Tuesday, July 07, 2009

My Understanding of the Political Situation in Honduras

My previous post contains information circulating from the White House and from the media regarding the situation in Honduras.

As many of you know, I was in Honduras while the transfer of power was taking place. I have dear friends who live there and are watching their government go through a very difficult time. I've been asked this question a great deal, so here is how I understand the situation in Honduras:

The former president (Mel) wants to eliminate term limits. However, the Honduran government is similar to ours with three branches of government (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial). They also have a constitution. In order to eliminate term limits, the constitution has to be changed.

Mel decided to have a survey of the people to see if they wanted it on the ballot to change term limits. This survey was supposed to be held on Sunday (we were scheduled to leave the country the following Monday). The Congress and the Supreme Court of Honduras advised Mel that what he was doing was illegal and if he proceeded, he would be removed from power. However, he gathered support from other Latin American leaders (with Venezuela's Chavez heading up the gang) and he stirred up the people of Honduras. He told them to go to the Air Force Base where the ballots were being held and to protest.

It was interesting for me to hear the Hondurans discuss what they should do. Many of them weren't sure whether it was wise or not to go vote on Sunday. Some believed that the government only needed their presence to approve a "yes" vote on a pre-filled ballot. But, then, if they didn't go vote if they were opposed, there would be no opposition voice heard. It was interesting to have to consider those options. I don't know what I would do. I can't imagine wondering if the election was fixed and by merely showing up to exercise my right to vote, I was really voting for the opposition.

On Friday, we registered with the State Department as the situation started to get tense. We wanted to make sure we could get out of the country if something did happen or if there was real violence.

When we woke up on Sunday morning, it was to the news that Mel had been removed from power and flown to Costa Rica. The Vice-President resigned because he wants to run for President in November. So, the President of the Congress was sworn in and made the new President of Honduras.

Martial Law was instituted and a curfew had to be followed. No one on the roads before 6am or after 9pm. We expected extensive delays and military check points as we headed to the airport on Monday, but we arrived safely and in time for our flight.

From everything I could see, this "coup" (as everyone seems to want to call it) was not a surprised to the former President. He was warned what would happen if he insisted upon violating the constitution of the country. The government of Honduras acted in accordance with their system of government and allowed democracy to work. President Obama is calling Melaya the "Democratically Elected President of Honduras" and that is technically true. However, he violated his oath of office when he chose to trample on the constitution in an effort to remain in power indefinitely.

It concerns me to see us on the same side as Venezuela's Chavez. We are striving to promote democrazy all over the world, but we are spending time reprimanding a democrazy that IS working! But, that's another soapbox altogether.

Please pray for the people of Honduras and for their government. Please pray that this situation can be resolved peacefully and that the best solution for Honduras and her people is reached. I left my heart there with my sisters (Meily, Cristy, Cesia, Nicolle, Karla and Dulce). Please keep them and their families in your prayers. (Karla and Dulce live in the capital city of Honduras where the majority of the turmoil exisits).

No comments: