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Trouble in Honduras
Supporters of ousted Honduras' President Manuel Zelaya cheer as his airplane flies overhead at the international airport in Tegucigalpa, Sunday, July 5, 2009. (AP)

Supporters of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya cheer as his airplane flies overhead at the international airport in Tegucigalpa, Sunday, July 5, 2009. (AP)

Before he was tossed out of Honduras in his pajamas by the Honduran military, President Manuel Zelaya was a proud populist buddy of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, who — like Chavez — was looking to rewrite his country’s constitution to allow himself to stay in office.

For the poor, he said.

Now, Honduras has had a 21st century coup d’etat. And Zelaya has turned to Washington — which he and Chavez demonize — for help in getting back into power.

It’s quite a picture. And Hondurans are still poor.

This hour, On Point: coup, and the hard backstory, in Honduras.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.


From Atlanta, Georgia, we’re joined by Jennifer McCoy, professor of political science at Georgia State University and director of the Americas program at The Carter Center in Atlanta. She’s an expert on democracy in Latin America and is editor of the book “The Unraveling of Representative Democracy in Venezuela.”

And from Washington we’re joined by Alvaro Vargas Llosa, a senior fellow at the Independent Institute’s Center on Global Prosperity. His opinion piece “Honduras’s Coup Is President Zelaya’s Fault” appeared in The Washington Post on July 1. His op-ed for The New York Times on June 30 was headlined “The Winner in Honduras: Chávez.” He’s  the author of “The Che Guevara Myth” and “Liberty for Latin America,” among other books. 

And from Guatemala City, we’re joined by Greg Grandin, a professor of history at New York University and author of “Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism.”  His piece “Democracy Derailed in Honduras” appeared recently in The Nation. 

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  • Joshua Millard

    Dear MR Ashbrook:
    I have reached out to Mr. Obama, Hillary, John Kerry, and Ted Kennedy, and now I am reaching out to you. I am deeply concerned about the world opinion and press coverage of the situation in Honduras. I lived there for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer, have in-laws there (right outside the capital) and still travel there frequently (I was there in April of this year), so I am very in tune with the people and the path leading up to the current situation.
    Point 1.) I do not think that the removal of ex-president zelaya meets the historical definition of a coup d’état. Ex-president zelaya clearly broke the law, was unconstitutional in his leading, and blatantly defied the Supreme Court of the Land. His arrest and removal was ordered by the Supreme Court. The army never acted on their own authority or was in control of the country. The interim president Roberto Michelleti was appointed and sworn in by the Congress (not the military as you said this morning in your introduction at 8 AM); the same political party is in power. The only change has been the removal of a criminal who was not acting in the best interest of the country.
    Point 2.) Coverage of the marches in support of the interim government has been inadequate even though the number of marchers has outnumbered the zelaya supporters by more than 20 to one. This is likely because it does not make exciting news because they have been peaceful and dignified. On the other hand, the pro-zelaya protesters have been burning tires, vandalizing property, and throwing things at the police and military. The military should be commended for their professionalism and restraint; so far three people have died during antagonistic actions against the military and police, it is amazing that that number is not higher. Violence begets violence, and the protesters were turning violent. If they had remained peaceful and respectful of the law, no one would have been hurt.
    Point 3.) If Obama was true to his statement yesterday that the USA does not want to dictate how other countries run their governments, then he should let Honduras continue to follow its rule of law and not push for zelaya to return. Let them continue down the path of true democracy, not the Chavezian bait and switch.

    Thank you for reading my comments. I trust that you will treat this topic with balance and fairness as always.

    With Great Respect

    Josh Millard

  • Putney Swope

    With all that’s been going on in the media in regards to Michael Jackson’s death which seems to have eclipsed any other news stories in the world, form Honduras to Xinjiang Province in China.

    Joshua you present a different point of view one that is not gelling with what I have been reading from sources such as Democracy Now, which I trust. It seems if what your saying was true, why is it that all media there is now being repressed?

    However it seems that your version of events is not exactly innocent either. What about the 10 thousand marchers at the airport? It seems that these were peaceful until a police sharpshooter shot a protester.

    I am not sure which story to take as true or just.
    It does seem that the military has been stepping up oppressive measures by keeping people from the country side from traveling.

  • Gabrielle

    What percentage of the Honduran population is ambivalent compared with those who are actively voicing their opinion (either for or against)?

    and, the referendum on term limits is said to have taken place after Zelaya left office (if it were approved). why then is this being used as the reason why he was ousted?


  • Joshua Millard

    Putney. I appreciate your concern and desire to understand what is happenning in Honduras, and I know that it can be very confusing. I recommend that you look through as many articles as you can rather than relying on one website, which is not a comment on Democracy Now, I endorse no one. Regarding oppression, I know many Honduran people in the country and have been in contact with them through the last week. None of them have had their travel restricted, and none of them have expressed a feeling of being oppressed. On the contrary, they feel that a great weight has been lifted now that zelaya is gone. Their main fear is that Hugo Chavez and other members of ALBA will try to invade their country, as they have threatened to do. I see their threats as bluster designed to shake the legitimate interim government, but it still is a cause of concern for Hondurans. Please keep digging, you seem like someone truly concerned about the protection of democracy.


  • Putney Swope

    Joshua thank you for posting a different side to this.
    I have been reading more then Democracy Now on this and the one thing that I find disturbing is the military side of this. All of the military people in charge in Honduras were trained at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia. The track record for the graduates is not good. Gen. Romeo Orlando Vásquez Velásquez is a graduate of this military school.

    As you say it’s hard too know who to trust in this story.
    I do not trust the military, that’s for sure.


  • Mike

    Hi Tom,

    could u explain that the prez that was sacked by a coup wanted to do?

    as i heard it was a referendum to the majority of people of being able to get elected for another term the people could vote for or against.

    Can u talk about the military lead governement violent crackdown against its citizens and people, or the shut down of any dissenting media and curfew?

    sounds like the people there are already losing there freedoms to this coup.

    Can u also talk about the elite of the country controlling 80 percent of the wealth, and the PR spin about this coup?

    Or in modern democracy if u want to kick the president out of office u can normally say VOTE for someone else, impeach him.

    This new government is about as ligate as the new iran government both used violence to stop the massives and democracy cause they feared the people would not go the way or vote the way they wanted.

    heres some pictures of when the prez tried to fly there and the guess what MILITARY stoped him and also fired on its own people.


    “True democracy” what? like Iran, and Egypt where the massives are oppessed for the elite.

    also since the majority of people are poor and dont speak english i highly doubt where going to hear the side for the prez.


  • Brian

    28% unemployment rate? I guess people have time on their hands to riot and block airports.

  • Marga Biller

    Take a look at a you tube video that explains exactly what happened in Honduras and why this wasn’t a Military coup but instead a rightful action to protect the constitution. The US is on the wrong side yet again in Latin America.


  • Errol g Wright

    As a Honduran American who travels there every year since 1989 I’m outraged by the coup d’état. We are all aware of what George Bush did with Saddam Hussein and that’s the same thing that’s being done with Hugo Chavez. We all know that was just an excuse to take certain action.

    If America is indeed a country of laws, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama MUST recall our ambassador and apply all AOS sanctions to let the world know that the old ways are NOT acceptable in the 21st century.

    Just so you know, Mr. Micheletti has been running for his party’s (the Liberal party )nomination just about all of his political life and he’s never gained it. I don’t support or agree with Mr. Zelaya, but if he did violated the constitution the gutless politicians that now claim he violated the constitution should have charged him and impeached. That’s the way he should have been removed for office. Mr. Bush used fear and lies to get us into Iraq and that’s the same thing that was done here.

