Monday, December 30, 2013
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Friday, September 18, 2009
I was enraged when I first heard Hugo Llorens, US Ambassador to Honduras, condemn the removal of Manuel Zelaya from power, and recognize him as the one and only legitimate President of Honduras. Llorens, I thought, wasn’t well informed about the legal and constitutional process for removing a president from office and the need for sending Zelaya away to avoid bloodshed in the country. In point of fact, Llorens and the US government knew very well about the imminent threat of Zelaya’s expulsion.
Now, after almost three glorious months of the constitutional presidential succession, I understand why the United States appears to be viciously antagonistic with Honduras and its new government, but warmheartedly friendly with Hugo Chávez and his cronies: to avoid a war and to set a precedent in the Western Hemisphere.
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are cunning. They prefer to appease the radical Latin American leftists, while aggravating a small nation like Honduras, than to confront Chávez, by smiling at Zelaya’s legitimate extradition. Obama is playing chess, not checkers. Very few people realize this, which is why there’s discomfort at the US government’s measures against Honduras.
What would happen if Obama stood his ground, followed American democratic principles, and supported freedom and the rule of law in Honduras? Well, Hugo and his Latin American Idiots would radicalize and escalate their hatred towards the Evil Empire. The polarization of the political climate would worsen and Honduras would probably be visited by Venezuelan war ships, with missiles pointed towards Tegucigalpa, and several battalions preparing to enter Honduran territory for the overthrow of President Roberto Micheletti. How would the US react to such a threat in its backyard? It would naturally defend its Central American buddy and launch an offensive against Venezuela -- with or without UN approval.
In such a serious scenario, a full-scale war would commence, pitting the US and Honduras against Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, and maybe Russia. Surely, under President G.W. Bush’s administration, this would’ve become the likely scenario.
By suspending services for new non-immigrant/non-emergency visas, halting the flow of non-humanitarian aid and revoking the visas of many Honduran government officials (and many more sanctions to come), the US is exercising its muscle against Honduras, but in the soft-politics realm.
Thankfully, by doing so, Chávez remains calm -- yet alert. He knows that the low-intensity warfare he has crafted in Honduras might destabilize the Micheletti government. Swarms of people, allegedly following Zelaya, march through the streets of Tegucigalpa every day, wreaking havoc, graffitiing anti-“coup” messages and using the few remaining pro-Zelaya news media (about 2-3) to slander the names of those who oppose them.
The internal politics in Honduras is tense, particularly in Tegucigalpa. Outside of the capital, people tend to carry out their business as usual, not being affected by what goes on between the so-called golpistas (“coup” supporters) and the Resistencia (Zelaya supporters).
The Resistencia is loud, but not strong. It is sustained primarily by monies received from the Venezuelan government, the FARC guerrilla, leftist NGOs and political parties from around the world, and many other radical organizations that feign to defend human rights, democracy, the rule of law, peace, love and a better world (?). The foreign media, too, has a leftist slant, making them favor the Resistencia.
Much to the detriment of Zelaya’s and Chávez’s plans to stop the Honduran elections, they’re coming up in November. These will take care of much of the social unrest in the country. Many nations have vowed not to recognize the outcome of the elections or the newly-elected president. How disgraceful. Nevertheless, time will take care of making these nations recant their vows.
The so-called golpistas --a misnomer for the majority of Hondurans-- stand firm in their convictions that Manuel Zelaya was a threat to Honduras’ republican and democratic system, and that this man’s ouster was necessary to prevent the expansion of socialism in our country.
The Obama administration understands what’s going in Honduras. It knows that Zelaya is a clown and potentially would hurt its interests if reinstated. Nonetheless, it prefers to “support” the return of Zelaya to power, than have Chávez prepare an attack on Honduran soil to do so.
It’s all about precedent, my friends. If the US lets Honduras get rid of a nasty leader, without being spanked for it, then the Latin American idiots would say, “Hey, if they booted out one of our guys, why can’t we do the same to one of theirs?!” If that were to happen, the Colombian and Peruvian presidents would be on Chávez’s sight. So, it’s better to impose pusillanimous sanctions on Honduras, in order to appease the radical left, than to sweep Zelaya’s ouster under the rug, maddening the Idiots -- and making them want to carry out a real coup d’état against any good Latin American president that opposes them.
I’m good. I’m happy. It might seem like the US government is against Honduras, but --alas for Chávez!-- it's covertly on our side. God and time will take care of this situation. Obama loves the rule of law, democracy, peace, order and justice. Yet, Honduras has embodied them almost to perfection.
Written by Inti Jordán Martínez Alemán, a Honduran citizen who loves freedom, peace and democracy
If you have a problem with what I write, call me or email me so I can give you my home address and come find me: +504-9790-9360 / email@example.com / FB-Twitter-AIM-MSN: intimaralem85
Sunday, July 05, 2009
In the past week, dozens of politicians, lawyers, foreign-policy experts, university professors, researchers and otherwise “thinkers” have come out in the news media and academic journals to give their opinion on whether or not Manuel Zelaya was legally ousted as President of Honduras; whether or not his shipment to Costa Rica at the wee hours of the morning was a crime; whether or not Zelaya should be reinstated in power; whether or not the Organization of American States (OAS), the United Nations (UN) and other international organizations, as well as foreign governments, should recognize Honduras’ new government; and so forth. These demonstrations of knowledge consist on different views and approaches to Honduras’ political climate.
