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Obama On Honduras

June 29th, 2009 by Myrhaf · 6 Comments · Foreign Affairs

As I’ve noted several times, Obama is remarkable for his ability to choose the wrong position on every issue. He has done it again with the turmoil in Honduras.

As Anastasia O’Grady explains, President Zelaya, a leftist ally of Hugo Chavez, decided he wanted to stay in power longer than the legal end of his term, so he called a referendum.

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.

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 Honduras Supreme Court ordered the military to arrest Zelaya, who was being helped by the Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez in an attempt to subvert the constitution so that he could keep power. Zelaya was flown to Costa Rica.

Castro, Chavez and Ortega have denounced Zelaya’s removal as a coup. And so have Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Zelaya broke the fundamental law of the land. Honduras’s judges acted to protect the constitution from the schemes of a power-hungry statist. This is not a coup. The Supreme Court acted in the cause of freedom against a potential dictator.

In both Iran and Honduras Barack Obama has failed to stand up for the cause of freedom. On the Iranian rebellion, his statements evolved, getting a little tougher each time, only because reports and videos came out of Iran on the internet that made it too embarrassing to Obama to continue all-out appeasement of the mullahs. On Honduras Obama stands with communist dictators against the rule of law.

Considering his massive expansion of the state at home, we should not be surprised that Obama cares nothing for liberty abroad.

UPDATE: The brilliant Caroline Glick explains Obama’s foreign policy.

So if Obama’s foreign policy has already failed or is in the process of failing throughout the world, why is he refusing to reassess it? Why, with blood running through the streets of Iran, is he still interested in appeasing the mullahs? Why, with Venezuela threatening to invade Honduras for Zelaya, is he siding with Zelaya against Honduran democrats? Why, with the Palestinians refusing to accept the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, is he seeking to expel some 500,000 Jews from their homes in the interest of appeasing the Palestinians? Why, with North Korea threatening to attack the US with ballistic missiles, is he refusing to order the USS John McCain to interdict the suspected North Korean missile ship it has been trailing for the past two weeks? Why, when the Sudanese government continues to sponsor the murder of Darfuris, is the administration claiming that the genocide in Darfur has ended?

The only reasonable answer to all of these questions is that far from being nonideological, Obama’s foreign policy is the most ideologically driven since Carter’s tenure in office. If when Obama came into office there was a question about whether he was a foreign policy pragmatist or an ideologue, his behavior in his first six months in office has dispelled all doubt. Obama is moved by a radical, anti-American ideology that motivates him to dismiss the importance of democracy and side with anti-American dictators against US allies.

UPDATE II: Investor’s Business Daily, which calls the US response to the removal of Zelaya a “disgrace,” has more:

Zelaya’s operatives did their dirt all the way through. First they got signatures to launch the “citizen’s power” survey through threats — warning those who didn’t sign that they’d be denied medical care and worse. Zelaya then had the ballots flown to Tegucigalpa on Venezuelan planes. After his move was declared illegal by the Supreme Court, he tried to do it anyway.

6 Comments so far ↓

  • C. August

    Thanks for writing about this. I saw the O’Grady piece this morning and was struck by similar thoughts.

    In another WSJ article, they quote Obama:

    President Barack Obama said he was “deeply concerned” and called on all political actors in Honduras to “respect democratic norms.”

    Just like you said, he forgets the rule of law and liberty, and clings to “democratic norms.” They elected a dictator, and they damn well better let him dictate!

    I thought I’d add a quote from the end of the O’Grady piece because it’s a good one:

    “[The struggle] is about defending the independence of institutions that keep presidents from becoming dictators. This crisis clearly delineates the problem. In failing to come to the aid of checks and balances, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Insulza expose their true colors.”

  • Doug Reich

    Thanks for posting this. After only reading MSM reports on the Honduran “coup” I was led to believe that something sinister had occured. When I heard that Chavez was opposed to the “coup” I then immediately changed my position to support the coup, but I still didn’t understand the fuller context. Thanks again.

  • Galileo Blogs

    Thank you for posting this. Mary Anastasia O’Grady is the best reporter/commentator on Latin America, and she couches her analysis in moral terms. Kudos to her for bringing out the truth on this.

    As for Obama, this incident brings to mind the image a couple months ago of Obama with his wide grin greeting his comrade, Hugo Chavez. In the photo, Chavez is giving Obama a little book by a discredited and kooky, but popular, Latin American would-be revolutionary. In another column O’Grady called Chavez-Obama out on that one, enlightening us “norteamericanos” as to the nature of the ideas in that book. Obama probably read it and took it seriously, for all we know.

  • TW

    O’Grady is indeed an excellent reporter. One of the few hard-hitting, factual ones left reporting on Latin America. Thanks for pointing out her article. Yes, Obama continues to prove himself worse than useless, once again.


    I am a US citizen and was born in Honduras. We have been following this ousted President Manuel Zelaya. He was taking the country into a path of destruction where he was neglecting the infraestructure, not combating crime because he was focused on the “referendum” issue. A clear violator of the constitution and Hondurans don’t want him back, even after the pressure from OEA. Obama is really showing his true colors.

  • franco american

    honduras is not iraq.what im worried about is some party going down there and selling weapons,to the former president zelayas cause.if that ever happens things will get out of reach let alone far fetch. obama please as a born american/ honduran,i ask beg you to do something about this as soon as possible.(zelays has money ,land crops, and cattle im worried about zelays tradings.stop him from foundaten a rebel union. GOD BLESS HONDURAS.AND YOU ALL.