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.