DeMint-What I Heard in Honduras

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: Honduras | Tags: , , , , |

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.

Tegucigalpa

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.

Read the rest online WSJ

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How Did Kerry Try To Thwart DeMint’s Honduras Trip — And How Did DeMint Foil Him?

Posted on October 3, 2009. Filed under: America | Tags: , , , , , , |

So what exactly is the deal with Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) trip to Honduras — which is being done in an effort to support the recent military coup, contrary to current U.S. foreign policy — and the failed effort by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) to stop it?

Frederick Jones, communications director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a Kerry spokesman, explained the distinction to us: Kerry was not blocking DeMint from going to Honduras — any American can legally travel there — but the issue was over government funding and plane travel for an official fact-finding mission. “Clearly, as an American citizen, Sen. DeMint is free to travel to Honduras commercially.”

Kerry, as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, blocked DeMint’s funding because DeMint has been holding up key nominations for foreign policy officials in Latin America — thus obstructing the committee’s business and the U.S. government overall in working on the region. In response, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stepped in and obtained the funding for DeMint from another source, which has not yet been identified.

Calls to the DeMint and McConnell offices were not returned. Jones’ statement, firing back at DeMint for blocking the nominations, is available after the jump.

Read more at TPM

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