Monday, June 29, 2009

Honduras-The Pajama Revolution

"Last night, I was President of Honduras. Now I'm here in Costa Rica."

Back in the early 1980s, when I was working with DEA in Los Angeles, our enforcement group had arrested a third country national for a drug extradition to Sweden. His attorney filed all the appeals with the courts as his client remained free on bond. Late one afternoon, we got word that the courts had denied his appeal and authorized the extradition to go through. Apparently, the subject and his attorney were the last to know because our agents spent the evening making reservations for three on SAS to Stockholm for early the next morning. Sure enough, two of our agents picked him up at his house and took him straight to the airport and off they went before his attorney could file an appeal.

I was reminded of that story upon hearing of the coup that removed Honduran President (now-ex president) Manuel Zelaya from power. Seems the military (acting on authorization from the Supreme Court)had gone to the presidential place and whisked Zelaya off to lovely Costa Rica-still dressed in his pajamas.

Zelaya was in the process of throwing out the Honduran constitution by setting up a sham referendum that would allow him to extend his term in office. Problem is, no such voter referendum is allowed by the Honduran constitution. Zelaya plugged ahead anyway, firing his military chief when he refused to cooperate. In the end, the constitution prevailed, at least in Honduran fashion.

Zelaya had been trying to move his country left in the mode of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Not surprisingly, Chavez, along with Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Fidel Castro in Cuba, have condemned the coup. They have company. Barack Obama has also condemned the coup and called it "illegal".

Not only that, but now it is revealed that the Obama administration, having gotten an inkling of the impending coup, tried to head it off by asking the military not to intervene, but they ignored the requests from Washington.

So, how this plays out is any body's guess. Zelaya is now scheduled to come to New York and address the United Nations. Hopefully, he won't still be in his pajamas.

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