring him back in, they never should have given the tossout to begin with, fire him? Yes, deport him? No. Bring him in, bus him to the lawful place where he would be impeach and impeach him. Let the OAS see how its done.

  2. Pat Patterson Says:

    I heard there were actually three different rumors floating about the “postponment.” The first planes offered was an Airbus 330A or a Tupelov TU-154M. The OAS officials wanted a Gulfstream G650 and they balked at flying into a tense situation with an airline that still bore a hammer and sickle, so the Airbus was out because of cold feet and the Tupelov was out because of the symbology.

    But the whole issue became moot when it was discovered that ex-President Zelaya’s American Express Card had been cancelled and he didn’t have enough flight miles to wangle even a coach seat on La Costena. But that’s doubtful as the former leader is to big to get in the door of the Cessna.

  3. La Ventanita Says:

    I have to agree with Bill on this one – he should’ve never been deported.

    Secondly the OAS and the press could do a much better job if everytime they decried the “ouster” they mentioned that Honduras was acting legally and defending its democracy when they had him arrested, as well as mentioning that Zelaya was openly and defiantly violating the law of democracy in his own country.

  4. Fausta’s Blog » Blog Archive » The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean Says:

    […] The official blog of Fausta’s Blog Talk Radio show. « #Honduras: Zelaya postpones his trip back “for the weekend” […]

  5. spartan Says:

    One of the few papers in Spain that gives another view about Honduras conflict:

    Libertad Digital speaks with Carlos López Contreras, member and ex-president of the honduran National Party (in spanish)

    http://www.libertaddigital.com/mundo/el-alba-ha-manipulado-a-la-oea-y-a-honduras-no-se-le-ha-escuchado-1276363815/

  6. spartan Says:

    Oooops, sorry. Carlos Lopez Contreras is just a member of the National Party, and presidental pre-candidate, not the president of the National Party.

  7. DirtCrashr Says:

    I’m sick of CNN spinning with the Big Lie and calling it a “military lead coupe” when it was no such thing whatsoever. What they’re doing is following the Duranty Narrative, white-washing Stalin is still popular with the MSM.

  8. DaMav Says:

    More great coverage from Fausta’s Blog. Thank you.

    I’m no expert but commenter 1 seems to me to have it nailed. Let him back in, impeach him, and throw him out of office.

    If Honduras tries to resist the combined influence of the US, Castro, and Chavez it’s hard to see how they can possibly pull off a win. Many of us in the US are extremely upset that Obama is siding with Marxist thugs but the practical reality is that that situation is not going change anytime soon. :-(

  9. safariman Says:

    REPORT from HONDURAS, Wed 1 July, 8:00pm CST

    I understand world concerns about the way things were changed in Honduras, arrest of a duly elected President at 5:00am for an exile flight to Costa Rica, etc.

    It sounds Un American.

    But irregularities and the extra-presidential actions of Zelaya merited no less.

    He surrounded himself with bodyguards, thugs really. He attended ONLY to his personal wishes. He was derelict to duty, for example withholding appropriated funds for towns and cities that did not support his illegal Fourth Urn, the same procedure Chavez and Correa already used to overturn their own Constitutions in Venezuela and Ecuador, respectively. He sequestered funds to repair dikes along the rivers around San Pedro Sula. He sequestered funds to mitigate some of the recent earthquake damage in the northern part of Honduras. Fortunately, with our new, nascent Government, these glaring problems are already being funded.

    Today, they discovered cash hidden in the former Presidents house. Sixty million Lempiras per the report, about US$ 3 million. Quite a large stash, obviously for payments outside normal procedures. Similarly, large amounts were found in Rixi Moncada’s apart hotel. A member of Zelaya’s family, she was the head of the Federally owned Electric Company. It really smells bad. It was bad. Zelaya was intent on delivering us to Socialism, and Cuban, Venezuelan, and Ecuadorian advisers were working with Zelaya and select rural offices. We suspect plenty of arms were being smuggled into Honduras to fund a popular uprising.

    The “Coup” was bloodless. A miracle, it seems to me. We had an emergency. Procedures were certainly as legal as could be expected, considering all branches of a Democratic Government reached agreement, over the course of several days of deliberation.

    Honduras as of today, well my wife and I went shopping in the center of Tegucigalpa. We encountered no problems. Things are returning to normal, it seems.

    To rid us of Zelaya was a blessing to all Hondurans. To reimpose him on him would be a Disaster.

    For what it’s worth, Israel and Taiwan today extended Diplomatic Recognition to the new Government. Happily, the USA decided NOT to recall their Ambassador, Hugo Lorens, a brilliant American bi-lingual PhD lawyer.

    The new Foreign Minister, Enrique Ortez Colindre, served as Ambassador in France, and also as UN Ambassador. The Finance Minister, Gabriela Nunez was head of the Central Bank in a previous administration, and spent a year in Washington in the World Bank. I’ve met her, and heard her talk. She seems very bright.

