Thursday, July 02, 2009

Must-read: Pablo on coups

over at Kiwipoliticao, Pablo dissects the Honduran coup. It's well worth reading. His conclusion? The Honduran military overstepped the mark in kidnapping the President and forcible exiling him from the country when there were clear constitutional means to remove him (such as impeachment, or, if their allegations of drug smuggling are correct, arrest and trial).

In passing, Pablo also considers whether any coup against a democratically elected government can be justified. And he draws the line roughly where I do:

when a freely-elected government suspends democratic rights (including elections, civil liberties and rights to fair trial), imprisons and kills its opponents, outlaws competing political parties, censors or closes down the media, destroys opposition (or “suspect”) organisations, and in general assumes an authoritarian character once it is installed in office (NOTE: to my mind nationalisation of foreign businesses or private property is NOT a justification, although fair compensation and legal disputation is expected).
The classic right-wing justification - that you can overthrow a government to prevent it from going "socialist" (raising taxes) - is simply a refusal to accept democracy.