Category Archives: Political crisis 2009

Related to the deposing of Zelaya and the interim government

OTP report clears Honduras; attack by Axis of Evil continues

The Office of the Prosecutor in the International Criminal Court (yes, I know that you guys followed this blog from Sept 2009 to Feb 2010) has now released a report on preliminary examination activities in Honduras. In paragraph 61 it says that Porfirio Lobo “instituted a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación) to cover events between 28 June 2009 and 27 January 2010” (CVR is the abbreviation). Here’s the problem: The conflict did not start June 28th, 2009, and the CVR’s mandate does not start with the events June 28th, 2009. As I have reported on this blog, over and over again, the CVR was a condition in the Guaymuras dialogue introduced by interim president Micheletti, and approved by the deposed president Zelaya; it was to cover the events before, during, and after June 28th, 2009. This is important, because every serious legal analysis until date has concluded that it was not a coup d’état; that the label coup d’état is entirely political with no foundation in the legal facts.

The OTP report talks about a “crisis room” that was installed in the presidential palace on July 6th. In fact I proposed the installation of it to Micheletti, and I stayed in contact with it during his entire interim presidency. It was a way of finding out the other side of the story, since virtually all media reporting represented the spin from the chavizta propaganda machine in Venezuela (Telesur being the main source of video footage). The purpose of the crisis room was to counter this massive propaganda machine, but it was still a modest effort: Six persons, against a global network of interconnected media, from news services to satellite TV to state employed bloggers – with messaging controlled by the president and minister of information in a totalitarian dictatorship that wished to take control over Honduras: Venezuela.

The Honduras crisis 2009 was not a “coup d’état”. It was the legitimate defense by one nation against a non-military aggression by another nation, with the intent of annexation. We now know the true intentions of the aggressor nations thanks to an audio recording retrieved from the computer of a Cuban military in 2012. At the meeting they talk about Cuba Grande Socialista, which will start with annexing Venezuela and Nicaragua, and for that reason they have decided to murder Hugo Chávez (which they did in December 2012 and then tried to conceal), and replace him with Maduro who is docile and manageable. From their point of view it was necessary to murder Chávez since he wanted to create Gran Colombia Bolivariana instead of Cuba Grande Socialista, to annex Colombia and Ecuador rather than Nicaragua, and to make himself the leader rather than Fidel.

It’s easy to see why they want Venezuela, the petroleum wealth, but the reason for desiring Nicaragua is more interesting in relation to Honduras: They want an alternative to the Panama Canal, one that they control. In Nicaragua there is an old project, older than the Panama Canal, that still is kept alive: The ECO canal, via Lake Managua, Lake Nicaragua, and San Juan River. It’s main drawback is the aridity of the Lake Managua drainage basin, some years not providing enough water for the necessary sluices to the Pacific Ocean. Another drawback is the shallowness of the San Juan River. Economically it cannot compete with the Panama Canal, but that’s not the point: Cuba wants it for political reasons, if they are shut out from the Panama Canal. In 2012 they were not, so one must ask oneself what were they up to, since they expected to be shut out from the Panama Canal? After the seizure of Cuban military material on a North Korean freighter it does seem, though, as though they may become shut out now…

Over to Honduras. There is a project being promoted there called the “canal seco”, the “dry canal”. It consists of a harbor in each end and either a railroad or a motorway in between, and the purpose is exactly to provide an alternative to the Panama Canal. Who is interested in financing it? China, an ally of Cuba. Nicaragua and Honduras are the only two countries that can offer an alternative to the Panama Canal. Nicaragua is already a dictatorship, and Ortega might not be such an easy nut to crack as the weak Honduran democracy. The newly elected president in Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez, has proved to be very amenable to corruption, and that is how the enemy gets his foot in. There are already thousands of Cuban agents in Honduras, disguised as medical personnel, but whose real purpose is psychological operations in preparation for a possible annexation such as the one just being carried out in Venezuela after the assassination of Chávez.

