Army overthrows Honduras president in vote dispute

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breezescream
Army overthrows Honduras president in vote dispute
Cueball Cueball's picture

Will be looking forward to the universally supportive round the clock coverage of the protests in support of the outsted President, and the imposition of the fascist military dictatorship.

Fidel

CIA and USsA's military are behind this, we can be sure. Honduras, just a few days drive from Crazy George Bush's Texas,  is one of the original banana republics of the vicious empire. DAY-O!

sanizadeh

Cueball wrote:

Will be looking forward to the universally supportive round the clock coverage of the protests in support of the outsted President, and the imposition of the fascist military dictatorship.

The round of the clock coverage of mass protests in Iran was due to the work of millions of Iranians inside and outside Iran who, in a united front against the regime and through every means of communication available, ensured that the eyes and the ears of the world remain with them. If the people of Honduras feel strongly about their ex-president, they will do the same.

p.s. Editted my comments about the Honduras president as I obviously don't have enough information about the situation there.

Bärlüer

What you've heard seems to me at best to ignore much of the nuances of the actual situation, and at worst to be not much more than knee-jerk ideological regurgitation.

Here are some details which haven't "trickled down" to the mainstream media and which help better understand the political process at stake:

Quote:

  1. What had been set for today, what the coup leaders have impeded, wasn't the permanent re-electikon of Zelaya or a lifelong presidency. It wasn't even a reform of the constitution. What was going to be voted on was an unrelated referendum to ask Hondurans if they would like, in the next elections, the ones in Noviembre, to vote to create a Constituent Assembly to reform the constitution. In summary, it was something so inoffensive as to ask whether to ask to reform the consitution.
  1. The current constitution of Honduras establishes one term of 5 years for Presidents. Zelaya finishes his mandate in Noviember, and in whatever case, he couldn't have been re-elected because any reforms would take place after he's out of office. It would have been a lot for a vote for reforming the Constitution in November. He has himself denied that he wants to run for re-election.
  1. The Supreme Court that ordered the expulsion of Zelaya wasn't the Supreme Court in the European sense. To start, the full name is the Supreme Electoral Court, and it's composition is determined by the Parliament (in other words, of the parties that are confronting Zelaya, the coup leaders are from the military), and it is authorized to regulate elections, not detain elected presidents. It isn't the first game from this "institution." When Zelaya unexpectedly won the elections the SCE delayed his installation for a month with technical excuses.

(Originally from the Escolar.net blog, translated from Spanish by a Daily Kos commenter.) 

(Edit: I'm leaving this post as is despite the severance of the logical link between my post and yours, sanizadeh, in the hope that it can be informative for some babblers.)

NDPP

Extreme Alert: Military Coup in Honduras

http://americasmexico.blogspot.com/2009/06/extreme-alert-military-coup-i...

In Solidarity with the Organizations of Via Campesina and the People of Honduras:

http://www.narconews.com/Issue57/article3581.html

Cueball Cueball's picture

sanizadeh wrote:

Cueball wrote:

Will be looking forward to the universally supportive round the clock coverage of the protests in support of the outsted President, and the imposition of the fascist military dictatorship.

The round of the clock coverage of mass protests in Iran was due to the work of millions of Iranians inside and outside Iran who, in a united front against the regime and through every means of communication available, ensured that the eyes and the ears of the world remain with them. If the people of Honduras feel strongly about their ex-president, they will do the same.

p.s. Editted my comments about the Honduras president as I obviously don't have enough information about the situation there.

Ho. Hum.

The round the clock coverage had everything to do with the decision of western media sources to run the story. They could easily have the proper media there in hours. It's a four hour flight from Florida tops. CNN doesn't usually cover facebook and twitter. Having a compliant media simply begging for positive coverage of the Iranian protests certainly encouraged people to use those resources to the maximum. Why else would they chant: "We Want Freedom" in English, and not Farsi?

Honduran's could post anything they want to Youtube, write signs and chant in English, its not like it will make it to CNN.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Well, even if BBC and CNN aren't interested, some guy named Andrew Kirk of no known media outlet is willing to post a report: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pv1gxrzV_Vc

More protests: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HDw4_707mk

Interesting, CNN reports there is no violence, yet Kirk testifies some people were shot, and indeed in his video we can clearly here gunshots. Small arms, sounds like M16's.

Stockholm

The US is refusing to recognize the coup announced that they consider Zelaya to be the legitimate President of Honduras.

NDPP
Fidel

[url=http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14152] Coup d'Etat Underway in Honduras: OBAMA'S FIRST COUP D'ETAT[/url]

Quote:
As of 10:30am, Sunday morning, no further statements have been issued by the Washington concerning the military coup in Honduras. The Central American nation is highly dependent on the U.S. economy, which ensures one of its top sources of income, the monies sent from Hondurans working in the U.S. under the "temporary protected status" program that was implemented during Washington's dirty war in the 1980s as a result of massive immigration to U.S. territory to escape the war zone. Another major source of funding in Honduras is USAID, providing over US$ 50 millon annually for "democracy promotion" programs, which generally supports NGOs and political parties favorable to U.S. interests, as has been the case in Venezuela, Bolivia and other nations in the region. The Pentagon also maintains a military base in Honduras in Soto Cano, equipped with approximately 500 troops and numerous air force combat planes and helicopters.

