CRS: Zelaya arrest lawful

posted at 2:55 pm on September 25, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The official position of the Obama administration casts the removal of Manuel Zelaya from office in Honduras as an illegal coup d’etat, and almost every other nation in the region has lined up with the US — or more accurately, we have lined up with them.  The Hugo Chavez protege has used this international support to demand a return to his office, and the US has ratcheted up the pressure by canceling visa services and suspending aid to the poor nation, which had been until now a fairly reliable friend in Latin America.  Even with Zelaya spewing paranoid rantings about Israeli mercenaries and mind rays, the Obama administration has not budged from its position.

But was Zelaya’s removal actually illegal?  The Congressional Research Service analyzed it, and concluded that Honduras’ parliament and Supreme Court, while lacking an impeachment mechanism in the country’s constitution, had the authority to issue an arrest warrant for Zelaya and remove him from office (via Fausta Wertz):

V. Was the removal of Honduran President Zelaya legal, in accordance with Honduran constitutional and statutory law?

Available sources indicate that the judicial and legislative branches applied constitutional and statutory law in the case against President Zelaya in a manner that was judged by the Honduran authorities from both branches of the government to be in accordance with the Honduran legal system.

However, removal of President Zelaya from the country by the military is in direct violation of the Article 102 of the Constitution, and apparently this action is currently under investigation by the Honduran authorities.

The Hondurans made a blunder by exiling Zelaya.  Had they kept him in custody, very little of what followed would have occurred.  Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega would have screamed about it, but the US and most of the rest of the OAS — including Costa Rica, where Honduras dumped Zelaya — would have probably remained on the sidelines.  That action clearly violates both the Honduran constitution and the notion of due process.

Otherwise, though, the removal from office appears to be legal.  The Supreme Court heard evidence of lawbreaking by the president, and unless the US now subscribes to a principle of putting politicians above the law, the parliament and the court had not just the right but the responsibility to hold him accountable.  The succession of Roberto Micheletti was also constitutional after Zelaya’s removal.  The CRS notes that the Honduran court applied the statutes properly and followed the correct procedures:

IV. Did the Supreme Court follow up by holding a proper, constitutionally mandated trial of the President?

As stated in the answer to question II(a), above, the Supreme Court, based on its constitutional powers, heard the case against Zelaya and applied the appropriate procedure mandated by the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Chief Prosecutor filed a complaint (requerimiento fiscal) against President Zelaya before the Supreme Court on June 26, 2009. The complaint: (1) accused the President of acting against the established form of government, treason against the country, abuse of authority, and usurpation of functions; (2) requested that the Court order the arrest of the President; (3) requested that the Court notify the President of the facts alleged against him; (4) requested that the President’s testimony be heard; and (5) requested that the President be suspended from office.

The Supreme Court, based on its constitutional45 and statutory46 powers, appointed one of its Justices to hear the process in the preparatory and intermediate stages. Following the procedure, the Justice admitted the complaint and issued an arrest and raid warrant.47 The process at the Supreme Court did not continue due to the events that occurred after Zelaya’s arrest.

The CRS analysis supports the position of the current Honduran government and undermines the argument of the Obama administration.


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Comment pages: 1 2

unless the US now subscribes to a principle of putting politicians above the law,

That sounds about right.

ZJPolitical on September 25, 2009 at 2:58 PM

The official position of the Obama administration casts the removal of Manuel Zelaya from office in Honduras as an illegal coup d’etat

Liars.

MB4 on September 25, 2009 at 2:58 PM

I don’t think dictators and their friends think they have to follow the law. What they say goes no matter if it’s legal or not.

Brat4life on September 25, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Every time I read about Obama and Zelaya I can not help but think of Hitler and Mussolini. Is Obama looking for an Otto Skorzeny?

MB4 on September 25, 2009 at 3:02 PM

The Hondurans needed to get Zelaya out of Honduras and away from that evil group of Isrealis that are now pumping toxic chemicals and hitting him with radiation. It was for his own good.

WashJeff on September 25, 2009 at 3:02 PM

unless the US now subscribes to a principle of putting politicians above the law

It doesn’t UNLESS a Democrat is the politician in question.

Then anything goes.

If we had any justice in this country, most Congressional Democrats would be residents of Leavenworth and on trial for their very lives.

NoDonkey on September 25, 2009 at 3:02 PM

Viva la Revolución! Mi amigo Obama es el presidente supremo, boy!