Moreover, I have yet to find at least one point of agreement between the opinions of the overwhelming majority of Hondurans, Honduran government institutions, Honduran non-governmental organizations, and the opinions of the vast majority of foreigners, foreign governments and international organizations.
I have a rule of thumb when two or more persons, institutions, governments or any type of actors have diametrically opposite views: 1) they’re either misinformed about each others’ views; 2) or there are irreconcilable political, economic or cultural beliefs and interests at stake between the actors. In the “Honduras vs. the World” or “Freedom vs. Tyranny” case, I believe that as much as there is misinformation, there also are interests at stake. Let’s tackle both of these circumstances.
No one expert writing or speaking about the Honduran’ political crisis has convinced me about any legal, political or constitutional aspect involving this case. However, the conglomerate of distinct views I’ve read or listened to has enriched my knowledge of the kind of legal aspects being debated. There are plenty of legal dispositions in Honduran law and Constitution, as well as in juridical doctrine and in jurisprudence, but I will focus on the most prevailing dispositions applicable to this case.
The Constitution of Honduras is clear about the faculties and limits of Executive powers. A specific limit set upon the Executive is one non-renewable four-year term. This applies for the President as well as the three Presidential Designates (equivalent to a Vice President). Article 239 is clear in that anyone who violates this disposition or proposes its reform, as well as those who directly or indirectly support the violation or reform, will immediately be stripped of their powers and removed from office, and will remain unable to opt for a government position for the next 10 years. There is no need for judicial or legislative action for the enforcement of this article’s charge. Article 4 of the same constitution establishes that whoever infringes the alternation of presidential terms commits treason to the Republic of Honduras.
So, technically speaking, the moment in which Manuel Zelaya publically proposed a constituent assembly or the derogation of our 1982 Constitution, he immediately quit being the President of Honduras. If I remember correctly, he announced this plan in late December 2008. However, Zelaya’s official plans for calling a constituent assembly and the eventual derogation of our Constitution were set on stone when the State publication of Honduras, La Gaceta, published Executive Decree 20-2009 on June 25, 2009. In this decree, the Executive ordered a nationwide opinion survey, to be conducted on June 28 of that year, which enquired the following: “Are you in favor that in the 2009 general elections are fourth ballot box be installed, in which the population can decide to call for a constituent assembly? Yes – No”
As you can see, with this public demonstration planning to abolish our Constitution, President Zelaya was officially declaring that he did not care about what article 239 said and, following Hugo Chávez’s lead, wanted to continue in power. Thus, his condition as President of Honduras had ceased.
The Honduran Constitution does not contain a chapter that can be used as a manual to remove or impeach a president. Nonetheless, article 239 is clear about the moment in which a president is immediately stripped from his or her executive powers. So, by the time that Zelaya was drop-kicked from Honduran territory on June 28, he was a regular citizen with no presidential powers. Let it be known that Congress, that very day, voted unanimously to remove Zelaya from power, formalizing his cessation as President. At the same time, they voted to install Roberto Micheletti as president, following the constitutional line of succession. For this reason, Micheletti’s government is constitutional, legal and legitimate, and should be recognized by the international community.
The Honduran Constitution and law codes, following universal principles, establish several other precepts:
- Everyone is subject to the law and no person is above it;
- No government official has more power than the one invested upon him or her by the law;
- Any act carried out illegally by a government official is null and implies civil, penal and administrative responsibility for this person;
What is so difficult to understand about these precepts? Manuel Zelaya and his satraps never understood what they meant or couldn’t care less about them.
You could say that asking the voting population whether or not they want a binding referendum to call for a constituent assembly is not a big deal. What if our Constitution really stinks and should be replaced by a new one? Well there isn’t a clear-cut process for doing this. However, there are some legal (albeit untried) means to work this out, yet Zelaya did not do this. He was lazy and wanted to impose a new Constitution at any cost.
First of all, it was Zelaya and his government officials who spearheaded this movement in favor of calling a non-binding referendum or survey (Jun. 28, 2009) that would lead to a binding referendum (Nov. 29, 2009) which would decide to call for a constituent assembly. Zelaya’s government justified its plan based on the Law for Civil Participation. This law is clear in that citizens may request government its action in all sorts of circumstances and situations. However, it does not give faculties to the government to request citizens to request its action upon a specific situation, like Zelaya’s government intended to do. If anything, it would be citizens themselves, organized nationwide, who would have to request the government to install a fourth ballot box which would decide the call for a constituent assembly. Zelaya did things incorrectly–making his government a judge in its own cause–since he wanted to carry out a “survey” (with the effects of a non-binding referendum), and it would be his own government who would supervise and announce its results. Zelaya did not want the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to have anything to do with his survey, which is why this tribunal decided to call the survey illegitimate.
Moreover, Zelaya refused to follow the Law for Plebiscites and Referenda, which was recently approved by Congress so that Zelaya’s government did not have an excuse for using an alternate route for a survey. This new law isn’t the best thing in the world, but it surely would have put some checks on the Executive’s survey, which Zelaya did not want.
All things considered, there are still several questions unanswered: Why wasn’t Zelaya simply arrested and taken to court to be tried for his 18 alleged crimes? Were his rights violated when he was taken from his home at the wee hours in the morning and flown to Costa Rica against his will? Who ordered Zelaya’s removal from Honduran territory?
Honduran Coronel Bayardo Inestroza, legal advisor to the Honduran Armed Forces, stated in an interview to ElFaro.net and El Nuevo Herald, that he was behind the legal decisions for executing Zelaya’s arrest and search warrants. According to him, the Supreme Court of Justice of Honduras extended these warrants, to be executed by the Armed Forces and not the National Police, since this was a constitutional matter. However, the Armed Forces, instead of taking Zelaya to court, decided to fly him to Costa Rica, apparently without the Court’s consent.
