Thursday, July 2, 2009

DeMint & Ros-Lehtinen on Honduras vs Obama

Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, made the following statement about the ongoing situation in Honduras:
Excerpt - "The people of Honduras have struggled too long to have their hard-won democracy stolen from them by a Chavez-style dictator...

“For weeks leading to his arrest, Zelaya flouted the constitutional authority of the Honduran Congress and Supreme Court... Zelaya’s open defiance of democratic norms has set Honduras on a path toward violence, instability, and tyranny.

“I am hopeful that as President Obama grows in office, he will eventually turn away from despots like Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Castro, and Zelaya, and give the United States’ full-throated support to the people of any country who are fighting for the same values we cherish and defend in America. The people fighting for freedom around the world, in Iran and Honduras, should never have to wonder which side America will choose between freedom and tyranny.

“President Obama’s call for the reinstatement of Zelaya is a slap in the face to the people of Honduras. And the resolution written by the Organization of American States tramples over the hopes and dreams of a free and democratic people.

“The rule of law is working in Honduras. President Obama should not undermine the democratic institutions that guarantee freedom by forcing an illegitimate President back into power."

“This is not an ideal transition, but Hondurans are adhering to their constitution. The United States should support the Honduran people and their legitimate leaders in their brave and heroic stand for freedom and the rule of law.”
Read full statement.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen penned a letter to President Obama asserting that the administration's failure to respond to Manuel Zelaya's "violations of Honduran rule of law," well before Mr. Zelaya's ouster, "marked a serious failure in U.S. diplomacy and democracy advocacy." And "as such, many would argue,"that the administration "is complicit in... the constitutional crisis in Honduras."
Excerpt - Dear Mr. President:

"I would like to take this opportunity to raise growing concerns about... your Administration’s response to the constitutional crisis in Honduras...

"I expected the Administration to adopt a deliberative, responsible approach to developments in Honduras. However, the U.S. stance from the onset appears to have been focused on supporting one individual, President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales, irrespective of the Honduran constitution, rule of law, and democratic institutions...

"Mr. President, the constitutional crisis in Honduras did not commence on Sunday, June 28th but, at least, three months earlier, when Mr. Zelaya... [called] for a referendum to extend his presidential term.... Despite the clear limitations established in.. the Honduran constitution concerning the presidential term, the United States appeared to unconditionally embrace Mr. Zelaya’s plans.

"The Honduran Supreme Court, the Administrative courts etc. all declared the referendum to be illegal. Additional legislative action was taken by the Honduran National Congress on June 23rd to prevent Mr. Zelaya’s violations of Honduran rule of law... The U.S. failed to take effective steps, bilaterally or through the Organization of American States, to support these legitimate efforts...

"On Friday, June 26th, Mr. Zelaya issued another decree ordering government employees to participate in the “Public Opinion Poll to convene a National Constitutional Assembly,” which would have reportedly triggered Article 239 of the Honduran constitution requiring he be relieved of his duties and office. The U.S. failed to respond. This marked a serious failure in U.S. diplomacy and democracy advocacy. As such, many would argue, that the U.S. is complicit in the escalation of the constitutional crisis in Honduras.

"At the OAS and the UN General Assembly this week, the U.S. accepted resolution texts drafted by Mr. Zelaya... and agreed to proposals put forth by the leaders of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia—all for the sake of consensus. Joining the “race to the bottom” or serving as an echo chamber is not helpful to our political, economic, or security interests in the region...

"Mr. President..., we must work together to advance core U.S. principles and achieve the stated goal of consolidating and strengthening the rule of law and democratic institutions in our Hemisphere..."

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