Honduras suspends constitutional rights

posted at 10:56 am on September 28, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The interim government of Honduras has attempted to ignore Manuel Zelaya as much as possible while he sits in the Brazilian embassy, which was a smart idea.  Unfortunately, Roberto Micheletti ran out of patience last night and suspended civil liberties, which will give new impetus to Zelaya’s supporters and further isolate Honduras:

The de facto government that took power here three months ago suspended constitutional civil liberties late Sunday in an attempt to keep the supporters of ousted President Manuel Zelaya off the streets Monday.

Zelaya, holed up at the Brazilian Embassy with about 70 supporters and journalists after his clandestine return to Honduras a week ago, called on his supporters on Monday to launch “a final offensive.”

It’s not clear whether Zelaya meant this as a show of support or an effort to cause the de facto government of President Roberto Micheletti to buckle and allow Zelaya to return to power.

The decree could allow the government to shut down pro-Zelaya radio and TV stations and arrest his supporters at will. Sunday night’s decree indicates a hardening line by the Micheletti government, which refused to allow four diplomats earlier in the day to enter Honduras. They were from the Washington, D.C.-based Organization of American States and had come to Honduras to organize an upcoming OAS mission.

Until now, the only mistake Honduras made was to exile Zelaya instead of trying him for his crimes.  The fact that Honduras had operated normally, allowing full constitutional protections for its citizens while Zelaya blathered about the “coup” presented an embarrassing situation for the US.  They tried to treat Micheletti as a man bent on seizing power, when Micheletti replaced the real culprit in this crisis.

This changes that situation.  At best, it puts Micheletti on the same level as Zelaya, as least temporarily.  It certainly gives the Obama administration another argument for its full-throated support of Zelaya over the last few weeks.  It will make it more difficult for Honduras’ defenders in Congress to argue against that White House policy now.  Given that American pressure or a lack of it could make the difference in Honduras, that may be a very costly suspension of civil liberties for the Micheletti government.


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From Ferdsblog
“The Rape of Honduras”

A parallel government, however, means little without an armed force. The initial force is coming from the paid agitators and gangs who thrive on chaos. But the permanent force will come from abroad, and it will arrive through the US airbase at Palmerola. Foreign powers are almost at the stage where they will be able to justify this second force with or without Zelaya. An assault on the Brazilian embassy would be enough to push them over the line, despite the un-diplomatic calls for insurrection emanating from within.

AverageJoe on September 28, 2009 at 12:29 PM

They better do what is necessary to stop a Zelaya/Obama coup in the making. Pretending everything is hunky dory is not an option.

Buddahpundit on September 28, 2009 at 11:06 AM

Agreed. I think they are probably past the tea and cake stage.

At best, it puts Micheletti on the same level as Zelaya, as least temporarily.

This is pretty strained logic.

“Same level” … really? What level would that be?

progressoverpeace on September 28, 2009 at 11:08 AM

“At best” implies that it is probably worse. Seems to me that it is basically the same “moral equivalence” argument that is used against the Israelis when they fight back against the Palestinians.

MB4 on September 28, 2009 at 12:29 PM

Civil right are among the first casualties of civil war, but Honduras isn’t instigating civil war, (Zelaya and other Obama allies are), Honduras is simply responding to it.

FloatingRock on September 28, 2009 at 12:30 PM

Different world down there—not one we can really relate to. Don’t say the suspension is right or even good politics, but in that world it may be the only means to the desired end….shows of strength seem to be everything.

jeanie on September 28, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Yes suspending constitutional rights ftw. I mean at first they were enforcing the constitution and now they are all of sudden throwing it out the window. lol so much for that.

Norvell on September 28, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Have you ever taken a look at our own Constitution, you blithering idiot?

Here’s a little taste of the US’ view on insurrection:

“To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;”

Having rights suspended does not mean that the Constitution or rule of law was violated.

progressoverpeace on September 28, 2009 at 12:33 PM

“At best” implies that it is probably worse.

You are correct, obviously. I was giving Ed too much leeway. Thanks.

Seems to me that it is basically the same “moral equivalence” argument that is used against the Israelis when they fight back against the Palestinians.

