Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday put troops on alert after a coup in Honduras and said he would respond militarily if his envoy to the Central American country was kidnapped or killed.In that case, I'll stand with the Honduran military. I like my bastard better. Lefty wanted to remain in power unconstitutionally - and the military said, "No."
Chavez said Honduran soldiers took away the Cuban ambassador and left the Venezuelan ambassador on the side of a road after beating him during the army's coup against his leftist ally, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.
The Honduran army ousted Zelaya and exiled him in Central America's first military coup since the Cold War, after he upset the army by trying to win re-election.
I'm ok with that. Hold the elections on time in 2010 an in the meantime put the next in line in the seat --- and all will be forgiven. If the military tries to stay in power, then to h311 with them.
UPDATE:I don't like this initial reaction by out SECSTATE. Why are we on the same side as Hugo and Fidel?
Yesterday the Central American country was being pressured to restore the authoritarian Mr. Zelaya by the likes of Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, Hillary Clinton and, of course, Hugo himself. The Organization of American States, having ignored Mr. Zelaya's abuses, also wants him back in power.What did Zelaya do?
It's not surprising that chavistas throughout the region are claiming that he was victim of a military coup. They want to hide the fact that the military was acting on a court order to defend the rule of law and the constitution, and that the Congress asserted itself for that purpose, too.
Mrs. Clinton has piled on as well. Yesterday she accused Honduras of violating "the precepts of the Interamerican Democratic Charter" and said it "should be condemned by all." Fidel Castro did just that. Mr. Chávez pledged to overthrow the new government.
That Mr. Zelaya acted as if he were above the law, there is no doubt. While Honduran law allows for a constitutional rewrite, the power to open that door does not lie with the president. A constituent assembly can only be called through a national referendum approved by its Congress....and the Hondurans?
But Mr. Zelaya declared the vote on his own and had Mr. Chávez ship him the necessary ballots from Venezuela. The Supreme Court ruled his referendum unconstitutional, and it instructed the military not to carry out the logistics of the vote as it normally would do.
The top military commander, Gen. Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, told the president that he would have to comply. Mr. Zelaya promptly fired him. The Supreme Court ordered him reinstated. Mr. Zelaya refused.
Calculating that some critical mass of Hondurans would take his side, the president decided he would run the referendum himself. So on Thursday he led a mob that broke into the military installation where the ballots from Venezuela were being stored and then had his supporters distribute them in defiance of the Supreme Court's order.
The attorney general had already made clear that the referendum was illegal, and he further announced that he would prosecute anyone involved in carrying it out.
Honduras is fighting back by strictly following the constitution. The Honduran Congress met in emergency session yesterday and designated its president as the interim executive as stipulated in Honduran law. It also said that presidential elections set for November will go forward. The Supreme Court later said that the military acted on its orders. It also said that when Mr. Zelaya realized that he was going to be prosecuted for his illegal behavior, he agreed to an offer to resign in exchange for safe passage out of the country. Mr. Zelaya denies it.I think Mary O'Grady in the WSJ is right, the Hondurans that threw Zelaya out of the country are patriots. Our government is close to being on the wrong side of history.
Many Hondurans are going to be celebrating Mr. Zelaya's foreign excursion. Street protests against his heavy-handed tactics had already begun last week. On Friday a large number of military reservists took their turn. "We won't go backwards," one sign said. "We want to live in peace, freedom and development."
Besides opposition from the Congress, the Supreme Court, the electoral tribunal and the attorney general, the president had also become persona non grata with the Catholic Church and numerous evangelical church leaders. On Thursday evening his own party in Congress sponsored a resolution to investigate whether he is mentally unfit to remain in office.
If we stick to the vaporish words of the CINC,
"I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference," Obama said.... is about right. Unlike the first quote above, this is better from the SECSTATE,
"We call on all parties in Honduras to respect the constitutional order and the rule of law, to reaffirm their democratic vocation, and to commit themselves to resolve political disputes peacefully and through dialogue," Clinton said in a statement.Maybe we can stay on the right side of history and not join Hugo. In the end though, the Hondurans seem to have things under control.