Haunches on September 25, 2009 at 3:03 PM

OT: Did Ed receive a raise and now we have ads at the end of each post?

WashJeff on September 25, 2009 at 3:04 PM

Yep.

exception on September 25, 2009 at 3:05 PM

I don’t understand why you would uphold your constitution by violating it immediately afterward?

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 3:05 PM

I’m shocked.

txag92 on September 25, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Otto Skorzeny was a colonel in the German Waffen-SS during WW2 and is considered by many as the best commando in the history of modern warfare. In July 1943 he was asked personally by Hitler to rescue Benito Mussolini, the dictator of Italy and a friend of Hitler’s, who had been removed from power and imprisoned by the Italian government.

Almost two months of cat-and-mouse followed, as the Italians moved Mussolini from place to place in order to frustrate any would-be rescuers. Finally, on September 12, Skorzeny led a daring glider-based assault on the Gran Sasso Hotel, high in the Apennines mountains, and rescued Mussolini with very few shots being fired.

MB4 on September 25, 2009 at 3:09 PM

and unless the US now subscribes to a principle of putting politicians above the law

Two names:
Timmy Geithner, Charlie Rangel.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Answer your question?

GarandFan on September 25, 2009 at 3:09 PM

What the Hondurans followed the law? Why didn’t Obama change their constitution or ignore it totally for them?

hip shot on September 25, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Even with Zelaya spewing paranoid rantings about Israeli mercenaries and mind rays

The schwartz is strong in this one.

shick on September 25, 2009 at 3:11 PM

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 3:05 PM

A foreign concept in this country. Take an oath to defend the constitution, the disregard it the instant you shake the hand of the person administering the oath.

WashJeff on September 25, 2009 at 3:12 PM

Has anybody checked the Congressional Research Service for Zionist mind-rays?

Jim Treacher on September 25, 2009 at 3:12 PM

The CRS is racist.

portlandon on September 25, 2009 at 3:12 PM

I don’t understand why you would uphold your constitution by violating it immediately afterward?

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Someone probably made a judgment call that it was safer for him to be out of the country, rather than in custody, and it is entirely possible that not everyone involved was on the same page as far as constitutional law goes.
But, everything would be patched up if Zalaya just turns himself in, so I don’t see where that helps his case any.

Count to 10 on September 25, 2009 at 3:13 PM

but the US and most of the rest of the OAS — including Costa Rica, where Honduras dumped Zelaya — would have probably remained on the sidelines. That action clearly violates both the Honduran constitution and the notion of due process.

I doubt that entirely. Obama jumped into this thing head first as soon as it happened. NOBODY has demanded his return to the country so he can live there. They’ve all demanded the restoration of his office immediately.

Skywise on September 25, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Has anybody checked the Congressional Research Service for Zionist mind-rays?

Jim Treacher on September 25, 2009 at 3:12 PM

I’m sure Jimmah’s on it.

shick on September 25, 2009 at 3:15 PM

Obviously, the CRS is racist.

BobMbx on September 25, 2009 at 3:15 PM

The Hugo Chavez protege has used this international support to demand a return to his office, and the US has ratcheted up the pressure by canceling visa services and suspending aid to the poor nation, which had been until now a fairly reliable friend in Latin America.

Hondurans must be thinking that with friends like US, they don’t need enemies.

and almost every other nation in the region has lined up with the US — or more accurately, we have lined up with them.

If Obama had some brains and cojones, and backed the new LEGAL government, more nations in the region would line up behind US–how many of them want to buck the United States?
As Hillary Clinton pointed out in a debate, Obama is dangerously naive, but why doesn’t she, as Secretary of State, straighten him out?

Even with Zelaya spewing paranoid rantings about Israeli mercenaries and mind rays, the Obama administration has not budged from its position.

You’d think the Israelis have enough problems with their own enemies to worry about sending soldiers to Honduras. But Zelaya might have a point about the mind rays–he and Obama are the Revenge of the Sith.

Steve Z on September 25, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Count to 10 on September 25, 2009 at 3:13 PM

Safer? The military was obviously against him and 85 people showed up to his revolution. This seems like one hell of a domestic policy blunder to me. Should have just let him run his term through and let it be done.

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 3:17 PM

Osama Obama probably has nightmares about suffering Zelaya’s fate. Not that he has anything to worry about; the same Constitution he is working to destroy protects him from anything but Congressional actions to remove him.

Of course, after the 2010 elections, the Chicago Jesus may want to be thinking about a nice place to spend his exile. Like Cuba, Venezuela or Iran, maybe?