    Errol Wright
    Dorchester, MA.

  • Vicky Carron

    It seems that U.S. aid to Honduras (and to other poor countries, for that matter) has been a powerful bargaining chip when there is political unrest. But I’ve not yet heard of a truly effective U.S. policy or strategy in using that bargaining chip to the betterment of the majority of poor in these countries. It seems that all the aid often does little good because of chronic corruption of leadership in these countries.

    Don’t you think the U.S. could give its aid contingent upon responsible use of that aid – getting it to the people and programs its meant for, with proof that it is not being used in ways it was not intended? Grant funding organizations do this. If the U.S. also did this, couldn’t we actually see progress in reducing the masses of horrible poverty on our planet?

  • Joanna Drzewieniecki

    The people of Latin America have fought long and hard for democracy after a long history of dictatorships and political instability. Going back to coups is not acceptable!!! If Honduras gets away with it, it will make it much easier for the same thing to happen with other countries. This is one part of the world where the US can really have an influence for the good (despite this country’s checkered history there). I am delighted that the US and many other countries have taken a strong stand to support democracy and rule of law.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    @Marga Biller: Thanks for that video link. I had the feeling before listening to this show that once again, we are on the wrong side of an issue and that video, if its facts are accurate, seems to support that.

  • Elizabeth Curtiss

    Americans seem to only remember the part of democracy that involves elections, just as we only recall the part of investment that can be quantified with cash transactions. The founders of our own nation had more to say about equitable distribution of social and economic capital as the goal, and universal education, both secular and ethical, as the foundation.

    I’m a minister. I do not perform weddings for folks who cannot show they have a fair and equal — which does not mean mirror-image — relationship. Why can we not apply the same standard to international politics?

  • Lilian Autler

    I work for a human rights and international development organization which works closely with strong organizations of peasants and indigenous people in Honduras and other parts of Latin America. These are not a mass of “poor people” but saavy, organized social movements of small farmers and others who provide food for the region and who know, through experience and astute analysis, that the political and economic system in Honduras and many other countries in the region does not work for the interests of the majority, who do happen to be poor. Zelaya great “mistake” was that he began truly listening to and negotiating with such social movements advocating for changes in policy — agrarian, trade, environmental, social. Some of these structural changes could only be implemented through constitutional reforms, therefore the referendum regarding a constitutional assembly. “Going through democratic channels” is all well and good when there is a level playing field. What are the options when a small elite holds enormous and disproportional economic and political power which they are not prepared to relinquish?

    Background on the Coup in Honduras and the U.S. Response

    There was no justification for the coup. President Manuel Zelaya’s proposed survey, to have been conducted on June 28, would have been a non-binding polling of the public to gauge support for including a proposal for a constituent assembly, to redraft the constitution, on the November ballot. Here is a translation of the actual question: “Do you agree that, during the general elections of November 2009 there should be a fourth ballot to decide whether to hold a Constituent National Assembly that will approve a new political constitution?”

    The head of the military, General Romeo Vasquez refused to carry out the President’s orders to assist with conducting the survey. The president, as commander-in-chief of the military, then fired Vasquez, whereupon the Defense Minister resigned. The Supreme Court subsequently ruled that the president’s firing of Vasquez was illegal, and the majority of the Congress went against President Zelaya.

    Zelaya’s proposed referendum would not have allowed for his re-election, as media reports have claimed:
    Honduras currently does not allow reelection of the president. Zelaya was not running for reelection in November, nor would he have been able to. Therefore, Zelaya’s successor was, and is, to be elected in November, and will be inaugurated next year. Prior to the planned June 28 survey, Zelaya had stated that he did not desire reelection.

    Even if the Honduran electorate decided first in the June 28 non-binding survey, and then formally, in the November elections, to convene a constituent assembly to draw up a new constitution, there is only a slim possibility that Zelaya would be able to be reelected before his term expires. The constituent assembly – assuming its creation had been approved during November elections – would have to be convened and then draft the new constitution and decide on including a provision on reelection – all of which are far from certain – before it would even be possible for Zelaya or any other president to be reelected, in the future.

    Zelaya also recently stated again, in front of the United Nations General Assembly, that he does not desire reelection nor an extension of his term in office.

    Zelaya must be restored to the presidency immediately and without conditions. If the coup regime is allowed to keep the constitutional government out of office for the remainder of Zelaya’s term, then the coup will have succeeded in overturning the will of the electorate. This could encourage a return to military coups in the Western Hemisphere, and a move away from democratic order and the rule of law. In addition, the elections scheduled for November could be cast into doubt if the current coup regime remains in power for any length of time, since the coup authorities are repressing both media and civic organizations vital for the functioning of a healthy democracy.

    Since the coup, there has been almost unanimous condemnation:

    1. Almost every international organization has called for Zelaya to be reinstated as the elected president of Honduras, including: the UN General Assembly, OAS, the EU, Caricom, and Mercosur. As well, many countries have made specific statements calling for his reinstatement, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Spain. Latin American countries and all European Union member states have also withdrawn their ambassadors.

    2. Many countries and institutions are suspending aid and/or trade with the coup regime in Honduras. This includes the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank as well as the Central American countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua which announced a 48 hour halt in overland trade.

    3. Many human rights organizations have denounced the violations of human rights of the coup government, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

    4. Many freedom of press organizations have condemned the violations of the freedom of press under the coup regime, including Reports Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Inter-American Press Association.

    5. Trade union organizations have denounced the coup and called for the immediate restoration of Zelaya as president without conditions, including the AFL-CIO, the International Trade Union Confederation, and Workers Uniting.

    The U.S. needs to respond as strongly as Latin America:
    Although the United States has signed on to unanimous OAS and UN declarations calling for the reinstatement of President Zelaya, to date, neither President Obama nor Secretary Clinton have called for his reinstatement, as has been noted in the Associated Press and elsewhere.

    When pressed on whether the United States would suspend aid as is required by U.S. law when a coup is carried out, Secretary Clinton stated “Much of our assistance is conditioned on the integrity of the democratic system. But if we were able to get to a status quo that returned to the rule of law and constitutional order within a relatively short period of time, I think that would be a good outcome.”

    As the New York Times has noted, “The United States, which provides millions of dollars in aid to Honduras, is the only country in the region that has not withdrawn its ambassador from Honduras.”

    The U.S. neglects to officially acknowledge that a coup has been carried out:
    Secretary Clinton stated on June 30 that “We are withholding any formal legal determination,” on whether or not a coup had transpired, since an official recognition of a coup would trigger a suspension of U.S. aid to Honduras.

    The United States is supposed to suspend aid to the coup regime, as is required by U.S. law under the Foreign Assistance Act, Sec. 508.\36\:

    “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by decree or military coup: Provided, That assistance may be resumed to such country if the President determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that subsequent to the termination of assistance a democratically elected government has taken office.”

    The coup regime suspends civil liberties, violently cracks down:
    There are media reports of deaths, dozens of injuries, and disappearances in the wake of the coup regime’s crackdown. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has stated its concern for over 30 people missing or detained following the coup. The IACHR also expressed concern over the persecution of civil society leaders whose homes had been surrounded and fired on by military forces.

    Police violently dispersed thousands of people who gathered in Tegucigalpa on Monday to protest the illegal military coup, using tear gas and guns. Civil society leaders including trade union leaders, heads of organizations of small farmers and the rural poor, indigenous leaders, opposition politicians, and others are reporting persecution by the coup regime and are in hiding.