Returning to the OTP report, they conclude: “While there were victims of killings, torture, sexual violence, detentions of longer duration and/or in conditions of a severe nature, or serious injuries, the commission of these crimes did not seem to have occurred in an organized and regular pattern.” This is the same thing that I heard during the crisis from the above-mentioned situation room, or “war room” as we called it at the time since it was in effect an act of aggression against Honduras: There was an accidental shooting of a civilian, there was someone found dead after having been detained and released, there were cases of sexual violence, but none of it was neither ordered nor sanctioned from the top; they did what they could to stop it, since it put them in jeopardy (and the OTP report is proof of that; they have been investigated until now).

In paragraph 74 of the report the “crisis room” is mentioned:

“Although not necessary, given the findings on the lack of either a widespread or systematic attack, the Office also considered whether there was any evidence of a policy to attack opponents of the de facto regime. …the establishment of a “crisis room” designed to plan operations to repress the opposition could also be an indicator of a policy … However … As regards the “crisis room”, it is not clear that emanating from this coordination there was a policy designed to attack, on a widespread and systematic basis, the civilian population…”

Again, let me spell it out: It was my idea to create this situation room, I proposed it to Micheletti through intermediaries, and the purpose was to provide the truth about what was happening to the media, population, and the international community, since the world media were totally dominated by the enemy propaganda (from Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, and other members of the Axis of Evil). Again, the situation room was devised to get the TRUTH out, and to the best of my knowledge all who worked there (six of them) were all communicators, none were involved with security issues. Of course they talked with the heads of security, that’s where they got their information from, but they did not direct security, they only reported the facts. For instance, it was through that channel that I found out how Telesur was staging “news” stories (the Telesur video has been taken down, I guess they didn’t like to get exposed so they reported it for copyright infringement).

The attack by the Axis of Evil against the sovereignty of Honduras continues, however. A week ago Manuel Zelaya’s wife, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, was defeated in the presidential election. The interesting fact is, however, who financed her campaign: Venezuela and Cuba! Since a couple of years Cuba ceased to be the number one threat to Latin America, according to USA. It is now Russia. Russia is for all intents and purposes a Nazi regime, a criminal enterprise, and Cuba is, too; there is no significant difference between the Nazi and the communist ideology as clearly described by this documentary from Latvia (a nation that has suffered both Nazism and Russian communism): The Soviet Story. It’s a very upsetting film, especially the recent events since they show that the Empire of Evil still exists – and it wants to build a navy base in Venezuela, where it already has a significant military presence. Honduras is not out of the woods, and the “canal seco” is surely of high strategic value to the axis of evil.

PS. The Truth Commission was also my idea, so I know very well that the purpose was to cover the before as well as during and after June 28th, 2009. And let me add, I did give advice to Micheletti, but I did so protected by Free Speech – by writing it on this blog – and never accepting any payment for it.

Latinamerikas skenvalsdiktaturer

Demokratin i Latinamerika är hotad, men Honduras och Paraguay inger hopp. Dessa två länder har visat att det går att stoppa den process av erosion av demokratin som först implementerades i Venezuela 1999. Bakom denna djävulska plan står Castros Kuba. Då de hade misslyckats med att erövra Venezuela i en militär invasion på 60-talet, och misslyckats med gerillakriget, och misslyckats med en kupp i samband med kravaller 1989, och misslyckats med Chávez militärkupp 1992, och sedan en till militärkupp 1992, så försökte Castro med strategi nummer 5: Att ta makten i ett demokratiskt val år 1998.

När det väl var gjort så började Chávez (vilken är Castros quisling) att sätta planerna i verket för att sitta kvar på livstid. Idén var naturligtvis inte ny, Hitler hade gjort på samma sätt. På 1930-talet var inte demokratin på mode på samma sätt, så detaljerna måste göras på ett annat sätt. Det anses nu som väsentligt att hålla regelbundna val, och detta utnyttjas av dessa nya diktaturer, vilka kan kallas “skenvalsdiktaturer“.

