Defending Democracy in Honduras

Sunday, July 5, 2009

As a Honduran citizen, I'm extremely concerned that U.S. policymakers are misinterpreting the events that led to the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya ["U.N. General Assembly Backs Ousted Honduran; On Visit to U.S., Zelaya Also Wins OAS Support but Doesn't Meet With Top Americans," news story, June 30].

The governments that have joined the Venezuelan-led Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean (ALBA) are unfortunately misusing the Inter-American Democratic Charter to support Mr. Zelaya and serve their own interests in the region. The U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa is fully aware that Mr. Zelaya has violated Honduras's constitution, laws and court rulings.

Mr. Zelaya and small segments of the population tried to write a new constitution, change the democratic system and seek his reelection, which is prohibited by the constitution.

Honduran democratic institutions are working to protect the constitution from the political and social groups trying to shred it. They should be recognized for their commitment to the rule of law, not punished with non-recognition by the United States, the world's foremost democray.

I am certain that the U.S. government will quickly realize that what happened in Honduras cannot be compared with past military coups in Latin America. Our new president, Roberto Micheletti, should be supported in his commitment to hold general elections in November and to hand over power to a newly elected government.

JORGE HERNÁNDEZ-ALCERRO

Managua, Nicaragua

The writer is a former Honduran ambassador to the United States.

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