U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday the coup that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was illegal and would set a "terrible precedent" of transition by military force unless it was reversed.Strange thing is, I found in the WSJ a piece that makes it sound like it's not a coup:
"We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the president of Honduras, the democratically elected president there," Obama told reporters after an Oval Office meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
Zelaya, in office since 2006, was overthrown in a dawn coup on Sunday after he angered the judiciary, Congress and the army by seeking constitutional changes that would allow presidents to seek re-election beyond a four-year term.
Honduras's Supreme Court gave the order for the military to detain the president, according to a former Supreme Court official who is in touch with the court.I would have sworn that usually a coup doesn't include official actions of the other branches of government against the president. Make one wonder what exactly he was up to.
Later, Honduras's Congress formally removed Mr. Zelaya from the presidency and named congressional leader Roberto Micheletti as his successor until the end of Mr. Zelaya's term in January. Mr. Micheletti and others said they were the defenders, not opponents, of democratic rule.
"What was done here was a democratic act," Mr. Micheletti, who was sworn in as president Sunday afternoon, said to an ovation. "Our constitution continues to be valid, our democracy continues to live."I wonder why this hasn't gotten much press coverage.
Mr. Micheletti is a member of Mr. Zelaya's Liberal party. But he had opposed his plans for a referendum that could have led to overturning the constitution's ban on re-election, allowing Mr. Zelaya to potentially stay in power past January, when his term ends.
Mr. Zelaya, a frequent critic of the U.S., has been locked in a growing confrontation with his country's Congress, courts, and military over his plans for the referendum -- planned for Sunday -- that would have asked voters whether they want to scrap the constitution, which the president says benefits the country's elites.
The Supreme Court had ruled the vote was illegal because it flouted the constitution's own ban on such referendums within six months of elections. The military had refused to take its usual role of distributing ballots. But Mr. Zelaya fired the chief of the army last week and pledged to press ahead.
The Telegraph has a quote:
"Today's events originate from a court order by a competent judge. The armed forces, in charge of supporting the constitution, acted to defend the state of law and have been forced to apply legal dispositions against those who have expressed themselves publicly and acted against the dispositions of the basic law," the country's highest court said.I'm wondering how exactly this removal was illegal when, as reported, the courts and congress had him replaced because of his own disregard for the law.