Monday, June 29, 2009
all is calm
All is calm today in Honduras as the country moves forward from the historical events of the past few days. Given our sordid history of dictators and coups, the authors of the 1982 Constitution included provisions to protect it from exactly the type of actions former President Manuel Zelaya was attempting to carry out. Ninety-eight percent of the Constitution can be modified by the Congress, however there are certain 'bedrock articles' that cannot be reformed. These include articles referring to the form of government, the presidential term, and the prohibition of any citizen to be President once he or she has already held that position in any form (article 374). Any attempt to reform these articles are considered the crime of sedition. Mr. Zelaya's attempt to call a new constitutional assembly were clearly aimed at undoing these articles, as otherwise there would be no need for a new constitutional assembly. [Note also that the only institution authorized to call a constitutional assembly in Honduras is the Congress, by majority vote of the deputies.] It can be argued that yesterday's events were not a coup d'etat but rather just the system working as it was designed to. The 1982 Constitution remains in effect today and the election of Mr. Micheletti by Congress to replace Mr. Zelaya was done in accordance with the law.