Foreign Minister Rodas has stated that she has repeatedly tried to make contact with the U.S. Ambassador in Honduras, Hugo Llorens, who has not responded to any of her calls thus far. The modus operandi of the coup makes clear that Washington is involved. Neither the Honduran military, which is majority trained by U.S. forces, nor the political and economic elite, would act to oust a democratically elected president without the backing and support of the U.S. government. President Zelaya has increasingly come under attack by the conservative forces in Honduras for his growing relationship with the ALBA countries, and particularly Venezuela and President Chávez. Many believe the coup has been executed as a method of ensuring Honduras does not continue to unify with the more leftist and socialist countries in Latin America.

USSA crackdown on Honduran pro-democracy movement June 2009

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Hers's a thread I started on the coup on Democratic Underground.  I'm linking to it here because some of the responses to the coup,  on what is supposedly a left-of-center discussion forum, sickened me:

(fyi: I was tying the issue in with a call to finally get rid of the School Of The Americas, since it looks as if a SoA graduate led the coup)

 

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&add...

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Fidel wrote:

[url=http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14152] Coup d'Etat Underway in Honduras: OBAMA'S FIRST COUP D'ETAT[/url]

Quote:
As of 10:30am, Sunday morning, no further statements have been issued by the Washington concerning the military coup in Honduras. The Central American nation is highly dependent on the U.S. economy, which ensures one of its top sources of income, the monies sent from Hondurans working in the U.S. under the "temporary protected status" program that was implemented during Washington's dirty war in the 1980s as a result of massive immigration to U.S. territory to escape the war zone. Another major source of funding in Honduras is USAID, providing over US$ 50 millon annually for "democracy promotion" programs, which generally supports NGOs and political parties favorable to U.S. interests, as has been the case in Venezuela, Bolivia and other nations in the region. The Pentagon also maintains a military base in Honduras in Soto Cano, equipped with approximately 500 troops and numerous air force combat planes and helicopters.

Foreign Minister Rodas has stated that she has repeatedly tried to make contact with the U.S. Ambassador in Honduras, Hugo Llorens, who has not responded to any of her calls thus far. The modus operandi of the coup makes clear that Washington is involved. Neither the Honduran military, which is majority trained by U.S. forces, nor the political and economic elite, would act to oust a democratically elected president without the backing and support of the U.S. government. President Zelaya has increasingly come under attack by the conservative forces in Honduras for his growing relationship with the ALBA countries, and particularly Venezuela and President Chávez. Many believe the coup has been executed as a method of ensuring Honduras does not continue to unify with the more leftist and socialist countries in Latin America.

USSA crackdown on Honduran pro-democracy movement June 2009

 

Actually, Obama has called for Zelaya to be restored to office.  Obama is OPPOSED to this coup.

NDPP

http://narcosphere.narconews.com/thefield/

"Honduras' dictator-for-a-day Roberto Micheletti is already losing it in the face of unanimous international condemnation of his coup d'etat..it takes a special kind of moron to unite Obama and Chavez against him.."

Adam T

A couple other basic points

1.The referendum was illegal because it called for a change in the constitution that restricts a president to serving only one term which the constitution itself declares is a rule that cannot be changed under any means.

2.Apparently the President's own party has a majority in Congress.  If that is correct, it would suggest this is more of a fight over the balance of powers between the president and the congress than anything else.

3.For whatever reason, the military in Honduras has been given some powers in regard to elections there. For instance, they are in charge of distributing the ballot boxes for elections.

As Charles Lemos posts on Mydd.com, the emergence of democracy in South and Central America has been hampered by the situation of the 'strong personality' president.  That is, that people have invested the democracy in the leader rather than the checks and balances of the process (not that all countries aren't fallable for that).  This has been highlighted by referendums held by presidents on both the left and the right seeking to change the constitution to allow them to overwrite term limit rules.  Although a poster here says the current president of Honduras has no interest in continuing to serve for a second term, and likely then beyond, I can't see why he would have risked his rule by attempting to fire the head of the military as occurred during the situation to change the constitution to benefit his successor.

The military has not taken power and it seems the elections scheduled for november will go ahead as planned.  So, this does not strike me as much as a military coup as much as a situation where, as I said above, there has been a competition over the balance of power.  Clearly though, this is, to say the least, a rather unappealing way of resolving the situation and, obviously, the rules here are rather weak.

What should have occurred, clearly, would have been for Congress to call for an impeachment trial over the alleged illegality of the proposed referendum and then to have voted on that.

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

And the murder of the leftist presidential candidate is of no importance, even though it means the next election will be a contest between two essentially conservative candidates?

I hope this isn't the sort of "centrism" you want the BCNDP to adopt.

Adam T

1.The Liberal Party, of which Zelaya is a member is the largest party in the Congress with 62 of 128 seats.  The newly appointed 'president' is a member of the same party as Zelaya.

2.I know nothing about anybody presidential candidate being murdered.  The candidate of Liberal Party, Elvin Ernesto Santos Ordóñez, is alive to the best of my knowledge.

