Our ambassador is the only person I met there who thinks there was a ‘coup.’ Let’s release the State Department legal analysis. Mr. DeMint, a Republican senator from South Carolina, is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
In the last three months, much has been made of a supposed military “coup” that whisked former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya from power and the supposed chaos it has created.
After visiting Tegucigalpa last week and meeting with a cross section of leaders from Honduras’s government, business community, and civil society, I can report there is no chaos there. There is, however, chaos to spare in the Obama administration’s policy toward our poor and loyal allies in Honduras.
That policy was set in a snap decision the day Mr. Zelaya was removed from office, without a full assessment of either the facts or reliable legal analysis of the constitutional provisions at issue. Three months later, it remains in force, despite mounting evidence of its moral and legal incoherence.
While in Honduras, I spoke to dozens of Hondurans, from nonpartisan members of civil society to former Zelaya political allies, from Supreme Court judges to presidential candidates and even personal friends of Mr. Zelaya. Each relayed stories of a man changed and corrupted by power. The evidence of Mr. Zelaya’s abuses of presidential power—and his illegal attempts to rewrite the Honduran Constitution, a la Hugo Chávez—is not only overwhelming but uncontroverted.
As all strong democracies do after cleansing themselves of usurpers, Honduras has moved on.
The presidential election is on schedule for Nov. 29. Under Honduras’s one-term-limit, Mr. Zelaya could not have sought re-election anyway. Current President Roberto Micheletti—who was installed after Mr. Zelaya’s removal, per the Honduran Constitution—is not on the ballot either. The presidential candidates were nominated in primary elections almost a year ago, and all of them—including Mr. Zelaya’s former vice president—expect the elections to be free, fair and transparent, as has every Honduran election for a generation.
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By Jordan Fabian
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has blocked Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) trip to Honduras slated to begin Friday, according to DeMint’s office.
But the chairman’s office claimed that the DeMint trip was stopped because the South Carolina Republican is blocking two of President Barack Obama’s nominations: Auturo Valenzuela, Obama’s nominee to be assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Tom Shannon, the current assistant secretary and nominee to be ambassador to Brazil.
DeMint’s office informed The Hill of Kerry’s decision Thursday afternoon.
On Thursday morning, the freshman Republican announced that he would lead a congressional delegation to Honduras on Friday ahead of the country’s Nov. 29 elections. The U.S. State Department, which acknowledges ousted President Manuel Zelaya as the legitimate ruler of the Central American nation, has said it will not recognize the contests because of ongoing political turmoil.
“No U.S. Senator has yet been to Honduras to assess facts of crisis. [Kerry] & Obama admin using bullying tactics to hide truth,” DeMint, who also sits on the Foreign Relations panel, said on Twitter after he heard the trip would not occur.
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