Thursday, July 30, 2009

Constitutions and Treason

I think our current administration has a flawed approach to foreign policy. The much vaunted Obama charisma was to mollify the angry foreign streets and comfort those threatened by US imperialism. Despots and tyrants would put aside their petty desires and jealousies for the greater good. Iran and North Korea would see the wisdom of Obama's preaching and sit in earnest discussion to further world peace. Well, ... maybe not.

I had a life changing trip to Honduras after hurricane Mitch to install 8 newly developed portable water treatment units. The main killer associated with natural disasters is not usually the disaster, it is the water-borne illness that follows weeks and months later. The small privately owned environmental engineering company I worked for had personal relationships with the Episcopal Church in Honduras. Immediately after the storm, when the owner of the company asked the Episcopal Bishop what he (Honduras) needed, that answer was water. After a quick survey of available water treatment units, it was clear that none were large enough to be of use and, at the same time, portable enough to move across a country with no roads. We needed something that would produce a lot of water and that would fit on a single 4 wheel drive pickup. Our owner pulled about 20 of us with related experience into the back parking lot and in two days we had a working proto-type. A week or so later, we had built the first 8 units, tested them, and broke them down for shipment. That effort turned into Water Missions International. If you want to give money to an organization that puts that money to very good use, write them a check.

All that said because I fell in love with Honduras and the people there. Even in their absolutely destitute poverty, they were warm and generous. Now, our Gov't betrays them and I take it personally.

It has been difficult to tell in our popular press exactly what has been happening there. I was puzzled when I heard that our government was siding with Zelaya, the ousted president, because it sounded like Zelaya was violating the Honduran constitution and that the actions of the legislature, courts, and military had been entirely legal. But, obviously, I thought, surely our State Department would not side with one who wanted to uproot the national constitution of Honduras against the legitimate Honduran government. Surely, there must be more to the story.

Well I still don't understand. Today, I finally found a clear legal presentation of the situation written by Miguel Estrada, a Honduran immigrant to the US and a lawyer. There can be no doubt that the removal of Zelaya was legal and appropriate. The documents substantiating the actions are posted on the Honduran Supreme Court's web site.

It is clear that Zelaya tried to uproot the Honduran constitution, violated explicit portions of that document, and committed acts that were/are explicitly listed as treasonous in their constitution. His removal from office was entirely legal and appropriate.

So, I am left wondering why our current administration supports Zelaya and is tightening the pressure on the legal and right govermnent of Honduras to reinstate him.

I can only come up with one idea and I hope it is horribly wrong. The only reason I can see for the Obama administration to support Zelaya and reject the legitimate government of Honduras is because Obama (and, maybe those around him) relates to our constitution in exactly the same way Zelaya related to his. Maybe they see our founding document as an impediment to their ends. I really hope that is not the case. I really hope that there are other, less objectionable, reasons for our government supporting a treasonous deposed president in opposition to a legitimate and right and functioning Honduran gov't.

Any ideas? I'm open and hoping to have that idea replaced with a more palatable one.

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