Earlier I went on a tirade about the Obama administration’s foreign policy and its alliance with Latin American dictators against constitutionalism and the rule of law in our ally, Honduras. While I maintain my criticisms of US policy under the President and Secretary Clinton, the situation in Honduras may not be as bad as first thought in the wake of the agreement between the legitimate Honduran government and deposed President Zelaya. Otto Reich at National Review’s The Corner blog explains why:
Contrary to press reports, Zelaya is not in any way automatically returned to office by the accord. First, there must be a vote by the entire Honduran congress on whether Zelaya is fit to return to office. Prior to that, the Honduran supreme court, which ruled against Zelaya in June by a vote of 15 to 0, must issue an opinion on the same.
In other words, Zelaya must pass two big tests which he failed before: a judicial review by the highest court in the land, and approval by the legislature. While Zelaya’s Liberal party has the largest faction in the congress, it is also the party of Micheletti. According to my Honduran sources, there is no way that Zelaya can win a free and transparent ballot. At the present time Zelaya can count on less than 25 percent of the congress. In June, the same legislative body voted 122 to 6 against him. There will doubtless be a battle this time, and the anti-Zelaya forces fear that Hugo Chavez will try to buy votes for Zelaya. They are also concerned that the U.S. government not involve itself in the legislative process, especially U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens, who is widely seen as favoring Zelaya. The accord was facilitated when Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon reportedly promised Micheletti that Llorens will not attempt to influence the vote.
If Reich is right, then he correctly calls this a defeat for the leftist ideologues in the White House, something anyone who cares about democracy should be grateful for. He worries that Venezuela’s dictator Hugo Chavez might try to buy-of votes in the Honduran Congress to get a majority to restore his protege Zelaya to power; let’s hope that the Hondurans, who’ve shown great resolve and commitment to the integrity of democratic institutions so far, continue to hold their ground.