Yesterday practically dawned with news that the military in Honduras had staged a bloodless coup and exiled President Manuel Zelaya. Within 24 hours, the denunciations of the same came fast and furious. Demands for the deposed president's reinstatement came from the US, UN, and Venezuela among others, including ironically the OAS, that defender of democracy which just voted to reinstate an illegitimate regime in Cuba which has never been elected in a fair and open plebiscite, which has kept the jackboot solidly balanced on the Cuban population for half a century. It seems pretty obvious that the equation is "democratically elected, good; military coup, bad... although some coups are more equal than others."
But there are some pesky details here. It seems that Honduran Presidents are limited to a single term. Mr. Zelaya, who was on his way out, took a page from the Chavez playbook and attempted to hold a referendum to change the law. Unfortunately for Mr. Zelaya, the Honduran Supreme Court went against him. The military informed him that they would not support him. Undaunted, the once and wouldbe future president, proceeded with plans to hold the referendum anyway. It was this process the military stopped.
I cannot blame them. They have witnessed in Venezuela, somewhat in Bolivia, how antidemocratic forces have learned to use the machinery of democracy to quash it. Even as Hugo Chavez threatened to invade Honduras, crowds marched in Caracas in an attempt to save the lone opposition media voice. It is in order to avoid this fate, the military acted.
And how did they proceed after the coup? They announced that the elections scheduled for January would proceed. The leader of congress assumed the presidency. The former president was deposited in Costa Rica. The ruling of the Supreme Court upheld. And what should they have done? Stood idly by while Zelaya flouted the Supreme Court? The military? Congress? His own party? Who are we to demand that Zelaya be returned? Talk about American arrogance.
The lesson to be learned here is how the left has subverted the process. Chavez complained that you can't "change the rules of the game." The game is that you get yourself elected, then change the precise rules that allowed you to gain power with a witches brew of electoral machination, exercise of executive power, the threat of force, and most importantly the appearance of democracy.
I suggest that Mr Obama begin work on a new apology, one to the Honduran people for demanding they go meekly into night. If only the administration had shown the same reticence to get involved that they demonstrated toward Iran. Incredible.