What a perfect example of the ridiculousness of the Venezuelan opposition. A little over a week ago, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped by the Honduran military and forced out of the country, in what has been condemned almost unanimously as an illegal military coup d'état. The United Nations, the Organization of American States, the European Union, and virtually every nation in the Western Hemisphere condemned the coup and demanded the reinstatement of Zelaya to the presidency.
But, remarkably, the Venezuelan opposition pundits have shown their enthusiastic support for this illegal coup. They hate to be labeled "golpistas", yet they support "golpes" with enthusiastic support, and a total manipulation of the facts. Here are a few examples:
Now, let's deconstruct this mountain of nonsense with verifiable facts and evidence. The Venezuelan opposition pundits have made it sound like President Zelaya had committed some serious abuses, or had walked all over the Honduran constitution, which justified his ousting by the military. All of this is false, of course, as we will see.
"How can a coup where it seems that the coupsters may get away with it be a bonus for democracy in this continent? Very simple: for the first time perhaps in our troubled history, South of the Rio Grande there is grudging acknowledgment that there are three powers of state which in theory are equal. If anything the Honduras coup would have been worth because it touched to our sacrosanct presidential superiority, a danger that even the US must on occasion be reminded of."
-- Daniel of Venezuela News and Views blog
"Sunday's coup in Honduras has been portrayed as a throwback to the bad old days when Latin American armies got drafted in as the ultimate umpires of political conflict. But in arresting president Manuel Zelaya in his pajamas and putting him on the first plane out of the country, Honduras's generals were acting out of fear of a genuine and growing threat to Latin Democracy: the looming prospect of unchecked, hyper-empowered executive power held for life by a single, charismatic individual."
-- Francisco Toro of CaracasChoronicles blog
"The Honduran constitution clearly states that Zelaya ousted himself from the presidency the very moment he proposed to reform the article of the constitution. The military carried out an arrest warrant dictaed by the supreme court. The unconstitutional act the military committed was to take the arrested ex-president out of the country (i.e., paraphrasing, the constitution states that no citizen shall be forced-handed to another nation). Legally, the moment of the arrest was not unconstitutional, and was not an ousting. The moment the ex-president is handed over to another nation was unconstitutional, but still not an ousting. Naming the head of congress president was the constitutionally correct act following Zelaya's self-ousting."
--"torres" at CaracasChronicles blog
What was the horrible act that Zelaya committed that created the political crisis than resulted in his overthrow? Well, Zelaya's crime was that he wanted to hold a national vote to consult the Honduran population about their constitution. Pretty horrible huh? And, even worse, the results of the national vote wouldn't even be binding, and would have no effect on the constitution no matter what the result. Zelaya simply wanted to guage public opinion, following a 2006 law, to see if the Honduran people were interested in having a constitutional assembly to re-write the national constitution. The question to be asked was the following:
"Do you agree to the installation of a fourth ballot [box] during the November 2009 general election to decide whether to convene a National Constitutional Assembly to approve a new political constitution?"In other words, Zelaya's poll would only ask the Honduran people if they wanted to vote in November about having a constitutional assembly. It didn't even ask if they supported a constitutional assembly or not. It simply asked if they wanted to vote on it.
This man must be stopped! How dare he ask the Honduran people to decide if they want to vote about their own constitution?!?!? Well, as the opposition pundits argue, Zelaya was going to change the constitution without approval of Congress and the Honduran Supreme Court had already ruled the vote illegal, yet he continued forward with it anyway, disrespecting Honduran institutions.
But, as usual, the fact say otherwise. Zelaya was not going to change the constitution in any way (as you can clearly see from the question being asked above), not to mention the fact that the referendum was non-binding, so no matter what the result, no action could be taken.
As for the Supreme Court ruling, well, they only said a binding vote was illegal. They never made a ruling on a non-binding vote. And how can the Supreme Court rule on something that has no effect on Honduran law or the Honduran constitution anyway? The answer is, they can't. Not only that, but this kind of referendum is allowed for by Honduran law, so the Supreme Court decision was illegal, and unconstitutional. (not to mention undemocratic as it would prevent consulting the people)
But, the Ven oppos claim, Zelaya was trying to change the constitution to remove term limits so that he could be reelected and magically become "president for life"!!! Again, as anyone with eyes can see, that is not what the referendum (posted above) was about. It had nothing to do with term limits, and would not change a single letter of the Honduran constitution. So where do the oppos get this stuff??? Simple. They make it up.
So, as can be clearly seen, Zelaya broke no laws, did not go against the constitution, and did not abuse his power in any way. He was acting within Honduran law to consult the people, and the Honduran Congress and Honduran Supreme court were deathly afraid that real democracy (one where the people's will is actually carried out) might take over Honduras. As we all know, this would be terrifying for our chronically clueless friends among the Venezuelan opposition, so support for a military coup, "in the name of democracy", is the position they are holding on to.