We Must Destroy Democracy In Order to Save It

The interim president of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, has received rough treatment from the Obama administration, European Union, and the American media. Manuel Zelaya, the ousted president, was ordered arrested by the country's supreme court for attempting to violate a constitutional limitation on presidential terms (a Bolivarian lesson learned from his comrade in Caracas), but as the Cato Institute's Juan Carlos Hildago argued in Forbes, it wasn't "a coup" and, contra Obama, is wasn't illegal. But now Micheletti, who will not run in the forthcoming election and seemed to be sticking to his limited role as caretaker president, has decided that it is time to suspend democracy and start acting like the wannabe caudillo he replaced. As Hidalgo notes at the Cato Institute blog, the government has fallen into Zelaya's carefully laid trap:

Once again, and as a response to the return of deposed president Manuel Zelaya to Tegucigalpa, the interim government of Honduras has overreacted by decreeing a 45-day suspension of constitutional guarantees such as the freedom to move around the country and the right to assemble. The government is even imposing some restrictions on freedom of the press. More disturbingly, today the army shut down a radio station and a TV station supportive of Zelaya.

As I’ve written before, these measures are unnecessary, counterproductive and unjustified. While Zelaya’s supporters are known for repeatedly relying on violence, their actions have been so far contained by the police and the army. Zelaya himself is secluded at the Brazilian Embassy, and while he is using it as a command center to make constant calls for insurrection, the authorities have so far been in control of the situation.

One of the most troubling aspects of the suspension of constitutional guarantees is that they effectively obstruct the development of a clean, free, and transparent election process. Let’s remember that Honduras is holding a presidential election on November 29th, and many regard this electoral process as the best way to solve the country’s political impasse, particularly at an international level.

More on Micheletti's idiotic and undemocratic move against the media here.

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  • B||

    How long until the assholes who have written pages defending what Chavez has done to the media in Venezuala will vehemently condemn what is happening in Honduras?

  • ||

    Too bad. For a while, it looked like this was a black-and-white issue, with our government inexplicably backing the Dark Side. I have a feeling the lack of international support for evading a socialist coup has contributed to the paranoia. Way to go!

  • robc||

    Too bad joe isnt around to support Micheletti.

    What? He wouldnt?

  • ||

    Fuckity fuck.

  • robc||

    Pro Lib,

    good points. If Obama had supported Micheletti from the start, he could pressure him to do the right thing now. But, he threw that opportunity away.

  • ||

    By refusing to back the people protecting constitutional and limited government, we've declared our support for something else, haven't we?

    This administration is making the last one look good on foreign policy. I'm cowering under my desk in anticipation of how they screw up the situation in Iran. Maybe we'll just give them 50-100 H-bombs--that would show our good faith, disarm us somewhat, and solve the Middle East crisis.

  • ||

    While I certainly don't think that shutting down freedom of the press is something that should happen except in limited cases, and extreme situations, I find this whole episode despicable. How can we expect the current interim government to not be paranoid while it seems they have the rest of the world arrayed against them? What kind of hell must they think they've found themselves in when USA supports a would be dictator, in collaboration with Chavez, against their constitution? It boggles my mind.

  • ||

    In retrospect, the First Iron Law makes this totally predictable. You get more of what you reward, and less of what you punish.

    The Obama administration has rewarded Chavez for repressing the media and overriding his constitution, and punished the Hondurans for attempting to enforce theirs. Why shouldn't we expect Micheletti to emulate Chavez, who, after all is lionized in the halls of power that currently scorn Hunduras?

  • EJM||

  • ||

    "but as the Cato Institute's Juan Carlos Hildago argued in Forbes, it wasn't "a coup" and, contra Obama, is wasn't illegal."

    Well, he did argue that, but... have you actually read the Honduran constitution, Michael? Because I did, and it was very, very fuzzy about exactly what should happen when someone violates the constitution, so it's really unclear if the Supreme Court DOES have the power to do what it did.

  • ||

    It's very amusing how so many people (see alhues above) are utterly convinced that whatever simplistic narrative for interpreting complex events is the absolute truth, so long as it was fed to them by people from "their" side.

