Juan Carlos Hidalgo on the Removal of a President in Honduras

From Forbes: “It Wasn’t A ‘Coup’

Article 239 says that any person who has held the office of the presidency cannot be president or vice president again. Furthermore, it states that the officeholder “that violates this provision or proposes its reform, as well as those who support such a 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.”

I added the italics for emphasis. Note the use of the word “immediately.”

Also, the Honduran constitution stipulates that the only mechanism through which it can be amended is by two separate votes in Congress by absolute majority (two-thirds). However, Article 375 states that under no circumstance can the constitution be amended to allow for presidential re-election.

The purpose of such congressional power and limits on presidents remaining in office beyond one term was and is to keep out dictators, tyrants, caudillos, “strong men,” and coup leaders, such as Zelaya, who initiated a military coup when he ordered the military to use force to override the decisions of the electoral court, the supreme court, the congress, and the attorney general that his plans were illegal. Zelaya was, accordingly, removed. Whether it was the best way to remove him is certainly debatable, but that he was removed legally, after an arrest warrant from the supreme court, is not in doubt.

“Democracy” is not about following mad leaders who seek power forever, but about, in Jefferson’s phrase from the Kentucky Resolutions,

…free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power: that our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go; …. In questions of powers, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.

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