No damn kidding?
David Freddoso from The Washington Examiner offers highlights from the Congressional Research Service (click here for the pdf), which bears out what conservative news outlets and blogs have been saying for many months:
The situation in Honduras should not be a cause for concern in Washington.
The legal arguments made in the report, which was prepared by Senior Foreign Law Specialist Norma Gutierrez, are quite intricate and based in Honduran law. But the bottom line is this:
- The Honduran Congress appears to have acted properly in deposing President Manuel Zelaya. Unlike in the United States, the Honduran Congress has the last word when it comes to interpreting the Constitution. Although there is no provision in Honduras’s Constitution for impeachment as such, the body does have powers to disapprove of the president’s official acts, and to replace him in the event that he is incapable of performing his duties. Most importantly, the Congress also has the authority to interpret exactly what that means.
- The Supreme Court was legally entitled to ask the military to arrest Zelaya. The high court, which is the constitutional venue for trials of the president and other high-ranking officials, also recognized the Congress’s ouster of Zelaya when it referred his case back down to a lower court afterward, on the grounds that he was “no longer a high-ranking government official.”
- The military did not act properly in forcibly expatriating Zelaya. According to the CRS report and other news stories, Honduran authorities are investigating their decision, which the military justified at the time as a means of preventing bloodshed. In fact, Zelaya should have been given a trial, and if convicted of seeking reelection, he would have lost his citizenship. But he is still a citizen now, and the Constitution forbids the expatriation of Honduran citizens by their government.
- The proper line of succession was followed after Zelaya’s ouster. Because there was no Vice President in office when Zelaya was removed (he had resigned to run for president), Micheletti was the proper successor, as he had been president of the Congress.
“The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service concluded the removal of former President Zelaya was Constitutional, and we must respect that,” Rep. Aaron Schock said today. “It’s unconscionable the administration would attempt to force Honduras to violate its own Constitution by cutting of foreign aid.”
Not to mention the revocation of hundreds of Honduran public officials’ visas, including interim President Roberto Micheletti’s, who wasn’t able to attend the U.N. General Assembly, in New York this past week because of it. And perhaps most disgraceful of all, is the State Department’s threat to de-legitimize that nation’s upcoming November elections.
Senior officials from the State Department explained the termination of assistance, the revocation of visas, and their position that the Obama administration “would not be able to support the outcome of scheduled elections” during a teleconference call with newspaper reporters on September 3rd. The justification for their actions were cited as thus:
President Obama has made very clear, the Secretary has made very clear, the international community has been very clear this is about the restoration and the defense of – the collective defense of democracy in the Western Hemisphere. And the San Jose Accord – the second point here is the San Jose Accord, one of the key attributes of that – of the process that President Arias laid out is that it addresses not only the events of June 28th, but also those conditions that contributed to the events of June 28th, and allows a restoration of democratic and constitutional order in a way that addresses the concerns of all involved.
So this really is about our efforts to join with the other countries in the Western Hemisphere in defense of the principles laid out in the Inter-American Democratic Charter. And it has never been about any particular individual, but rather, the duly elected president of a country, and the restoration of democratic order, part of which is his return for the balance of his constitutional term, which ends on January 27, 2010.
The “international community” in that region includes the likes of Venezuela’s Chavez, Cuba’s Castro, Nicaragua’s Ortega, and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa. Not exactly a reputable crowd to be in agreement with.
As yet another report concludes that Honduras acted constitutionally, will the State Department please stop repeating the demonstrably false assertion that it is interested in the “restoration of democratic and constitutional order”? Because that’s not what this is about, at all.
Hat tip: American Thinker
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