The two biggest crimes here are the fact that the arrest and search warrants were not executed at legal hours. The Honduran Constitution says there cannot be home searches between sunset and sunrise; the Honduran Penal Procedures Code is more specific: no home searches between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. The other crime is taking Zelaya out of the country, against his will, instead of taking him to court to be tried.
Coronel Bayardo Inestroza stated that, in order to justify the Armed Forces’ actions –which were illegal but legitimate–, he relied on a criminal defense called necessity. Remembering my legal instruction from Prof. Jair López, I decided to review my textbook from Criminal Law class, which is widely used in private and public universities in Honduras. This book’s author, Prof. Suazo Lagos, explains very clearly on what necessity consists. The 10th edition of Lecciones de Derecho Penal I, quoting universal doctrine by von Liszt, Maurach, Díaz Palos, Mezger and others, on the subject matter, states that there are two types of state of necessity. The first kind is justifying necessity, while the other is exculpating necessity.
In both cases, a greater harm is prevented from happening by causing a harm of lesser juridical value. Justifying necessity occurs when there is a conflict between juridically-protected goods of unequal value (e.g., human life vs. physical property), while exculpating necessity pertains to a conflict between juridically-protected goods of equivalent value (e.g., human life vs. human life–regardless of how many lives are at stake). In our case, the Honduran Army can shield its actions by using the justifying necessity defense.
What are the two juridically-protected goods in our case? The first one is the lives and physical integrity of Hondurans (greater value) and the second one is Manuel Zelaya’s human rights (lesser value). As I see it, there is a conflict between 1) the very probable chaos and shedding of blood if Zelaya was kept in Honduran territory; 2) and the violation of Zelaya’s human rights to personal liberty, freedom of movement and so on.
First off, keeping Zelaya in Honduras would have made his supporters protest and violently claim his liberation. Just as experienced today, while Zelaya’s supporters awaited his return, hoards of them were causing great mischief at Tegucigalpa’s airport, making the Army and National Police use violence to fight the protestors’ violence.
The harm to human lives and physical integrity of Hondurans is of greater juridical value than the forced ouster of Zelaya from Honduran territory. Yes, Zelaya’s human rights were violated last Sunday, but that is preferable over the injury and death of tens, hundreds or thousands of Hondurans who would probably use violence to fight for the liberation of Zelaya, disregarding any type of official accusation and judgment by Honduran authorities. Also, as explained elsewhere, Manuel Zelaya is not the most law-abiding citizen; his anarchist tendencies are visible–having him in Honduran territory while being tried would have probably caused an extremely violent national convulsion.
What made the Armed Forces think Zelaya’s supporters were going to use violence that might lead to bodily harm and even deaths? I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that they were right in their estimate of Zelaya’s supporters’ fixation for violence. This past week, pro-Zelaya mobs have used excessive violence to destroy private property and attack military and police officers. These officers, in order to defend themselves, have counterattacked, causing harm to the mob members.
Additionally, today’s pro-Zelaya demonstrations in Tegucigalpa’s Toncontín airport, have led to the use of violence from the military and the police. Protestors, instead of peacefully waiting for the arrival of Zelaya, decided to break into the airport and attack the military and police, which reacted by defending themselves and causing harm to many of these protestors.
Going back to the legal considerations of this case, Manuel Zelaya’s human rights (e.g., liberty) were violated in order for the human rights of countless persons to be preserved (e.g., life). A lesser harm was caused in order to prevent a greater harm. The military’s actions were not legal, but definitely were legitimate and justified. I guess this is a case in which justice prevails over the law.
I am very certain that a regular citizen like me is no threat to the stability, social peace and order of Honduras, which is why I am not afraid of the military knocking on my door tomorrow at 5 AM to ship me to Costa Rica against my will. Zelaya, on the other hand, was surely a threat to Honduras; the military, to my opinion, did the right thing by preventing a greater harm from coming about.
Day-to-day cases apply necessity as a criminal defense. Take a poor mother who finds herself and her five children starving to death. She may be exempted from a criminal conviction after stealing two-$4 loaves of bread from a grocery store. You need not view it as “poor people should be allowed to steal,” but rather as “the lives and health of 6 human beings is more valuable than two-$4 loaves of bread.” In a case like this, a good defendant could definitely win a case invoking necessity as a criminal defense.
Applying this simple example to Zelaya’s violent usher from the country, I would say that the mother is the military; her children are the lives of Hondurans who would have risked their lives for Zelaya’s liberation, had he been kept in our territory for trial; the loaves of bread are Zelaya’s rights; the grocery store owner would be Manuel Zelaya himself. Military officials can surely be prosecuted by the Attorney General of Honduras, but this prosecution might not prosper in court, since the military officials might invoke necessity as a criminal defense–and rightly so.
The information provided above makes me confident that what the military did to preserve order in Honduran territory was legitimate and justified, even though Zelaya’s human rights were violated. There was never a coup, since the constitutional order was never ruptured by the military (they never took over power) and all branches of government remained intact. President Micheletti’s interim government is legitimate and should be recognized by everyone worldwide.