Det ironiska är att varje gång ett skenval hålls, och resultatet bekräftas av någon internationell organisation som fått blå dunster i ögonen (typ The Carter Center som svor på att den grovt förfuskade folkomröstningen 2004 hade gått rätt till), så stärks diktatorns ställning. En skenvalsdiktator som Chávez har därför mycket större politisk makt att plundra och härja, en en sedvanlig militärkuppsdiktator.

Kanske undrar du varför oppositionen med en druckens envishet hävdar att det visst inte förekommer valfusk. Svaret är att i de enskilda experternas riskanalys framstår det som bättre att tiga än att tala om ämnet: Ifall oppositionen mot förmodan tillåts vinna (vilket de inte har någon som helst anledning tro, efter att militärchefen klart sagt ifrån att det kommer han aldrig att acceptera), så tjänar de inget på det, eftersom deras uppdrag slutar på valdagen. Men om regimen vinner, och de har anklagat den för valfusk, så måste de gå i landsflykt. Bättre då att tiga. Detta är inte mina slutsatser utan de kommer från en vetenskaplig studie gjord av Beatriz Magaloni på Stanford University, “The Game of Electoral Fraud and the Ousting of Authoritarian Rule” (American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 54, No. 3, July 2010, Pp. 751–765).

Ännu har inte världen kommit på ett motmedel mot dessa skenvalsdiktatorer. Faktiskt, världen utanför Latinamerika verkar inte ens medveten om att problemet finns. Men i Honduras och Paraguay står man mitt i en kamp för demokratins överlevnad – och ser med en blandning av fasa och misstro hur Europa verkar svälja propagandan från ondskans axelmakter: Venezuela, Kuba, Iran, Ryssland, Kina, Syrien, och Libyen tills nyligen. Liksom Nazi-Tysklands ondska spred sig till andra länder i Europa där liknande regimer också etablerades, har Kuba via Venezuela lyckats sprida sitt ondskans imperium också till Nicaragua, Ecuador och Bolivia, medan presidenten i Argentina och flera andra länder har köpts för pengar.

På 1930-talet fanns NF, Nationernas Förbund, och det slutade fungera då allt fler regimer kom under kontroll av kriminella regimer som inte längre representerade folkets intressen. Samma sak händer nu. FN:s generalförsamling, liksom kommissionen för mänskliga rättigheter, har förvandlats till verkningslösa organ, på grund av att de kriminella axelmakterna har kunnat köpa sig så många lojaliteter. Vad som står på spel till syvende och sidst är inget mindre än världsfreden.

Hur illa det står till framgår om vi tittar på världens reaktion då två små länder har försökt stoppa denna urholkning av demokratin. Den 28 juni 2009 avsattes presidenten i Honduras sedan han försökt starta en process för att underminera demokratin, på samma sätt som fd militärkuppmakare Hugo Chávez har gjort i Venezuela, Evo Morales i Bolivia, och Rafael Correa i Ecuador. Omvärlden kallade det en militärkupp, trots att Högsta Domstolen hade utfärdat en häktningsorder för presidenten på begäran av riksåklagaren, på laga grund efter att presidenten brutit mot en direkt order från domstolen. Och trots att riksdagen med stor majoritet röstade för att avsätta presidenten, ett beslut som landets högsta domstol accepterade som ett faktum dagen efter, med stöd av landets grundlag.

År 2012 avsattes presidenten i Paraguay genom en förtroendeomröstning i riksdagen, både underhuset och överhuset, i enlighet med det landets grundlag, vilken tillåter riksdagen att avsätta en president som inte längre har dess förtroende. Detta är precis i linje med ordningen för dagen i Europa, där regeringschefer avsätts titt som tätt i förtroendeomröstningar. Det är just så det skall vara i en parlamentarisk demokrati. Men något verkar hända i huvudet på folk när latinamerikaner beter sig demokratiskt korrekt; då blir det plötsligt en “statskupp“.

