Zelaya couldn’t get the ballots printed in Honduras since the referendum had been pronounced illegal by the country’s Supreme Court AND the electoral board. Therefore, the government couldn’t print them. No private printer was willing to break the law, either. So Zelaya had the ballots printed in Venezuela and flown in.
The Supreme Court instructed the military (who would be the ones doing the job) NOT to distribute the ballots to the polling stations.
led thousands of supporters to recover the material from an air force warehouse before it could be confiscated.
His supporters broke into the military installation where the ballots were kept.
Zelaya’s supporters started distributing the ballots at 15,000 voting stations across the country. This act placed him in outright defiance of the law, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court.
When the armed forces refused to distribute the ballots, Zelaya fired the chief of the armed forces, Gen. Romeo Vásquez, and the defense minister, the head of the army and the air force resigned in protest. The country’s Supreme Court voted unanimously that Vásquez be reinstated.
Tuesday last week the Honduran Congress, led by members of his own party, passed a law preventing the holding of referendums or plebiscites 180 days before or after general elections.
The Honduran Congress, led by members of his own party, named a commission to investigate Zelaya. The Commission found (my translation: If you quote it, please credit me and link to this post)
Zelaya acted against the mandates of legal and electoral laws, the Public Ministry, the National Congress, the Attorney General, and other institutions of the State, which had declared the poll illegal
On Thursday (h/t GoV) the Attorney General requested that Congress impeach Zelaya
The position of the Honduran Congress, the Supreme Court, and the attorney general is that the Constitution is to be strictly adhered to.
This is why Zelaya was removed from power: all branches of government and the country’s institutions recognized that he had broken the law.
Again, the military - by placing him in an airplane to Costa Rica early Sunday morning before he carried through the unlawful poll - acted in compliance with the Supreme Court and the Honduran Congress.
Enforcing the Honduran Constitution:Mary O’Grady, in today’s Wall Street Journal, writes (emphasis added),
Honduras is fighting back by strictly following the constitution. The Honduran Congress met in emergency session yesterday and designated its president as the interim executive as stipulated in Honduran law. It also said that presidential elections set for November will go forward. The Supreme Court later said that the military acted on its orders. It also said that when Mr. Zelaya realized that he was going to be prosecuted for his illegal behavior, he agreed to an offer to resign in exchange for safe passage out of the country. Mr. Zelaya denies it.
Many Hondurans are going to be celebrating Mr. Zelaya’s foreign excursion. Street protests against his heavy-handed tactics had already begun last week. On Friday a large number of military reservists took their turn. “We won’t go backwards,” one sign said. “We want to live in peace, freedom and development.”
Besides opposition from the Congress, the Supreme Court, the electoral tribunal and the attorney general, the president had also become persona non grata with the Catholic Church and numerous evangelical church leaders. On Thursday evening his own party in Congress sponsored a resolution to investigate whether he is mentally unfit to remain in office.
Former Argentine Ambassador to the U.N. Emilio Cárdenas told me on Saturday that he was concerned that “the OAS under Insulza has not taken seriously the so-called ‘democratic charter.’ It seems to believe that only military ‘coups’ can challenge democracy. The truth is that democracy can be challenged from within, as the experiences of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and now Honduras, prove.” A less-kind interpretation of Mr. Insulza’s judgment is that he doesn’t mind the Chávez-style coup.
The struggle against chavismo has never been about left-right politics. It is about defending the independence of institutions that keep presidents from becoming dictators. This crisis clearly delineates the problem. In failing to come to the aid of checks and balances, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Insulza expose their true colors.