Monday, July 6, 2009

Manuel Zelaya - Flight of the Reformer

Honduras has a constitutional problem. It all started with a the liberal cowboy-president, one Manuel Zelaya, who apparently tried to take political action to extend his term of office. When the parliament, supreme court and the attorney general deemed such action illegal, he fired the commander of the military for not enforcing his orders. The other branches of government found that action illegal too. Under orders from the supreme court the military arrested and deported President Zelaya at bayonet point. Now here’s the problem.

In defending the constitution, the supreme court also violated it by sending Zelaya out of the country. This constitutional connumbdrum has caused an international furor over which government is legitimate. Zelaya’s or the one formed by the head of parliament, Roberto Micheletti. The U.S. has condemned Zelaya’s removal of office as a coup d’etat. The United Nations has sent a resolution to insist on Zelaya’s return. Hugo Chavez, ever the bad ass, has threatened to invade Honduras.

It seems to me that Zelaya started this mess by testing the limits to his power and he clearly found those limits. Micheletti’s government has threatened to arrest Zelaya if he returns to the country and somehow I believe them. The real problem is that Zelaya promotes plans that would empower poor and indigenous people. His great sin is in trying to disrupt drug trafficking in Honduras. And despite his support around the world, he lacks internal support sufficient to provide him with even the illusion of personal safety. Most of his government are elitist and corrupt. Given the penchant for violence his political enemies are know for he might want to abandoned going back home and just be grateful he got a ride to the airport.

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