DeMint: What I heard in Honduras

posted at 9:38 am on October 10, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

While the White House and the State Department continue to insist that Honduras removed its president Manuel Zelaya in a coup, Senator Jim DeMint decided to do something rather basic — ask the Hondurans what happened.  John Kerry attempted to stop DeMint from traveling to Honduras in a bald extortion attempt to get DeMint to lift holds on two Obama administration diplomatic nominees, which DeMint ignored.  DeMint writes in today’s Wall Street Journal that Zelaya needed to go, and that the US has backed a megalomaniac intent on seizing complete power:

While in Honduras, I spoke to dozens of Hondurans, from nonpartisan members of civil society to former Zelaya political allies, from Supreme Court judges to presidential candidates and even personal friends of Mr. Zelaya. Each relayed stories of a man changed and corrupted by power. The evidence of Mr. Zelaya’s abuses of presidential power—and his illegal attempts to rewrite the Honduran Constitution, a la Hugo Chávez—is not only overwhelming but uncontroverted.

As all strong democracies do after cleansing themselves of usurpers, Honduras has moved on.

The presidential election is on schedule for Nov. 29. Under Honduras’s one-term-limit, Mr. Zelaya could not have sought re-election anyway. Current President Roberto Micheletti—who was installed after Mr. Zelaya’s removal, per the Honduran Constitution—is not on the ballot either. The presidential candidates were nominated in primary elections almost a year ago, and all of them—including Mr. Zelaya’s former vice president—expect the elections to be free, fair and transparent, as has every Honduran election for a generation.

Indeed, the desire to move beyond the Zelaya era was almost universal in our meetings. Almost.

In a day packed with meetings, we met only one person in Honduras who opposed Mr. Zelaya’s ouster, who wishes his return, and who mystifyingly rejects the legitimacy of the November elections: U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens.

Even if one accepted the Obama administration position that Zelaya was removed improperly, a conclusion that the Congressional Research Service disputes, the elections should be an opportunity to move past the problem. Zelaya couldn’t have been re-elected; the constitution of Honduras forbids presidents from seeking second terms.  Zelaya’s own party had already nominated someone else to run in that election, and that candidate and party want the elections to proceed.

The White House opposes these elections, but has shown no reason or evidence that they would be corrupted in any way.  All of the normal stakeholders in Honduras back the elections, and Honduras is bringing international monitors as it usually does to verify the reliability of the vote.  If the Obama administration truly backed the concept of self-determination, then these elections would be the rational solution to the problem that Barack Obama has mostly created.

At the moment, it appears that Obama values Zelaya more than the rule of law and more than self-determination through democracy.  Why?

Update: As Andy McCarthy explains at The Corner, the Obama administration refuses to explain why — and it’s the controversial Harold Koh whose legal opinion has been kept hidden.  Shouldn’t the “most open and transparent administration in history” get a little less opaque about why it’s cutting off aid to one of the closest allies we have in the region?


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The US Ambassador wants Zelaya back. The Elite wants to protect, preserve, and defend the Elite against the great masses of The People.

The Obama administration’s contempt for the Honduran Constitution matches it’s contempt for our own Constitution.

njcommuter on October 10, 2009 at 11:43 AM

This story is a largely irrelevant one on the national scale, but I think historians will point to it as one of the key insights into what happened to our country later and the administration’s motives.

Starlink on October 10, 2009 at 11:42 AM

I agree with that. And I have to think that it’s strong-arming to support another socialist regime.

petefrt on October 10, 2009 at 11:47 AM

The Obama administration’s contempt for the Honduran Constitution matches it’s contempt for our own Constitution.

njcommuter on October 10, 2009 at 11:43 AM

Maybe the 0-bots feel threatened by the international principle it sets for dealing with their own attempted usurpations here at home.

petefrt on October 10, 2009 at 11:49 AM

Each relayed stories of a man changed and corrupted by power. The evidence of Mr. Zelaya’s abuses of presidential power—and his illegal attempts to rewrite the Honduran Constitution, a la Hugo Chávez—is not only overwhelming but uncontroverted.

Each relayed stories of a man changed and corrupted by power. Hussein has assumed ownership in GM, Chrysler….UNCONSTIUTIONAL!

BigMike252 on October 10, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Well stated, Ed. Same goes for DeMint and McCarthy.

The Obama Administration’s handling of the Honduras situation has been a farce from the beginning. Nobel Man shot his mouth off without doing the requisite diligence (or in spite of it), kind of as he did in the Henry Louis Gates matter.

Further, Obama himself said that his administration needed to determine if the sequence of events constituted a “coup.” The CRS says it did not, so if Koh’s assessment runs counter to that then it behooves Obama to make that assessment public so that the American and Honduran people feel there is even a scintilla of credibility to what Obama’s position has been.

Right now, Obama is looking like El Norte’s version of a Chavista. Which would, of course, be right up the Nobel committee’s and the UN’s alleys.

PhoenixUniversal on October 10, 2009 at 11:58 AM

As Andy McCarthy explains at The Corner, the Obama administration refuses to explain why — and it’s the controversial Harold Koh whose legal opinion has been kept hidden.

Isn’t it the opinion of the left that executive legal opinions not only need to be in the public domain, but are prosecutable?

I think we’d just found the first person to prosecute in the Obama administration if he proceeds to persecute members of the Bush administration for their anti-terror policies.

18-1 on October 10, 2009 at 12:10 PM

Obama is intent on protecting fellow travelers like Zelaya. It’s how he was raised and educated.

LA Conservative on October 10, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Wasn’t there some talk/reporting about an illegal drug angle to this story and Zelaya? Should that be another “theory” as to why the administration (“O”, that is) would back the bad guys? Oh, to have a real media.

zeebeach on October 10, 2009 at 12:16 PM

It is an Obamazarro World now.

Up is down. Round is square. Bad is good. America pisses on its allies, and showers its enemies with sparkling spring water.

SilverStar830 on October 10, 2009 at 12:23 PM

At the moment, it appears that Obama values Zelaya more than the rule of law and more than self-determination through democracy. Why?

The only logical explanation has been expressed in Obama’s own writing: He intentionally sought out radical leftist professors and mentors while growing up, people not unlike Chavez and Zelaya.

Obama supports Zelaya because they’re simpatico.

FloatingRock on October 10, 2009 at 12:31 PM

This explains it all.

DNC Memo to Trolls:

Avoid this post at all costs. Duck and Cover!!!

Saltysam on October 10, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Oh, and another point, how can one take a positive spin on any of Obama’s domestic actions in light of his actions in Honduras, where he has destroyed a close alliance and is trying to foment a civil war to return a despot to power?

Yes he is incompetent and ham handed, so I can understand his initial actions, but his continuing in this regard indicates actual malevolence. Very few people in the US would care if he waffled on the affair after making a poor initial assessment.

18-1 on October 10, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Next time you hear Obama use the words “…call to action…”,

REMEMBER HONDURAS

Saltysam on October 10, 2009 at 12:33 PM

Rational Thought on October 10, 2009 at 11:17 AM

I hope you are right. I hope there are enough of us that believe that way to pull us back to the individual search for freedom and prosperity. Then what? Are we going to demand that the next generation be given the history of the country so they are equipped with tools to take care of themselves? I doubt it. We will continue to allow people to teach our children that the U.S. is horrible and that it’s unfair history is the reason for it’s maladies.

Cindy Munford on October 10, 2009 at 12:39 PM

That open and transparent balogna was a campaign promise…no longer applicable!

ohiobabe on October 10, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Then what? Are we going to demand that the next generation be given the history of the country so they are equipped with tools to take care of themselves? I doubt it.

Cindy Munford on October 10, 2009 at 12:39 PM

I ask myself that question often nowadays. Even if we manage to survive Obamageddon and restore the republic, what’s to keep another set of posers from another bloodless revolution in a generation or two.

Wish I could come up with some good answers, some measure we could take to prevent a repeat of this nightmare. But I can’t seem to come up with much. It seems liberty is a fragile thing, much more fragile here than ever I imagined before.

petefrt on October 10, 2009 at 12:50 PM

Starlink on October 10, 2009 at 11:42 AM

One possible explaination: look beyond Teh One.

Granted, he is a key element in this dynamic, but don’t over-look the other players. Amb. Llorens is the ‘ideological’ link to Teh One [birds of feather and all that .. ], and a damning one at that, but the ‘hidden’ villains are the functionaries within the DoS.

I suspect that some these players go back to the Clintons, and successfully kept their heads down during Dubya’s two terms. And now, with one of their old patrons in charge, the ‘atmosphere’ is safe enough for them to drop their masks and charge forth.

Add to that Leftists that Teh One is bringing in and you’ve got a truly toxic crowd.

The ‘Silver Lining’: most all these people have finally stepped out of the shadows. I’d be taking down names and when the time comes [and it will], they’d ALL be gone within the first week after a conservative SoS walks in the front door.

No more Rice’s ‘feeling their way’ into Foggy Bottom. I’d be sending in somebody like a Bolton, and the orders would be: change the locks on the doors. If needed, shunt these creatures into a office ‘warehouse’ [to keep from violating the 'civil service laws' that these bastards hide behind], but make them gone, ASAP.

