Rep. Mack introduces bill slamming Honduras's Zelaya

A Florida Republican who has been critical of leftists in Latin America introduced a resolution Wednesday condemning ousted Honduras President Manuel Zelaya for his "unconstitutional" actions.

The resolution titled "Expressing the support of the House of Representatives for the people of Honduras," introduced by Rep. Connie Mack with 10 Republican co-sponsors, came a day after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Zelaya, who had attempted without success to fly back to Honduras over the weekend.

ADVERTISEMENT
State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Wednesday afternoon that the U.S. was "glad to play a role" in the mediation agreement — which has Costa Rica President Oscar Arias brokering the dispute between Zelaya and Honduras interim leader Roberto Micheletti — arrived at by a number of Organization of American States partners. The Obama administration has stressed that it believes Zelaya, removed from the presidential palace on June 28 and sent into exile, to still be the rightful ruler of the Central American nation.

Micheletti arrived in Costa Rica on Thursday for talks, but Zelaya vowed before the meeting that he would only listen to the mediator, not negotiate.

Mack's resolution slams Zelaya for the constitutional referendum that the president pushed to serve additional terms, as well as for the poor living standards in Honduras under his term and the relations he has with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro.

"Manuel Zelaya’s record on quashing freedom looked like it was ripped from Hugo Chavez’s playbook," Mack said in a statement. "Zelaya trampled the Honduran Constitution, pushing for an illegal referendum to allow him to rule indefinitely. He fired the country’s top military leader because he refused to go along with Zelaya’s unconstitutional orders.

"Through his actions and his close relationship with Chavez, Zelaya made it clear that he was willing to allow Honduras to become a satellite for the spread of his Bolivarian Revolution."

The co-sponsors of the resolution, which "calls on all parties to seek a peaceful resolution that is both legal and constitutional," are GOP Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.), Zach Wamp (Tenn.), Ted Poe (Texas), Jeff Fortenberry (Neb.), Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.), Chris Smith (N.J.), Dan Burton (Ind.) and Gus Bilirakis (Fla.).

The resolution was introduced the same day that 17 Republican senators sent a letter to Clinton urging a "thoughtful and thorough review" of the Honduras situation before siding with Zelaya.

"We have yet to see the legal arguments from your department refuting the constitutional authority the Honduran government operated under and how Mr. Zelaya's removal from power was anything but legal and legitimate," the senators wrote. "Please immediately provide us with this legal determination and in the meantime, pending full-disclosure and review of the facts, U.S. assistance should not be interrupted to Honduras."

Mack's resolution has been referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. As the ranking Republican of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Mack will also participate in a subcommittee hearing on the Honduras crisis on Friday.

“The United States and freedom-loving nations across the globe must stand with the Honduran people during this state of upheaval," Mack said. "We urge a legal and peaceful resolution to this crisis that respects freedom, the rule of law and democracy.”