Liberals are disputing the Conservative view that President Obama is siding with Chávez and Castro in the Honduras crisis. They are mistaken.
On June 28, the Congress and Supreme Court of Honduras ,with the assistance of the Honduran Armed Forces, physically removed President Manuel Zelaya from his residence and expelled him from the country. The new Honduran government states President Zelaya’s removal from office was the result of legal orders issued by its supreme court. In a matter of hours, a new government was sworn in. It promises, unlike Zelaya, to abide by the Constitution, move ahead with national elections, and respect basic rights and liberties. Civilian, not military, leaders have taken charge.
The Obama Administration has reacted harshly to the turn of events. It supports the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Both have issued resolutions condemning the removal of Zelaya. An OAS resolution of June 30 demands Zelaya’s returns and states the OAS will only recognize Zelaya’s selected officials. It gives the interim government 72 hours to comply or face expulsion. No discussions, no investigation, no hearing of counter arguments, no cooling-off period!
The sad reality is that the Obama Administration has allowed the situation in Honduras to spin out of control. Driven by external backers – Hugo Chávez, Daniel Ortega, Fidel & Raul Castro – ex-President Zelaya deliberately pushed his country to the brink of institutional civil war. On the way to the train wreck which the Administration surely saw coming, no voices were raised in protest, no public statements of concern issued. At the end of the day, even U.S. friends in Honduras ceased to listen and did what they felt was necessary for their country.
Unless a miracle compromise is found in the next 72 hours, the Administration will have successfully maneuvered into a perfect lose-lose situation. If Zelaya is returned, he will hail Chávez, Castro, etc. as the true saviors of his regime, with a grudging recognition to the U.S. Zelaya will be granted a six month opportunity to foster polarization, pillory the democratic opposition, and destroy as much of the independent institutions of his country as possible. If the new government resists the OAS resolution, Chávez and company will undoubtedly act, saying their interventions (whether diplomatic, economic, or even military) in Honduras are being done to uphold an OAS mandate and defend democracy. Actions the U.S. clearly supports.
Sadly, in an effort to play by the rules of the Inter-American Democratic charter, to appear not to meddle in Latin America, and to blindly follow rather than lead multilateral diplomacy,.the Administration is making Latin American much safer for Chavista subversion, for destabilization, and for the slow strangulation of individual freedoms and liberty, all in the name of defending democracy.
The Obama Administration and others in the “international community” may not be siding with Chávez, Castro, etc, but it sure looks as if they are playing into their hands. Either way, the results are the same!