Monday, June 29, 2009

Obama vs Honduran Constitution

Hugo Chávez's coalition-building efforts suffered a setback yesterday when the Honduran military sent its president packing for abusing the nation's constitution.

It seems that President Mel Zelaya miscalculated when he tried to emulate the success of his good friend Hugo in reshaping the Honduran Constitution to his liking.

But Honduras is not out of the Venezuelan woods yet. 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. It will be a miracle if Honduran patriots can hold their ground.

Read it all here.

The Constitution of Honduras allows for one term in office only. It also states that any elected official who tries to overthrow this law can be removed from office and cannot serve in public office for at least 10 years. In removing Zelaya, the military acted to preserve constitution law. So how is this illegal?

President Zelaya ordered the head of the military, General Romeo Vasquez, to commit an illegal act. When the General refused, Zelaya fired him. The Defense Minister, a member of Zelaya's Liberal Party, then resigned to demonstrate his solidarity with Vasquez. The military's actions follow the orders of a unanimous congress dominated by Zelaya's own party. So how is this illegal?

Here is the pertinent article of the Honduras Constitution:

ARTICULO 239.- El ciudadano que haya desempeñado la titularidad del Poder Ejecutivo no podrá ser Presidente o Designado. El que quebrante esta disposición o proponga su reforma, así como aquellos que lo apoyen directa o indirectamente, cesarán de inmediato en el desempeño de sus respectivos cargos, y quedarán inhabilitados por diez años para el ejercicio de toda función pública.

The citizen that has discharged the office of the Executive Branch will not again be able to 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 the function of their respective duties and will remain unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years.

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