The Blog

Obama's Confused Honduras Policy

5:35 PM, Sep 28, 2009 • By BARRY CASSELMAN
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As Venezuelan President-for-life Chavez strutted around Italy recently as if he were playing Benito Mussolini, his Honduran wannabe, deposed President Zelaya, continued to receive strong support and advocacy from the Obama administration. Speaking for the United States, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that we were canceling most of our financial aid to the small country, and hinted that we would not recognize their free national election scheduled at the end of November. (Yes, you heard right, the U.S. is threatening not recognize a free election in Honduras.)

Now Zelaya has managed to sneak back into Honduras, and has taken up residence at the Brazilian embassy there. From that temporary sanctuary (there is a warrant for Zelaya's arrest), he has proclaimed himself president of Honduras again, perhaps his own attempted imitation of Mussolini, who after being deposed as dictator of Italy, was reinstalled as Duce of the tiny Republic of Salo by Hitler and the Nazi army for a few months (until he was unceremoniously executed by Italian anti-Nazi partisans).

Zelaya was legally removed from office after he attempted a plebiscite coup a few month ago. The Honduran constitution explicitly forbids such a plebiscite, and states that any elected official who tries to implement such a plebiscite is automatically removed from office. The Honduran Congress and Supreme Court then replaced Zelaya with the leader of the Congress who is also a member of
Zelaya's political party, and, to avoid bloodshed, he was exiled to another country.

Zelaya's friends in the region, Chavez of Venezuela, Morales of Bolivia, and of course, Castro of Cuba howled and complained at this because they had hoped that through the plebiscite Zelaya would be able to create a Marxist totalitarian regime like their own in Honduras.

The surprise came when President Obama agreed with Chavez, Castro and Morales, and other South American leftists, and joined their chorus to return Zelaya to power.

Meanwhile, the temporary Honduran government has leaned over backwards to restore constitutional and democratic government to the country, including scheduling a new election for president at the end of November.

Small countries do count. When Marxists attempted to transform little Grenada into a satellite of the Soviet Union years later, President Reagan intervened and said no. Now we have an analogous circumstance in Honduras, and the official policy of the United States is on the side of the totalitarians!

Zelaya's latest gambit--sneaking into Honduras and Holing up in the Brazilian embassy--has of course embarrassed the Obama administration which has condemned the gambit in harsh terms (while at the same time still advocating his return to office). The U.S. is backing the wrong horse in Honduras. Verbal criticism isn't enough.

Our policy in Honduras needs to be revised, and pronto.