Miguel Estrada is Honduran, a Harvard Law School graduate and former editor of the law review. He was nominated for the DC Circuit by President Bush, but was filibustered by Democratics who worried he might (as a charismatic latino) be a very appealing Supreme Court nominee later on.
Apart from the wise latina that heads up the Supreme Court of Honduras itself, he may be the best equipped authority in the world to discuss the legal issues surrounding Zelaya’s ouster. He has weighed in today at the LA Times (via The Corner):
He has come out firmly in the camp that this was no coup. He distinguishes the exile from Zelaya’s removal from office, and says that only the exile was possibly extra-legal. In this case, Estrada argues that Zelaya would only have an immigration complaint against the government.
Even if the exile itself was extra-legal, I argue it was still tactically the correct move for Hondurans to counter the Chavez offensive. It has dramatically complicated attempts by Venezuela and its allies to infiltrate the country at Zelaya’s behest. It has also gained time, which as I’ve discussed works against Zelaya and Chavez.
For example, Estrada’s analysis is noteworthy in that it is published in the LA Times, a typically left leaning mainstream paper. So we can see the passage of time is allowing for facts to be sorted and the tide of opinion is beginning to turn. Zelaya therefore is frantically trying to alter the game clock. He called a somewhat silly 24 hour ultimatum for his reinstatement, and is joining Chavez in attempting to undermine the legitimacy of November elections. Both are signs that they see events are not going their way. Micheletti should hold the line.