Subject: Honduras: Which view is questionable?
Matthew Levine, in his letter to the St. Petersburg Times, "Questionable views," July 10, says that he has "a few problems" with the point of view of the St. Petersburg Times July 8 story "In Tampa, speaking up for big brother after coup." It appears that this is due to his unawareness of other facts not presented by the article or which he is otherwise unfamiliar with due to the scope of the subject.
First he asks, "What kind of democracy features constitutional clauses that cannot be amended...?" Try the United States, which is not really a democracy, but a republic governed by a Constitution after which Honduras's is modeled. Article V governing the amendment process to the US Constitution has a proviso stating, among other things, "that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate," making equal representation of States in the Senate unamendable, a nod to the sovereignty of the States.
Second, he seems to have missed the point that Manuel Zelaya repeatedly and defiantly disobeyed Honduran laws and the Honduran Constitution in his pursuit of the extension of the Presidential term. The lack of details in the article is partly to blame for his ignorance, but if anyone wants to look, many more facts about Zelaya's run-ins with his own government can be found in hondurasnews.com, the excellent July 1 Washington Post editorial by Alvaro Vargas Llosa "Honduras's Coup is President Zelaya's Fault," and the well researched Oliver North article at townhall.com "Wrong Again," July 4.
Third, Zelaya's pursuit of his ambitions was intimately tied up with his realignment of Honduras with the Chavez regime, through joining it with organizations like Petrocaribe, in which Honduras and other member countries take a portion of Venezuelan oil revenues in exchange for serving as mouthpieces for Venezuelan interests. The ballots he was going to use to institute the illegal referendum were printed in Venezuela, and the plane he exited the country in was provided by Venezuela. Chavez for his part, the "popular" leader of Venezuela, has closed down almost all free media in his country, and himself only narrowly survived an impeachment by referendum a few years ago.
Being democratically elected is not a license to violate the Constitution and election laws of the republic which one is the chief executive of. That's what makes the difference between a democracy and a republic, and ultimately the difference between mob tyranny and freedom under the rule of law.