MB4 on September 28, 2009 at 12:29 PM

Yep. Moral equivalency is refuge of weak minds. We expect it from the left, as they are the weakest of minds, but to hear this junk from those, ostensibly, on the right is sad and pathetic.

progressoverpeace on September 28, 2009 at 12:37 PM

Dusty on September 28, 2009 at 12:08 PM

Yea. The more I hear the more I think it’s best to refrain from making any assumptions about what is really going on there. Maybe this will sound like a conspiracy theory but I have no confidence in my government now. With the Democrats embracing actors like Sean Penn who will kiss the ring of Hugo Chavez telling me how great Chavez has been for the health care and economy of Venezuela that we should adopt his policies scares me to no end. These are the same people who supported the terrorist junta loving Sandinista National Liberation Front. A majority of Democrats love Juntas, Dictators, Socialist/Fascist, and megalomaniacs of all types and enjoy telling the society how they should live. If they had their way they’d MAKE SURE that the entirety of South America was a communist threat to our American Way of Life. They always have.

Sultry Beauty on September 28, 2009 at 12:37 PM

progressoverpeace on September 28, 2009 at 12:33 PM
O/T missed your comments for a while , happy to see you posting and making the right points as usual.

fourdeucer on September 28, 2009 at 12:38 PM

In the liberal mind, any force used to defeat that “coup” is justified – even up to and including sanctions more strict than those facing Iran and Hamas. And therefore, of course, any force used to stop Zelaya is pure evil.

This is the strength of subjectivism: If you have the power to control definitions (which liberals still do), then for all political purposes you control reality.

logis on September 28, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Well put, logis. The question is, “What’s Ed’s excuse for falling into this?”

progressoverpeace on September 28, 2009 at 12:39 PM

“At best” implies that it is probably worse. Seems to me that it is basically the same “moral equivalence” argument that is used against the Israelis when they fight back against the Palestinians.

MB4 on September 28, 2009 at 12:29 PM

Good point.

FloatingRock on September 28, 2009 at 12:40 PM

fourdeucer on September 28, 2009 at 12:38 PM

Thanks, fourdeucer. I missed the conversation (among the commenters), here, too.

progressoverpeace on September 28, 2009 at 12:42 PM

***
President Lincoln had to suspend some civil liberties in the North during the Civil War to keep rioters and traitors from taking over the country.
***
The Honduran President has the same responsibilities to protect his country’s Constitution and to protect his people from a small group of Cuban style Marxists and Communists.
***
Clean house if necessary. Go down fighting–not on your knees. Liberty and democracy require courage.
***
John Bibb
***

rocketman on September 28, 2009 at 12:42 PM

September 27, 2009. It was just announced on the news that US Ambassador Hugo Llorens is assisting ex-president Mel Zelaya to set up a parallel government led by Zelaya within Honduras. They showed Llorens big toothy grinning face over and over again.

Wethal on September 28, 2009 at 11:13 AM

So the players in the historical reenactment are being filled in.

Barack Obama was already playing Hitler’s role and Maneul Zelaya was already playing Benito Mussolini’s role and now US Ambassador Hugo Llorens is playing the role of SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny.

MB4 on September 28, 2009 at 12:46 PM

This entire discussion is based on one McClatchey report. Somehow, there are no other stories on it. Seems like we need more information.

Freddy on September 28, 2009 at 12:51 PM

What goes on in Honduras should stay in Honduras, and is none of the business of the United State! Let these people handle their own affairs!

Confederate on September 28, 2009 at 12:55 PM

This changes that situation. At best, it puts Micheletti on the same level as Zelaya, as least temporarily. It certainly gives the Obama administration another argument for its full-throated support of Zelaya over the last few weeks.

I think it’s a little presumptuous of you to say that, Ed, based on the one article. Do we know what information the legitimate government of Honduras has in its possession that may have lead them to declare a state of emergency? Do we know for a fact that they are indeed overreacting? Or is Micheletti reacting appropriately to a threat to the constitutional order that’s been aided and abetted by outside powers? Even Lincoln suspended habeas corpus when the threat was grave.

The fact is, we don’t know. For now, I’ll trust the responsible officials on the scene know the situation and the needs of Honduras better than we.

irishspy on September 28, 2009 at 12:56 PM

According to “El Heraldo” saily Honduran newspaper.

Translated:

The government of President Roberto Micheletti suspended for 45 days at least five constitutional guarantees to public calls for insurrection made by the deposed president Manuel Zelaya Rosales, leaving the country in a state of siege.

Zelaya, who entered the country illegally last Monday and has taken refuge in the embassy of Brazil, has made repeated calls to insurrection and revolt.Reports provided to The Herald, states that the plan was to bring together some 500 thousand people on Monday to storm the presidential palace and install the deposed president.