    A Catholic priest also went into hiding after he, along with hundreds of people in the rural Olancho province, were attacked by the military on Monday. “The soldiers were shooting in all directions and beating people,” the priest, Father Jose Andres Tamayo, said. “I was grabbed and pulled into a house, where I hid under a bed. The soldiers entered but didn’t search under the bed because there was an old man in the bed above me. I lay there and listened to the cries of the people and the gunshots of the soldiers.”

    The regime enacted a decree on Wednesday suspending civil liberties and allowing police and military to enter homes and detain people for more than 24 hours.

    The regime has shut down television and radio stations, and arrested and assaulted journalists as part of a media blackout. The IACHR notes “Alan McDonald, a cartoonist, was allegedly arbitrarily detained along with his 17-month-old daughter when a group of soldiers allegedly raided his house and destroyed his cartoons.”

    Human rights activists claim the Honduran military is forcibly recruiting young men into its ranks.

  • Marcela

    Great show – thanks for being objective..

    In my opinion it was a technical coup and only a minority support Zelaya.

  • Joshua Millard

    Dear Lilian -
    I appreciate your passion. It is clear and deep, but based on information that is not accurate. As I have said, I know many people in Honduras, people that are poor, and they have not seen anything like what you are describing. You are referencing articles and political institutions, I am talking with the people on the ground and directly affected. They do not see that a coup has occure but rather a just process of removing a criminal. Just because the criminal is the president of the country does not give him immunity. Ex-president zelaya’s big mistake was breaking the law. That is not how you help poor people. Honduras does not have a process for impeachment, so that option that Americans are so familiar with was not available in Honduras. Whether or not he was trying to run for reelection does not matter, he was not following the process spelled out in their constitution, and fact that is well documented. The Supreme Court of Land declared it. He defied that order, that alone makes him a criminal. General Vasquez did not refuse to distribute the material because he did not support it or zelaya, he refused because the Supreme Court said it was illegal. He did the right thing and obeyed the law. Furthermore, the voting materials were supplied by hugo chavez, and no institution was in place to make sure that it would have been conducted without fraud, which was a good posibility. People were also upset with zelaya because he was putting all his focus on this election rather than on the critical issues of the country, such as the Swine Flue and the Earthquakes. The people I know, who are lumped in with the people you refer to as peasants indice that they have full access to news coverage and are free to travel without restriction. They are wondering why the rest of the world is not listenning to them.
    The USA has not called this a coup, and they should not, because it would mean cutting off aid that is critical to many “poor” people. That would not be just.
    Furthermore, they should be allowed to move towards open and transpartent, I emphasize transparent because that was not on zelaya’s agenda for his vote, elections in November.
    Thank you for the good debate.
    With Respect. Josh

  • Kathy Rubio

    I am an American Missionary here in Honduras now for 12 years. I have seen many things in Honduras. Several presidents have come and gone and never a man has disrespected the rights of the country the way Mr Zelaya has. He was ordered on more then one occasion to stop his antics and he chose not too. His ego is bigger then his education and for this he is in trouble. He robbed the poor and then convinced them he was on their side with the very money he robbed from other countries that donated it for the them, by giving them gifts so they thought that he was for them. If he was truely for the poor he would have given of his own funds and not theirs. Now people are coming forward to find out he paid people to run his referendum and be in charge of the voting. I got a call the other day to tell me that he is offering people who work for the ONO to march. He is offering them 300 dollars plus 50 dollars for food to organize people to march for him.
    Honduras people are very peaceful and love their freedom. They are not the ones who are inciting these problems. Chavez, Ortega and Zelaya are the ones inciting the people to march in anger. A lot of the marchers are not even Hondurans. They are from Nicaragua and Venezuela. Zelaya brought them into the country the night before he was deported to help him with the voting stations. I of course ask myself the questions why did we need to have people from outside of Honduras help with the vote and why those particular countries. If he wanted help with the vote truly why did he not pick people from neutral countries. Why did he continually antagonize the congress and the courts as well as the people.
    Now we know after looking in the boxes of materials sent here for voting from Venezuela that their were many many votes already premarked with yes. How awful is that. That is how Chavez won in Venezueala.
    If you will remember there is nothing new under the sun as the Bible says and many years ago in the 70s this very same thing happened with Nixon. Exact same senario. Only we impeached him which is just another term for Deport far as I am concerned.
    Everyone thinks he was taken out of office for Watergate but if you look further you will find he was tried more for his referendum the same as Zelaya.
    As for the Human Rights of the people they were violated every single day this man Zelaya was in office and buddied up to Chavez. Who is protecting their rights. Since when do we protect crimminals rights more then the peoples rights? For me Zelaya has one right and that is to remain silent as all he says can and will be held against him in a court of law.
    As for the Military, I dont think anyone has any idea how much restraint they used. They have been being asked for two years to get him out and they restrained themselves until they had an order from their superiors, The Supreme Court and the Congress. They did not hurt him but rather gave him a choice of where he wanted to go. This is the kindest thing that could have happened to him because if they had jailed him here he would have been killed right away. His family too. But he does not think about that. He is like a kid who has lost face and now is crying to every one who will listen. He should be grateful they thought about what was best for him and his family.
    My prayer for this country is peace and freedom which is what they want most.

  • Mike

    Will the US side with the poor people of this country and the international community along with the vote of the people or the small elite, who wish to sell there resources and keep the status quo of the massive being poor using undemocractic means to accoplish it?

    by taking away the peoples rights of speech, protest, free media, does not sound, feel,like a free democractic country.

    please proven how violent crackdowns are democratic, siliencing of free media s democratic, deposing a elected leader to costa rica is democratic? or is it because this coup governement is pro-u.s. that we allow there actions to go pretty with blow-back?

    if so than please provide the difference of irans action, and how can elections be valid.

    many people felt bush broke our constitution yet a coup would still be illegal and undemocractic, as some on the frige right think the same for obama yet a coup would still be illegal, or we can look at what happen in pakistan aswell.

    the first step in a coup is to convince or sell that its not one and is giving freedom to there people yet at the same time taking it away.

    I assume that the coup government(minority elite) feared that majority of the people would have agreed with the prez and could not allow it.

  • Putney Swope

    Joshua Millard and Kathy Rubio I am still not sure of what to think here. On the one hand I am trying to believe you two, and on the other we have a military trained at the School of The Americans which has a bad history in context to Latin America.

    Kathy your making some very damning accusations that I wish you could verify somehow.

    I does seem that Zelaya is playing the “people” on some level.

    This is a difficult situation and I’m staying on the fence until there is overwhelming evidence supporting one side or the other.