2. Irreconcilable ideologies and interests
Besides being ill informed, actors disagree over matters when there are irreconcilable ideologies or interests at stake. The so-called international community and the international news media, to my belief, are now fairly informed about what is going in Honduras, including the reasons for removing Zelaya from power, the legal basis for taking Zelaya out of Honduran territory and so on. I believe, nonetheless, foreign nations (especially from the Americas), international organizations (e.g., UN, OAS) and the foreign news media are ideologically opposed to what most Hondurans want. Basically, as it is well known, these actors tend to be of liberal, leftist tendencies, who oppose any actions that go against their beliefs and interests.
Let’s analyze the irreconcilable ideologies and interests at stake between foreign actors and the Honduran population. I will focus on the interests, since, unlike ideologies, they are more tangible and describable without falling into oversimplification.
The three types of actors and their interests, as I see them, are as follow:
a. Foreign governments, especially from the Americas: Their main interest is not allowing a domino effect take place in the Latin American region. If the Honduran political situation is left unattended, with no action or reprimand, governments in this part of the world might face citizen uproar in their respective countries, following Honduras’ lead. Governments of all kinds (very democratic or not) want stability and always steer away from losing legitimacy in the eyes of their citizens. The domino effect I talk about is of lesser concern to non-Latin American countries, but they still care about stability in the governments of the Americas, for all sorts of reasons.
Nations like Venezuela, Cuba, Brazil, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, El Salvador and Ecuador all have leftist presidents. Some are more radical than others, but they all remain highly socialistically-minded, one way or another. Having a country like Honduras revolt against the “Caracas Consensus” or the “Havana Consensus” might definitely harm leftist governments; their populations, if unsatisfied with their governments, would find a precedent for shooing away a leftist president who has not accomplished what he or she has promised–especially if he or she consistently violates the law.
It is obvious to me that the aforementioned leftist governments are interested in keeping “order” in Honduras, so that their socialist-imperialist plan, following Chávez and Fidel Castro, does not fall through. By doing this, with the help of the OAS and the UN, they defy and disrespect Honduras’ self-determination and sovereignty. Don’t they know that the maximum authority in a nation-state is the Sovereign (the people or the will of the people)?
b. International organizations such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States: Their positions are very similar to that of governments in Latin America. After all, international organizations are the amalgamation of nation-states, fighting for their national interest–and, to some extent, a common goal. Sometimes this interest coincides amongst them, like in the case of condemning Honduras for drop-kicking an absurdly leftist president like Manuel Zelaya.
Within these organizations, there are also many interests at stake. For example, in the case of the OAS, its Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, officially ends his term in 2010. He is able to reelect himself and undoubtedly should seek the support of as many OAS nations as possible. A great bloc to cater to and to easily please is the leftist bloc of Latin America. As previously mentioned, this bloc, led by Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and the Cuban Castro brothers, would not be happy–and would be politically harmed–if a small country like Honduras resisted being part of their consensus. Why, then, would Insulza be interested in displeasing this leftist bloc if his reelection hinged from its approval?
If Insulza is acting professionally and does not seek to please the leftist bloc, another reason explaining his fervent displeasure with Honduras’ self-determination to keep Zelaya away, is the fact that he himself believes that a leftist Latin America is more just and preferable for citizens. This, too, is plausible and not mutually exclusive with his selfish plans for reelection, as stated above. After all, in Chile, his home country, Insulza has been part of leftist political groups.
The United Nations, like the OAS, wants to pursue a more stable Latin America–at any cost. Little do they know or fully comprehend that by forcing Honduras to install Zelaya back in power they are wreaking greater havoc within our country.
There are less than five months left until Honduras has its general elections. International organizations should not be condemning Honduras for removing a president who very few wanted for violating the Constitution, abusing his presidential power and wanting to make Honduras a socialistic nation that would threaten liberty, democracy and social peace. Hugo Chávez’s socialism, which Zelaya admired and wanted for Honduras, endangers freedom, prosperity and development. Today, Venezuela is a witness of this peril.
c. Foreign news media: There is not much to analyze here. News media worldwide have leftist tendencies. You might wonder why I insist that leftists of all kinds and from all denominations (the Caracas Consensus, the OAS, etc.) are oppressing the Honduran population. Well, it’s because they, in fact, are creating superior chaos within our nation by putting forth their agenda over the will of the Honduran people.
It is no surprise to anyone that news companies (which are more commercially minded than anything else) like CNN, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, ABC News, BBC News and so on, are of liberal/leftist tendencies. In other words, their editorial positions tend to be left of center, which makes these companies consciously biased against most right-wing agendas. Honduras’ agenda of removing Zelaya from office was not a right-wing agenda, per se, but it definitely looked like one.
As Hondurans, we determined our will and acted accordingly. Sure, there are plenty of Zelaya sympathizers, but what the world does not know is that a vast majority of them were directly “bought” by the Zelaya regime, using narco/petrodollars from Venezuela. After Zelaya’s ouster, his disciples fear that their illegal source of income has gone forever–and this is what most Hondurans want. Our new government, led by President Roberto Micheletti, isn’t any better than Zelaya’s in terms of corruption levels and good intentions for the people. However, I am more certain that Micheletti will hand over his interim power to our November-elected President–something that was not too guaranteed under Zelaya’s rule.
The news media, of course, want to sell and make money. There’s nothing wrong with that, but, to who’s expense? It is easier for them to side with Zelaya and the leftist bloc of Latin America, since siding with Honduras and its interim government does not promise much news coverage–other than the tens of thousands of Hondurans who have rallied in favor of our new government and protested against Zelaya.
