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About Lee Boyland
Lee Boyland earned a degree in nuclear engineering, then entered active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps. A graduate of the U.S. Navy’s Explosive and Nuclear Ordnance Disposal Schools, Boyland was assigned to the Defense Atomic Support Agency in Albuquerque, NM. A member of DASA’s Nuclear Emergency Team responsible for nuclear weapons accidents, including the rendering safe of armed nuclear warheads, he had access to the design details of every nuclear and thermonuclear warhead developed by the United States through the Mark 63 warhead. His duties took him to the Nevada Test Site on many occasions. After leaving the Army, he designed conventional and special ordnance, and demilitarized chemical weapons at Rocky Mountain Arsenal and Tooele Army Depot. He made the transition to hazardous waste management by applying aerospace combustion technology to incineration of Agent Orange. He is the author of The Rings of Allah and Behold, an Ashen Horse, which received critical acclaim by the Military Writers Society of America.
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Lee Boyland

Coup d’état or Justice?
July 8, 2009

According to the Honduran Constitution, President Manuel Zelaya cannot run for reelection. The president, with a congressional majority, can amend 368 of the 375 articles of the Honduran Constitution. Unfortunately for President Zelaya, the ones he can’t amend include term limits, system of government that is permitted, and process of presidential succession. Amending these pesky articles requires a National Constituent Assembly.

 

President Zelaya has shown disdain for Democracy. Juan Ramon Martinez, a Honduran political analyst, said, "...[President Zelaya] repeated on several occasions that democratic institutions are worthless and that democracy has not helped at all.”

 

Term limits are such an annoyance to would be dictators, and Zelaya decided to change the constitution. His methods followed the path used by Hugo Chavez when he transformed Venezuela into a leftist dictatorship by rewriting its constitution. Chavez’s election was challenged. The European Union refused to send observers, and the Organization of American States (OAS) team leader, Fernando Jaramillo, complained about intimidation tactics against the population. Chavez demanded that Jaramillo be recalled and he was.

 

Chavez invited the Carter Center to observe, and former President Jimmy Carter was welcomed warmly by Mr. Chávez upon his arrival in Venezuela. Exit polls showed Chavez was losing the vote decisively. But in the middle of the night, minority members of the National Electoral Council were kicked out of the election command center. Shortly thereafter, with Carter’s apparent approval, Mr. Chávez claimed victory. There was never a credible audit of the paper ballots against the tallies in the voting machines. Venezuelan patriots begged for help from the outside world, but the OAS and the U.S. found it impossible to endorse or reject the results, and thereby blessed the charade.

 

Zelaya’s first attempt to follow Chavez’s lead was made on November 11, 2008 when he ordered installation of a fourth ballot box for the November 29, 2009 elections. Traditional elections have three ballot boxes: one for the president, one for congress, and one for local mayoral candidates. The fourth ballot was to vote on whether or not the electorate wanted to choose a National Constituent Assembly. According to Zelaya, this proposed body would draft a new Honduran constitution which would allow him to run for additional terms.

 

Last year, Zelaya joined the Venezuelan-sponsored Alternativa Bolivariana para las Americas (ALBA), a "fair trade” and social justice bloc tirelessly being pushed by Caracas, which promotes economic and political ties between like-minded left-leaning Latin American nations. Both Venezuela and Bolivia have presidents who expect to be reelected for additional terms.

 

Zelaya issued executive decree, PCM-05-2009 which required the National Statistical Institute to hold the national referendum by June 28, 2009. Elections were scheduled for June 28th Since the decree is secret, its exact contents are unknown. The Supreme Court ruled the referendum unlawful. Zelaya ordered General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, chief of armed forces of Honduras to distribute the ballots. Velásquez refused and Zelaya fired him for refusing to help with the referendum.

 

Backed by Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, and Hugo Chavez, Zelaya attempted to hold the referendum by distributing the ballots in defiance of the Supreme Court ruling declaring the Sunday June 28th referendum illegal and ordering all election material confiscated. On Thursday, June 25th, President Zelaya and thousands of citizens stormed a Honduran air force base to rescue ballots that the military had refused to distribute. The controversial ballots said, "Do you think that the November 2009 general elections should include a fourth ballot box in order to make a decision about the creation of a National Constitutional Assembly that would approve a new Constitution?" Voters could vote YES or NO.

 

The Supreme Court was joined by the Attorney General and the National Congress in requesting Zelaya’s resignation. The National Congress unanimously voted to accept his letter of resignation, which Zelaya denies writing.

 

The Supreme Court ordered Zelaya’s arrest on June 26th for treason, abuse of authority, and other charges. He was arrested and deported to Costa Rico on June 28th. Zelaya’s attempt to circumvent the constitution followed the path taken by his biggest supporter, Hugo Chavez. Unfortunately for Zelaya, the Honduras government knew the plan.

 

Immediate support by other leftist "presidents” with visions of lifetime terms is understandable. Condemnation by democratic leaders is puzzling. The OAS suspended Honduras on Saturday, July 4th. Some called it a coup d’état, but a coup occurs when the military ousts the government and takes over. This did not happen in Honduras. The government not only is still in place, but has approved of the military’s actions and appointed an new president in accordance with the constitution.

 

On Monday, the day after the coup, President Obama said, "We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the president of Honduras, the democratically elected president there.” After Obama’s long delay in making a statement about Iran’s flawed election, one has to wonder at the speed in which he supported Zelaya.

 

U.S. Congressional Representative José Serrano (D)NY introduced H.J. Res. 5:, Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.

 

Thomas Jefferson thought term limits for the president to be a good idea. "If some termination to the services of the chief magistrate be not fixed by the Constitution or supplied in practice, his office, nominally for years, will in fact become for life; and history shows how easily that degenerates into an inheritance. Believing that a representative government, responsible at short periods of election, is that which produces the greatest sum of happiness to mankind, I feel it a duty to do no act which shall essentially impair that principle; and I should unwillingly be the person who, disregarding the sound precedent set by an illustrious predecessor, should furnish the first example of prolongation beyond the second term of office," Thomas Jefferson: Reply to the Legislature of Vermont, 1807.

 

Could there be a king in America’s future?

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