  • rick travis

    the REAL story about Honduras needs to get out. it’s amazing that the OAS has condemned the ‘coup’ without considering all of the facts.

    here is an excellent article with information we can’t refute: http://www.mindreign.com/en/mindshare/World-Politics-and-Current-Events/Democracy-2c-not-Ch-c3-a1vez-2c-in-Honduras/sl34045952bp297cpp5pn1.html

  • Joshua Millard

    Dear Putney -
    Thank you for your diligence in regards to this issue. It may seem clear cut for those that have already made up our minds, but I do not think there will ever be overwhelming evidence for one side or the other. As a result, the actions of ex-president zelaya, the interim government, and the international cummunity will be scrutinized for many years to come. What those of us civilians on each side of this argument have in common, is that we deeply care about the future of Honduras and its people.
    You have emphasized that you do not trust the military, and based on the history of the region, I understand and think you are just to be suspicious. From my own impressions, I have seen the military and the civil police force become very professional and disiplined sinse I first arrived in the country in the early 1990s. There has been a strong push for transparency in police actions to root our corruption, and I have never seen the police misstreat anyone. One reason crime and violence has risen in the country is that people do not fear these forces as they used to, which is a result of them following a code to protect human rights. Crime has risen for other reasons as well, but this is part of it.
    All of that aside, I would encourage you not to focus on the military. They are not in control of the country and have never been in control of the country. Please understand that they removed ex-president zelaya on the orders of the supreme court. The interim president Michelleti was then sworn in as the Congress in accordance with the constitution (the Vice President had resigned earlier to run for president in November, so as the head of the Congress Michelleti was the next one in the chain). The military is not running the country, the interim government is.
    I have taken the position of supporting the interim government based on what I have read and what Honduran friends and familily in the country are telling me. These friends and family are not part of the elite by any stretch. They are poor and doing the best they can to make a living. If they are glad that zelaya is gone and are happy with the interim government, how could I feel any different. It is their country after all. As it is, I do not know any of the elite in the country, so I can not relate what they may be thinking, but I would be surprised if they are not devided as to some degree as well. It is too easy to chose sides based on liberal versus conservative, republican versus democrat, rich versus poor, white versus latino, and so on.
    Putney, thank you again for your comments. It has been a pleasure discussing this with you.
    Mucho Gusto!

  • Carlos L. Muñoz Brenes

    Honduras needs best judgment and wisdom from the parties and the mediators.

    Writing countries’ history is a nonstop journey. Tomorrow (Thu. 9) a new chapter begins for Honduras. Let’s hope that somehow some form of an understanding comes about between the political actors in this institutional crisis. The world already knows what their positions are; let’s listen to what their common interest may be. The main challenge remains to be seen, which is, long democratic stability and real development inside Honduras. Easy to say, hard to put into practice, but that is the leadership countries need today. As we say in Spanish “vamos a ver si a como roncan duermen”

    Much is expected out of tomorrow’s meeting. Good will and patience has been the only demands from the mediator Oscar Arias, my President, wishes of best judgment and wisdom to the parties and mediators, is not naïveté, because all that is needed for the people of Honduras.

  • Raul

    Thank you Tom for air this program I have not hear it , I will later i trust it will be fair.
    In regard with the comment I found Joshua Millard and Kathy Rubio nothing more than professional public relation writer pay by the extreme right.
    I thanks Lilian Autler for this good comment.
    She is the one saying the TRUE here.

  • Joshua Millard

    Dear Raul -
    I am not being paid by ANYONE to express my opinions here, and it is offensive that you would say so as an obvious attack on the validity of my judgement. As it is, most of my country would consider me more of a liberal that a conservative. However, I am not alinged with any politcal party or organization. I have spoken out because I feel strongly about the issue, not to attack other people for their opinions. I have repeatedly said that I respect the differing opinions of those that care about the people of Honduras that have thoughtful comments, I will include yours once you have one. You say that you trust that Tom’s program will be fair, and then you deride people that disagree with you point of view. Do you see the contradiction? Please stay respectful.

  • Stephanie

    Thank you Tom for this balanced presentation on Honduras. There is so much hysteria eminating from the right. How can a country progress with such concentration of income and wealth in the hands of the few. I would like to know in more detail what changes Zelaya has made to benefit the vast majority. I know that last year he raised the minimum wage and how the wealthy were crying. (I believe that the new minimum wage is a princely $2.00 per hour).

  • http://none Dana Franchitto

    This was an all-too-ratre example these days of what an NPR program should sound like. WE had many viewpoints represented from from the conservative Independence Institute to the rep from The Nation. “ALl THings Consodered , Morning Ed., Talk of the nation, Scott Simon and Lianne Hansen take a lesson.

  • raul

    Joshua Millard
    I know you are not a liberal, I know you write well I also know lots of people like you since my aunt read to me “Red Riding Hood”.
    On Sunday all afternoon Al Jazeera English from London no Washington show all the peaceful demonstration well organize with hundred of thousand people, I see also how the military was allowing slowly for them to get to the Airport so they could start shooting i also see I boy lyng in the floor as every one else was running and one man pick him up and I was able to se he the boy was holding his neck later I found out that boy died.
    Where were you American MissionaryJ Kathy Rubio?
    That face could not leave my mind I see a person minutes before die in a trap.
    A trap that is what honduras and the rest of us indigenas have been leaving all our lives.
    You ask me to respect you in what way allowing you to disguise yourself under good prose?
    An I have not hear the program yet, I did write him to please air one.

  • popiedo

    amazing what a PR campaign can do. change a coup d’état into a act of democracy.

    change a violent crackdown on protestors and free speech into a act of democracy.

    kidnapping a elected leader and installing someone unelected in his place a act of democracy.

    If Zelaya broke the law than why did they not bring him to court i ask?

    Was it not the military at the airport when Zelaya try to return, was it not the military stoping the protestors?

    what happens if the people elect a left-wing president? can these elites replace him as well? What was so scary about people being able to vote?

  • Chavez Bud Out

    Is the deomcracy that Zelaya wants the same as that in Venezuela where oposition candidates are opressed, accused of corruption, and given no access to advertise? Is it closing all the oposing TV and radio stations in Venezuela?

    Hondurans are too smart to let that happen to them too.

  • Carol Peckhan

    A friend of mine who is from Honduras but lives in New York City was visiting her mother last week and managed to get home on Saturday before the airports closed. She works as a housekeeper and her husband, who is Mexican, is a mechanic. Her family is poor and she sends money home regularly. I asked what the feeling was in Honduras among her family and friends abou the current situation. She said that basically no one cared who was President. The impoverished Hondurans feel that both men are indifferent to the conditions of the lower class and only concerned with their own self interests. It isn’t an issue of left or right. It really has to do with the hierarchy of class that has existed in Central and South American for centuries. No matter who rules, the lower class is always left out.

  • Jim Lommel

    From the viewpoint of the average American, the situation in Honduras is not complex at all. We had nothing to do with the coup and, as far as I can tell, what’s going on there will have no effect or impact on us and the best thing for us to do is keep our big mouths shut and just sit on our hands. I do think it was all right for Pres. Obama to say that we still consider the duly elected President of Honduras as that country’s chief executive until his present term expires, but anything more than that is completely unnecessary and very unwise. Considering our long history of extensive meddling in South and Central American politics and governments, any further action would be viewed with understandable suspicion. It’s time we let the South and Central Americans take care of their own problems.

  • Esther Stevens

    Let me first give Kudo’s to Tom for actually having the sense to see that another side of reporting is due. Unfortunately, however, your “professorial” guest knows nothing other than how to pontificate and fuel more ignorance. It is vexing to listen day in and day out to such highly ignorant and inappropriate babble.

    As a Honduran and one who really knows from the inside..Josh Millard is totally on base. Those also responding with the situation in Honduras as not a true Coup are also correct. Ultimatly, if there is fault to be made on behalf of the Honduran Government, it was:

    1) that the military deported Zelaya versus the police arresting him on the spot. If Zelaya was arrested, the world may have not heard but a bleep about it. At the very least reporting would have been different.

    2)The Honduran Supreme Court was too kind to have mandated the military to send Zalaya to such a beautiful place like Costa Rica!

    3)That the Honduran ambassador did not speek up sooner over Zalaya’s illegal plans AND actions.