The country’s intelligence agencies also have information that is the plan that Zelaya have planned for this week, and that is why we have called for teachers and peasants to the capital.

Zelaya harangued on Monday to supporters from the balcony of the embassy and there proclaimed “Homeland, restitution or death” and the crowds Tuesday night wreaked havoc in the capital, raiding and looting businesses, even on Saturday night, the deposed president gave another call for insurrection and called all the capital to reach the “final offensive”.

AverageJoe on September 28, 2009 at 12:58 PM

The Rescue of Il Duce

Otto Skorzeny appeared before Adolf Hitler on July 26, 1943. The Fuhrer had a special mission for the commando: Italian want-to-be-dictator-for-life Benito Mussolini had been forced to resign and arrested by his own people. Otto Skorzeny’s mission would be to find Mussolini and rescue him so that he could be restored to power.

MB4 on September 28, 2009 at 1:07 PM

Couldn’t this all have been avoided had Obama stepped in at the right time and defended/supported the constitutionally correct Honduran government (Micheletti) not been Obama?
long_cat on September 28, 2009 at 12:23 PM

That might well turn out to be the question of the century.

logis on September 28, 2009 at 1:08 PM

“that the plan was to bring together some 500 thousand people on Monday to storm the presidential palace and install the deposed president.”

As has been pointed out, under these circumstances, our own Constitution has a provision allowing for “the suppression of Insurrection.” (Article I section 8)

notropis on September 28, 2009 at 1:11 PM

According to “El Heraldo” saily Honduran newspaper.

The government of President Roberto Micheletti suspended for 45 days at least five constitutional guarantees to public calls for insurrection made by the deposed president Manuel Zelaya Rosales, leaving the country in a state of siege.

AverageJoe on September 28, 2009 at 12:58 PM

Wait. What?

“Constitutional guarantees to public calls for insurrection”?

Apparently, the Honduras media is even more leftist than ours is.

logis on September 28, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Must…remember…news….comes….from….leftards…..

They still call it a “coup”. I am carrying a 50lb block of salt, vice a grain of salt.

BobMbx on September 28, 2009 at 1:12 PM

Roberto Micheletti IS the President of Honduras.
The word is not defacto nor is it interim. He is currently dealing with armed insurrection courtesy of Zelaya and Chavez. Our pretender and usurper Obooboo champions the Fascists. I hope and pray President Micheletti, the Honduran military (trained by USSOCOM btw), and the Honduran people are up to the challenge of keeping their country free.
 
We had a similar situation a few hundred years ago. Without aid from France, assistance from native peoples, and a few noteworthy foreigners how much longer would this country have remained a British colony?
 
FREEDOM!

Blacksmith8 on September 28, 2009 at 1:14 PM

Have you ever taken a look at our own Constitution, you blithering idiot?

Here’s a little taste of the US’ view on insurrection:

“To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;”

Having rights suspended does not mean that the Constitution or rule of law was violated.

progressoverpeace on September 28, 2009 at 12:33 PM

AThe de facto government that took power here three months ago suspended constitutional civil liberties late Sunday in an attempt to keep the supporters of ousted President Manuel Zelaya off the streets Monday

Learn to read.

Again, you guys can’t accept that this is folding back on their own ideals of upholding the constitution. Ends justifies the means in your eyes.

Norvell on September 28, 2009 at 1:16 PM

I think I would have cut off relations with Brazil and arrested Zelaya.

Speakup on September 28, 2009 at 1:21 PM

Norvell on September 28, 2009 at 1:16 PM

Learn to think.

They’re attempting to suppress an insurrection. That’s why they ordered what they did; that’s why it’s temporary, and that’s why it’s to be lifted before elections are held in November.

The Honduran people would just as soon not have the OAS install a puppet regime at the behest of Chavez, Ortega, and a vociferous 10% of Hondurans.

notropis on September 28, 2009 at 1:21 PM

suspended constitutional civil liberties

Norvell on September 28, 2009 at 1:16 PM

Those are the words of one Tyler Bridges, whomever he/she is. Is he/she some kind of Honduran constitutional scholar?

MB4 on September 28, 2009 at 1:23 PM

The Honduran people would just as soon not have the OAS install a puppet regime at the behest of Chavez, Ortega, and a vociferous 10% of Hondurans and Adolf Obama.

notropis on September 28, 2009 at 1:21 PM

MB4 on September 28, 2009 at 1:24 PM

Why does Obama always pick the wrong side?