There will always be political appointees, that’s reality. But too many these people were allowed to ‘intertwine’ themselves into the system to the point that they’re immune from ‘summary dismissal’ [as appointees should be].

I don’t regard this a ‘fantasy’; with the right ‘executive orders’, a willingness to shrug off the shrieking of the Leftists from the MSM and the Congress, and iron ruthlessness, it could be done.

Rant off/ [Sorry, I needed that.]

CPT. Charles on October 10, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Andy McCarthy makes several good points over at “The Corner.” Koh and his transnational view of justice is at the root of the difficulties. His ideas that national interests must cede to international law are shared by Obamao. What is peculiar is how Koh would see Zelaya’s seizure of power as legal in any framework. His secrecy is another cause for alarm.

McCarthy notes that Koh was emplaced in his position of power like Holder with a number of Republican votes. Unfortunately, in that “era of good feeling/bipartisanship.burying of opposition” at the beginning of Obamao’s term, too many senators (in both parties) too quickly ceded their responsibilities of oversight and in-depth vetting. At the time, too many were fearful that any objections to Obamao’s nominees would be viewed through a racist prism, not a principled one.

The injustices this administration is committing toward the Hondurans should be trumpeted to the free world as unacceptable.

onlineanalyst on October 10, 2009 at 1:03 PM

How can a legal review of a foriegn constitution be classified? This needs exploding.

Chris_Balsz on October 10, 2009 at 9:44 AM

Its probably not classified. It would be protected most likely under attorney-client and deliberative process privilege. Which also means you can’t likely get it under FOIA. They won’t release this unless its politically expediant.

Firefly_76 on October 10, 2009 at 1:08 PM

Perhaps Obama sees himself and his ambitions in Zelaya.

Common Sense on October 10, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Can our Supreme Court send prezbo packing? I wish….. Lord, I am so tired of these ignorant, arrogant, Marxist, trolls. Rome is burning and they are laughing and stoking the fire.

ultracon on October 10, 2009 at 1:23 PM

Imagine that some one like Sen. DeMint decided to go to the source and ask a few questions.Then low and behold he finds out that there was no military take over the people of Honduras were just following there Constitution some thing our congress should do for a change
thmcbb on October 10, 2009 at 11:20 AM

Imagine if someone in the PRESS had done this! Isn’t that their job? Well it used to be before they became Pravda.

Christian Conservative on October 10, 2009 at 1:29 PM

Obama has said on occasion, because of our constitution, he’s forbidden, or limited, to do exactly what he wants. It’s being trounced on, right, left, and center as it is.

There is only ONE reason for Obama’s stance on this issue. He wants allies. Socialist allies. I have no doubts, that when the end of his first, or God forbid, 2nd terms come ….he’ll be clawing, fighting, and manipulating his way into a 3rd, or lifetime leadership deal. If that’s not in the works already!

capejasmine on October 10, 2009 at 1:39 PM

We missed the bullet in 2004 with Kerry’s loss in his bid for the presidency. He, too, like Koh and Obamao is a transnationalist who was on the wrong side of the Nicaraugua and ElSalvador issue, siding with the communist regime. (Didn’t he actually travel there and attempt to interfere?) In the run-up to the Iraq invasion, he kept harping on world opinion and on having the ear of “wiser judges” in the international sphere.

Kerry’s attempt to squelch DeMint’s trip to Honduras demonstrates his true loyalties, and they are not on the side of human liberty and self-determination.

onlineanalyst on October 10, 2009 at 1:47 PM

Oh, and notice who objected to Miguel Estrada’s judicial nomination most vehemently. The transnationalists like Kerry loathe qualified jurists and instead raise up barely competents like Sotomayor.

onlineanalyst on October 10, 2009 at 1:51 PM

Kerry’s attempt to squelch DeMint’s trip to Honduras demonstrates his true loyalties, and they are not on the side of human liberty and self-determination.

onlineanalyst on October 10, 2009 at 1:47 PM

Most definately not…

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38738

katy on October 10, 2009 at 1:56 PM

All you have to do is watch the signs of what liberals truly are.

When they says dumb things like, scoffing at Obama’s Nobel prize for peace, as siding with terrorists….it’s what they ARE doing, and try to assert that others are doing it. It, in their minds, assumes guilt onto others. Since we’re all to stupid, in their opinions, no one will ever see this for what it is.