If you are referring to the candidate of any other party, it would again be a major problem of the Honduran constitution if a political party cannot replace a candidate should they become incapacitated in some way.

That said, judging by the last election in which the Liberal Party and the conservative National Party received 95% of the vote, all other parties are little more than fringe parties, though they do hold the balance of power in Congress.  So, unless there has been an enormous change in Honduras, it's not like any candidate of any other party had a chance to win the presidency there.  Most people probably don't even pay attention to the candidates of any of the other parties, just like in Canada.  Of course, as I said above, that party should be able to run somebody.

martin dufresne

We sent Barrio Nuevo's message to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Cannon, to the Minister of State for the Americas, Peter Kent, to the leaders of the three opposition parties, and to the Prime Minister Stephen Harper. We invite you to phone them or send them a message. (Phones and e-mails below).

- Comité contre le coup d'État au Honduras (Montréal)

- Action et solidarité pour la Colombie

- Commission de solidarité internationale de l'Association des Chiliennes/iens du Québec

- Front Farabundo Marti pour la libération nationale du Salvador

- S.O.S. Salvador

- Comité pour le droit des peuples de Montréal

Montréal (Québec) Canada, Monday, June 29, 2009 - pueblo@sympatico.ca

Barrio Nuevo's Statement and Call to Action on the Coup in Honduras

Barrio Nuevo Canada - We are an independent, political, grassroots organization working with the Latin American community in Canada. We organize community development projects with the aim of building a movement of working people towards the goal of long-term societal and economic change.

http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://barrionuevocanada.blogspot.com/2009/06...

Sunday, June 28, 2009
Barrio Nuevo's Statement on the Coup in Honduras

Barrio Nuevo strongly condemns and opposes the military coup d'état carried out today in Honduras forcibly removing the democratically-elected President, Manuel Zelaya. We call for the immediate reinstatement of President Zelaya and for those responsible for ordering and carrying out the coup d'état to be brought to justice. Furthermore, we call for the Canadian government to condemn the coup and to not recognize any illegal government in Honduras. Barrio Nuevo stands in solidarity with the Honduran people as they mobilize in the streets to denounce the coup in the face of violent repression from the military. For a report on the crisis in Honduras, click here.

Please call or send a message to Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, demanding that the Canadian government 1) denounce the coup d'état; 2) not recognize any illegal government in Honduras; 3) call for the immediate reinstatement of President Zelaya. Please send copies of any correspondence to Minister of State for the Americas, Peter Kent, and to the leaders of the three opposition parties. Finally, we call on our allies and progressive organizations in the GTA to support Honduran democracy, to demand President Zelaya's reinstatement, and to remain vigilant as further actions and demonstrations are organized.

Contact:

Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Tel: 613-992-5516
Fax: 613-992-6802
Email: CannoL@parl.gc.ca

Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)
Tel: 613-992-0253
Fax: 613-992-0887
Email: Kent.P@parl.gc.ca

Michael Ignatieff

Leader, Liberal Party of Canada
Email: IgnatM@parl.gc.ca

Gilles Duceppe

Leader, Bloc Quebecois
Email: DucepG@parl.gc.ca

Jack Layton
Leader, New Democratic Party of Canada

Email: LaytoJ@parl.gc.ca

For more information or to get involved, contact Barrio Nuevo, barrionuevo.canada@gmail.com

Fidel

[url=http://narcosphere.narconews.com/notebook/kristin-bricker/2009/06/coup-h...School of the Americas-Trained Military Detains and Expels Democratically-Elected President Zelaya[/url] 

Quote:
The anti-Zelaya President of Congress, Roberto Micheletti, has declared himself interim president of Honduras.  On the Friday before the coup, Zelaya called Micheletti "a pathetic, second-class congressman who got that job because of me, because I gave you space within my political current." 

Zelaya informed TeleSUR that he has not requested asylum in Costa Rica, and that he will return to Honduras as its president to complete his term, which expires in 2010. . . 

School of the Americas Connection
The crisis in Honduras began when the military refused to distribute ballot boxes for the opinion poll in a new Constitution.  President Zelaya fired the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Romeo Orlando Vasquez Velasquez, who refused to step down.  The heads of all branches of the Honduran armed forces quit in solidarity with Vasquez.  Vasquez, however, refused to step down, bolstered by support in Congress and a Supreme Court ruling that reinstated him.  Vasquez remains in control of the armed forces.
Vasquez, along with other military leaders, graduated from the United States' infamous School of the Americas (SOA).  According to a School of the Americas Watch database compiled from information obtained from the US government, Vasquez studied in the SOA at least twice: once in 1976 and again in 1984. 

"They tell us they're teaching democracy. We say, 'How do you teach democracy through the barrel of a gun?'" - Father Roy Bourgeois, SOA Watch

remind remind's picture

news here in BC last night, stated the coup was a good thing because the president was trying to become a dictator. Seems they are resorting to outright lies now, instead of "news" reporting.

Fidel

remind wrote:

news here in BC last night, stated the coup was a good thing because the president was trying to become a dictator. Seems they are resorting to outright lies now, instead of "news" reporting.

Beautiful. I wouldnt expect anything less from our Canadian newz toadies.