  • ||

    So, when the guy you folks supported actually turns out to be a would-be dictator, just like Obama suspected, it turns out, not that you were duped by your media handlers, but that it's all Obama's fault!

  • ||

    Re: The Honduran de jure government of Roberto Micheletti

    Rock, hard place and another one* bites the dust. I will blame the Obama administration (I'm looking at you, Hillary) for this horrible turn of events.

    *Latin American democracy. :-(

  • ||

    Gene,

    I don't get that. I'm not condoning what's happening; I'm just saying that the administration completely screwed this up. It served neither the cause of liberty nor America's interests to back someone who 100% attempted to seize power and was stopped by people who, all told, were trying to act constitutionally within the limits of Central American reality.

  • ||

    Gene, your moral high horse is a little tough to take, since the guy the Obama administration actually supports is a would-be dictator as well.

    And its true that the Honduran Constitution doesn't lay out a clear articulated process for what to do when some caudillo wanna-be is trying to subvert it. But it is clear that Zelaya did try to subvert it and was ineligible to continue in office.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Micheletti's decision not to try to maintain power after that all important upcoming election still makes him an anomaly for the region. It seems to me that he's racing Zelaya, Obama and the United Nations to November, at which time he can tell them all to fuck off, it's done. To me, it's almost worth the rights trampling to see Micheletti win that race.

    But then, I'm not one of the ones whose rights are being trampled.

  • ||

    Damn...i really wanted a liberty loving Honduras...

    Now it is just two tyrannical regimes beating each other up.

    Still it is funny that the left find it so important to support one of them.

  • ||

    We supported Pinochet, and Saddam Hussain. Supporting the wrong guy isn't new for POTUS.

  • ||

    """Damn...i really wanted a liberty loving Honduras..."""

    That's so 1980s Reagan.

  • Paul||

    Whelp, what can I say? Micheletti fucked up, and is now officially a tyrant, no better than Hugo Chavez. Let them all burn. Whatever sanctions Obama engages against Micheletti are now just and reasonable.

    God NPR is going to have a field day with this...

  • ||

    R C Deam-

    I have always wanted to ask you about the applicability of The First Iron Law to the drug war? Does it apply?

  • ||

    Seems to me that our constitution is fuzzy about enforcing presidential qualifications.

  • ||

    The Obama administration has rewarded Chavez for repressing the media and overriding his constitution, and punished the Hondurans for attempting to enforce theirs.

    That's a pretty big stretch, RC. How has Obama rewarded Chavez for these things? Failing to respond forcefully doesn't count.

    It seems to me that he's racing Zelaya, Obama and the United Nations to November, at which time he can tell them all to fuck off, it's done.

    It won't be settled though; the Zelaya backers will say the election is invalid due to the suspension of the rights to assemble and interference with the media (yes, I know they're hypocrites vis a vis Chavez, but this is the case where they're right).

    Basically, Micheletti is screwing this whole thing up. That still doesn't make the removal of Zelaya into a coup, but it definitely strengthens the Zelaya side's narrative.

  • ||

    Seems to me that our constitution is fuzzy about enforcing presidential qualifications.

    I think that's covered in Amendment II.

  • Mango Punch||

    Misserable... It's like watching a thriller in slow motion someone where someone is making a terrible decision and there's nothing you can do accept continue eating your popcorn and try to ignore the pit in your stomach...

  • ||

    Tulpa-

    Which is why any soldier/cop/secret "service" agent/FBI leech attempting to obstrcut a takedown of the negro communist should be lynched for treason.

  • Joe M||

    Stay classy, Honduras.

  • ||

    Michaeletti isn't running in the upcoming election, so how can he become a dictator? I don't see temporarily shutting down rebel rousing media outlets as a problem in the middle of the ultimate constitutional crisis.

  • ||

    Libertymike, after that I must withdraw any comment that made it appear that I agree with you, you fucking loon.

  • ||

    Tulpa-

    What is the problem? Can't express yourself without the ad hominems?