It’s easier for the news media to sell the image of Honduras as “the savage country that violently ousted its president since the upper class felt threatened by his plans,” than portraying Honduras as “the little country that preferred social peace and freedom, than having a president who pursued illiberal plans for the country.” Selling the image of Honduras as a retrograde nation that uses violence is more profitable for the news media, than portraying Honduras as an encouragement for respect for democracy, due process, the rule of law, social peace, sovereignty and freedom.
Worldwide, news companies have succeeded their goal of making money, but at the expense of 7.5 million Hondurans who all we want is to live in peace. They have also succeeded in misinforming the world and the international organizations about what really happened in Honduras on June 28, 2009. Very few news centers have reported somewhat fairly and properly; among them are The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and Fox News. American right-wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage have firmly defended Honduras’ desire for peace and freedom, even if it involved the ouster of a president, who, after all, wanted to turn this nation into a socialist one.
I can go on and on about why the world is opposing Honduras’ self-determination and sovereignty. However, I think this exposition has presented a quick overview of legal, political and economic aspects that are at stake.
In no way should Zelaya’s removal from power be considered a coup d’état, since our constitutional order was never harmed. If anything, it was Manuel Zelaya who threatened this order and planned to do away with our Constitution–which in no way is a legal document that represents a hindrance for a president who respects the rule of law. Nevertheless, Zelaya does not fit such description.
Written by Inti Jordán Martínez Alemán, a Honduran citizen who loves freedom, peace and democracy
If you have a problem with what I write, call me or email me so I can give you my home address and come find me:
+504-9790-9360 / firstname.lastname@example.org / FB-Twitter-AIM-MSN: intimaralem85
Monday, June 29, 2009
Yesterday, Sunday June 28, 2009, will be marked for the rest of our lives as the day in which socialism received its biggest slap on the face in recent years. Honduran President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, a moderate-turned-into-radical leftist, who admires Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro, was removed from power. The world saw this as a coup d’état but really wasn’t. The Armed Forces, obeying an order from the judiciary, came to Zelaya’s home early in the morning, snatched him from his bed, drove him to a military air base and flew him on his presidential jet to San José, Costa Rica, where he was left – still in his PJs. All against his will.
Why such an extreme measure to legally remove a President? In this article, I’ll talk about the reasons for removing Zelaya from power, which are divided in the following categories: 1) His support or leniency for all sorts of crimes and criminals; 2) His repeated violation and disregard for the rule of law, due process and judicial orders; 3) His intentions of making Honduras a socialist country, disrespecting democracy and freedom. In a future piece I’ll discuss the legal procedures for removing a president like Zelaya.
1) Zelaya the crime lover
Manuel Zelaya, from the Liberal Party, came to power in 2006, after winning the elections with a slim margin. His campaign was reportedly funded by Honduran drug lords, who are his friends, relatives and friends of his relatives. There hasn’t been an official investigation on this matter, but this is well known in political circles.
Unsurprisingly, Zelaya was a softy when handling drug lords, drug traffickers, kidnappers, assassins, extortionists, and the like. Even though he enlarged the size of the National Police, this was not enough to fight these criminals. For a while, he publicly insulted the judiciary branch, claiming that judges released criminals after they were captured by the police and taken to court hearings. Yes, judges do release real criminals if there isn’t enough proof to send them to prison. Who’s supposed to investigate crimes and present proof against criminals? The National Direction of Criminal Investigation, which is part of the Office of Security, which in turn reports directly to the executive. President Zelaya could not and would not cleanse the Office of Security from the pile of criminals that infiltrated it. There are serious reports and even criminal court judgments against police agents and officers for being part or leading bands of drug distribution, extortionists, hit men, kidnappers, car thieves and so on. These are very lucrative businesses that Zelaya and his secretaries of State knew about; instead of fighting them, Zelaya decided to cooperate with them, benefit from them and otherwise let them flourish, at the expense of 7.5 million Hondurans, who suffered immensely from the abuses of these criminals.
President Zelaya constantly claimed that he did what he could to fight crime, but reality reflected the contrary. During his incumbency, violent deaths and kidnappings skyrocketed, making Honduras one of the dangerous countries in the Western Hemisphere. Congress emphatically demanded for Zelaya to do something about the terrible situation that had the police force and the general citizenry on their knees. President Zelaya preferred to ride his horse on every town parade he was invited to, traveled to 70 countries around the world, flew on a jetfighter just for kicks, stopped Tegucigalpa’s traffic just to make way for his motorcade, and many other luxuries (and abuses) that only compare to what brutal African tyrants enjoy. Yes, all of this at the expense and frustration of millions of Hondurans, who cannot afford hiring a bodyguard for protection from the hoards of criminals that infest our country.
As of recent, an increasing number of small aircraft have been landing or crashing in Honduran territory. These planes carry the Venezuelan flag and are chockfull of kilos of cocaine. Most loads are not confiscated by the authorities; when they are, they’re actually redistributed into the drug market, expanding the business circle to police officers and other public officials. Weekly, one or two of these aircrafts are detected but rarely are the culprits captured. President Zelaya, knowing all this, prefers to keep silent, since he well knows he shouldn’t fight the drug lords, who are his friends.
2) Zelaya the anarchist
I have yet to find a legal disposition or judicial order that President Zelaya obeyed out of respect for due process, the rule of law and order. Anytime he did obey the law was to benefit from it unfairly, enrich his family or his cronies, or to make a political move that would make him win the favor of his followers. The government of Manuel Zelaya will be recorded in Honduran history as the most corrupt, disorganized and mischievous government.
Let’s not forget that Zelaya only has a high school education. He was enrolled in the Honduran state university for five years, only passing 11 of classes and never graduating; his cumulative average was 34.6%.