Adam T

That is sickening that he was killed.  

On the one hand, it is more evidence that Honduras needs a legal process to deal with the process of congress removing a president by legislative means, on the other hand, it would be naive to think that he wasn't killed as part of a vendetta or a plot to do away with him.

That said, his Democratic Unification Party ran a candidate in the 2005 election who received 1.5% of the vote.  So, I don't know that the conservative elite is all that concerned with other leftists from that party.

From skimming through those sources, it's clear that this coup was more than a fight over the balance of power between Congress and the President, although that no doubt played a part, but it was also based on an ideological fight between Zelaya, who governed as a populist leftist, and the leaders of the Liberal Party in Congress.

Fidel

Canadians and Americans: Send a message to Barack Obama urging him to [url=http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/727/t/3823/campaign.jsp?campaign_KE... down the notorious School of the Americas![/url]

Ze

Not that petitions set the world afire, but it's probably worth signing the one at http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5904/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=413

Cueball Cueball's picture

Adam T wrote:

A couple other basic points

1.The referendum was illegal because it called for a change in the constitution that restricts a president to serving only one term which the constitution itself declares is a rule that cannot be changed under any means.

So if the constitution had parts in it that called for strict segregation of society by race, defined homosexuality as a crime and prohibted women from voting, holding a referendum about possibly convening a constitutional assembly to revisit the constitution would be illegal, in your opinion. Obviously creating a constitution that bars any changes to that constitution is an absurd legal formula, and one I might say that is certainly geared to entrenching regressive legal norms and political structures that were instituted to maintain the status quo.

In the case of Honduras, where the constitution came into existance as a compromise deal with an extremely repressive military Junta that ruled the country for 10 years, the guarantee preventing changes is obviously geared to entrenching certain interests of the previous regieme.

For example:

Quote:
Title V also includes a chapter covering the armed forces, which consists of the "high command, army, air force, navy, public security force, and the agencies and units determined by the laws establishing them." Most provisions of this chapter are largely the same as in the 1965 and 1957 constitutions. As set forth in Article 272, the armed forces are to be an "essentially professional, apolitical, obedient, and nondeliberative national institution"; in practice, however, the Honduran military essentially has enjoyed autonomy vis-à-vis civilian authority since 1957. The president retains the title of general commander over the armed forces, as provided in Article 245 (16). Orders given by the president to the armed forces, through its commander in chief, must be obeyed and executed, as provided in Article 278. The armed forces, however, is under the direct command of the commander in chief of the armed forces (Article 277); and it is through him that the president performs his constitutional duty relating to the armed forces. According to Article 285, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Consejo Superior de las Fuerzas Armadas--Consuffaa) is the armed forces consultative organ. The Supreme Council is chaired by the commander in chief of the armed forces, who is elected by the National Congress for a term of three years. He is chosen from a list of three officers proposed by Consuffaa. In practice, the National Congress always approves (some observers would say rubberstamps) Consuffaa's first choice.

The Honduran Constitution

So it appears that the leader of the Armed forces is chosen by the National Congress, from a short list provided by the military. But of course Adam T. will stick on the legal point forced upon the authors of the Honduran constitution by the previous military Junta to guarantee the privilege of the armed forces to act without real civilian oversight in perptuity. In essence, allowing the civilian government to convoke a constitutional assembly set a precedent that threatens the ability of the armed forces to continue to have "autonomy vis-à-vis civilian authority", and indeed manipulate the electoral process.

Adam doesn't seem to even want to take a stab at guessing why "the military in Honduras has been given some powers in regard to elections there", such as "distributing the ballot boxes for elections." Would it be too much to note that many western commentators noted gloomily that 14,000 of the 45,000 polling stations (30%) in the recent Iranian election were located in police stations and in military bases, as if the military having control over the polling process was defacto evidence of fraud conducted under the auspices of the state security aparatus? It appears that the entire process is in control of the Honduran military, but Adam doesn't even blink at this astonishing fact, "for whatever reason".

Those constitutionally enshrined "rights" of the military just "happen" apparently for "whatever reason", as he puts it. I suppose these rights are enshrined in a constitutional model that guarantees those rights forever, because it is illegal to change it, just happen for "whatever reason", as well.

Hey! But its the law so... changing any of that is illegal, and warrants the military booting out the democratically elected sitting president, I suppose. That's democracy! I read it in the constitution.

 

Fidel

Whatever the junta in Tegucigalpa says goes!! Theyre it now.

RosaL

This reminds me of the provisions concerning "private property" that are built into some constitutions, rendering socialism, and even (in some places) advocacy of socialism, illegal. 

Fidel

They want to make it so as we elect little more than tax collectors every four years. The neoliberal war on democracy continues

NDPP

Obama'sReal Message to Latin America?

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22934.htm

A_J

Adam T wrote:
That is sickening that he was killed.

Apparently, he has not.

Narrative of events as presented by the Wall Street Journal.  It would be interesting to see if this narrative can be proven wrong (and more productive than grumbling about the source), and in which ways:

Wall Street Journal wrote:
That Mr. Zelaya acted as if he were above the law, there is no doubt. While Honduran law allows for a constitutional rewrite, the power to open that door does not lie with the president. A constituent assembly can only be called through a national referendum approved by its Congress.