    What don't you like about my last post? Does it offend you? If so, why? Do you have a soft spot for folks who cannot hack it in the private sector? Do you have a soft spot for negro communists?

  • ||

    As I said in the previous Zelaya thread, they are going to have to reinstate him, wait for him to attempt hold his illegal referendum again, and then remove him legally.

    This action just makes it more likely that Zelaya will be able to remain in power beyond his constitutional term limits.

  • ||

    The Tulpa school of argumentation:

    If you don't like what another has to say, just call him "a fucking loon."

    Just calling another a "tard" or "wingnut" or a "loon" does not help one's argument. It hurts.

  • MWG||

    "So, when the guy you folks supported actually turns out to be a would-be dictator..."
    -Gene

    Michaeletti sucks as a dictator. He's not even putting himself on the Nov. "ballot". A half decent dictator would at least fake his own election...

  • ||

    Somehow I'm reminded of Gary Gunnels/Hakluyt/Jean Bart/those other nicknames.

  • ||

    Libertymike -

    Have you consdered it may just be Tulpa's honest judgement* that you are in fact "a fucking loon". Some folks do not suffer fools gladly.

    I'll bet he doesn't respectfully debate the bag lady preaching to the pigeons either.

    * And mine.

  • MWG||

    "We supported Pinochet, and Saddam Hussain. Supporting the wrong guy isn't new for POTUS."
    -Tricky

    ...Roosevelt met with Stalin and Nixon sat down with Mao... Oh I get it, you have a double standard against right-wing dictators...

  • Eric H||

    Just calling another a "tard" or "wingnut" or a "loon" or a "negro communist" does not help one's argument. It hurts.

    FTFY

  • Joshua Holmes||

    So the guy accused of subverting the Honduran constitution and infringing on Honduran liberty has actually done less than the supposed defender of both.

    God, Latin America is fun.

  • ||

    J sub D-

    That may be his honest judgment. But, instead of choosing the inarticulate, name-calling, anti-intellectual means of expressing that judgment, perhaps he could be more precise and comprehensive in setting forth his opinion.

    I believe that you have expressed an admiration for general sherman in the past. Should you be considered a "loon" for admiring a guy who delighted in slaughtering civilians, particularly "thumbing" uncooperative negros?

  • ||

    Eric H-

    So, Tulpa's use of loon in describing me is synonymous with the term negro communist? Tulps used the term to attack me. Did I use the term negro communist to describe him?

    Conflate much?

  • ||

    Is that little POS Zelaya still holed up in the Brazilian consulate? Is it an international consensus now that all wanna be little despots are offered immunity from their own citizens that want to out them? Hell no. Obama is an international joker. I am so embarrased by the Obama administration. Brazil, please put Zelayas ass on the street and let him take his chances. Why are you, Brazil, protecting this POS? Please know, Obama and Hitlary Clinton do not have the support of the American people. Put Zelaya out now! Let his buddy Chavez protect him!

  • MNG||

    Ah, I see Moynihan finally realized he couldn't just ignore the new regime's shenanigans, so he decided to acknoweldge it and spin it (it's really a trap laid by the evil Zelaya and brought on by the rough treatment the world gave this new regime).

    Borat: Ni-ice!

  • MNG||

    I'm curious as to what Zelaya's major sin is in you right-leaning folks' minds. Is it that he's friends with Chavez? Jesus you guys are like the characters in 1984 at the two minute hate...

    Fuck I had never heard of the damn guy until about two months ago.

  • ||

    MNG-

    Do you really think that Moynihan would spin? Not Mikey. Libertarians do not need to spin. Moynihan et al do anyways.

  • MNG||

    Pro
    You're a fairly sensible person. I can see your point of view. Zelaya seemed up to something with his "poll", I don't dispute that.

    But you really can't see how the administration would not back the military taking the guy and throwing him out of the nation? I mean, if there had been a legit arrest of the guy and a trial to follow and Obama balked, then he'd have some explaining to do in my opinion. But having the military kidnap someone and physically throw him out of the country is not the calm tranistion of power that serves everyone's interest in the region. How in the world could State just say "oh, that's cool."