Zelaya’s father was heavily involved in the massacre of over a dozen clergy and civilians in 1975, thirty-four years before President Zelaya broke into the Honduran Air Force base in Tegucigalpa, this past Friday, to claim the 15,000 survey boxes that had already been declared illicit material by a court.
Manuel Zelaya cannot be blamed for the atrocities of his father or any of his relatives, but you can definitely see a trend in his anarchist lifestyle. He has never had an authority over him, nor does he care what others think of his carefree style that damages our nation so much. Zelaya has enjoyed a free-spirit lifestyle, to the point of being a negligent parent and an aloof husband. In fact, his adulterous ways are well known in the capital’s social circles. We can see that same adulterous style in the way he handled his government – if you want to call it that.
For the past two years, Manuel Zelaya’s approval rates have been in the 30s. He always expressed the unimportance of these results, since he knew that el pueblo loved him – he felt in the town parades, he said.
Instead of wisely directing the business of the public administration, Zelaya would rather go on a trip to the Honduran jungle (“La Mosquitia”) and spend the weekend there, televising every move he made, every inanity that came out of his mouth and every song he played on his guitar. The other 7.5 million Hondurans, annoyed at their president, wondered when this circus would be over. But, alas, Zelaya surprised the Honduran republic, by going to the Hog Keys (Cayos Cochinos), in our Caribbean, to show his citizens and the world his abilities as a scuba diver.
Private hospitals have been happy with Zelaya’s presidency, particularly because he was a frequent patient in the “detox” center, where he would get cleansed from all the cocaine he snorted. Yes, I said it, one of the taboos of Honduran society: Manuel Zelaya is a drug addict. His close friends can tell you the countless times he visited the hospital or was taken to a secluded place until his drug fever would be over. Of course, the Honduran media never reported on this, nor was there a serious investigation on it. However, why do you think Zelaya recently proposed in public that illegal drugs should be legalized? Later, he claimed he never said such thing and that he meant something else.
When Zelaya did not like a law or decree passed by Congress, he hid it and put its approval in suspense for months, if not years. Around 70 laws or decrees have suffered this treatment by Zelaya, causing grave damage to our country, which is in need for implementing laws that make it bigger and better.
This year, in order to pressure Congress to support his views, President Zelaya decided to withhold the 2009 budget, which was supposed to be presented to Congress since late 2008. Honduran law says that when this happens, the budget from the previous year will be used. Zelaya was strangulating the public administration, Congress and the Judiciary by not presenting this year’s budget for approval. He wanted public officials to support his plans for a new Constitution via a constituent assembly. Thankfully, Congress did not budge and preferred to remove him from the presidency for his threats and abuse of power.
President Zelaya, as we all have witnessed, has demonstrated to disrespect the institutions established by our legal system. He constantly disobeyed court orders and was minimally interested in what the other two branches of power had to say.
His family and his family’s close buddies drove around the country in motorcades and were protected by bodyguards. Even distant relatives and their friends enjoyed the blessings that the State provided with the funds of public taxes.
After a couple of months in power, Zelaya demonstrated to be a president that no one wanted. Even though he’s only been in power three and a half years, it surely feels he has been president forever.
Is this the type of president average citizens want for their country? I highly doubt it, which is why over 70% of Hondurans approve of Zelaya’s removal from power.
3) Zelaya the socialist
Manuel Zelaya, since the beginning of his presidency, has showed his passion for the masses, the poor people and the destitute. He has started many programs to help the poor, but, in fact, hasn’t carried through. The thousands of posts opened to supposedly aid the needy have been filled by his political activists who don’t always show up for work, unless it’s pay day. These are the same activists who are out in the streets today, protesting for Zelaya’s return to power. Of course, they don’t really care about democracy or the rule of law or the people they’re supposed to be helping out through their posts: They are deeply afraid of losing that pay check from the social program or aid institution that was supposedly created to help those in need.
The mountains of corruption, cronyism, nepotism and despotism of Zelaya’s government can only be compared to that of stereotypical African nations. His government had all the characteristics of an administration that was leading our country to a level of complete failure. The progress made in the past 20-some years, in matters of due process, the rule of law, democracy, freedom, and legality, has been trampled upon by the Zelaya administration. If you visit any public office, you’ll find out no one is really interested in working or helping you out in any way. Public officials of the Zelaya administration have not earned their jobs and are very confident that while their leader is in power, they will not lose their jobs.
Yes, things could be worse, I know. We were going to get there, if Zelaya stayed in power. For the past two years, President Zelaya has strengthened his ties with Venezuela, Cuba and other socialist and radically left-wing nations. He has been very bold about his admiration for these countries, hinting that Honduras should learn from them. Under these types of regimes, there is corruption, cronyism, nepotism and despotism galore. Honduras’ doors opened to socialism last year when Zelaya pushed an oil-and-money assistance program provided by Venezuela, called Petrocaribe, expecting nothing back from Honduras (and so Zelaya told us). Most people thought this was a good thing because gas prices would come down, we would get assistance money for social programs and Chávez’s intentions were merely philanthropic. After much debate, Congress was bought out by Venezuela’s petro/narcodollars, and Petrocaribe got a green light. None of the promises came true, except for the money that many congress representatives got for voting in favor of it.
