Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Obama and Honduras, a missed opportunity

Honduras holds a special place in my heart. I have served there 4 times along with others to help people in a struggling 3rd world country entrenched in severe poverty.

10 years ago, Honduras, which was struggling at the time, was hit by hurricane Mitch. This hurricane stayed for 6 days dumping rain. The mountainous country lost thousands of people. The entire downtown section of Tegucigalpa , the capitol, was under a lake of water. Honduras is still recovering from this disaster, and needs our help both as a nation, and individuals.

About two weeks ago, the country of Honduras exercised its constitutional law by escorting it’s president Zelaya out of the country. A new president was appointed to serve out the term of the “ex president”. The former president had in fact removed himself from office by his own act.

Let me explain. Honduras had enacted a new constitution 28 years ago in order to stabilize the country after all of the trouble in Central America in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The new constitution had certain provisions in it to prevent a “dictatorship”. One of these was that a president could only hold office one time and for only 4 years. This provision could only be changed by congressional approval.This is a direct quite from the constitution: "No citizen that has already served as head of the Executive Branch can be President or Vice-President. Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform, as well as those that support such violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years".

The former president had been planning to force a referendum allowing him to run for office again in consecutive terms. He did not have the backing of congress. The Supreme Court ruled that he could not do this either.

So this act is illegal in Honduras under its current constitution. Now the government was only fulfilling its role to follow the law of the constitution when they escorted mister Zelaya the former president out of the country.

Quote from the Gateway Pundit "The chief executive was detained shortly before voting was to begin on a constitutional referendum the president had insisted on holding even though the Supreme Court ruled it illegal and everyone from the military to Congress and members of his own party opposed it.

Imagine if our President Obama decided to ignore our constitutional 2 term limit and run for a third term by his onw decree. The other 2 branches of the government would immediately take action as they should.

The former president is a leftist and had become very close to Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Fidel Castro of Cuba. Naturally all of the Scialist countries were upset with the fact that the Honduran president would not fulfill his dream of becoming a socialist dictator.

for many years, up to the past 2 weeks, America has given a lot of aid to Honduras ,and has helped to stabilize the country. This former president along with Hugo Chavez, and Manual Noriega, recently have been very critical of America saying that it meddles in Central America and throws its weight around with little regard the real welfare of the countries.

President Obama and many other democratic world leaders had a chance to come along side of Honduras and support them in their democratic constitution. Instead he criticized the government of Honduras and told them to reinstate the “former president” against their constitutional law.

Now perhaps the leader of the most powerful nation in the world is more interested in being friends with Chavez and Castro and the likes of these leaders than he is in this tiny 3rd world country that is exercising the kind of democracy that we have.

Obama made a mistake, in my humble opinion, and has now further alienated a tiny democratic country.

This is a people who are in desperate need of democratic friends. They are getting hit from the right and the left. Chavez is cutting off oil supplies, while Obama has cut off aid.

Honduras is not perfect by any means. Just like America there is corruption and waste. There is corruption at every political and economic level. The aid we send does not always seem to get down to the people. That is one of the reasons I travel to Honduras every year to provide free dental care.

The United States has led the Organization of American States to unanimously suspend Honduras's membership pending determination of whether the action was a military coup. All aid is suspended also pending a determination. Quote by the Voice of America "The United States is withholding disbursement of most U.S. aid money for Honduras pending a formal determination by State Department lawyers that the events of June 28 constitute a military coup and require an aid cut-off under U.S. law".

I think it is time for the United States and President Obama to step up and support a country that is surrounded by turmoil, yet is trying to get it right.

Just my humble opinion

Phillip C. Neal DDS

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About Me

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Born in the Midwest. Married with 6 children and 3 grandchildren. Attended Maine West High School, Harper Jr College, Northern Illinois University, the University of Illinois College of Dentistry. Practice in Crystal Lake, Illinois.