A radical, communist/socialist takeover, and remaking of a great nation.

capejasmine on October 10, 2009 at 2:00 PM

I don’t think it helps our side to go throwing around conspiracy theories about Barack Obama using Zelaya as a test case for himself. The reality is much more prosaic: Obama is simply a child of the 80s Left. These people have never given up their dream of a socialist revolution in Central America that would eventually lead right to our border.

rockmom on October 10, 2009 at 10:27 AM

Much as I would prefer to agree with your disdain of conspiracy theories, rockmom, the drive toward socialist revolution has been ongoing, sometimes more subtly and other times more blatantly. The process of getting the electorate to accept Statism has numbed us incrementally to what is taking place.

Too many Americans have been lulled into thinking that government grasps of power only take place in obscure nations “over there”. They do not see the gradual parallels taking place in our own nation, in many cases with our passive acceptance.

Our cities are tinder boxes of concentrated populations with their hands out, waiting for some of “Obama’s stash” as the interviewed woman in Detroit claimed. Such people are not concentrating on their loss of self-determination and liberty. They prefer to be comfortably numb until they get their next fix.

onlineanalyst on October 10, 2009 at 2:12 PM

Barack Obama supports Manuel Zelaya just as Adolf Hitler supported Benito Mussolini and for pretty much the same reasons. The parallel may not jump out and hit you in the face but if you look for it at all you can clearly see it.

MB4 on October 10, 2009 at 2:16 PM

I’ve been thinking of getting a second home in Costa Rica, so I’ve been researching everything I can. One thing I’m looking at are blogs of people that have moved there and the Ticos. Both echo the same theme when it comes to Honduras. “Keep you nose out of our business Obama.” EVERYONE that covers the subject responds the same way.

oakpack on October 10, 2009 at 2:37 PM

I have no idea “what happened to our country later” and speculation is useless, but it would seem to me to involve Pro-socialist strong-arming.

Starlink on October 10, 2009 at 11:42 AM

On the money!!! +

jerrytbg on October 10, 2009 at 2:38 PM

Most definately not…

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38738

katy on October 10, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Gee Katy…you could have warned us… now I have to go bath.

jerrytbg on October 10, 2009 at 2:41 PM

Obama is a Communist. What the hell do you expect?

Army Brat on October 10, 2009 at 2:43 PM

the US has backed a megalomaniac intent on seizing complete power

Yes, but hopefully we’ll vote him out in 2012.

29Victor on October 10, 2009 at 2:44 PM

It’s pretty simple, really.

Think of it this way — if you were in Obama’s position, and you wanted to usurp power and become permanent president, wouldn’t you want to lay the foundation of being friends with people of like status?

Wouldn’t you want to plan ahead and be sure you’re on the same side as Chavez, Castro, etc, now? You don’t want to upset them NOW only to have to find some way to mend the fences once you become LIKE them LATER. You want them to be your official allies then.

Daggett on October 10, 2009 at 2:46 PM

Maybe The One was cultivating a safe haven in Zelaya’s banana non-republic so when he had to flee the USA, he would have a guaranteed sanctuary in a comfortable and friendly dictatorship, away from those unreasonable peasants.

On second thought, he already has Cuba …

Hmmmm. Back to the drawing board.

fred5678 on October 10, 2009 at 3:44 PM

Shouldn’t the “most open and transparent administration in history” get a little less opaque about why it’s cutting off aid to one of the closest allies we have in the region?

If you haven’t gotten the idea by now you should be considered almost to dumb to be entrusted with the right to vote!
Obama has dissed England, France, Germany, Poland, Georgia, Honduras, Pakistan by word or deed and has coddled Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, China soon Afghanistan and Iran.

Pinnochio is destroying this country within and without and as he said will “fundamentally transform” us…. into a third world dictatorship where all are equally poor subservient and beholden to government . When will Americans wake up?
After its’ too late?

Free healthcare for all, ruining insurance companies and unionizing healthcare.

Cap and trade tax on energy dramatically increasing energy for individuals and business! The “poor” will not pay, its as much a “right as healthcare”.

Amnesty for 30 million illegals with the help of John McCain and Lindsey Grahmnasty and the Dems will have turned us into Venezuela with constituents who vote for free stuff for themselves at others expense, who are glad to turn their wages over to unions for political favor.

Wake up America the threat to Democracy worldwide sits in the majority in D.C. and cares not what the people think, do or say.
Tea Party? Sheeesh, there had better be a second amendment lynch mob to save the Republic!

dhunter on October 10, 2009 at 6:41 PM

Nonfactor on October 10, 2009 at 6:04 PM

You post a 10 day old NPR interview with Jose Miguel Vivanco as proof of what troll? LMAO.