Grundproblemet i Latinamerika är att så gott som alla länder på kontinenten har kopierat USAs grundlag i så motto att de har ett folkvalt ämbete (med titel president) som på samma gång utför rollerna av regeringschef och statschef, samtidigt som de har en folkvald riksdag som stiftar lagarna. Denna ordning leder till problem: Det blir väldigt lätt att införa diktatur, vilket som bekant har skett vid otaliga tillfällen i kontinentens blott 200-åriga historia sedan befrielsen från kolonialmakterna. Länderna kämpar med att försöka hitta en formel för att förhindra att det sker igen.

I Honduras grundlag finns en paragraf som säger att presidenten förverkat sitt ämbete om han så mycket som säger att han önskar sitta kvar efter mandatperiodens utgång, och ger alla och ingen institution befogenhet att agera om så sker. Anledningen till att ingen institution fått den befogenheten är för att förhindra att den institutionen används för att legitimera en statskupp. Därför gavs alla den befogenheten, och år 2009 tog alla institutioner sitt ansvar. Alla statens institutioner ställde sig mot presidenten, inklusive presidentämbetets egen juridiska avdelning! Ändå kallade omvärlden det för en statskupp. Misslyckandet ligger inte i Honduras, utan i omvärlden.

I Paraguay gav grundlagen riksdagen rätt att avsätta presidenten av politiska skäl. De har alltså infört en form av parlamentarism. Detta borde naturligtvis applåderas av vänner av demokratin, som ett stort steg framåt. Varför görs inte det? Därför att demokratins dödgrävare i Latinamerika – Chávez i Venezuela, Correa i Ecuador, Morales i Bolivia, Ortega i Nicaragua, Kirchner i Argentina, och givetvis Castro på Kuba – kallar det en statskupp, och omvärlden är alltför blåögd och naiv för att förstå, att om en diktator kallar en demokrati för “diktatur”, så är det nog precis tvärtom.

Hittills har väst undvikit att tala om Chávez, för att inte ge honom legitimitet som “anti-västs ledare”. Det är hög tid att ändra strategi nu, och istället aktivt kritisera Chávez regim som varande en brutal auktoritär diktatur, vars viktigaste taktiska vapen är att regelbundet hålla skenval för att därigenom – varje gång omvärlden accepterar valresultatet – öka sin politiska makt. Den nya strategin måste vara att på alla sätt exponera hur falska dessa val är: Den totala bristen på likhet i tillgång till media, censuren av media, konfiskation av tillgångar för att förhindra oppositionen från att ha tillgång till kapital för valkampanjen, skenrättegångar, politiska fångar, politiska mord, öppna hot uttalade av presidenten, en total brist på insyn i den helt elektroniska valprocessen, en röstlängd som är så förfuskad att ett barn kan se att den är förfalskad, stängningen av vallokalen i Miami där en halv miljon venezolaner bor (de måste nu rösta i New Orleans 140 mil bort; arbetet med logistiken att förflytta dem är i full gång). Det har bevisats vetenskapligt att Chávez har stulit val förr, 2004, genom att justera röstsiffrorna elektroniskt (men Carter-centret upptäckte inte fusket utan godkände resultatet, och bortsåg också helt från de många och mycket grova brott mot demokratiska principer som regimen begick för att försöka förhindra att omröstningen ens kom till stånd).

Det är dags att media säger rakt ut det vår regering redan vet: Chávez är en diktator. DN verkar inte ha förstått det. Heller inte att morden på journalister i Honduras och andra länder i knarktraden beror på knarktraden och inte något annat.

Truth Report in Honduras misses the Big Picture

The CVR report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Honduras (Comisión de la Verdad y la Reconciliación) was released July 7, 2011. Their most serious error is in the apparent omission of the Trotskyist Cold War aspect, which has led them to draw erroneous conclusions.