    Zalaya was given many opportunities to ammend, recuse or retract, yet HE WAS going to illegally ammend the Consitution SOLEY to insure his own dominance indefinitely. All other stuff you have heard from your professor is bogus. Besides..Zalaya is really not the one who pulled himself into Honduras Politics. It was his wife. She is the one who has had and still has the money AND THE CONNECTIONS! Why else do you think she was not kicked out with her husband. Why she is the one staying at our US Ambassadors home. Get a clue people!

    Additionally, Zalaya had lost his influence a long time ago from both sides of wealth. As a matter of fact; It is the general poor and working class in mass whom are protesting Zalaya’s return. You do not see many upper class protesting because in general, as in hierarchical nations, the wealthy are glad to let the other classes do the messy work.

    Finally, people need to understand that the current government have not abandoned democracy. They want and plan on holding elections again very soon. Idealy they wished Zalaya would have stepped down and elections than held early. The media frenzy which has followed has made the situation a political hazard. America needs to step away and the OAS needs to be left alone to do their job without fear of influence.

    Tom..if you need a guest who is on the inside of Honduran culture and politics AND has a PhD..I have a few names for you!

  • Esther Stevens

    Oops! Sorry everyone for the misspelling. Should have read my lengthy comment before sending.

  • Baltasar Almudarriz

    I’m disappointed you did not invite anyone from the Honduran, Venezuelan or Cuban exile community. – who by reason of their experience- could have given your listeners EARLOADS of details about Zelaya’s record, Chávez’ constant meddling and Castro’s ideological sponsorship of the not-so-new populist Left in Latin America.

    Instead we got Chavez-worshipper Greg Grandon (he’s a regular on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now) and a policy wonkish/clueless woman from the Carter Center. Luckily, Vargas Llosa was there to frame the issue with a degree of objectivity.

  • Brian Martin

    Tom Ashbrook just can’t resist bashing George Bush (again)anyway he can. To put a comment out there mentioning Bush’s popularity with only 1/3rd of the U.S. population and that he wasn’t removed by the military (Only if it could happen, just this once hunh Tom?) shows just how much hatred of Bush that this host has. He could of said “An unpoular U.S. president..etc.” But No….It’s in Mr. Ashbrook’s nature to do this. I’m not suprised, just disgusted that taxpayer money is being used to promote the host’s never ending dislike of George Bush at every chance he gets.

    Brian Martin
    Southern Pines, NC

  • David Holmstrom

    Tom, I am a fan of your show but frankly I was so put off by your distorted opening statement that I turned off. You didn’t do your homework on this one, and that’s not fair to your listeners — or what we have come to expect from you. I won’t repeat what Lillian and other posters have said about the justification for the coup (the supposed extension of Zelaya’s term) being a lie (and even if it were true, it doesn’t justify a coup) — but I’d like to add some context: In your opening you likened Zelaya to Chavez, who (paraphrase from memory)”also changed the constitution so that he could stay in power.” That’s the standard US media line, and it is a distortion about Chavez as well. In Venezuela the change in term limits was only one of a hundred or so proposed changes in the constitution, most of which increased direct democratic control and many of which were widely supported. This was never adequately reported in the US — and the proposed changes in Honduras are not being reported either. Also little is being said about the widespread opposition to the coup from practically every mass social organization in Honduras — who represent the vast majority of the people — even though those groups are not exactly Zelaya supporters. They are more like the MST in Brazil, who pressure Lula from the left, but would certainly defend him against a military coup. To cite only one example, CNN was reporting “dozens” of Zelaya supporters at the airport at the moment when Telesur was broadcasting live showing tens of thousands.
    There are certainly many Hondurans who support the coup. No argument about that. But there were plenty of colonists who supported the British as well, and I can tell you from personal experience that there are still large crowds of Pinochet supporters in Chile. That doesn’t mean they represent the country.
    The US public needs and deserves to have more accurate information about Latin America if our country is to have a sound foreign policy. The mainstream media did not do their job about Iraq. Don’t make the same mistake about Latin America or we’ll soon be back in the bad old days of US-backed coups and interventions.

  • Tina

    The Supreme Court of Honduras declared his actions illegal – this was his day in court. This the legal process. There is no other mechanism supported by the constitution. There is also no higher authority in the world that can second guess their decision. This is called sovereignty

    It seems everyone is really arguing about the “sentencing” and therefore concluding there was no process.

    The Math -
    It was stated that 70% of the population is “poor”.
    That Mel is “for the poor” and that he should be reinstated because the “poor” need him.
    It was also stated that he only has about 33% of support.
    If we only look at the “poor” 70-33 = 37% … hmmm
    doesn’t that seem to indicate that the MAJORITY of the “poor” do NOT want him?
    Where is the “popular” mandate for his approach?
    Sorry not buying it.

  • Jose Lopez, USA

    I grew up in one of the poorest areas in Honduras. Amen to what Lilian has explained about the real situation in Honduras. If you don’t believe it, please visit the rural areas in Honduras. Was not until Mr. Zelaya’s government that roads, schools, running water projects and other social programs are been implemented in the poorest places in Honduras. All of these development project are ran by the villagers under the supervision of local Engineers, all of these to avoid corruption.
    Joshua, please just look at the statistics in Honduras (70% live in poverty and 50% or more in misery). Please don’t be bias and one sided, be fair.
    I recommend to anyone to read the book ‘The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein. by reading this book you will understand a little be about what Latin America has experience under military coup’s. Zelaya needs to go back and finish his term as president and this is a world call. Otherwise, we are supporting other armies to use the arms and overthrow democratic governments.
    Right now, you can’t watch the news or any other program in Honduras that does not support the coup. Is that democracy? Has not the Honduran army and the coup violated the constitution by expelling a Honduran citizen (president Zelaya)?

  • Joshua Millard

    I have direct contact with friends in rural Honduras, and have spent many years in those areas. As I said before, I am relating the concerns that the people I speak to have told me. I stand by what I wrote, and it is fair because I do not see their voices being heard. My bias is that both sides be heard. I do know one perso that wanted Zelaya back, she is a public school teacher. However, when the interim government told them that they would honor the Zelaya’s promises, she no longer wanted him back. I think it is wrong to assume that 70% of the people want him back just becasue they are poor. Some do, and many don’t. As far as it being constitutional or not to remove zelaya, that is up to the Supreme Court of Honduras, not the USA, not the OAS, and not the UN, to decide. I have my opinion, you have your opinon, and that is all they are, opinions. The Supreme Court of Honduras interprests their constitution and should have the final say.

  • raul

    Thank you Jose Lopez.

  • Emily Ranseen

    Thank you, Josh, for your thoughts and your concern, which reflect my understanding of the situation from the coverage of the Christian Science Monitor, BBC, and blogs of various Hondurans which I’ve been reading.

    As for the statements from SOA Watch: one can never assume what SOA Watch claims to be true, either about SOA, or WHINSEC (which replaced SOA), or about its students. Many of the individuals on SOA Watch’s lists of notorious graduates NEVER attended SOA, so one cannot automatically assume, in this instance, that this “institutional” or “military supported coup” was led by SOA “graduates.” Among SOA Watch’s other propaganda: students who are innocent of the abuses which SOA Watch claims they perpetrated (e.g., the student who reported to authorities a murder which SOA Watch claims he participated in, or the student who, with fellow SOA graduates, brokered a peace agreement among Central American nations, whom SOA Watch claims showed no respect for the Geneva Convention).

  • Emily Ranseen

    Thank you for your thoughts, Josh and others, which reflect my understanding from the coverage of the Christian Science Monitor, BBC, NPR, and blogs of various Hondurans which I’ve been reading.