    Besides, the OAS is our friend and they were totally pissed. Should Obama have told the OAS to go fuck themselves? That would have been in our interests how?

  • MNG||

    LM
    Moynihan's thing is to suck at the teat of the right while being able to coyly set himself off as an "independent libertarian" if need be. So, Zeyala's ousting was a big deal for the rabid right and he thought he'd score some points. But of course the other regime which he had to boost was acting in a decidely un-libertarian fashion and he got bit in the ass. Hence the face-saving post, and, since Moynihan is a libertarian remember, not a neo-con, got it, (wink), the spin.

  • Some Guy||

    And THIS is why I'm glad we didn't get our hands dirty. No good ever comes from backing a coup against an elected leader, no matter how bad he was. You always end up with a worse one.

    Now push them hard on fair, monitored elections and have them amend the constitution so you can actually impeach someone (how on Earth did they not have this?) and we can start to play nice.

  • MNG||

    "The Micheletti government announced the decree Sunday night, imposing sweeping restrictions on civil liberties. The decree allowed the government to shut down broadcasters, ban unauthorized public meetings, and allows the police to detain suspects without warrants.

    Early Monday, masked police officers took over a television station and soldiers formed a barricade around a radio station, shutting down two media outlets that had been the principal voice of opposition to the June 28 coup that ousted Mr. Zelaya."

    Viva la revolutione libertiana!

  • ||

    Zelayas major sin is trying to override the constitution of a sovereign country with free elections in order to set himself up as a life time dictator. You see anything wrong with that? I sure as fuck do, and I'm not a right leaning folk, I'm a Libertarian. Fuck Zelaya and the horse he rode in on.

  • ||

  • ||

    Zelayas major sin is trying to override the constitution of a sovereign country with free elections in order to set himself up as a life time dictator. You see anything wrong with that? I sure as fuck do, and I'm not a right leaning folk, I'm a Libertarian. Fuck Zelaya and the horse he rode in on.

    Stop attempting to explain to the left why their support for authoritarian populists is morally wrong. Just affect the fact that they are morally debased scumbags, who will support anything any anti-american and/or socialist government does. And then formulate your policies accordingly.

    It does no good to try to explain what justifies the Honduran government's actions. You just want to avoid giving them any unnecessary ammo, or helping them turn Zelaya into a cause celebre.

  • Hazel Meade||

    s/affect/accept

  • Bill McDonagh||

    I begged Mr. Ryan to hand Fontaine Futuristics over to Atlas' boys as a peace offering, but the stupid sod won't listen to reason. 'Stead he's just splicing his mob up, giving them more and tougher Plasmids. There's an arms race on here in Rapture, but it's not about who can build the best guns and the biggest bombs. It's about who can become less of a man and more of a monster..

  • MNG||

    Hazel
    I have no love for Zelayas. As I said upthread, I had never heard of the fucking guy until two months ago. As I also said, from the little I've read about it, he was certainly up to something fishy with his "poll."

    That said, I find the level of intensity on the part of the right in going crazy over this interesting. Ok, the guy is pals with Chavez, and Chavez=Teh Devil or something. But surely it's reasonable to see why our State Department would not be thrilled by the military kidnaping the head of state and exiling him without trial, or that when the OAS, with whom we've been trying to mend fences, is furious with this that we don't jump up and say "hey, it's all cool with us!"

    It just seems to me that the guy is the focus of the Right's Two Minute hate when a few months ago most of the right didn't know the guy from Adam Carolla, and that's odd to me.

  • MNG||

    From the Miami Herald:
    "The military officers who rushed deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya out of the country Sunday committed a crime but will be exonerated for saving the country from mob violence, the army's top lawyer said.

    In an interview with The Miami Herald and El Salvador's elfaro.net, army attorney Col. Herberth Bayardo Inestroza acknowledged that top military brass made the call to forcibly remove Zelaya -- and they circumvented laws when they did it."