MrScribbler on September 25, 2009 at 3:17 PM

unless the US now subscribes to a principle of putting politicians above the law

Change We Can Believe In?

malclave on September 25, 2009 at 3:18 PM

The Hondurans made a blunder by exiling Zelaya. Had they kept him in custody, very little of what followed would have occurred.

I think they would have just called him a political prisoner and still called the lawful removal of him a coup. Obama’s reaction would still have been the same.

gwelf on September 25, 2009 at 3:18 PM

Damn you CRS! Damn you and your analysis supported by facts!

PappaMac on September 25, 2009 at 3:18 PM

and unless the US now subscribes to a principle of putting politicians above the law,

You mean like paying taxes?

rbj on September 25, 2009 at 3:19 PM

Safer? The military was obviously against him and 85 people showed up to his revolution. This seems like one hell of a domestic policy blunder to me. Should have just let him run his term through and let it be done.

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 3:17 PM

And let him conduct his illegal election to remove the term-limit restriction?

WashJeff on September 25, 2009 at 3:20 PM

txag92 on September 25, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Me Too. Fifth time today. I have so many volts running through me I could light up Topeka for a week.

alohapundit on September 25, 2009 at 3:21 PM

Safer? The military was obviously against him and 85 people showed up to his revolution. This seems like one hell of a domestic policy blunder to me. Should have just let him run his term through and let it be done.

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 3:17 PM

To let him run out his term would be worse than letting Nixon run out his after Watergate. On top of that, he was escalating in offenses. While there is no guarantee that he would have managed a coup, that’s where he was headed at the time, and he apparently had a number of thugs farmed out from Chavez to back him up.

Count to 10 on September 25, 2009 at 3:21 PM

I doubt that entirely. Obama jumped into this thing head first as soon as it happened. NOBODY has demanded his return to the country so he can live there. They’ve all demanded the restoration of his office immediately.

Skywise on September 25, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Exactly. The official US position isn’t that “oh, he shouldn’t have been kicked out of the country” it’s “he is the rightful president of the country”. If he had been imprisoned by Honduras instead of kicked out and still free we’d still have the same position.

gwelf on September 25, 2009 at 3:22 PM

WashJeff on September 25, 2009 at 3:20 PM

From what I’ve read it was a non-binding resolution. Besides if he didn’t let elections run properly then go ahead and throw him in the slammer. Seems like they jumped the gun here for no good reason.

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 3:22 PM

When Zelaya was arrested and removed from office earlier this year, there were some (translated) quotes from Honduras’s consitution here. My recollection is that, among other things, the constitutional penalty for what Zelaya did includes automatic loss of citizenship. If that is true, then why isn’t exile appropriate? What’s the alternative — firing squad?

jwolf on September 25, 2009 at 3:23 PM

It must be the military that ultimately upholds the nation’s constitution. If that isn’t the case, then they would have a terrible catch-22 in Honduras whereby no one has the authority to enforce the removal of a president who is in violation of their constitution.

Honduras’ presidential eviction policy is more logical than our impeachment process. A US president could publicly refuse to abide by the Constitution and start selling the country piece by piece to the highest foreign bidder as long as he has more than 1/3 of Congress on his side. The US people would have no recourse and could only sit by and watch a maniacal tyrant systematically destroy their nation.

Buddahpundit on September 25, 2009 at 3:25 PM

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Their Supreme Court and overwhelming majority of their legislators, even members of Zelaya’s party, did think it was illegal. Thus the action they took.

WashJeff on September 25, 2009 at 3:27 PM

Two names:
Timmy Geithner, Charlie Rangel.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Answer your question?

GarandFan on September 25, 2009 at 3:09 PM

Your sights are set too low. The prevaricator-in-chief should be level with your front post.

Blacksmith8 on September 25, 2009 at 3:27 PM

The flaw here is that Congressional Research Service used facts and logical reasoning. Where’s the empathy?

/sarc

ROCnPhilly on September 25, 2009 at 3:28 PM

Tyrants suck! Hooray for Honduras!!!

capejasmine on September 25, 2009 at 3:29 PM

Does this mean our President “acted stupidly?”

BioTeachEd on September 25, 2009 at 3:29 PM

WashJeff on September 25, 2009 at 3:27 PM

I didn’t say it was legal. I’m just saying the way they went about it was just asking for trouble. You don’t exclaim your enthusiasm for the constitution while simultaneously breaking it for no good reason.