. . . The Supreme Court ruled his referendum unconstitutional, and it instructed the military not to carry out the logistics of the vote as it normally would do.

The top military commander, Gen. Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, told the president that he would have to comply. Mr. Zelaya promptly fired him. The Supreme Court ordered him reinstated. Mr. Zelaya refused.

Calculating that some critical mass of Hondurans would take his side, the president decided he would run the referendum himself. So on Thursday he led a mob that broke into the military installation where the ballots from Venezuela were being stored and then had his supporters distribute them in defiance of the Supreme Court's order.

The attorney general had already made clear that the referendum was illegal, and he further announced that he would prosecute anyone involved in carrying it out. Yesterday, Mr. Zelaya was arrested by the military and is now in exile in Costa Rica.

. . .

Honduras is fighting back by strictly following the constitution. The Honduran Congress met in emergency session yesterday and designated its president as the interim executive as stipulated in Honduran law. It also said that presidential elections set for November will go forward. The Supreme Court later said that the military acted on its orders. It also said that when Mr. Zelaya realized that he was going to be prosecuted for his illegal behavior, he agreed to an offer to resign in exchange for safe passage out of the country. Mr. Zelaya denies it.

Adam T

I don't particularly think I should respond to Cueball's latest post, but I will, and however I will limit myself, with one exception, to only addressing the facts, and not any personal issues (playing the ball and not the man).

1.Given the particular sensitivities and unique culture of Honduras going back thousands of years, if you are to be consistent with your argument you used regarding Iran, shouldn't you be saying that none of us here should be posting anything without concern for those sensitivities and we should be looking at it through an 'ancient cultural lens'.  Of course, I'm just being snarky here and I realize that the ancient culture has been marginalized and part of the aim of the current (former) president is likely to give some autonomy and respect back to that culture as Morales is trying to do in Bolivia.  

2.Further, I completely agree with you that the military should play no role in democratic life whatsoever.  I think I made that clear in my posts that the methods by which Zelaya was 'impeached' are completely inappropriate in a democracy and the additional moves made by the military, i.e killing the leftist leader, were sickening and likely planned.  Hopefully Honduras will respond to this by 1.holding the heads of the military who no doubt planned the murder of the leftist leader responsible, 2.changing the constitution to remove the military from taking part in democracy.  That they appear to need to amend the constitution was the final point I had initially made in one of my above posts, but I deleted the line because it diluted another point I wanted to make.

That said,  

3.The point that Zelaya was overthrown (quasti impeached) on was his attempt to alter the constitution to be allowed to hold office for more than one term, at least that is what the western media is emphasizing, I don't actually know how else he wanted to change the constition.  That has nothing to do with anything you mentioned like constituionalizing the outlawing of homosexuals or any such thing.  I highly doubt this was put in the constitution at the request of the military as the point of it was obviously to strengthen democracy by limiting the emergence of 'strong personality' politics, as has occurred in Latin/South America with the likes of Peron in Argentina.  So, I sympathize with your point, and I wondered about it myself, but, as I just argued, he was not overthrown/impeached by trying to change anything in the constitution that entreched the benefits of the wealthy status quo, at least not occurring to the western media.

4.I didn't say I agreed that he should have been impeached by trying to alter the constitution via a constituent assembly, I certainly did say the he shouldn't have been overthrown by the military by trying to alter the constitution, I merely stated it as a fact: that is why he was removed from power.  I don't actually have a dog in that race.  It seems to me that is a decision that should have been entirely up to the people of Honduras and the legislative process, not to any outsider and not to the military.

5.I wondered about the military involvment not for any conspiratorial or other reasons as you seemed to have alleged, but because I seriouosly didn't know why.  It didn't occur to me when I posted last night the limit on democracy that can occur by the military having control of the election process. Nor did it occur to me that the military role in democracy was entrenched in the constitution. I should have thought of both of those, sometimes I can be naive and stupid.  However, whether it has actually played any part in keeping the leftist party in Honduras a fringe element, I don't know.  That is purely hypothetical.  It would explain why Zelaya ran with the Liberal Party even though he was in reality a populist leftist.  However, I would also point out that he did after all mostly complete his term and he was only removed from power because he gave the legislature and the military a legitimate reason for deposing him (even if, as I've said for now about the 10th time, a completely inappropriate method was used for actually removing him). So, obviously whatever leftist policies he succeeded in implementing did not get the military out earlier and had he not attempted to stay in power beyond his term, he almost certainly would have completed the term.  So, I can only gather that it's not like the entrenched interests in Honduras can call on the military any time it likes.  I obviously don't know anything that occurred in Honduras over the last several years beyond what I read just yesterday about it.  So, it's possible that all his reform legislation was blocked by Congress and there was no need for the military to overthrow him. From what I've read though, I don't think that's entirely the case.  It seems that on some issues at least he did have a majority coalition between his Liberal Party and the leftist party. 

So, for the most part we agree.  The overthrow/impeachment process is completely unacceptable and the constitution needs to be altered to remove the military from democratic life.  Thanks for educating me on the obvious points about the military involvement and its possible consequences that I stupidly didn't think of.

melovesproles

There really is a striking difference between media coverage of the Honduran and Iranian protests.  Its incredible to me that more people don't resent the manipulation.