    As for the statements from SOA Watch: one can never assume that what SOA Watch claims is true, either about SOA, or WHINSEC (which replaced SOA) or about its students. Many of the individuals on SOA Watch’s lists of notorious graduates NEVER attended SOA, so one cannot automatically assume, in this instance, that this “institutional” or “military supported coup” was led by SOA “graduates.” Among SOA Watch’s other propaganda: students who are innocent of the abuses which SOA Watch claims they perpetrated (e.g., the student who reported to authorities a murder which SOA Watch claims he participated in, or the student who, with fellow SOA graduates, brokered a peace agreement among Central American nations, whom SOA Watch claims showed no respect for the Geneva Conventions).

    One British human rights researcher has said that SOA Watch is very “convenient” for the Pentagon, as focuses attention on SOA (now WHINSEC) (which is considered to have the finest human rights training in the Western hemisphere), deflecting attention from other schools which keep their training secret.

  • non pay advertising

    Urge your Representative to take a stand for democracy!

    Tomorrow, on Friday, July 10, Representatives Bill Delahunt (D-MA) and James McGovern (D-MA) will introduce a resolution in the House of Representatives that is calling for the reinstatement of Manuel Zelaya as president of Honduras.

    Call your Representative and ask her or him to sign on as an original co-sponsor of the resolution! The Capitol Switchboard number is: 1-800-473-6711. All original co-sponsors need to be added before 5pm today. Here is some suggested language for your call:

    “Please tell Representative _________________ that I urge him to be an original co-sponsor of the Delahunt/McGovern resolution to oppose the military coup by graduates of the School of the Americas in Honduras. The resolution calls for the reinstatement of democracy in that country. Please contact Cliff Stammerman or Ben Dailey in Delahunt’s office before close of business today as that will be the closing of original cosponsors.”

  • BJ

    So President Zelaya wanted to put a question on the ballot for the next presidential election – an election in which he cannot run. How does that extend to staying in office indefinitely?

    I do see thousands of his supporters in the streets – especially on the BBC and non-US news sites. That doesn’t translate into popular indifference to me.

    Other Hondurans may fear to comment as the right-wing death squads are still within recent memory.

  • Stephanie

    I agree completely. When I am in Honduras the working people I have talked to about politics have always been very circumspect in expressing their opinions. US commercial interests in partnership with the rich controlled Honduras for long. How would an ordinary working class person know who he was talking to when speaking to a white American sounding tourist.
    Raul, thank you for sharing your insights. And for others who refer to blogs coming out of Honduras – and their support for the new regime. Think about who has access to computers in this impoverished country. Monitoring blogs is not a way to survey the opinions of the nation.

  • Chavez Bud Out

    I spend a lot of time in Honduras, built confianza. After that people are quite open. Most expressed great concern about zelaya, who is a lowly man. You know one weekend last year he disappeared. They finally found him drunk and swimming naked in a lake. Some here think Honduras are backwords and don’t know how to run a computer. How ignorant. Internet is available in all the telephone offices. Many peolples also set up a copple cumputers in there house and allow others to rent them for a few Lemps. Try talking to a honduran, then you will know truth.

  • non pay advertising

    let me show you the respectable coup d’état member, says about our President Obama.
    First one in spanish with out subtitles.
    Second one with english subtitles
    This is and has been the ruling elite mentality.

  • Stephanie

    OK Mr. Chavez Bud Out,
    Do try to read more carefully and you will note that I did not say that Hondurans don’t know how to operate a computer. I don’t think that a lot of poor Hondurans are writing blogs. I think your nickname is properly Chavez Butt Out – and it expresses a definite political agenda. Have a nice day.

  • Chavez Bud Out

    It is true, my adgenda. I make it obvious. I want Hondurans to run Honduras, and they tell me so by computer, y by phone. They write comments to stories too on the web. But talking to them is better. This I do a lot. The political adgend of others here is clear too.
    Free Honduras

  • Chavez

    Honduras’ non-coup
    Under the country’s Constitution, the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya was legal.
    By Miguel A. Estrada
    July 10, 2009
    Honduras, the tiny Central American nation, had a change of leaders on June 28. The country’s military arrested President Manuel Zelaya — in his pajamas, he says — and put him on a plane bound for Costa Rica. A new president, Roberto Micheletti, was appointed. Led by Cuba and Venezuela (Sudan and North Korea were not immediately available), the international community swiftly condemned this “coup.”

    Something clearly has gone awry with the rule of law in Honduras — but it is not necessarily what you think. Begin with Zelaya’s arrest. The Supreme Court of Honduras, as it turns out, had ordered the military to arrest Zelaya two days earlier. A second order (issued on the same day) authorized the military to enter Zelaya’s home to execute the arrest. These orders were issued at the urgent request of the country’s attorney general. All the relevant legal documents can be accessed (in Spanish) on the Supreme Court’s website. They make for interesting reading.
    What you’ll learn is that the Honduran Constitution may be amended in any way except three. No amendment can ever change (1) the country’s borders, (2) the rules that limit a president to a single four-year term and (3) the requirement that presidential administrations must “succeed one another” in a “republican form of government.”

    In addition, Article 239 specifically states that any president who so much as proposes the permissibility of reelection “shall cease forthwith” in his duties, and Article 4 provides that any “infraction” of the succession rules constitutes treason. The rules are so tight because these are terribly serious issues for Honduras, which lived under decades of military rule.

    As detailed in the attorney general’s complaint, Zelaya is the type of leader who could cause a country to wish for a Richard Nixon. Earlier this year, with only a few months left in his term, he ordered a referendum on whether a new constitutional convention should convene to write a wholly new constitution. Because the only conceivable motive for such a convention would be to amend the un-amendable parts of the existing constitution, it was easy to conclude — as virtually everyone in Honduras did — that this was nothing but a backdoor effort to change the rules governing presidential succession. Not unlike what Zelaya’s close ally, Hugo Chavez, had done in Venezuela.
    It is also worth noting that only referendums approved by a two-thirds vote of the Honduran Congress may be put to the voters. Far from approving Zelaya’s proposal, Congress voted that it was illegal.

    The attorney general filed suit and secured a court order halting the referendum. Zelaya then announced that the voting would go forward just the same, but it would be called an “opinion survey.” The courts again ruled this illegal. Undeterred, Zelaya directed the head of the armed forces, Gen. Romeo Vasquez, to proceed with the “survey” — and “fired” him when he declined. The Supreme Court ruled the firing illegal and ordered Vasquez reinstated.

    Zelaya had the ballots printed in Venezuela, but these were impounded by customs when they were brought back to Honduras. On June 25 — three days before he was ousted — Zelaya personally gathered a group of “supporters” and led it to seize the ballots, restating his intent to conduct the “survey” on June 28. That was the breaking point for the attorney general, who immediately sought a warrant from the Supreme Court for Zelaya’s arrest on charges of treason, abuse of authority and other crimes. In response, the court ordered Zelaya’s arrest by the country’s army, which under Article 272 must enforce compliance with the Constitution, particularly with respect to presidential succession. The military executed the court’s order on the morning of the proposed survey.

    It would seem from this that Zelaya’s arrest by the military was legal, and rather well justified to boot. But, unfortunately, the tale did not end there. Rather than taking Zelaya to jail and then to court to face charges, the military shipped him off to Costa Rica. No one has yet explained persuasively why summarily sending Zelaya into exile in this manner was legal, and it most likely wasn’t.

    This illegality may entitle Zelaya to return to Honduras. But does it require that he be returned to power?