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 3:30 PM

From what I’ve read it was a non-binding resolution. Besides if he didn’t let elections run properly then go ahead and throw him in the slammer. Seems like they jumped the gun here for no good reason.

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Binding or non-binding, it does not matter. Merely proposing the elimination of the one term term limit makes you unfit for office, and subject to immediate removal.

rbj on September 25, 2009 at 3:30 PM

Golly, the Obama Whiz Kids™ screwed up — again — what a surprise.

johnsteele on September 25, 2009 at 3:31 PM

The flaw here is that Congressional Research Service used facts and logical reasoning. Where’s the empathy?

/sarc

ROCnPhilly on September 25, 2009 at 3:28 PM

Clearly, the CRS needs a few more wise Latinas working for them…..
/s

tom on September 25, 2009 at 3:31 PM

But Zelaya might have a point about the mind rays–he and Obama are the Revenge of the Sith.

Steve Z on September 25, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Balanced, the force must be. Two, the Sith, always are.
Obooboo, Chavez, Zelaya…
Someone has to implode.
I’m just sayin’

Blacksmith8 on September 25, 2009 at 3:31 PM

Hillary and O’Bozo preside over America’s first Third-World, Tin-Pot State Department.

Jaibones on September 25, 2009 at 3:33 PM

Clearly, the CRS needs a few more wise Latinas working for them…..
/s

tom on September 25, 2009 at 3:31 PM

Whitey runs the CRS.

thomasaur on September 25, 2009 at 3:33 PM

Ed,

Who is the CRS and were they asked to look into this matter by the Obama Administration, or did they take it upon themselves to do so?

I ask, because I’m thinking that if Obama ordered this, then perhaps he’s looking for a “reason” to pivot strategies and now oppose Zelaya (and this report would give him excuse to do so). I think the fiasco of the UN this past week, and having Dictators (Quaddafi (sp?) and Chavez) praise him gives even more credence to his “radical/extremist” perception (that the GOP rightly tries to pin on him). And since he doesn’t want to be seen that way, he’ll counter by cutting off support to Zelaya so he can say, “As I’ve always said…I’m not FOR Dictators.”

Now, if he DIDN’T order this report to be done and the CRS did it of their own accord, then it’s another weapon the GOP has to say, “this guy’s a radical idiot who aligns himself with Dictators,” and on and on the wheels spin.

I was just wondering.

LiquidH2O on September 25, 2009 at 3:34 PM

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 3:30 PM

The thing they did wrong was shipping him out of the country, everything else appears to be in full support of their constitution.

WashJeff on September 25, 2009 at 3:34 PM

The Hondurans made a blunder by exiling Zelaya. Had they kept him in custody, very little of what followed would have occurred. –Ed

Not quite. AS IF arresting Zelaya immediately and trying him for treason would not have gotten the same attrocious response from Obama and Hillary. More likely, they’d have sent troops immediately in response.

It was in hopes of preventing the rioting that motivated the Honduran government to require Zelaya’s vacation exile to Costa Rica on terms that he’d be arrested if he returned.

Don’t second guess those in place with Pres. Micheletti who knew where Zelaya’s thugs were, and that the thugs were ready to reek havoc, but required Zelaya’s presence to feel empowered. It was Zelaya all along who threatened bloodshed upon his return.

maverick muse on September 25, 2009 at 3:35 PM

The US people would have no recourse and could only sit by and watch a maniacal tyrant systematically destroy their nation.

Buddahpundit on September 25, 2009 at 3:25 PM

That’s not funny.

Blacksmith8 on September 25, 2009 at 3:35 PM

When Zelaya was arrested and removed from office earlier this year, there were some (translated) quotes from Honduras’s consitution here. My recollection is that, among other things, the constitutional penalty for what Zelaya did includes automatic loss of citizenship. If that is true, then why isn’t exile appropriate? What’s the alternative — firing squad?

jwolf on September 25, 2009 at 3:23 PM

I recall that also. If Zelaya’s removal from office for his illegal actions was constitutional, as everyone from the Honduran Supreme Court, the Honduran Congress, and the U.S. Congressional Research Service now seem to agree it was, then Zelaya, as a non-citizen of Honduras, appears to have no legal right to live in Honduras — unless the government there is willing to voluntarily grant him a visa, which they are not.

So why is the Obama administration still insisting Zelaya is the rightful president?