NDPP

Reports: Two Military Battalions Turn Against Honduras Coup Regime

http://narcosphere.narconews.com/notebook/al-giordano/2008/06/reports-tw...

Adam T

NoDifferencePartyPooper wrote:

Obama'sReal Message to Latin America?

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22934.htm

It seems to me reading this that, just as Jean Chretien inadvertantly admitted to bashing the U.S to score cheap political points, that the leftist leaders in Central/South America are doing the exact same thing.  In all of the examples in that article of cases where the leftist leaders accuse the U.S of meddling, no actual evidence of meddling is actually presented.  I would argue that it's because there is no evidence: the U.S is not meddling at all.  Certainly not under Obama, and probably even very rarely under Bush.  I think, for instance, that it's pretty clear the attempted coup against Chavez in Venezuala was signed off on and approved by the Bush admin, but they did nothing to start it.

Historical proof that the U.S was meddling 50 or so years ago in Latin America is not evidence that they still are. It is, however, a strong reason for populist leftist leaders in Latin America to use the U.S as a whipping boy, as Chavez and others have obviously done.

If you look at the American press, both from the far right and the mainstream media, the complaint there regarding South/Central America is that the U.S is far too unengaged in any way, not that the U.S is meddling in any way.  The one exception to that is, of course, over drugs, but even there, the U.S appears to have mostly behaved above board even with Bush by respecting the autonomy of the Central/South American nations and negotiating co-agreed anti drug strategies.  Of course, how much pressure the U.S applied behind the scenes, I don't know. That said, my understanding for instance, is that Mexico has essentially legalized drugs for its citizens and the U.S could do nothing to prevent that.  So, again the evidence that the U.S is currently a 'bogeyman' in Latin America strikes me as pretty slim.  Beyond the Mexico drug legalization thing, of course, the U.S did nothing, or at least was unable, to prevent nearly all of Central and South America from turning to the left.

No doubt, I will be pillaried by the Anti America crowd here for actually daring to suggest that the U.S has actually done nothing more in Latin America than take a mostly hands off policy, with drugs being the sole sad exception other than the sign off on the coup against Chavez, and that the leftist political leaders there are just bullshitting their public with anti American speeches to whip up populist sentiment and increase their popularity.  I look forward to seeing their replies to attempt to prove me wrong, and maybe I am wrong.  However, please spare me the stories, however horrible and true they indeed were, of American governments overthrowing South and Central American governments back in the 1950s and 1970s.  That proves nothing as to what they are doing today, or even during the Bush admin.  And please also leave out Cuba, we all know the U.S has a stupid obsession with Cuba.

 

.

 

Adam T

"Narrative of events as presented by the Wall Street Journal. It would be interesting to see if this narrative can be proven wrong (and more productive than grumbling about the source), and in which ways"

1.I think the part of the events that is wrong is what I have said several times: that it was completly inappropriate for the military to have been involved at all.

2.Also, as pointed out by Cueball, that nobody at the Wall Street Journal is questioning why the military was involved in the referendum/election process.

I fail to see why a two step process could not have occurred. 1.That the referendum would be prevented and then following that 2.Congress would immediately begin impeachment hearings against Zelaya to remove him with an orderly process.

It strikes me that that is how a country that respects democracy would behave. Of course, it's no surprise that the Wall Street Journal would have no respect for democracy as long as it sees what it wants carried out.

I suppose the counter argument is Honduran democracy is too weak to go survive a process like that as supporters of Zelaya would have risen up to try to prevent his impeachment, so better to literally present them with a coup d'etat.  However, I think actually going through the impeachment process would have strengthened democracy there and it would have given the opponents of Zelaya, who, as the Wall Street Journal article correctly points out, was clearly acting with illegal means himself, the moral high ground.

I think the coup plotters acted in a way that for them was more expedient in the short term, but will hopefully backfire on them in the upcoming months and years.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Adam T wrote:

I know nothing about anybody presidential candidate being murdered.  The candidate of Liberal Party, Elvin Ernesto Santos Ordóñez, is alive to the best of my knowledge.

If you are referring to the candidate of any other party, it would again be a major problem of the Honduran constitution if a political party cannot replace a candidate should they become incapacitated in some way.

 

(on edit)

It now appears that Cesar Ham was not actually killed.  This is a great relief, but the man should still be immediately released as he has committed no crime OTHER than being a popular leftist politician.

melovesproles

Quote:
Historical proof that the U.S was meddling 50 or so years ago in Latin America is not evidence that they still are.

Are you serious?  I'm 30 and I can think of several very obvious examples in my lifetime.  I doubt anyone here spends time educating you though, I think its pretty clear you're being willfully blind.

Cueball Cueball's picture

The entire idea that elements of the constitution are beyond remedy through referendum and a constitutional assembly could possibly be associated with democracy is absurd. It is very simple. Can you imagine George Washington writing in elements of a constitution that could not be ammended or changed 200 years later?

