By now you have surely heard at least something about the current situation in Honduras. Do you know the details of what is actually taking place? More importantly, do you know why you should pay attention? First, here's what went down:
Honduras currently has presidential term limits written into their constitution, just like we do in the United States. The Honduran President, Mel Zelaya, is approaching the end of what their constitution currently mandates as his final term in office. President Zelaya decided that he wants to change the constitution. Honduran law allows for the constitution to be altered but only through a constituent assembly. The only way to call a constituent assembly is to get approval for a national referendum via the Honduran Congress. The president does not have the legal authority to change the constitution himself or call for a national referendum or call for a constituent assembly. President Zelaya did it anyway.
Then the Honduran Supreme Court stepped in and ruled that Zelaya's referendum was illegal. The military is the group charged with organizing and executing the referendum vote. After the head of the Honduran military, Gen. Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, told Zelaya that he would have to comply with the supreme court ruling and not carry out the vote, Zelaya fired him. The Honduran Supreme Court ruled this firing unconstitutional as well, but Zelaya still refused to reinstate Gen. Velásquez. President Zelaya then needed ballots for his illegal referendum. He had Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's Communist dictator, ship some ballots to him, and they were subsequently stored on a Honduran military base. President Zelaya then had a group invade the military base to seize the ballots for his use, and the military arrested him for his illegal actions.
Now, please take a second and decide for yourself who is at fault here, whose actions are illegal and whose actions are justified under the law. Have you decided? Okay, here's my take on it. It's clear that Mel Zelaya was breaking the law. The military was simply enforcing the law by arresting him. The Honduran constitution does not provide for a means of impeachment or removal of a president from office like ours does, even if the president is breaking the law. Does that mean that any president of Honduras can just do whatever he wants? Absolutely not. NO ONE is above the law. The problem here is that most people cannot begin to imagine a president being arrested for anything. We immediately think of our own President of the United States, and we cannot imagine him being arrested (current and/or past Presidents). However, the Honduran President knowingly and intentionally broke the law, and he rightfully needed to be stopped.
The important thing that we need to pay attention to here is President Obama's reaction to the situation in Honduras. President Obama is calling the events in Honduras an illegal coup. Obama is siding with Communist dictator Hugo Chavez, who is determined to overthrow the new Honduran government. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has said that the Honduran military's actions against President Zelaya "should be condemned by all."
What about denouncing President Zelaya's illegal actions? What about speaking out against his blatant violations of the Honduran Constitution, complete defiance of Supreme Court orders and his illegal invasion of a military base? Nope. You'll hear none of it from the current administration. They have decided to side with Hugo Chavez and the criminal, Mel Zelaya. When the protests started in Iran, Obama came out and said the situation was "of concern," and then he largely does nothing. When the Honduran President illegally attempts to change the constitution and gets arrested, Obama immediately condemns the arrest and sides with a communist dictator.
What does this say about our President? Does he really believe in democracy and respect for the law? Does he really believe in a system of checks and balances like we have in the U.S.? When the checks and balances system in Honduras came into play, Obama overlooked it. Similarly in the U.S., when the General Motors bondholders demanded what was legally due to them in a bankruptcy process, Obama overlooked the law and paid the United Auto Workers, who under the law stand behind the bondholders in the payment line. Does anyone see a correlation here? Are you okay with this? Are you okay with our President supporting a man who attempted to circumvent his country's constitution when it was inconvenient? Are you okay with the fact that President Obama consistently ignores the law when it is inconvenient for him to follow it?