    No. As noted, Article 239 states clearly that one who behaves as Zelaya did in attempting to change presidential succession ceases immediately to be president. If there were any doubt on that score, the Congress removed it by convening immediately after Zelaya’s arrest, condemning his illegal conduct and overwhelmingly voting (122 to 6) to remove him from office. The Congress is led by Zelaya’s own Liberal Party (although it is true that Zelaya and his party have grown apart as he has moved left). Because Zelaya’s vice president had earlier quit to run in the November elections, the next person in the line of succession was Micheletti, the Liberal leader of Congress. He was named to complete the remaining months of Zelaya’s term.

    It cannot be right to call this a “coup.” Micheletti was lawfully made president by the country’s elected Congress. The president is a civilian. The Honduran Congress and courts continue to function as before. The armed forces are under civilian control. The elections scheduled for November are still scheduled for November. Indeed, after reviewing the Constitution and consulting with the Supreme Court, the Congress and the electoral tribunal, respected Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga recently stated that the only possible conclusion is that Zelaya had lawfully been ousted under Article 239 before he was arrested, and that democracy in Honduras continues fully to operate in accordance with law. All Honduran bishops joined Rodriguez in this pronouncement.

    True, Zelaya should not have been arbitrarily exiled from his homeland. That, however, does not mean he must be reinstalled as president of Honduras. It merely makes him an indicted private citizen with a meritorious immigration beef against his country.

    Miguel A. Estrada is a partner at the Washington office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. A native of Honduras, he was a member of the official U.S. delegation to President Zelaya’s 2006 inauguration.

  • Chaves tu mama

    meet señor estrada

    George W. Bush nominated Estrada to a position on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on May 9 2001; the court is very influential, and is widely seen as a stepping stone to the Supreme Court. He received a unanimous “well-qualified” rating from the American Bar Association. Democratic Senators opposed the nomination, noting Estrada’s lack of any prior judicial experience at the local, state, or federal level. Democratic Senators also objected to the refusal by the Office of the Solicitor General to release samples of Estrada’s writings while employed there. Republicans, however, stated that the Democratic concerns were actually just an attempt to deny Estrada a circuit court seat because of his conservatism.
    A bipartisan group of former Solicitors General wrote a letter objecting to the Democrats’ demand for memos that Estrada had written while he was with the office. While not addressing past instances where such memos had previously been released, the letter argued release of prior memos by government employees to the public would endanger the Solicitor General Office’s ability to provide confidential legal advice to the Executive Branch. Some observers claimed that the Democrats also wished to avoid giving Bush points with Hispanic voters. The Democrats hotly contested this; however, internal memos to Senate Minority Whip Richard Joseph “Dick” Durbin mention liberal interest groups’ desire to keep Estrada off the court because his Latino heritage made him “especially dangerous” as a potential future Supreme Court nominee. Karl Rove has published a copy of this memo on his website.
    On March 6, 2003, there was the first of several failed cloture votes on Estrada. Fifty-five senators voted to end debate on his nomination and allow a final confirmation vote, and forty-four senators voted not to end debate. After twenty-eight months in political limbo and a protracted six month long battle using the filibuster, Estrada withdrew his name from further consideration on September 4, 2003.

    Do you remember him?

  • Tina

    Great explanation Chavez. Here’s another good article if found.

    This was forwarded to me from a friend. I think your readers might benefit from it…

    Under the Honduran Constitution, what really happened here?
    By Octavio Sanchez*
    If you are not familiar with the country’s history and the Honduran constitution it is almost impossible that you would understand what happened here this past weekend. In 1982 my country adopted a new Constitution to allow our ordered return to democracy. After 19 previous constitution -two Spanish ones, three as part of the Republic of Central America and 14 as an independent nation- this one, at 28, has been the longest lasting one. It has lasted for so long because it responds and adapts to our changing reality, as seen in the fact that out of its original 379 articles, 7 of them have been completely or partially repealed, 18 have been interpreted and 121 have been reformed.
    It also includes 7 articles that cannot be repealed or amended because they address issues that are critical for us. Those unchangeable articles deal with the form of government, the extent of our borders, the number of years of the presidential term; two prohibitions -one to reelect presidents and another one to change the article that states who can’t run for president- and one article that penalizes the abrogation of the Constitution.
    In these 28 years Honduras has found legal ways to deal with its own problems. Each and every successful country around the world lived similar trial and error processes until they were able to find legal vehicles that adapt to their reality. France had 13 Constitutions between 1789 and the adoption of the current one in 1958 which has passed 22 constitutional revisions. The USA had one before this one which has been amended 27 times since 1789 and the British –pragmatic as they are- in 900 years have change it so many times that they have never taken the time to compile their Constitution into a single body of law.
    Having explained that, under our Constitution, what happened in Honduras this last Sunday? Soldiers arrested and took out of the country a Honduran citizen that, the day before, through his actions had stripped himself of the presidency of Honduras.
    These are the hard facts. Last Friday Mister Zelaya, with his cabinet, issued a decree ordering all government employees to take part in the “Public Opinion Poll to convene a National Constitutional Assembly” (Presidential Decree PCM-020). The decree was published on Saturday on the official newspaper. With this event, Mister Zelaya triggered a constitutional protection that automatically removed him from office.
    The key legal elements for that constitutional protection to be triggered are the following ones. Constitutional assemblies are convened to write new constitutions. In Honduras, you have 365 articles that can be changed by Congress. When Zelaya published that decree to regulate an “opinion poll” about the possibility of convening a national assembly he acted against the unchangeable articles of the constitution that deal with the prohibition of reelecting a president and of extending his term. His actions showed intent.
    How is that kind of intent sanctioned in our Constitution? With the immediate removal of those involved in the action as stated in article 239 of the Constitution which reads: “No citizen that has already served as head of the Executive Branch can be President or Vice-President. Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform, as well as those that support such violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years.” Notice that the rule speaks about intent and that it also says immediately –as in instant, as in no trial required, as in no impeachment needed.
    This immediate sanction might sound draconian, but every country knows its own enemies and it is the black letter of our supreme law. Requiring no previous trial might be crazy, but in Latin America a President is no ordinary citizen, it is the most powerful figure of the land and historically the figure has been above the law. To prevent that officer from using its power to stay in office Honduras has constitutional rules such as the mentioned one.
    I am extremely proud of my compatriots. Finally, we have decided to stand up and become a country of laws, not men. From now on, here, no one will be above the law.

  • TatTattatTTTtatFatTTfafatTatatatata

    By Daniel Trotta

    TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – Diplomatic efforts to solve Honduras’ crisis after last month’s coup stumbled on Friday, as leftist allies of the ousted president vowed he would return and the interim government showed no sign of budging.

    Deposed President Manuel Zelaya stepped up a campaign on Friday to rally international support for his reinstatement, and one of his most vocal backers, Venezuela’s leftist President Hugo Chavez, said Zelaya would return home “by any means”.

    Zelaya, and the man put in his place by the June 28 coup, Roberto Micheletti, failed to reach any accord or even meet face-to-face in mediation talks in Costa Rica on Thursday.

    They left behind low-level delegations to try to advance a dialogue, but there appeared to be little progress on Friday and hopes seemed to be fading for a quick solution to the crisis in Honduras, one of the poorest states in the Americas.

    Venezuela’s firebrand leader Chavez pronounced the Costa Rica talks “dead before they started”. He called for a total trade embargo on Honduras.

    Speaking in Caracas, Chavez also criticized U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration for engineering the talks mediated by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, saying there could be no negotiations with “a usurper” in Honduras.