WyoMike on September 28, 2009 at 1:28 PM

AverageJoe on September 28, 2009 at 11:53 AM

I had skimmed over your post originally, but your questions are spot on. Who, indeed, would do such things. It’s not like there is a shadow(y) government in place already right here in the good ol’ USA (32 czars). No, couldn’t be Obama/Ayers/Soros/Ballerina dude behind all this mess.

long_cat on September 28, 2009 at 1:28 PM

Why does Obama always pick the wrong side?

WyoMike on September 28, 2009 at 1:28 PM

He is a fascist so for him it’s not the wrong side.

MB4 on September 28, 2009 at 1:30 PM

I hope this all ends soon – after all, how much longer can Zelaya stand up against the mind-control radiation that he says Israeli mercenaries are beaming at him from outside the embassy?

eeyore on September 28, 2009 at 1:37 PM

Again, you guys can’t accept that this is folding back on their own ideals of upholding the constitution. Ends justifies the means in your eyes.

[Norvell on September 28, 2009 at 1:16 PM]

folding back on their own ideals?

Did you get an NEA grant for that lavish bit of prose?

Do you know whether the Honduran Constitution, which the people approved, allows for this temporary restriction on the ideal? Yeah, I thought not.

Dusty on September 28, 2009 at 1:40 PM

What goes on in Honduras should stay in Honduras, and is none of the business of the United State! Let these people handle their own affairs!

Confederate on September 28, 2009 at 12:55 PM

My passionate dislike of domestic political figures is more important and I can use this to tarnish them. Never waste a crisis!

dieudonne on September 28, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Yeah, this was a bad move. It has the possibility of creating sympathy for Zelaya supporters, and of greater concern gives them and others something to protest besides Zelaya’s removal.

It would be better to eject the entire Brazilian embassy staff out of the country and then take Zelaya for trial.

ray on September 28, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Aye carumba.

Bad to worse?

The Zelaya demonstrators have been small bands of supporters who quickly got bored and left after a short time everytime they have gathered.

Suspend an entire country’s peoples constitutional civil liberties for that?

C’mon. Something else must be afoot, and it smells like sulphur!

SilverStar830 on September 28, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Why does Obama always pick the wrong side?
WyoMike on September 28, 2009 at 1:28 PM

As liberals are constantly screaming: “right” and “wrong” are relative terms.

Obama always picks HIS side. You’re just miffed that he’s on the opposite side from you, and everyone else who doesn’t like dictatorships.

logis on September 28, 2009 at 1:57 PM

Why does Obama always pick the wrong side?
WyoMike on September 28, 2009 at 1:28 PM

Because he’s on the other side? I’m sure it makes perfect sense from his perspective.

Immolate on September 28, 2009 at 2:06 PM

It would be better to eject the entire Brazilian embassy staff out of the country and then take Zelaya for trial.

I think this is the plan in 10 days when the ultimatum to Brazil runs out, but they need to keep Zelaya in one place until then.

Assuming Zelaya does not have any of the armed forces on his side, why didnt they let his “mob” restore him to the presidential palace, then arrest him there. Being in the palace didnt help him on June 28th.

AverageJoe on September 28, 2009 at 2:11 PM

AverageJoe on September 28, 2009 at 2:11 PM

The armed forces, the judiciary and the Catholic Church supposedly support Micheletti.

Wethal on September 28, 2009 at 2:34 PM

Zelaya’s return to Honduras ‘irresponsible’: US official
(AFP) – 2 hours ago

WASHINGTON — A senior US official on Monday branded last week’s return to Honduras by President Manuel Zelaya following a coup in June as “irresponsible” and said it would not help restore democracy.

“The return of President Zelaya to Honduras, absent an agreement, is irresponsible and serves neither the interests of the Honduran people nor those seeking a peaceful reestablishment of a democratic order in Honduras,” said Lewis Amselem.

“Those who facilitated President Zelaya’s return… have special responsibility for the prevention of violence and for the well-being of Honduran people,” said Amselem, the second-highest ranking US representative to the Organization of American States.

The Honduran regime on Monday silenced opposition media ahead of a planned protest by supporters of Zelaya, who has been holed up for the past week in the Brazilian embassy in the capital Tegucigalpa.

The leaders, who took power in a June 28 coup, have also threatened to close Brazil’s embassy for harboring Zelaya and denied entry Sunday to four OAS mediators.

Obama throwing Mel under the bus? Or is Anselem going to be transferred to Burkin Faso to arrange Hillary’s next visit?