AZCoyote on September 25, 2009 at 3:36 PM

rbj on September 25, 2009 at 3:30 PM

Meh. I’m not a huge fan of term limits.

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 3:36 PM

Obama does not care about these overly legalistic arguments. Just as he believes the American civil rights movement failed because it was too “court oriented” rather than “community organizer oriented,” he will pretend to support Hondurus community organizers as he continues to back Zelaya, Chavez, Castro, etc. Obama is not going to give up on this, regardless of the American people’s desire to support the Hondurus Supreme Court and its rule of law.

GaltBlvnAtty on September 25, 2009 at 3:37 PM

WashJeff on September 25, 2009 at 3:34 PM

I don’t understand why you would uphold your constitution by violating it immediately afterward?

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Yeah that’s what I was referring to.

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 3:38 PM

It’s time for defenders of democracy in Congress to raise “holy hell” against Obama’s support of an illegitimate marxist in opposition to the Honduran Constitution and the Honduran people. We must not stand for this foreign relations travesty being perpetraited by the Marxist-in-Chief in the White House.

BottomLine5 on September 25, 2009 at 3:40 PM

I disagree that Zelaya’s exile was either illegal or a blunder. Article 102 was manifestly intended to protect Hondurans from being victimized at the behest of foreign interlopers. It should not be inverted to shield a would be dictator who relied for support on precisely such outsiders – and certainly not given the prospect of political crisis and attendant violence.

Seth Halpern on September 25, 2009 at 3:43 PM

The Hondurans made a blunder by exiling Zelaya. Had they kept him in custody, very little of what followed would have occurred.

Again Ed … You sound as “dreamy” as the left here. You really believe that if the Hondo’s had jailed Z that very little of what’s transpired would have occurred?

Keep dreaming.

HondaV65 on September 25, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Micheletti told Greta last week that by doing what he did, Zelaya lost his citizenship. If so, there was nothing to stop the govt from giving him the heave ho.

Akzed on September 25, 2009 at 3:52 PM

Zelaya has been back in Honduras for 4 days and there has been violence all 4 days.

The government did nothing wrong. They exiled him because of the fear of violence. Zelaya has a core of Marxist supporters led by the unions that he called on to flood the streets in the days before he was removed. In that atmosphere the call was made that it was preferable to cut him off from his marxist agitators than risk civil war.

elduende on September 25, 2009 at 3:52 PM

I disagree that Zelaya’s exile was either illegal or a blunder. Article 102 was manifestly intended to protect Hondurans from being victimized at the behest of foreign interlopers. It should not be inverted to shield a would be dictator who relied for support against his own people and institutions on precisely such outsiders – especially given the prospect of crisis and violence.

Seth Halpern on September 25, 2009 at 3:52 PM

Obama hearts Marxist dictators.

darwin on September 25, 2009 at 3:53 PM

MB4 on September 25, 2009 at 3:09 PM

An amazing character. Someday someone will get smart and make the movie.

Akzed on September 25, 2009 at 3:55 PM

The big sticking point is Zelaya’s free trip to San Jose, Costa Rica where he promptly rang up tens of thousands on the Honduras credit card. Wow, what a crime against humanity. I’ll take a free trip to Costa Rica anyday.

Golden Boy on September 25, 2009 at 3:57 PM

Miguel Estrada made the same points in an LA Times op-ed sometime back.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on September 25, 2009 at 3:58 PM

Hussein and his Posse of Clowns came around eventually.

BigMike252 on September 25, 2009 at 3:58 PM

The US people would have no recourse and could can only sit by and watch a maniacal tyrant systematically destroy their nation. Buddahpundit on September 25, 2009 at 3:25 PM

Akzed on September 25, 2009 at 3:59 PM

It was not the military who ordered Zelaya’s removal from office, and I do not recall reading that it was the military that ordered Zelaya’s removal from Honduras. It was the Judicial and Legislative branches according to their Constitutional Rule of Law. Once Zelaya was removed from office, he was no longer the President, no longer held any authority or special privileges or diplomatic powers. If the Supreme Court, Legislature and presiding President Micheletti consulted together and determined the most peaceful recourse for action was to send Zelaya on vacation so that the transition could occur in peace, and the most reliable chaperones to guard Zelaya’s safety were the Honduran Military, and the government assigned them the duty to deliver Zelaya to the Costa Rican President Arias, then so be it. The Honduran Constitutional Government is a sovereign and peaceful nation. By what legal authority does an alliance of external powers conspiring against the Honduran government decree what they deem legal, superimposed upon the legal Honduran government?

