In an article over at The American Enterprise Institute titled An Undemocratic Tide in the Americas, Newt Gingrich calls on the Obama Administration to reverse their wrongheaded position on Honduras and the country’s November elections.
What is the Obama administration thinking?
A close ally of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez sits barricaded in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa, having been lawfully convicted of attempting a slow-motion coup in Honduras. Paid bands of his rent-a-thugs are terrorizing and looting the city.
And the Obama administration is effectively cheering them on.
I like the way that Newt described ousted president Zelaya’s takeover attempt as a “slow-motion coup.” As the former Speaker details, Zelaya’s attempt to change the Honduran constitution to remove the limts on presidential terms was only the latest in a string of such changes to Latin American constitutions by democratically elected strongmen supported by Hugo Chavez.
Although Chavez, like Zelaya, was democratically elected, he has subverted democracy in Venezuela to ensure his rule will be uncontested for decades. And one-by-one, each of the members of ALBA have followed Chavez’s lead and changed their constitutions to remove limits on the number of terms their presidents can serve.
First Bolivia and Ecuador changed their constitutions. Then, this summer, Chavez allies Zelaya in Honduras and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua began agitating to do the same.
Having a personal interest in the events in Honduras, I have previously blogged about this here and here, and I agree completely with Gingrich’s position on the subject. Pointing out that the Obama administration not only insisted that Honduras reinstate Zelaya but has stated that they will not accept the results of the upcoming elections, Gingrich calls on the Obama administration to “reverse itself and announce that it will accept the results of the November elections.”
Newt closes with a rhetorical question, asking “what is the Obama administration thinking?”, and the only answer that I can come up with really bothers me. The only reason that I can see that the president would be so obviously wrong on this is that he is being influenced by his ideological affinity with Chavez and the Latin American leaders that the Venezuelan strongman supports.
Though a “let’s all get along” naive ideologue like Obama would never see it this way, I submit that we need an updated Monroe Doctrine that applies not to Europe but to strongmen who rule countries within the Americas: attempt to subvert a democracy and you have to deal with us.