September 22, 2009

THEY DO IF THEY'RE CONSTITUTIONAL COUPS:

Moving Forward in Honduras (Roberto Micheletti, September 22, 2009, Washington Post)

My country is in an unusual position this week. Former president Manuel Zelaya has surreptitiously returned to Honduras, still claiming to be the country's legitimate leader, despite the fact that a constitutional succession took place on June 28. Amid all of the claims that are likely to be made in coming days, the former president will not mention that the people of Honduras have moved on since the events of that day or that our citizens are looking forward to free, fair and transparent elections on Nov. 29.

The international community has wrongfully condemned the events of June 28 and mistakenly labeled our country as undemocratic. I must respectfully disagree. As the true story slowly emerges, there is a growing sense that what happened in Honduras that day was not without merit. On June 28, the Honduran Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant for Zelaya for his blatant violations of our constitution, which marked the end of his presidency. To this day, an overwhelming majority of Hondurans support the actions that ensured the respect of the rule of law in our country.

Underlying all the rhetoric about a military overthrow are facts. Simply put, coups do not leave civilians in control over the armed forces, as is the case in Honduras today. Neither do they allow the independent functioning of democratic institutions -- the courts, the attorney general's office, the electoral tribunal. Nor do they maintain a respect for the separation of powers. In Honduras, the judicial, legislative and executive branches are all fully functioning and led by civilian authorities.

Coups do not allow freedom of assembly, either. They do not guarantee freedom of the press, much less a respect for human rights. In Honduras, these freedoms remain intact and vibrant. And on Nov. 29 our country plans to hold the ultimate civic exercise of any democracy: a free and open presidential election.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 22, 2009 6:21 AM
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