Mel Zelaya is, or was, the President of Honduras.
To change the constitution in Honduras you have to convene a constituent assembly. The president cannot do that. The Honduran congress must approve a national referendum calling for the constituent assembly to consider changes to the constitution. Zelaya didn’t like the part about the constitution requiring approval of the congress before a national referendum could be called. So … he decided to call one on his own.
OK .. so here we have President Zelaya calling for a national referendum when he doesn’t have the power to do so. The next problem is obtaining ballots! Since the Honduran congress had not called for the referendum, as required by the constitution, the government certainly wasn’t going to print the ballots! After all, how smart would it be to print ballots for an illegal referendum? So … Zelaya had to get the ballots printed elsewhere. Here’s an idea! Get his pall Hugo Chavez to print them! Yes! That will work!
So Chaves prints Zelaya’s ballots and they’re shipped to Honduras. Enter the Honduran Supreme Court. The court considers Zelaya’s election in light of the requirements of the Honduran constitution, and rules the referendum illegal and unconstitutional. The court then issues an order to the Honduran military telling them not to do the logistical work associated with Zelaya’s phony referendum. Remember, now … all of this has one primary goal. To get rid of the term limits limiting Zelaya’s rule in Honduras.
After the supreme court’s decision, General Romeo Velasquez tells President Zelaya that he is subject to a proper order from the Supreme Court and will not be able to carry out Zelaya’s referendum. So … Zelaya fires him. The Supreme Court orders Zelaya to reinstate Velasquez, and Zelaya refuses to do so.
At this point Zelaya’s ego is getting the better of him. If the military won’t run his illegal referendum, he’ll just do it himself. He gins up a mob and leads them to the military compound where Hugo’s ballots are stored and then has his supporters begin distributing the ballots to the masses.
Based on the Supreme Court’s ruling the Honduran attorney general said that the proposed referendum was illegal and said that he would arrest anyone attempting to carry out the election. Zelaya was arrested by the military and was escorted out of the country.
Now … does this sound like a military coup-de-etat to you? The attorney general and the military were operating in accordance with the Honduran rule of law. They acted under a valid court order. Coup? The Honduran congress has convened and designated a successor president, all in accordance with the Honduran Constitution. Military coup? The presidential elections set for November .. the election that Zelaya was trying to get around … will go on as scheduled. A blow for democracy?
Fidel Castro, Daniel Noriega, Hugo Chavez … all on the side of Zelaya.