Later in 2008, Zelaya and his cronies tried to convince Congress to approve Honduras’ adherence to the socialist Alternativa Bolivariana para las Américas (ALBA), which supposedly is a social-aid alliance funded mainly by Chávez’s Venezuela; all of its members are blatantly leftist. The Honduran Congress was skeptical of this deal, but, after many talks and money transfers, the adherence to the ALBA passed. From here on, Honduran citizens noticed a clear turn to the left of President Zelaya.
Early this year, Zelaya started promoting his so-called Cuarta Urna (fourth ballot box), representing the fourth ballot box that would be included in this year’s general elections. So, what would this ballot box decide? Well, its purpose was to know whether or not Honduran citizens wanted to call for a constituent assembly that would abolish our current Constitution. There is nothing glaringly wrong with our Constitution, but Zelaya did not like the fact that presidential terms only lasted four years and that there was not chance for a reelection. Zelaya started heavily and viciously campaigning for this ballot box to be included in the November elections. But, before then, he also wanted a non-binding survey (not a referendum or plebiscite) asking the population whether or not they actually wanted the fourth ballot box in November. “Wow, what an honest and transparent president he was,” you might say. Much to our surprise, he wanted to revamp the Constitution in order to stay in power and make Honduras a socialist nation, following the trend of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador.
The point of the so-called non-binding survey was to have a backup and an anchor to prove Congress and the world that Zelaya’s plans for a new Constitution were demanded by the majority of Honduras. Naturally, as he did in the 2005 elections and recently confirmed it, Zelaya would rig the “votes” and conclusively have the support of an overwhelming majority of Hondurans. The Attorney General, seeing Zelaya’s unconstitutional and dangerous plans, filed a suit in court so that the survey would be stopped. The judge’s provisional but firm judgment declared the June 28th survey as illegal. Any type of consultation or survey that plans to abolish the Constitution would be illegal. Anyone who supported this survey would be tried in court for countless crimes. The Armed Forces received a court order to not support Zelaya’s survey and to incinerate any type of material destined for the survey. It wasn’t until last week that the Armed Forces received a final order from the court, telling them it’s their constitutional duty to preserve the Constitution.
After Zelaya found out that the Armed Forces were not going to support him in his “survey”, he decided to fire the head of the Joints Chief of Staff, five-star General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez. Immediately, Congress named a commission to prepare a report on the grievances done by Zelaya, which would disable him to continue as president of Honduras. The following day, Friday, Vásquez Velásquez was reinstated by the Supreme Court of Justice, since Zelaya hadn’t followed the proper methods to fire the general nor were there legal reasons to fire him. Vásquez Velásquez only wanted to preserve the Constitution and that was a crime in Zelaya’s eyes.
On Friday, June 26, President Zelaya, along with a thousand of his paid activists, took a road trip to the Honduras Air Force base in Tegucigalpa, where the survey’s material was being stored, after arriving from Venezuela. Disobeying a court order, Zelaya decided to take the survey material to another place, where he could be sure it would not be sacked or incinerated. The reason the 15,000 survey boxes were handed over to him without much resistance was to avoid violence from the mob that accompanied Zelaya.
Saturday was a calm day for Zelaya and was destined to illegally distribute the survey material throughout Honduras. That evening, in the company of diplomats and foreign-aid program representatives, President Zelaya communicated to his citizens that Sunday would be a glorious day in which everyone should go out and vote, without fear, regarding what a court and the Attorney General had said.
Sunday morning, what everyone in Honduras had been waiting for: around 5:30 a.m., President Zelaya is snatched from his home and flown against his will to Costa Rica; he is later removed from power as President and a new President is legally and formally named.
As you can see, President Zelaya’s ouster was a bomb waiting to explode. As Honduran citizens, we were tired of his mediocrity, abuse of power, insults to other branches of government, and excessive spending in personal enjoyments and illegal acts. We were suffering from his lack of governance. We are happy he is gone. We could’ve well waited until January 27, 2010, when his term was officially over, but, after expressing his desire to abolish the Constitution and stay in power, he had to be removed immediately.
If you think Zelaya is a good guy who should be reinstated in power, why don’t you adopt him in your country and let him run it? We surely wouldn’t mind, but I’m sure you would.
Next: the legal analysis of how Manuel Zelaya was removed from power. This was not a coup d’état, as the international media have been reporting, thus misinforming the international community, who now supports Zelaya, the martyr, and thinks our new government is de facto and illegitimate. They’re wrong.
Written by Inti Jordán Martínez Alemán, a Honduran citizen who loves freedom, peace and democracy
If you have a problem with what I write, call me or email me so I can give you my home address and come find me:
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Sunday, June 28, 2009
If things keep going the way they are going, Honduras will not have an illegitimate fourth ballot box in the upcoming November general elections, Manuel Zelaya won’t be our president next year, a new president will take over in January, there won’t be a constituent assembly (for now), and our current Constitution will remain unscathed. The effects of these outcomes will set up a “domino effect” over Latin America. Many currently Chávez-influenced nations will revolt against their leftist governments; whether they’re successful or not depends on the way they organize themselves and plan their “attacks”. Latin American nations on their way to a leftist revolution (e.g., El Salvador) will take a halt and possibly rework their future by seeking a more moderate political stance. As I see it, we are the turning point for the rest of Latin American nations. Yes, it all depends on how the Honduran political crisis turns out. I foresee a strong slap on the extreme left’s face.
Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, however, still has 5 months to buy the votes of two thirds of Congress. From today until the end of November, when the official general elections take place, Zelaya will be promoting his constituent assembly, trying to convince Congress representatives (who already have and will continue receiving cash offers) of the need for a more fair Constitution that makes Honduras a just society – whatever that means. Zelaya will take advantage of the votes and the requests of Honduran citizens who support his plans for a new Constitution that will extend his presidential term and power – just like Chávez, 10 years ago. After June 28, 2009, thousands and hundreds of thousands of Honduras will have “voted” to support Zelaya’s anti-democratic ideas. Of course, we all know the “survey” of that day has already been declared null and illegal by the judiciary. Even if this wasn’t the case, we all know the “survey” is illegitimate and will be rigged, making Zelaya have the number of subjects he needs to stay in power. Nonetheless, Zelaya believes he’s a messenger from God, who, in turn, wants “the people” (el pueblo) to express their opinion regarding a new Constitution for Honduras. It’s “the people” who will back Zelaya and his ideals – and so he thinks.
President Zelaya also needs to get the Armed Forces on his side, as well as the Attorney General and the judiciary branch. Five-star General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been very clear in his support for the current Constitution, reminding President Zelaya that he will not obey any of his orders if they’re unconstitutional, neither will the Armed Forces. However, Vásquez Velásquez might sway to Zelaya’s side if he is offered a good chunk of the goodies of what the president and his cronies are getting from Chávez. Yes, I’m saying Vásquez Velásquez can fall into corruption’s trap. Let’s not forget that he has supported Zelaya since the beginning of his term and has allowed Zelaya and his satraps (especially Arístides Mejía) commit several crimes; in those cases, Vásquez Velásquez has benefitted from the booty, which is why his wealth has grown exponentially in the past 3 years. This support for Zelaya allowed Vásquez Velásquez to be confirmed in his position –the highest military position in the nation, after the President– last year. I’m not saying the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will fall in Zelaya’s hands, but he could – he is the weakest link right now.
The other two links, like I’ve already said, are the Attorney General and the judiciary branch. These two are quite firm and adamant in their legal (and political, of course – former President Carlos Flores Facussé is behind them) position against Zelaya’s imbecilities. For now, it is not necessary for me to expound on them and the implications of their roles.
Another unofficial mega-institution that has a lot of power in Honduras, but has yet to grow in full strength and organization, is the so-called civil society. Five or ten years ago, this term was very rare and few people used it or understood it. After over a decade of having NGOs, non-profits and other civil associations register and work (most of them ineffectively, though) to benefit the neediest in Honduras, a new version of these civil associations has emerged: the intellectual organizations. The members of these organizations do not get dirty or get face-to-face with the poor, but their intellectual and consulting work has done a lot to help our country grow and develop. Many of these intellectual organizations receive foreign-government funds which aid in advising the Honduran government in subjects such as education, healthcare, political organizing, foreign debt, fiscal responsibility, free-enterprise promotion, land management, and the like. So, this mega-institution called civil society has multiple and huge tentacles that can influence Zelaya’s plans. Thus far, the vast majority of civil-society organizations oppose Zelaya’s plans to draft a new Constitution, but let’s keep our eyes peeled and not let them fall in his trap – like some have.
Other unusually powerful interest groups in Honduras are government-employed elementary-, middle- and high-school teachers, and transportation companies for lower-middle and lower class (especially taxi cooperatives and businesses, believe it or not). Teachers have received direct orders from the Secretary of Education to support Zelaya’s ambitions. The latter have received gas subsidies and other bonuses to keep them happy, making them love Zelaya. In Tegucigalpa, taxi drivers virtually unanimously support Zelaya. Outside of the capital, however, transportation businesses are split on their political positions. These two important interest groups can play a key role in defining what will happen in Honduras in the next five months.
Finally, we also have the power of the diplomatic representatives of foreign nations in Honduras. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. Embassy plays the strongest role in trying to convince the Honduran authorities of their need to maintain peace and democracy. Zelaya, however, believes that U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens and the diplomatic community in Honduras are on his side. He forgets they’re diplomats and their goal is not to get in a fight with their host nation, but to seek the best interest of their sending nation, which rarely translates into supporting a coup d’état – as much as it is needed. In the next five months, the diplomatic community will be trying to find a common point between Zelaya and the rest of nation’s leaders. It will try to reconcile the extreme left with the rest, but alone won’t be too successful.
To recap, let’s not lose sight of the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (be it Vásquez Velásquez or whomever) and let’s not forget about the importance of the civil society in supporting democracy and peace. Public-school teachers and transportation companies will also wield some power over Zelaya and his despicable plans – let’s try to win them over to our side! The diplomatic community is a complement to our battle against the extreme left; it needs the other sectors’ help to change the course of Honduras. These will be the decisive actors of the Zelaya vs. Honduras battle of the next couple of months. Other actors will remain in their current positions and will be responsible for completely winning the decisive actors to their side.
At the end, after a hard-fought battle, much sweat and many tears, I foresee we will be facing a Zelaya-free Honduras, replete with renewed and genuine zeal for democracy and freedom (after all, we will be very close to losing them). We will learn the lessons and benefits of active political participation to prevent “satans” to enter the political arena. The rest of Latin American nations will see Hondurans’ will power to trump leftist propaganda and doom, making them follow our lead. The next five months will be the most nerve-wrecking and tiring times of our lives. It’s going to be very difficult, but ultimately rewarding – rest assured. Lest we lose track of our goal, unite against Manuel Zelaya, his demons and their demonic plans!
8:17 am: I was so positive... I expected so much from Mel and his power.
Thank God this came earlier!!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Authorship - Autoría
Copyright - Derechos
Living it the Best way I possibly can... by Inti Jordán Martínez Alemán is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at intimaralem85.blogspot.com.