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Sunday, June 28, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

With all due respect to Fausta (Coup in Honduras - Correction: This is NOT a coup), yes, it was a coup.

A coup is, by definition, an extralegal seizure of power. It doesn’t matter if one likes the person who is removed or not or whether one likes that person’s political allies. Beyond that, it even doesn’t matter if the person removed from power was engaged in illegal activities, as in properly institutionalized democracies, there are things like rule of law and due process that must be followed and if they aren’t, then one loses one’s institutionalized democracy.

In short: process matters and I can find nothing in the Honduran Constitution that would allow for the 3am arrest of the president and his subsequent exile. Indeed, if such a provision exists, it would be quite unique in the annals of constitutional design.

It really doesn’t matter that the Honduran Supreme Court of Justice and other institutional actors in Honduras have declared the action legal, that doesn’t make it so. Indeed, those who foment coups normally assert the legality of their actions, even when they are blatantly not so.

I would also note that a coup is still a coup even if the military doesn’t take power.

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3 Responses to “Yes, Yes it was a Coup”

  1. On the Honduran Coup Says:

    [...] Yes, Yes it was a Coup [...]

  2. TMLutas Says:

    If the advocacy of the reelection of the president causes the loss of Honduran citizenship and the President of Honduras advocated his own re-election, did he become ineligible to be president through the loss of his citizenship? The expulsion of a non-citizen at inconvenient hours at the convenience of the State is not an unheard of thing.

    I am not a lawyer and certainly not an expert on Honduran law. I suspect that if this rationale has not yet been proferred, it eventually will be. The question is whether it is correct. I don’t know and I suspect that you do not either.

  3. Steven L. Taylor Says:

    Perhaps, but the part you are skipping over and that so many people seem to be forgetting is due process. It is one thing to state that X is a crime with Y punishment, but is altogether another to have it proved via a legitimate, legal process.

    For example, it is illegal to rob a bank, but one is not convicted and sentenced in one feel swoop, even if one is caught in the act.

    Beyond that, it is actually unclear as to how much Zelaya called for re-elected specifically, as the plebiscite he proposed was to call a vote in November for a constitutional convention, not re-election specifically.

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