The truth is that Honduras is not a democracy, not even as much as Iran. The whole system was designed to allow the military control of the political process, and the "democratic" process just a figleaf to cover the fact that the military was, and still is the ultimate arbiter of Honduran political life. All the military has done is invoke the constitutionally enshrined mandate that it awarded itself, when it authorized the new Honduran constitution. This is not a democractic constitution of a republic. This is the constitution of a military dictatorship.

What you are calling "Honduran democracy", weak or otherwise, isn't. There is no need to be shy about this fact.

Adam T

So, you agree that the people of California had the right to amend the constitution so that they could continue to discriminate against gays even though it completely contradicts other parts of the constitution regarding equal protection and other such things?

I think there are arguments on both sides whether there should be parts in a constitution that can't be changed and I don't see either side as having the democratic moral high ground.  The idea that fundamental rights guaranteed in a constititution can be stripped away by majority vote in a referendum doesn't strike me as very democratic either, for instance.

I think the Honduran people who decided that their leaders could serve no more than one term and that that should be enshrined in the constitution and unalterable were probably wise given the past history in South/Central America regarding 'strong personality' politics.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Adam T wrote:

1.Given the particular sensitivities and unique culture of Honduras going back thousands of years, if you are to be consistent with your argument you used regarding Iran, shouldn't you be saying that none of us here should be posting anything without concern for those sensitivities and we should be looking at it through an 'ancient cultural lens'.  Of course, I'm just being snarky here and I realize that the ancient culture has been marginalized and part of the aim of the current (former) president is likely to give some autonomy and respect back to that culture as Morales is trying to do in Bolivia.

According to you. However, I said no such thing. What I did object to was simplistic pastiche racist stereotyping, and outright falsehoods couched in bizzaro sex fantasies.

Adam T

"Are you serious? I'm 30 and I can think of several very obvious examples in my lifetime. I doubt anyone here spends time educating you though, I think its pretty clear you're being willfully blind."

I can think of several during the Reagan admin, but with the exceptions I noted above, nothing since then.

Do you have anything more recent than 20 years ago?

My view is that since the election of George H.W Bush in 1988 and the democratizing of South/Central America that mostly occurred since he took office (I'm not saying he had anything to do with the democratization) the U.S has largely taken a hands off policy.

The U.S has been far more engaged in meddling in the Middle East.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Adam T wrote:

So, you agree that the people of California had the right to amend the constitution so that they could continue to discriminate against gays even though it completely contradicts other parts of the constitution regarding equal protection and other such things?

No. I oppose the idea that the residents of California could enshrine a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage, and then make that amendment unalterable in by future amendment, or exempt from control from other elements of the constitution, such as human rights provisions.

Constitutional integrity is usually assured by making constitutional provision difficult to overturn, by making the process of change more difficult, not by prohibiting changes.

Adam T

Cueball wrote:

No. I oppose the idea that the residents of California could enshrine a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage, and then make that amendment unalterable in by future amendment, or exempt from control from other elements of the constitution, such as human right legislation.

Constitutional integrity is usually assured by making constitutional provision difficult to overturn, by making the process of change more difficult, not by prohibiting changes.

 

You're contradicitng yourself.  Either you believe the people of California had a right to amend their constitution to prevent the 'equal protection' clauses from applying to gays or you believe that certain parts of a constitution should be unalterable.

Your attempt to deflect this by saying that you aren't contradicting yourself because you oppose the making of the gay rights limit unalterable is a complete red herring. First of all,  that didn't occur: the people of California are completely allowed to remove this amendment in the future and many people predict that will happen within the next 20 years. Secondly, it's really moot, the question is not whether this amendment can be altered, but whether they can amend basic principles in the constitution at all.  All you are trying to do is dodge the obvious contradiction.

My view on this is that the amendment should have been struck down as it conflicts with the 'equal protection' clause in the California constitution and, only had the people voted to eliminate that could the amendment itself be constitutional.  However, of course, my opinion here is irrelevant and the majority on the California Supreme Court disagreed with me.

Your proposal of a compromise that constitutional change should be made difficult by requiring perhaps 60% or more to pass but that no section of the constitution should not be unalterable is not bad in theory but, of course, you could then have a situation where de Jure the constitution can be changed, but de Facto it can't.  That then gets back to your notion of a fiction of a democracy.

I'm also not aware that Zelaya had a requirement in his referendum that a more than 50% vote was needed for any proposed constitutional amendments to pass.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Adam T wrote:

Cueball wrote:

No. I oppose the idea that the residents of California could enshrine a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage, and then make that amendment unalterable in by future amendment, or exempt from control from other elements of the constitution, such as human right legislation.

Constitutional integrity is usually assured by making constitutional provision difficult to overturn, by making the process of change more difficult, not by prohibiting changes.

 

You're contradicitng yourself.  Either you believe the people of California had a right to amend their constitution to prevent the 'equal protection' clauses from applying to gays or you believe that certain parts of a constitution should be unalterable.

No I didn't contradict myself. What I said was the no provision of the constitution should be inviolable by future amendment. The generally accepted solution to the problem of spurious amendment is the inclusion of basic provisions which can only be changed by difficult means. 60+1 is the common formula for such superlative provisions, such as fundamental human rights.

