Was the Honduran Coup Warranted?

Despite Barack Obama insisting that the United States shouldn’t be involved as the Iranian regime was killing its own citizens in the streets, the White House hasn’t hesitated to come out strongly against the military coup in Honduras this past weekend. The president is jumping right into the fray:

In an unusual concurrence of views, the Obama administration and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said they still recognized Mr. Zelaya as Honduras’ president. The State Department called the events an “attempted coup” and urged Mr. Zelaya’s “return and restoration of democratic order.”

U.S. officials said they were engaged in multinational efforts to resolve the crisis, through the Organization of American States and European allies. At the same time, Washington wants a resolution “free from external influence and interference,” a senior official told reporters during a conference call organized by the State Department.

The official, who spoke on the condition that he not be named, said the U.S. Embassy in Honduras was “consistently and almost constantly engaged in the last several weeks working with partners” and that U.S. officials were “in contact with all Honduran institutions, including the military.” However, the military stopped taking the embassy’s calls since the coup attempt, the official said.

Suddenly the Obama Administration isn’t too concerned with the appearance that the United States is interfering with the internal matters of Honduras. The Wall Street Journal notes that President Obama is actually eager to interfere with the overthrow of the leftist leader:

The Obama administration and members of the Organization of American States had worked for weeks to try to avert any moves to overthrow President Zelaya, said senior U.S. officials. Washington’s ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, sought to facilitate a dialogue between the president’s office, the Honduran parliament and the military.

The efforts accelerated over the weekend, as Washington grew increasingly alarmed. “The players decided, in the end, not to listen to our message,” said one U.S. official involved in the diplomacy. On Sunday, the U.S. embassy here tried repeatedly to contact the Honduran military directly, but was rebuffed. Washington called the removal of President Zelaya a coup and said it wouldn’t recognize any other leader.

The U.S. stand was unpopular with Honduran deputies. One congressman, Toribio Aguilera, got prolonged applause from his colleagues when he urged the U.S. ambassador to reconsider. Mr. Aguilera said the U.S. didn’t understand the danger that Mr. Zelaya and his friendships with Mr. Chavez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro posed.

What was Zelaya doing at the time the military detained him and threw him out of the country? Blatantly violating his nation’s constitution. This wasn’t some crazy plan hatched by the military for no reason. The Honduran Supreme Court had ruled the referendum illegal, but Zelaya decided to go through with it anyway. The military then refused to distribute the ballots for the illegal referendum, so Zelaya replaced the head of the armed forces. Zelaya was then replaced with the civilian leader next in line constitutionally.

Democracies shouldn’t permit coups whenever the leader is unpopular. But Zelaya wasn’t just an unpopular leader — he was ignoring the constitution and Supreme Court, and sought to carry out an illegal referendum. He then ditched the head of the military when he refused to be complicit in the illegality. So, the military threw out Zelaya and handed power over to the next civilian in line.

Frankly, the coup was justified. You can’t tolerate a leader ignoring the constitution and his nation’s checks-and-balances. Zelaya was acting as a dictator and was duly removed, as it turned out, by force. President Obama shouldn’t be intervening on behalf of Zelaya.

It’s a sad truth, but Obama is suddenly okey dokey with interference because Zelaya is a leftist who was removed for ignoring the constitution.