Honduran Crisis

June 29, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

The military coup’s pre-emptive action in the overthrow of the democratically elected President
Manuel Zelaya allegedly tampering with the state constitution in an effort to extend his government rule attracted worldwide condemnation demanding the reinstatement of the ousted President to restore peace and order in the nation.

It appears from the news reports that democracy jeopardized by the military coup as well as the ousted President Manuel Zelaya and subsequently Congress in a swift reaction with their appointee, Roberto Micheletti as the interim President until January 27, 2010.  Honduras crisis has emerged in the wake of the impending 2009 democratic election.

Central America has been subject to military coups in the past that has debilitated the economy in that region and the functional democracies in the recent decades promoted stability much required for the economic and political progress in the American states.

President Barack Obama has effectively conveyed the message by rejecting the status quo in Honduras – “a terrible precedent for military coups as a means of political transition rather than democratic elections.”

The appropriate action for the Congress would be to reinstate the ousted President Manuel Zelaya currently exiled in Costa Rica. It’s important for democracy to prevail in the nation due for a democratic election in November 2009.  Any desirable changes must occur through democratic process accompanied by a political mandate in accordance with the state constitution.

Meanwhile, the Presidential appointee Roberto Micheletti expected to oblige democracy by gracefully inviting the incumbent President Manuel Zelaya to resume power until the new President assumes office through scheduled democratic elections in November 2009.

Further, it’s imperative for the current President Manuel Zelaya to respect the constitutional rule of law and the nation’s highest judiciary power, the Supreme Court by refraining from any amendments to the constitutional clause barring extension or excessive use of Presidential power through referendums or any other means.

The people of Honduras and the nations in the Western Hemisphere deserve peace and order after prolonged political instability brought upon through internal and external military coups until the dawn of the twenty first century.

If the latest attempts by all parties sharing equal responsibility in the existing political chaos was to defend the state constitution, then a serious constitutional breach committed with the Congress approval of the aggressive military coup enabling the democratic disruption in progress.

Undemocratic measures do not serve the intended purpose to protect the constitution limiting the democratically elected President to one-term governance. In fact, democracy challenged when the nation’s armed forces intervene in the political process. The defense force is traditionally and exclusively responsible to defend the nation against potential threats and attacks from any sources, not an auxiliary for political transformation.

According to news releases thus far, there is no evidence of President Manuel Zelaya using violent practices for the purported referendum to extend his rule beyond the constitutional limit.

Although, such initiative best averted through democratic protocol laid in the constitution for peaceful resolution of similar situations i.e. Congress representing the people in a democracy overwhelmingly ruling against the ‘apparently’ undesirable ballot measure.

Central and Latin America cannot afford any political turmoil in the region and therefore the people of Honduras deserve a non-violent and amicable solution to the present political problem with the Congress repeal of the militarily deposed President Manuel Zelaya and establish law and order in the nation.

Honduran Congress’ inaction in this respect could exacerbate the brewing tension with the neighbors and international community at large as a result of the self-imposed political crisis.

On that note, I wish the people of Honduras and the entire Central, Latin and South American nations long overdue peace, progress and prosperity.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant