Tags: demint | honduras | coup

DeMint: 'Coup' Brought No Chaos to Honduras

By    |   Tuesday, 13 Oct 2009 01:10 PM

Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says he is mystified at the hostility the Obama administration is showing to Honduras since that long-time U.S. ally removed President Manuel Zelaya and replaced him with Vice President Roberto Micheletti.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, the South Carolina senator recounts how the White House revoked the U.S. travel visas of Micheletti, his government, and private citizens — refusing to talk to the government in Tegucigalpa.

“It's frozen desperately needed financial assistance to one of the poorest and friendliest U.S. allies in the region,” DeMint argues. “It won't release the legal basis for its insistence on Mr. Zelaya's restoration to power. Nor has it explained why it's setting aside America's longstanding policy of supporting free elections to settle these kinds of disputes.”

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DeMint maintains that, far short of being a chaos-invoking coup, the case in Honduras is a healthy example of a democracy cleansing itself of corruption. He argues that Zelaya was infamous for his power-grabbing abuses of presidential power and his illegal attempts to rewrite the Honduran Constitution.

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

Furthermore, DeMint maintains, there was minimal disruption to the democratic machinery — with an eye to free and fair elections eventually reconfiguring the power structure in the poor country.

“The presidential election is on schedule for Nov. 29. Under Honduras's one-term limit, Mr. Zelaya could not have sought re-election anyway,” he argues. “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,” DeMint concludes.

Indeed, international observers will monitor the Nov. 29 election, and an apolitical body, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, will oversee it.

Bottom line: DeMint wants the administration to lighten up.

“America's Founding Fathers — like the framers of Honduras's own constitution — believed strong institutions were necessary to defend freedom and democracy from the ambitions of would-be tyrants and dictators,” he writes. “Faced by Mr. Zelaya's attempted usurpations, the institutions of Honduran democracy performed as designed, and as our own Founding Fathers would have hoped.”

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Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says he is mystified at the hostility the Obama administration is showing to Honduras since that long-time U.S. ally removed President Manuel Zelaya and replaced him with Vice President Roberto...
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2009-10-13
Tuesday, 13 Oct 2009 01:10 PM
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