Wethal on September 28, 2009 at 3:08 PM

A big oops there…
Kinda like abandoning yer free market principles in order to save the free market.
(No BDS…love the guy and most of what he did…)

Army Brat on September 28, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Honduras suspends constitutional rights

Desperate time require desperate actions.

If Obama had acted responsibly and assisted Honduras in following their constitution and laws these actions could have been prevented.

RJL on September 28, 2009 at 4:52 PM

“Desperate time require desperate actions.”

You are exactly right. I have faith that the gov of Honduras will restore those rights once the supporters of the would be president for life are dealt with. Still…scary stuff. I would love to know what the average Joe on the street there feels
Obama secretly applauds the wanna be dictator and sees this as encouragement for his own hopes and dreams. Makes his little Marxist heart beat a little faster doncha know…

Capitalist American Pig and proud of it.

Army Brat on September 28, 2009 at 5:18 PM

In today’s WSJ online, Mary Anastasia O’Grady talks about the disruptive role of Brazil in the Honduran situation and Obama’s very wrong stance. An election in November is the solution to the unrest, and Micheletti appears to want to assure that it occurs.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704471504574439090743723958.html

onlineanalyst on September 28, 2009 at 5:24 PM

According to El Heraldo newspaper, the National Congress appealed to Pres. Micheletti to repeal the emergency decree suspending some civil liberties, and he has agreed to meet with the Supreme Court and the presidential candidates about doing so in a matter of days.

http://www.elheraldo.hn/

3:16 PM Annulment. After the meeting with interim President Roberto Micheletti, the holder of the National Congress told the media that the contribution to the dialogue, have requested the annulment of the decree on the state of emergency.
3:19 PM Petition. Micheletti said he accepts the request made by Congress and will meet with the judges of the Supreme Court and the presidential candidates to repeal the decree in the coming days.
3:28 PM Repeal. The President of the CSJ Micheletti discuss the state of emergency decree and its subsequent repeal in due course, as reported in a press conference.

AverageJoe on September 28, 2009 at 5:38 PM

“the only MISTAKE they’ve made until now”
Ed you’re wrong.

There is rioting. President Micheletti has every right to suspend constitutional rights aka declare martial law if the Honduran Government is under violent assault by Marxist terrorists who are not only rioting but attempting to murder government officials in order to have THE ZELALYA COUP sponsored by neighboring dictators.

From a Drudge headline I noticed that Obama slapped Zelaya down.

maverick muse on September 28, 2009 at 5:44 PM

Otto J. Reich comments on the constitutionality of Zelaya’s ousting and finds that the US should be championing Honduras’s ouster of Zelaya and not siding with autocrats of the region.
http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YTk0NWNhNmVjOGM5ZDg4MDIzN2E4ZjRkZTU4OWNkODk=

onlineanalyst on September 28, 2009 at 5:53 PM

Wrong again Ed. Honduras was forced into this action by the totally irresponsible idiocy in the White House. Obama wobbles, as usual, sends mixed signals and turns the world into further chaos.

wepeople on September 28, 2009 at 6:32 PM

I don’t think anyone would say that suspending liberties is a good thing, but our Constitution allows the government to do so in emergencies, and it seems likely that Honduras constitution does as well.

Threatening insurrection against the government certainly qualifies as an emergency.

I don’t know everything going on in Honduras right now, but they’ve been holding it together in the face of an attempted power grab by their own president, and meddling not just by the OAS, but by –sadly– the U.S. government and Brazil. In spite of the threat, and the pressure from all the above, they insisted on following their Constitution in removing Zelaya and setting up the new president, Micheletti.

I think they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt at this point. If it’s possible to face an emergency that justifies the temporary suspension of civil liberties — and I note again that our own Constitution allows for it — then I see no reason to believe that Honduras has suddenly morphed from their previous correct and careful path into tyranny.

Frankly, I’m a little disappointed that they’re not getting more support here.

Of course, I’m way beyond disappointed in our president and State department.

tom on September 28, 2009 at 7:56 PM

A Honduran my husband knows said Hondurans are against Zelays, they have guns, and they have guts.

Foreign invaders beware.

alice on September 28, 2009 at 8:42 PM

Lincoln suspended Habeus Corpus… a constitutional right.

Hondurans are right to defend themselves. They should capture and hang Zelayas for treason.

Obama is the most clueless idiot our country has ever elected.

scotash on September 29, 2009 at 1:11 AM

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