In light of our recent discussions about Iran, I note that you seem to be really interested in adding a lot of "nuanced" grey area discussion about the "legality" of the military siezure of power in Honduras. At what point to I get to start denouncing you as supporter of the fascist military dictatorship?

A_J

Adam T wrote:
I fail to see why a two step process could not have occurred. 1.That the referendum would be prevented and then following that 2.Congress would immediately begin impeachment hearings against Zelaya to remove him with an orderly process.

I agree.

While it looks like Zelaya was completely in the wrong, I think the courts and Congress went too far in sending out the military and exiling him (if that's what happened, the government's line is that he willingly went to Costa Rica) when he should have been arrested and tried for any alleged violations of the constitution (though of course, they likely still would have needed the military to arrest him).

There is a glaring contradition here - the judiciary has the clout to order the military to remove the president, but in doing so completely undermines its own legitimacy by foregoing the opportunity to prosecute him properly.  Apparently though, Honduras doesn't have a provision for impeaching the president and other offices - you're either president or, on the violation of certain terms and limits, automatically not president.

Adam T wrote:
. . . the additional moves made by the military, i.e killing the leftist leader, were sickening and likely planned.

As I said in my previous post, he's not dead:

Quote:
Luther Castillo, coordinator of Honduran social movements, in an interview with the Cuban television program Mesa Redonda, denied that the leader of the Democratic Unification Party, Cesar Ham, has been assassinated.

There apparently hasn't been any violence so far.  Last I read there were protests by his supporters but police and military had not taken any action.

Adam T

Cueball wrote:

No I didn't contradict myself. What I said was the no provision of the constitution should be inviolable by future amendment. The generally accepted solution to spurious amendment is the inclusion of basic provisions which can only be changed by difficult means. 60+1 is the common formula for such superlative provisions, such as fundamental human rights.

That is, in theory, a reasonable compromise.  However, as I said above, it seems to me that you could be creating a situation where de Jure the constitution can be changed, but de Facto it can't.  So, essentially you have a fiction of a democracy.  That, I believe, is something you were complaining about above.

I'm not sure that this solution is any different in practice to simply declaring parts of the constitution unalterable.

Also, I'd be leery in any case of where a constitutional amendment requiring 60% of the vote actually passed given that to get that large a majority it likely would require demagogury and other forms of whipping up populist sentiment.  When I read something in the paper where 80% are on one side, I often find myself in the minority. Not that I'm trying to say that I'm a superior person not suceptible to demagoguery and other such things, I'm just not very suceptible to demagoguery whipped up by the right wing press.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

The army is teargassing people in the streets of Tegucigalpa.  By you that's not violence?

And Christ knows what they're doing to anybody they've arrested.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Adam T wrote:

Cueball wrote:

No I didn't contradict myself. What I said was the no provision of the constitution should be inviolable by future amendment. The generally accepted solution to spurious amendment is the inclusion of basic provisions which can only be changed by difficult means. 60+1 is the common formula for such superlative provisions, such as fundamental human rights.

That is, in theory, a reasonable compromise.  However, as I said above, it seems to me that you could be creating a situation where de Jure the constitution can be changed, but de Facto it can't.  So, essentially you have a fiction of a democracy.  That, I believe, is something you were complaining about above.

It is not a compromise, but the generally accepted mode used in democratic constitutions. For example, there are no provisions of the Canadian constitution which can not be ammended, changed or stricken out entirely.

Ammendments to the constitution of Canada

Quote:
Since the patriation of the Constitution in 1982, a more complete amending formula has been adopted in the Constitution Act, 1982, in sections 38 to 49. Amendments can only be passed by the Canadian House of Commons, the Senate, and a two-thirds majority of the provincial legislatures representing at least 50% of the national population (the 7/50 formula). Though not constitutionally mandated, a popular referendum in every province is also considered to be constitutional convention, especially following the precedent established by the Charlottetown Accord (see below).

If a constitutional amendment only affects one province, however, only the assent of that province's legislature is required. Eight of the ten amendments passed so far have been of this nature, with four passed by and for Newfoundland and Labrador, one passed for New Brunswick, one for Nunavut, one for Prince Edward Island, and one for Quebec. Some of the above did also require approval by the federal Parliament under section 43(b) due to the English and French nature of the amendment.

There are some parts of the Constitution that can only be modified by a unanimous vote of all the provinces plus the two Houses of Parliament, however. These include changes to the composition of the Supreme Court of Canada, changing the process for amending the constitution itself, or any act affecting the Offices of the Canadian Monarch or Governor General.

Adam T

Cueball wrote:

It is not a compromise, but the generally accepted mode used in democratic constitutions. For example, there are no provisions of the Canadian constitution which can not be ammended, changed or stricken out entirely.

And in th 25 or so years since the Canadian constitution was ratified not a single ammendment has passed. The Canadian constitution is a perfect example of the de Jure/de Facto thing. In practice, it is virtually unamendable.

Cueball Cueball's picture

A_J wrote:

There apparently hasn't been any violence so far.  Last I read there were protests by his supporters but police and military had not taken any action.

The gunfire is quite clearly audible in this report: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pv1gxrzV_Vc

Cueball Cueball's picture

No. In fact there have been 10 amendments.

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