However, removal of President Zelaya from the country by the military is in direct violation of the Article 102 of the Constitution, and apparently this action is currently under investigation by the Honduran authorities.

Scanning through the report, other than a footnote without its text inserted in the footnote, I missed reading Article 102 in the body of the text, only finding it mentioned, used to conclude the final paragraph. No? I would like to see the exact wording of Article 102 before making judgment of what it says compared to what diplomats would infer in order to smooth over ruffled feathers from Socialists including Obama who is so damn clearly in the wrong.

maverick muse on September 25, 2009 at 3:59 PM

Perfect example illustrating what a bunch of screaming, liberal, amateurs this administration is……..

ultracon on September 25, 2009 at 4:01 PM

PDF warnings are usually good.

DaveS on September 25, 2009 at 4:03 PM

then Zelaya, as a non-citizen of Honduras, appears to have no legal right to live in Honduras — unless the government there is willing to voluntarily grant him a visa, which they are not.

So why is the Obama administration still insisting Zelaya is the rightful president?

AZCoyote on September 25, 2009 at 3:36 PM

Yep. This is why I have never agreed with Ed’s interpetation from the git-go. The dude wasn’t a citizen and was in the country illegaly.

a capella on September 25, 2009 at 4:06 PM

CRS: Zelaya arrest lawful

Yes, it is lawful for the Honduran government to arrest Zelaya.

No, Zelaya has not yet been arrested.

Zelaya would have his cake and eat it too, plundering and ruining Honduras, whether or not he is president or was president. He’s a criminal hiding out, a coward with no honor, afraid to face charges. The coward Zelaya is not a man, nor are his pissing imp buddies.

maverick muse on September 25, 2009 at 4:06 PM

Honduras could have shot him or made him a prisoner. Shooting him would have made him a martyr and keeping him a prisoner would have allowed him to do what he is currently doing which is to stir up violence that is intended to make the current government look bad by having to crack down on it to prevent chaos in the streets of Honduras. That is why they chose to send him into exile. I read a report that claimed that he landed at the US base in Honduras and went overland from there to the Brazilian Embassy. I don’t know if that is true, but with our President it’s not hard to believe that he would do such a thing if he thought that he could keep it a secret and he knows he can count on the State Run Media to be complicit.

TruthToBeTold on September 25, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Meh. I’m not a huge fan of term limits.

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 3:36 PM

Doesn’t matter what you yourself like/don’t like. The Honduran people at the founding of their present constitution said “one term, and one term only. Don’t even think about amending it or you are out.”

It is about following the rule of law.

rbj on September 25, 2009 at 4:10 PM

The big sticking point is Zelaya’s free trip to San Jose, Costa Rica where he promptly rang up tens of thousands on the Honduras credit card.

Golden Boy on September 25, 2009 at 3:57 PM

I wondered whether Honduras footed the bill in order to avoid any excuse to become the butt of international Marxist outrage, or since Zelaya had raided the Honduran treasury while president if the Honduran government was washing their hands of him all together, making him pay his own way once exiled.

Goes to show. No good deed goes unpunished. Glad to know I wasn’t off base referencing his exile to Costa Rica as a vacation.

maverick muse on September 25, 2009 at 4:14 PM

rbj on September 25, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Their constitution has no system of amendment?

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 4:14 PM

Their constitution has no system of amendment?

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 4:14 PM

Of course it does, but not for removing the one term limit which is one of the four “core” concrete tenets in the 1982 Constitution. Another of those tenets is that if the nations chief executive happens to even propose this change he forfeits his office immediately.

elduende on September 25, 2009 at 4:23 PM


…and undermines the argument of the Obama administration.

What doesn’t? This administration is the most anti-ally in history. Or maybe they’re just a bunch of weed smokers who can’t get anything right.

Griz on September 25, 2009 at 4:29 PM

Does this mean that Congress will now tell Obama he’s backing the wrong guy? Will they stand up for freedom now that the Research Service has concluded correctly that Hondurans acted appropriately? Don’t hold your breath! But take heart Hondurans, the people of the US are with you.

Christian Conservative on September 25, 2009 at 4:31 PM

I googled an English translation of the Honuduran constitution. The translation is obviously amateurish with some clumsy language that I presume is much better in the original Spanish. The consitution clearly allows for amendment as the text I read showed several passages which had been amended over the years, along with relevant citations.