    Like so many others, I’m asking understanding and support in maintaining legitimate Democracy here in Honduras.

    Only a handfull of activist hard core leftists seem willing to act otherwise, so far.

    Really, I’m proud to be in Honduras today.

  10. Mark Buehner Says:

    There is no provision in Honduran Constitution for impeachment. However there is an article that the punishment for even attempting to rewrite the provision against presidential reelection is to be removed from office. See Volokh, there are links and discussion.

    Oh, and maybe learn a bit about Honduran law before assuming the answer. There was literally no method for the legislature to remove the man from office. The courts were the only way.

  11. Fausta's Blog » Blog Archive » #Honduras: Zelaya postpones his … | Honduras today Says:

    […] here to see the original: Fausta's Blog » Blog Archive » #Honduras: Zelaya postpones his … Tags: government-demonstration, programs, Video […]

  12. spartan Says:

    Safariman, one question: why is the military still in the streets? This gives a bad image. Why not police instead of the army? (since I suppose they are only in the streets tu calm down chavists, but this http://incakolanews.blogspot.com/2009/06/honduras-photoshow.html doesn’t look very well, en mi opinión)

    And one more, what do you think is gonna happen when Zelaya arrives in Honduras this weekend with Insulza and Cristina Fernández (parece que Chavez no tiene cojones y tiene que mandar a la secretaria)?

  13. spartan Says:

    Sadly, Spain called the ambassador back to Spain (fue llamado “a consultas”).

    Our President, Mr. Jose Luis (no Felipe, Zelaya, a ver si te enteras) Rodriguez Zapatero:

    http://www.marthacolmenares.com/wp-content/uploads/chavezyzapateroconkefia.jpg

    http://elproyectomatriz.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/chavez-zapatero.jpg

    Our Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Miguel Angel Moratinos:

    http://www.elpais.com/articulo/espana/Cuba/Espana/firman/acuerdo/abordar/derechos/humanos/isla/elpepuesp/20070404elpepunac_1/Tes

    (derechos humanos en Cuba, que cachondos)

  14. The Greenroom » Forum Archive » Hands Off Honduras Says:

    […] possible way in Hondurans’ attempt to protect their country from a Chavez-style tyranny. Read Fausta’s Blog for a full round-up of what Honduras was facing from this deposed […]

  15. Honduras | bRight & Early Says:

    […] #Honduras: Zelaya postpones his trip back “for the weekend” […]

  16. safariman Says:

    Spartan,

    Ever since Hurricane Mitch in 1998, the military have been on the streets here, mostly to prevent looting. It’s a shame, but hardly unknown in Latin America. Anyway, its nothing new. It bothers some foreigners at first, but from the perspective I’ve gained here, I am quite sure that we in fact live with more liberty than most first world people know.

    Some photos look bad. I tend to avoid confrontations, so I haven’t seen actions up close. I do know that goons with Molotov cocktails and the like have attacked peaceful demonstrators, and the Presidents house. To the best of my knowledge, at most two have been killed. So it can’t be as brutal as some try to paint it.

    Zelaya returning with Insulza and Fernandez. Worrying. I guess they are going to do their best to provoke a major confrontation. It fits the Chavista style. It would be bad for everyone. I hope Zelaya has the sense to avoid it.

  17. SYLVIA Says:

    Felicito al bravo pueblo de Honduras que lucha por su democracia. No se dejen arrastrar por los payasos de la OEA, asalariados pro Chavez con el sudor y lagrimas del pueblo de Venezuela. Si dejan regresar a Zelaya, pierden su pais y su democracia como les ha pasado a Venezuela . A Zelaya JAMAS LO VUELVEN A SACAR CON VOTOS! No se dejen convencer por los populistas de un mal llamado socialismo donde sus lideres solo buscan las riquezas y el derroche de los herarios publicos de sus pueblos. TODOS estos payasos socialistas son millonarios mientras que dicen proteger a los pobres y donde la pobreza es solo para su pueblos mientras sus riquezas personales y cuentas bancarias crecen a costillas del hambre de sus pueblos empobrecidos! HONDURAS: NO TE RINDAS ANTE ZELAYA! NO SE DEJEN ARRANCAR SU LIBERTAD!

  18. Marcos Says:

    “the OAS and the press could do a much better job if everytime they decried the “ouster” they mentioned that Honduras was acting legally and defending its democracy when they had him arrested, as well as mentioning that Zelaya was openly and defiantly violating the law of democracy in his own country”.

    Thank you. Well put.
    Why isn’t it widely mentioned that Zelaya is touring the Americas, making a fool of himself, in the company of his lover Patricia Rodas? And is ‘wife’ is here fighting for him, making a bigger fool of herself. How sad.
    Drug ties to Zelaya? of course, everybody (DEA, CIA, OAS, the whole country) has known all along.

    To the Venezuelan people: We could do it…so can you!!