"Honduras is a poor nation, and got worse on Zelaya's watch. But rather than blame the global downturn or his own failures, Zelaya sought to rally the masses behind him by fingering the nation's elites as behind the nation's woes.
"He sought vindication by ordering a national referendum that, he said, could alter the Constitution and allow him to run for re-election. And when every free, democratic institution from the Electoral Tribunal to the Supreme Court said no to his proposal, Zelaya pushed ahead anyway.
"Last week, he called the military on the carpet, demanding it support his referendum. Gen. Romeo Vasquez, the head of the armed forces, considered this an illegal order, and refused to play ball -- so Zelaya fired him. (He accepted the defense minister's resignation, too.)
"The next day, the Supreme Court ruled the firing unjustified. Zelaya refused to obey its decision....He'd set Sunday as the day of his contra-constitutional referendum. Instead, the Congress, the courts and the military stepped in and pulled the plug on Zelaya's maneuverings.
"They sent him packing on a plane to Costa Rica. Then, in a deliberate, bipartisan manner, they selected a civilian president to serve through scheduled elections in November."
The NY Times account was headlined, "In Honduras Coup, Ghosts of Past US Policies." The first two paragraphs:
"President Obama on Monday strongly condemned the ouster of Honduras's President as an illegal coup that set a 'terrible precedent' for the region, as the country's new government defied international calls to return the toppled president to power and clashed with thousands of protesters.
"'We do not want to go back to a dark past,' Mr. Obama said, in which military coups override elections. 'We always want to stand with democracy'."
It was not until the twelfth paragraph that the ghost-busting Times mentioned Zelaya's firing of the head of the military and the Supreme Court's decision that his referendum was illegal. The Times never even mentioned the Electoral Tribunal's judgment against Zelaya.
Imagine the following scenario. In early 2008 George W. Bush announced that he was going to flout term limits and arrange for a referendum to change the law. Congress said no. The Supreme Court said no. So Bush then asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff to support him. They said no, so Bush fired them. So Congress and the Supreme Court then decided to call in the National Guard to escort him out of the White House and fly him up to Canada.
Bush would obviously never have tried this. But if he had, do you think the NY Times -- and Barack Obama -- would be decrying a subsequent "coup"? No, they would have expressed outrage against Bush every step of the way.
There's no question that the CIA has meddled in Central American politics in years past. But count on the Times to excoriate past US administrations for that before even mentioning the naked power grab the leftist President of Honduras was up to just last week.
The funniest part of the whole affair was how Zelaya had treated Hillary Clinton when she had traveled to Honduras for an OAS conference.
The Times reported, "He reportedly annoyed her when he summoned her to a private room late in the night after her arrival and had her shake hands with his extended family."
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, anyone who annoys Hillary is rendering perfectly poetic justice.
On the other hand, anyone who acts so self-indulgently should be overthrown just on principle, power grab or not.