    Chavez’ comments seemed likely to rekindle fears that he and other leftist allies of Zelaya, like Cuba and Nicaragua, might seek to help the ousted president regain office by force or by popular insurrection.

    Zelaya, who made an abortive Chavez-backed attempt to fly home last Sunday and has been advised by Washington to negotiate rather than try to force the issue again, said he was working on “peaceful, non-violent methods” to return to office.

    The ousted president declined to reveal what other actions he planned, saying “I’m not going to tell my strategies to the press any more.” But unlike Chavez, Zelaya was full of praise for the Obama administration.

    He was speaking in the Dominican Republic and was due travel to Guatemala on Saturday before returning to Washington.

  • popiedo

    wow keep trying to justify a coup,
    amazing what some are stating was not stated at the beginning, hench agenda and grasping at straws.


    Mr Zelaya was forced out of Honduras at gunpoint on 28 June.

    The political crisis erupted after he attempted to hold a non-binding public consultation to ask people whether they supported moves to change the constitution.

    Opponents said that could have led to the removal of the current one-term limit on serving as president and so paved the way for Mr Zelaya’s possible re-election.

    “COULD” does not justfy a coup no matter what u say, unless your saying if some view that a president is not doing what they feel in there interest they can depose them quickly. In which its not a democracy cause the people are dont have the ability to vote and have it count.

    If what some state is true than deporting your ex or deposed president seem questionable instead of bring crimal charges against him.

    If what some state that this was not a coup, than freedom of speech would not be oppessed, or opposing media stations.

    Honduras has a coup government no matter what some try and spin it. and we will see make different way on how to spin it as democratic. But what they dont see is they loss legitimacy when they deported they prez, cracked down on protestors, and media and used the military to silient opponents along with not having a valid reason on they actions. It seems to change day by day.

  • popiedo
  • Chavez ????

    Anyone paying attention to what hugo is doing to opress his own people while he condems Honduras? Amazing how the one country in the region to stand up to this guy is painted as dictators, which couldn’t be farther fromt he truth, while hugo freely persecutes anyone in his country who does not tow his party line. It is an insult everytime he claims to be acting in the name of democracy. Democracy has not existed in his country for over a decade. As for Honduras, he needs to shut up and let the Honduras deal with their own issues. This should have nothing to do with hugo. The fact that he has been so loud on the subject should tell the international community what he is realy up to.

    Honduras is a beautiful place with peaceful people. If you care to listen, you will see that they want the world to recognize their right to follow their laws and govern themselves. Mr. Obamo needs to pay attention to what he says and not force who he wants leading Honduras on the Hondurans.

    Free Honduras. They want Peace, not Zelaya.

    Wake up world!

  • raul

    Please when you refer to my democratic elected President, please refer to him as President Barack Hussein Obama no Mr.
    Mr. are the leaders of last week’s military coup.

  • Chavez ???

    JUst repeating coup, coup, coup will not make it one no matter how much hugo, daniel, evo, and fidel want to paint it as one to justify condemming Hondurans. The US congress is finally learning the facts. I hope Mr. Obamo and Hillary will figure it out soon as well.
    Free the Republic of Honduras. Let them govern themselves.

  • Chavez ???

    Read this article.
    Chavez condems Honduras for removing zelaya saying that they are being un democratic. Meanwhile he is opressing his people and no one has the guts to condem hugo.
    Free Honduras. Keep Chalaya OUT.

  • Chaves ???

    TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stoked Honduras’ political crisis on Friday by saying ousted President Manuel Zelaya would return home imminently, complicating efforts to broker a mediated solution.

    Chavez’s comments that Zelaya had told him he would enter Honduras “in the coming hours” threatened to jeopardize planned talks on Saturday in Costa Rica between the rival sides that both claim legitimacy since the June 28 coup that toppled Zelaya.

    Zelaya is currently in Nicaragua, which borders Honduras, and there was no immediate word from him on Friday on his plans. “He’s here in Managua, in the Las Mercedes hotel, it’s no secret,” Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, like Chavez a leftist ally of Zelaya, told reporters late on Thursday.

    A unilateral attempt by the deposed president to return home would fly in the face of threats to arrest him by the interim government that replaced Zelaya in the impoverished Central American country.

    Chavez’s comments appeared to be a typically incendiary expression of his support for his ally Zelaya.

    The United States, which is strongly backing mediation efforts by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, urged states in the region to avoid actions that could push the situation into violence. The Honduras power dispute is already the worst political crisis in Central America since the Cold War.

    Roberto Micheletti, who was installed as president by Honduras’ Congress after the coup, has defied international calls for Zelaya to be reinstated and ruled out his return to office. He says Zelaya was removed because he violated the constitution by seeking to lift presidential term limits.

    A previous attempt by Zelaya to fly home on July 5 in a Venezuelan plane provided by Chavez was thwarted by Honduran troops who prevented the plane from landing in Tegucigalpa. At least one person was killed in clashes between troops and Zelaya supporters at the airport.

    On Friday, supporters of the ousted president, clamoring for his reinstatement, blocked major highways in Honduras, including the northern access into the capital Tegucigalpa.

    At the southern entrance to the city, pro-Zelaya protesters lifted their roadblock after police brandishing tear gas canisters gave them an ultimatum.

    “We’re going to bring “Mel” (Zelaya) back,” said teacher Noemi Farias as she took part in the pro-Zelaya protests.

    “Zelaya said that in the coming hours he’ll enter Honduras. We’re behind him, we have to support him,” Chavez told reporters outside the presidential palace in Bolivia.

    Chavez, who had attended a meeting in Bolivia of leftist Latin American allies of Zelaya, gave no more details about how Zelaya intended to return home.

  • Chaves ???

    July 25: Converge on the U.S. Southern Command in Florida

    Solidarity Action with the People of Honduras

    SOA Watch South Florida is taking to the streets! Gather on Saturday, July 25 at the corner of N.W. 87th Ave & N.W. 36th St. in Doral/ Miami for a march to the gate of the U.S. Southern Command. This action is sponsored by SOA Watch: South Florida, Miami for Peace and CODEPINK: Miami. For more info call Ray Del Papa at 754-423-0051 or Linda, at 305-801-0245.

Apr 24, 2014
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, left, talks with Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Covina at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, April 21, 2014. Hernandez proposed a constitutional amendment that would ask voters to again allow public colleges to use race and ethnicity when considering college applicants. The proposal stalled this year after backlash from Asian Americans. (AP)

California as Exhibit A for what happens when a state bans affirmative action in college admissions. We’ll look at race, college and California.

Apr 24, 2014
A Buddhist monk lights the funeral pyre of Nepalese mountaineer Ang Kaji Sherpa, killed in an avalanche on Mount Everest, during his funeral ceremony in Katmandu, Nepal, Monday, April 21, 2014.  (AP)

A Sherpa boycott on Everest after a deadly avalanche. We’ll look at climbing, culture, life, death and money at the top of the world.

Apr 23, 2014
Attendees of the 2013 Argentina International Coaching Federation meet for networking and coaching training. (ICF)

The booming business of life coaches. Everybody seems to have one these days. Therapists are feeling the pinch. We look at the life coach craze.

Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Week In Seven Soundbites: April 18, 2014
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Our Week In The Web: April 18, 2014
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Space moon oceans, Gabriel García Márquez and the problems with depressing weeks in the news. Also: important / unnecessary infographics that help explain everyone’s favorite 1980′s power ballad.

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Some Tools And Tricks For College Financial Aid
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Some helpful links and tools for navigating FAFSA and other college financial aid tools.

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