In a report by the ranking Republican, Senator Lugar, to the U.S. Senate committee on foreign relations, Multilateralism in the Americas: Let’s start by fixing the OAS, the Organization for American States is criticized for its failure in relation to the coups in Venezuela 2002 and Honduras 2009, as the report puts it. The OAS reacted when the military intervened, but not when the president violated the constitution. On page 10 it says: “In both Venezuela and Honduras, executive defiance of other government institutions provoked the breakdown of democratic rule.”
That sentence is very disturbing. It reveals a fundamental lack of understanding of the concept of separation of powers.
The Honduran Congress has shown a much higher degree of understanding of democracy than those staff writers in the U.S. Senate.
The Hondurans, unlike the Americans, understood that executive defiance of other government institutions constituted a breakdown of democratic rule – it didn’t provoke it, it was it.
I find it troubling that staff in the Congress of the United States of America have so little understanding for democracy. Then again, it does explain why they did not impeach president Bush XLIII, although there was prima facie evidence that he, just like Chávez and Zelaya, also violated his country’s constitution.
My recommendation would be to look at their own House first, so to say. How would the U.S. democratic institutions react if something similar were to happen here? If Obama would try to overthrow the Constitution, would you just sit idly by, Senator Lugar? Not that I think there is any risk, but it may be in order to contemplate the situation. The U.S. is a very young country and lacks domestic experience from these things. It is worth keeping this saying in mind: “You have to learn from other people’s mistakes, because you don’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”
Sweden has had some showdowns between the executive and the popularly elected parliament in its history. It should be perfectly clear that since no branch of government is above the other, a president who defies the other branches of government, beyond a certain point which reasonably would be the use of force against them, has lost any legitimacy and can be deposed as allowed for by the Constitution. This is precisely what Honduras did.
Once you can respond to how the U.S. would handle a crisis such as the one Honduras was faced with, then, Senator Lugar, you have the standing to make recommendations to the OAS, or to criticize Honduras.