For the Zelaya case, of particular relevance is Article 42, Section 5:

Article 42.- The quality of citizen gets lost:
5. To encourage, promote or support the continuity or the reelection of President of the Republic;

Further, the finding is to be made by the “appropriate court,” in this case one would presume their Supreme Court.

Article 102 is a prohibition against extradition (by my reading, anyway). It does not apply to the situation of a non-citizen, which is exactly who Zelaya was at the time he was booted out of the country.

Conclusion: My armchair Supreme Court Justice reading of the Honduran Constitution is that the Honduran authorities acted in accordance with the law in all respects — including Zelaya’s exile.

jwolf on September 25, 2009 at 4:34 PM

A foreign concept in this country. Take an oath to defend the constitution, the disregard it the instant you shake the hand of the person administering the oath.

WashJeff on September 25, 2009 at 3:12 PM

They don’t disregard it immediately. They wait until somebody waves cash in front of their noses, or they see a promise of eternal electability.

hawksruleva on September 25, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Does this mean that Congress will now tell Obama he’s backing the wrong guy? Will they stand up for freedom now that the Research Service has concluded correctly that Hondurans acted appropriately? Don’t hold your breath! But take heart Hondurans, the people of the US are with you.

Christian Conservative on September 25, 2009 at 4:31 PM

Not a chance. After all, the CRS was also the group who found that HR 3200 would allow illegal immigrants to access health services. That was BEFORE the President’s address to Congress, and the now-infamous “liar” statement.

If Congress doesn’t hold Obama accountable for domestic issues, there’s no way they’ll do it for a Honduran think.

hawksruleva on September 25, 2009 at 4:46 PM

unless the US now subscribes to a principle of putting politicians above the law

Huh, Charles Rangle, Timmeh Gunther, ect

Greed on September 25, 2009 at 4:53 PM

From what I’ve read it was a non-binding resolution. Besides if he didn’t let elections run properly then go ahead and throw him in the slammer. Seems like they jumped the gun here for no good reason.

The Calibur on September 25, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Two days before his removal, Zelaya ordered a mob to break into a base that was holding the Venezuelan printed “Referendum Ballots” that were confiscated by order of the Supreme Court, so he could go ahead with the already ruled illegal “non-binding poll” he intended to have no matter what. It did not matter that the infrastructure to distribute the ballots at that late time was not in place to allow everyone to cast their vote, because later it was discovered that he had the results already tallied and ready to announce. They “Ousted” him when they did because he was going to hold his illegal election the next day. No gun jumped here.

Check out this interesting PDF posted in the comments of “La Ginga’s Blogicito”

AverageJoe on September 25, 2009 at 4:53 PM

The Hondurans made a blunder by exiling Zelaya. Had they kept him in custody, very little of what followed would have occurred. Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega would have screamed about it, but the US and most of the rest of the OAS — including Costa Rica, where Honduras dumped Zelaya — would have probably remained on the sidelines.

I find it doubtful that the U.S. would have been alright with that. Instead of “a coup where the rightful president got exiled from the country” we’d be reading about “a coup where the rightful president is currently being detained by the military inside the country”.

Obama’s administration has claimed that Zelaya is the rightful president. Their argument was never that it was alright to give him the boot as long as he was kept in Honduras, so, I don’t understand why their position would substantially change simply because he was in the country instead of outside of it.

JadeNYU on September 25, 2009 at 4:54 PM

Link did not post.

Try This link

AverageJoe on September 25, 2009 at 4:54 PM

Take Solomon’s wisdom to heart. Let half of Zelaya govern in Honduras and send the other half to Washington DC to offer assistance to Soetoro.

Now, let us reasonably debate whether we should bisect him horizontally or vertically.

fronclynne on September 25, 2009 at 4:59 PM

Zelaya insta de nuevo a la insurrección
Zelaya se reunió la noche del jueves en la Embajada de Brasil con cuatro de los seis candidatos presidenciales.
Tegucigalpa, Honduras
El destituido presidente hondureño, Manuel Zelaya, instó este viernes a sus seguidores a continuar las movilizaciones contra el gobierno de Roberto Micheletti, luego de que cuatro candidatos presidenciales que hablaron con él se negaran a presionar para que sea restituido en el poder.
“Exhortamos la Resistencia a mantener la batalla hasta que juntos, pueblo y presidente, logren las refomas constitucionales y la caída de los usurpadores”, pidió Zelaya en un comunicado, leído por su colaborador Eduardo Reina a través de Radio Globo.
Zelaya se reunió la noche del jueves en la Embajada de Brasil, donde está refugiado desde que volvió al país el lunes, con cuatro de los seis candidatos presidenciales: Elvin Santos (de su mismo Partido Liberal), Porfirio Lobo (Partido Nacional), Felícito Avila (Democracia Cristiana) y Bernard Martínez (Partido Integración y Unidad).
Ayer, se publicaron fotografías que mostraban a Zelaya abrazando cordialmente a los presidenciables.