    So if the State Department doesn't say "YAY!" to that, then they are EvilChavezLovers, and if anyone defends State for doing so they are people "who will support anything any anti-american and/or socialist government does."

    Er, OK Hazel, whatever. Oh Hazel, you're right wing slip is showing...

  • ||

    MNG, if Obama and the EU had just said the Honduran crisis was none of our business, it would have been forgotten within a couple of days. However, now we have the US frankly bullying a much smaller country's govt with no justification whatsoever.

    The fact that it's Obama helps too. Sort of like your lefty buddies stopped noticing US troop casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan (and civilian casualties for that matter) on 1/21/2009.

  • ||

    MNG,

    The removal of Zelaya from office was clearly legal.

    The removal of Zelaya from Honduras was clearly illegal.

    The illegality of the second does NOT affect the legality of the first.

  • ||

    That said, I find the level of intensity on the part of the right in going crazy over this interesting. Ok, the guy is pals with Chavez, and Chavez=Teh Devil or something. But surely it's reasonable to see why our State Department would not be thrilled by the military kidnaping the head of state and exiling him without trial, or that when the OAS, with whom we've been trying to mend fences, is furious with this that we don't jump up and say "hey, it's all cool with us!"

    Well, we find the hypocrisy of the left on the "He's a thug, but he's our thug" policies appalling. They feel no qualms about assigning moral responsibility to the US for the crimes of anyone we might have remotely supported, directly or implicitly, during the Cold War. They complain about American meddling and bellicosity in Latin America. Yet in the next breath they are excusing Castro, Chavez, Morales, Ortega, and anyone else around the world, some not even leftist, that are anti-American; Iran for example.

    The double standard is glaring and nobody ever calls them on it.

  • Some Guy||

    The double standard is glaring and nobody ever calls them on it.

    Those of us without our own double standard do so often. It's awesome to not have to defend a coup government turning into a police state just because they share some "right"/"left" affiliation with me, and to be able to mock those who do.

  • ||

    """...Roosevelt met with Stalin and Nixon sat down with Mao... Oh I get it, you have a double standard against right-wing dictators..."""

    Your attempt to peg me as a leftist is weak and stupid. I'm not. But if you want to add to the list of dictators we supported, go ahead.

  • ||

    "Radio Globo, however, often had breathless accounts of things that were totally untrue. On Friday, the station reporter who is holed up inside the Brazilian Embassy with Zelaya reported that the embassy was under attack. He described the army shooting and bombs going off, and he called on Zelaya supporters to rush to the compound.

    However, there were no shootings or bombs that day at the embassy."


    Assuming that is the radio station in question, some action was warranted. I'm not sure what would have happened if, for example, during the Waco seige a local radio station issued a call for patriots to attack the police and FBI. Not that I didn't want that to happen at the time, but I suspect that would be illegal, or close enough to get yo ass arrested, even in the U.S.


    NPR story


    I remember when the Honduras story first broke, NPR had it pegged as not a coup for about half a day. Then after Schlock Obama spoke on the issue they "got their minds right".

  • ||

    "Gene, your moral high horse is a little tough to take..."

    Yes, having your pretensions punctured IS often hard to take. You have my sympathies.

  • ||

    Honduran interim goverment has no option, this "freedom radios" are making insurrection calls and make people choose " ...are you with us! There`s no middle point...", constitution art 187 provides authority to restrict civil rights in times like this...is easy defend democracy 2000 miles from here...there are also normal people that only wants elections in nov and forget this mess...

  • Diogo||

    The argument that this wasn't a coup is ludicrous.

    Only a cynic or a person ignorant about the history of military coups in Latin America can make that claim. Many military coups enlist the Supreme Court and establish a civilian government in order to lend an appearance of legitimacy. For example, in the 1964 military coup in Brazil, which opened the door for a very dark age in Latin America, the Supreme Court immediately sworned the as President of the Republic the President of the Senate, the next person in line for succesion. The military learned these tricks a long time ago, and in Honduras this is the 6th time in last than 6 decades that they do it.

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