Although the report was released July 7, it is not until today that I have had a chance to read it, since I have been on a well-deserved vacation. So far I have read Chapter 6, “the events of June 28, 2009.” As regards the documental evidence there is nothing new, but the testimonies at the end are new – and interesting – to me, since they reveal just how incompetent the persons pushing for the Constitutional Assembly really are. Take Cesar Ham, who said “Miércoles antes de la cadena nacional y entonces Kike que no hallaba cómo explicar, que no, que mirá, me decía, que no sé qué, que esto, vamos a la consulta o vamos a la consulta le digo” (“Wednesday before the national address and Kike who didn’t find how to explain, that look, he said to me, that this, and that; are we having the poll or having the poll, I asked him”). There is nothing more revealing for who has something on his feet and who hasn’t, than their own declarations in this report. But the real dynamite comes in the omissions in the following chapter.

In Chapter 7 they enter into the territory of analysis of the legality of the events. Although I have only read part of the text, I have already discovered that they have made a serious error of judgment. By failing to take into account the international nature of the conflict, treating it as an internal Honduran affair, they have landed on the completely wrong foot. To exemplify, they consider it wrong by the Honduran Attorney General and Supreme Court to accuse Manuel Zelaya of treason, and that the Honduran Constitution defines treason in way too wide terms. However, nowhere in Chapter 6 did I see any reference to the well-established fact that Zelaya was a quisling for Hugo Chávez, and that Chávez – a president in a foreign nation – was bankrolling not just Zelaya’s efforts to hold the illegal referendum, but also the “civil society organizations” who were pushing Zelaya to go ahead against his own expressed doubts that it was politically possible.

There has been ample denouncements ever since before June 28 that Chávez was behind this, but in Chapter 6 this is only mentioned very casually, by referring to a joint TV appearance of Zelaya and Chávez. Nowhere is it mentioned that the Honduran society was very well aware of the unconstitutional, yes unconstitutional, Constituting Constitutional Assembly that Hugo Chávez had arranged in Venezuela shortly after being elected president in 1999, thus effectively carrying out a self-coup, an autogolpe; and that Chávez had proceeded to bankroll other president’s election campaigns in other Latin American countries, and their unconstitutional Constituting Constitutional Assemblies (e.g., Ecuador, Bolivia).

They knew in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula that the international community, lead by OAS and Insulza, would be most accommodating in welcoming such a coup d’état also in Honduras. They knew that Insulza effectively is a golpista apologist, and that OAS is a threat to democracy, especially after allowing Cuba back in without easing up one inch on their communist dictatorship.

They knew that nobody was going to save democracy if they didn’t do it. It was not a political battle in a country in peace. It was a state of Cold War, exactly the kind of cold war that Adolf Hitler referred to when he coined that term. The play by Hugo Chávez, himself a quisling of Fidel Castro, was as taken from the playbook of the Führer: Take over a foreign sovereign nation without using military force, simply by intimidation, bribes, and lies. But after having used the strategy successfully in a handful of Latin American countries, the Hondurans had taken note that many tracks led into the lion’s lair, but none led out.

Thus it is with sadness that I am forced to conclude that CVR, a commission that I myself promoted in the San José talks, have failed to cast the net large enough to capture the real truth about what happened in Honduras. They have steered clear of the most important issue: The threat that Trotskyist Communism poses to Latin America, and thus to the rest of the world through their methods. These methods include infiltration (taking power in democracies under false flag and then converting them to communist dictatorships), terrorism, and drug violence (spreading chaos and havoc in democracies to make them ripe to fall for their manchurian candidates).

Trotsky clearly promoted lies and crimes in order to take power in all major nations first, and then to introduce communism with all that it entails in the form of getting rid of private ownership. Hugo Chávez is a confessed follower of Trotsky, whose vision is the ultimate tyranny, with absolute world-wide concentration of power. The failure of making this connection by CVR is absolutely devastating for the usefulness of the report’s conclusion in a political context, although in its factual findings it is still relevant and valuable in a narrow context, and for that I congratulate the commission.