From El Heraldo

Translation

Zelaya renews call for Insurrection
Zelaya met last night at the Brazilian Embassy with four of the six presidential candidates.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya urged his followers on Friday to continue the mobilizations against the government of Roberto Micheletti, after his meeting with four presidential candidates failed to win their support in pressuring the government to allow him to come back to power.

“I exhort the resistance movement to continue the battle until together, the people and their president, achieve our constitutional reforms and the fall of the usurpers” Zelaya urged in a communiqué, read by his collaborator Eduardo Reina on Radio Globo.

On Thursday night, Zelaya met, in the Brazilian Embassy where he has been hiding since he returned Monday, with four of the six presidential candidates: Evin Santos (of Zelaya’s own Liberal Party) Porfirio Lobo (National Party) Felcito Avila (Christian Democracy Party) Bernard Martinez (Unity and Integration Party).

Pictures showing Zelaya cordially hugging the candidates were released yesterday.

I’m glad we can all dispose with the pretense that Zelaya is acting legally. This is and has been about Zelaya’s quest for dictatorship. Civil War is preferable than surrender.

elduende on September 25, 2009 at 5:24 PM

the people and their president, achieve our constitutional reforms

I thought Zelaya was for the “San jose Accords” which say that he must renounce all plans to reform the constitution?

AverageJoe on September 25, 2009 at 5:29 PM

AverageJoe on September 25, 2009 at 5:29 PM

No he denounced the San Jose Accords on Monday after he appeared in the Brazilian Embassy.

elduende on September 25, 2009 at 5:31 PM

If trying to serve an extra term in spite of the constitutional prohibition brings an immediate penalty of the loss of one’s position as well as the loss of citizenship, then deporting the violator who is now no longer a citizen seems eminently reasonable. In fact, Honduras might do well to add that to their constitution.

And since Zelaya had ballots illegally printed in Venezuela for an illegal referendum, and the Supreme Court had gone so far as to order those ballots confiscated, then clearly he intended to take advantage of the outcome. Saying it was a “non-binding” vote is a fig leaf. He obviously had every intention of “reluctantly” accepting “the people’s demands.”

tom on September 25, 2009 at 5:32 PM

tom on September 25, 2009 at 5:32 PM

And when the military refused to go along with him he called his Marxist mobs into the streets to coerce the nation into the power grab. It was Zelaya who was in the process of perpetrating a coup against the Honduran state.

Which he is now doing again from the Brazilian embassy.

elduende on September 25, 2009 at 5:35 PM

Saying it was a “non-binding” vote is a fig leaf. He obviously had every intention of “reluctantly” accepting “the people’s demands.”

tom on September 25, 2009 at 5:32 PM

The vote was originally binding. After it was ruled illegal he decided to changed it. Unfortunately, the presidential order to re-make it as non-binding was filed too late (according to election laws), so he just filed it with an earlier date.

Doe this sound like someone who has any intentions of following any agreements he makes.

AverageJoe on September 25, 2009 at 5:51 PM

Sorry… errant strikethroughs. darn Israeli mind bending rays.

The vote was originally binding. After it was ruled illegal he decided to changed it. Unfortunately, the presidential order to re-make it as non-binding was filed too late (according to election laws), so he just filed it with an earlier date.

Doe this sound like someone who has any intentions of following any agreements he makes.

AverageJoe on September 25, 2009 at 5:52 PM

This is utterly amazing — everything Obama says or does his own parties CRS or CBO contradicts!

I am starting to feel like I’m not in an alternate universe waiting for Scotty to fix the damn transporter…………

Unfortunately that means either an incompetent idiot, a man whose beliefs are 180 degrees out of whack with the world, or an honestly evil man are in the highest office of our land!

And that is by far a scarier thought for now.

LifeTrek on September 25, 2009 at 6:38 PM

Coming to this late in the thread, can’t they consider his current situation “house arrest” and reestablish their ties (and funding) with the U.S.?

Cindy Munford on September 25, 2009 at 6:44 PM

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