The attitude of the international community toward the internal political affairs of Honduras threatens to undermine the foundations of international law and, therefore, of international order. It is fitting that we review what is at stake.1
All Countries are Equal Under the Law
The fundamental principle of law that regulates relationships, both between individuals and between nations, is that justice must be equal for all. It does not depend on riches or poverty, strength or weakness, but on its own intrinsic moral strength.2
The Principle of Sovereignty
By natural law, both individuals and States have a right to govern themselves and seek their own betterment and perfection according to their talents, guided by the light of reason, which clarifies the will and moves them to make the right choice.
Governments in relation to their subjects, and nations in relation to each other, can intervene and curtail that natural liberty only when there is a grave violation of the natural law which is damaging to the common good, be it national or international.
Accordingly, bringing international pressure against a given country, be it through the media, international financial organizations, or nations that use economic, political or military means to force a nation to modify its institutions, laws or policies, can be justified only in the face of grave and persistent violation of the natural law, as happens, for example, in communist and socialist countries such as Cuba and Venezuela.
In Honduras There Has Been No Violation of the Natural Law
However, that is not what is happening in Honduras, according to the most reliable public sources.
President Manuel Zelaya Rosales, at the end of his mandate, was removed from his post through the enforcement of legal provisions enshrined in the Honduran Constitution and which are fully compatible with natural law. These legal provisions reflect a specifically local situation produced by historical precedents and are aimed at preventing the chief executive from perpetuating himself in power such as happened with the Castro brothers in Cuba and Colonel Hugo Chaves in Venezuela.
Violating the Constitution
In violation of the Honduran Constitution, Mr. Zelaya sought to hold a referendum that would rewrite the Constitution and thus permit his reelection as president. When the chairman of his Joint Chiefs of Staff refused to obey his unconstitutional order, Mr. Zelaya sacked him. However, the Honduran Supreme Court, recognizing that the military commander’s destitution was null and void, reinstated him to his post.3
And by virtue of the danger the situation posed to the normalcy of the rule of law in the country, the legislative and judiciary branches of government, with the support of political parties, including that of President Zelaya, declared him deposed as mandated by article 239 of the Federal Constitution and expelled him to Costa Rica.
A Joint Statement by the Catholic Bishops of Honduras
A joint statement by the Catholic bishops of Honduras, read on television by Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, clearly shows how the deposition of Manuel Zelaya Rosales was in full compliance with the Constitution. The statement reads:
Barely three weeks ago, in a General Assembly of this Episcopal Conference, we clearly expressed that social justice, dialogue and consultations within the legal framework are needs of our people to be recognized and respected.
Facing the situations of recent days, we have used the information found after searching competent instances of the State (Supreme Court of Justice, National Congress, Public Attorney’s Office, Executive Branch, Supreme Electoral Tribunal) and many other civilian organizations. All of those documents show that all Honduran democratic institutions are operating and in place, and the execution of their mandate has occurred in strict adherence to law. All three branches of the State: executive, legislative and judicial are within democratic legal boundaries, according to the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras.
The Constitution of the Republic and the judicial administrative organs allow us to conclude the following:
According to Article 239 of the Constitution of the Republic “whoever proposes the reform” of this article, “shall immediately cease performing the functions of his post, and shall remain disabled for the exercise of all public functions during a period of ten years”. Therefore the referred person, at the moment of his capture, was no longer performing the duties of the Republic’s Presidency.
On June 26, 2009,
However, Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga and the bishops disagree over the exile imposed on Manuel Zelaya: “No Honduran Citizen can be expatriated neither surrendered to a Foreign State” (Article 102, Constitution of the Republic). All of us believe we deserve an explanation of the happenings of June 28.”
Behind the Campaign against Honduras Looms the Specter of Socialism
Political, economic and media pressures now being brought to bear upon the Honduran government run clearly counter to the justice that must reign among peoples and the respect for the legitimate sovereignty of nations.
As a matter of fact, such pressures are favoring the advance in Latin America of the old socialism pushed forward by Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. These countries, along with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, are leading the campaign on behalf of Mr. Manuel Zelaya.
In Defense of the Natural Order
The Honduran crisis is an extremely grave situation from the standpoint of international law. Thus, all must defend the natural order and support the Honduran nation in this crisis. However, Americans must especially be concerned, because should this pressure succeed, it threatens to increase the spread of avowed or disguised socialist dictatorships in this vital region of the globe.
May the Virgin of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, bless and assist in all efforts to protect the region from dictatorships and governments that sponsor socialism, an ideology so viscerally opposed to natural law.
- Honduran Episcopal Conference’s Communiqué, http://www.elheraldo.hn/var/elheraldo_site/storage/original/application/290e6297
- Id. Ibid.
- The many pictures of Mr. Zelaya with Fidel and Raul Castro, Colonel Hugo Chaves, Evo Morales, Rafael Correa and Daniel Ortega, demonstrate his socialistic tendency. (see for example http://www2.esmas.com/noticierostelevisa/internacional/048473/copy-muestran-fotos-fidel-castro-con-manuel-zelaya; http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.foxnews.com/images/542562/1_63_e320.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,530086,00.html&usg=__3Rb61X3xyGLVB-s7SL6xwb1TAiQ=&h=240&w=320&sz=45&hl=en&start=2&um=1&tbnid=5aN9LA8d2KpOOM:&tbnh=89&tbnw=118&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dmanuel%2Bzelaya%2Braul%2Bcastro%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1;http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/files/images/2009/02/ABN-02-02-2009-22091322114IMG_3067.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/4165&usg=__uchIzQAws_3MYFr5YXuETpQ-1uw=&h=1333&w=2000&sz=386&hl=en&start=5&um=1&tbnid=VhqmSJXxB11j_M:&tbnh=100&tbnw=150&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dmanuel%2Bzelaya%2Bevo%2Bcorrea%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1;http://www.daylife.com/photo/0frEc4c1imgTP?q=Daniel+Ortega;