Actually, I’ve had personal run in with Vivanco and can tell you that he is an unapolgetic leftist mouth piece who hates America (I heard it from his mouth). There’s no leftist tyrant in the hemisphere he does not heart and coddle.

In fact, until Chavez got tired of him and threw him out, he was always in Caracas shilling for his leftist boy toy, going so far as recording pro FARC propaganda with TeleSur that is then beamed into Colombia. Pathetic.

elduende on October 10, 2009 at 6:52 PM

*unapologetic

elduende on October 10, 2009 at 6:53 PM

When I asked Ambassador Llorens why the U.S. government insists on labeling what appears to the entire country to be the constitutional removal of Mr. Zelaya a “coup,” he urged me to read the legal opinion drafted by the State Department’s top lawyer, Harold Koh. As it happens, I have asked to see Mr. Koh’s report before and since my trip, but all requests to publicly disclose it have been denied.

I’m at a loss as to whether Senator DeMint asked Ambassador Llorens for a copy of the report. It sounds like he didn’t, and if he’d just said “No, I haven’t read it — by any chance would you have a copy I could borrow?” might have gotten him exactly what he needed.

If he did ask Llorens for a copy and was refused, his statement would have been far stronger. Instead, I’m seeing ThinkSpeak here — he asked before and after the trip, but is silent as to whether he asked during the trip.

It sure would be nice to see what Koh wrote, and, I suspect, an important insight into the Administration’s thinking.

It’s looking to me like DeMint blew the possibility of obtaining priceless intelligence.

unclesmrgol on October 10, 2009 at 7:52 PM

Anyone want to wager against Jimmy Carter being trucked down to Honduras, for the upcoming election, and declaring it fraudulent before the votes are finished being tallied? Since he’s like the world’s leading election expert and everything.

Left Coast Right Mind on October 11, 2009 at 12:09 PM

At the moment, it appears that Obama values Zelaya more than the rule of law and more than self-determination through democracy. Why?

[Hiss...]
[Sigh...]

Is this not the same kind of obstinacy we saw when Obama was publicly confronted with the success of “the surge” strategy he had opposed and he STILL STUBBORNLY refused to acknowledge that he could have been wrong about the strategy?

ConScribe on October 11, 2009 at 8:57 PM

Shouldn’t the “most open and transparent administration in history” get a little less opaque about why it’s cutting off aid to one of the closest allies we have in the region?

(emphasis added)

Exactly

PKO Strany on October 12, 2009 at 1:51 AM

I find this whole situation very troubling on so many levels, and now the news reports that a few days ago Argentina enacted a law that gives their government more control over the broasdcast media. Some believe this move will give Argentina’s executive branch more discretion to the regulation of broadcaster’s and could restrict freedom of expession. This combined with the current news circulating Mark Lloyd the U.S. FCC Assoc. Gen. Council and Chief Diversity Officer gives me pause. Will the Fairness Doctrine be enacted here under the guise of another name? If so, would we receive news about what really happened in Honduras?

InquiringMind on October 12, 2009 at 9:12 AM

My friend, who is now openly saying “it is like watching water run uphill.” has the same problem many people do. We give people the benefit of the doubt. DeMint thinks Obama’s admin. is doing this in error. THEY AREN’T!!! This is part of his bigger plan to manipulate democracies. They aren’t stupid, or slow, or stubborn, they are doing exactly what they intend to do.

I told my friend to stop trying to force the square peg into the road hole with Obama. Quit trying to explain the uphill running water using the old principles. They don’t apply. Instead, try to look at Obama from the results of his actions and work backwards. What would cause him to back a socialist dictator? What would cause him to back Iran over Israel? What would cause him to stop the effort of containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions. What would cause him to continue to force socialized medicine onto the citizens of America long after it has been proven to be a bad idea? What? If you write down his actions on a piece a paper and add them up, objectively, you can come to only one conclusion.

Obama is a far left radical socialist with communist tendencies and a sense of hatred for what America is. He is bent on making money for his friends and subjecting the country to decline. If you start from that perspective, his actions we have witnessed make sense. It wasn’t water was running uphill, it was we had the world upside down.

I wrote a book about this, http://www.revoltthebook.com

It will be published soon.

archer52 on October 12, 2009 at 1:41 PM

The answer is obvious: Obama has — from his upbringing, education, and early-adult associations — a greater affinity to and level of comfort with Leftist collectivists, oligarchs, megalomaniacs, & dictators than with proponents of individual liberty and the rule of the People.

He is a Statist; liberty is antithetical to him. Thus his innate affinity lies toward liberty’s antipode: tyranny.

Harpazo on October 12, 2009 at 5:25 PM

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