Published 2011-07-15 19:34, last edited 2011-07-16 07:52

Truth Report on Honduras

Harvard law professor Noah Feldman has, together with co-authors, written a report to the Honduran Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR from its Spanish name) regarding the constitutionality of the events before, during, and after June 28, 2009, when the president of the republic, Manuel Zelaya Rosales, was removed from office and flown to Costa Rica. Following this blog’s tradition of archiving a copy of all important documents related to that event, the report is duplicated here: Reporte a la Comisión de la Verdad y la Reconciliación de Honduras: Asuntos constitucionales (English version). It is with a special interest that I read this report, since I proposed a truth commission back in July 2009, and Micheletti’s negotiators brought it up in their counter-offer.

After reading the executive summary I find the report to contain exactly what I had expected. First, that a lot of people kept their silence and didn’t reveal what they knew (the fact that CVR requested a meeting with me, whose only involvement has been writing this blog after the fact, amply illustrates that they have grasped at straws for getting to the truth). They have not been able to determine if the secret arrest warrant was issued the day it was dated, or afterwards in a CYA effort. This means that the report does not add any new facts, which is a pity. As for the legal analysis it is as could be expected, given that no new facts came out. Finally, since this is a legal and not a political study, they wisely refrain from evaluating what it means in political terms – something that I don’t have to refrain from here.

They identify three risks to modern democracy, not just in Honduras but generally, all exemplified from Honduras 2009. They are first that the executive office-holder abuses power and usurps powers from the other branches of government (it is clear that they see “modern democracy” as synonymous to “presidential republics”, because this is obviously something that cannot reasonably happen in a parliamentarian democracy). The second is that of an unconstitutional transfer of power, e.g. by military intervention. The third is the lack of clarity as regards the roles that the different institutional actors should assume in a crisis, due to poorly defined constitutions and laws. The report is structured along these three lines of analysis.

Zelaya made an “autogolpe”

In the executive summary they clearly state that president Mel Zelaya violated direct court orders before being deposed, and that the Supreme Court had a constitutional and legal method of deposing him. Having said this, they seem careful not to say that the president was obligated to obey the Supreme Court. In any constitutional democracy it is self-evident that the president is obligated to obey the Supreme Court, so by not stressing that point they are in fact implying that there is something wrong with the constitution of the Republic of Honduras – i.e., that it may give the president a position equivalent to an elected king with a one term limit. This is what I mean with them sticking to the legal and refraining from opinions on the political. Put in plain English: Anyone who is defending Zelaya’s actions and claiming that he should have been restored to power is implying that Honduras is not a constitutional democracy, since if it is a constitutional democracy, then Zelaya de facto made a coup d’état, an “autogolpe”. That is the political conclusion that the legal scholars refrain from expressing, but which can be read between the lines.

When it comes to the act of Congress to depose Zelaya, they stick to their task and discuss only the constitutionality or not thereof. Their conclusion is that Congress most likely did not have that authority, although the Constitution is vague and fails to clearly indicate which institution has what authority in this situation. Therefore it becomes necessary to make a political evaluation of intent, given the basic premise that Honduras is a constitutional democratic republic. At least in the executive resumé they do not consider the fact that Congress is the highest representative of the people between elections, given that Honduras is a representative democracy. In a constitutional crisis where the executive has violated the Constitution and failed to obey the Supreme Court, and there is a lack of clarity in the Constitution and laws of how to proceed, the one and only institution that can act independently is the Congress, since they “are” the people between elections, and all power emanates from the people.

Although the authors do not make this point, they imply it in the recommendation section. An important idea with the commission was to make recommendations of how to avoid a repetition of such a crisis, by strengthening the legal framework of the country. They recommend that the Supreme Court gets a clearer role as arbitrator between the different branches of government, and a stronger position visa-vi the executive. They further suggest that Congress should get an express role in the removal of the President.

It is interesting to note this, since the interim presidency all the time claimed that it already was that way. Here is a philosophical question: Does the relative power have to be set by laws, or can it be set by precedent? In the case of USA it was set by precedent, in 1803 (see “From strengthening institutions to a coup: Explaining the ouster of President Zelaya as an outcome of a game of institutional emergence“). All that it takes for this to become precedent is that it is accepted. To first say “no we don’t accept it because the law is not explicit” and then say “we should change the law so it explicitly becomes that way” is hypocritical. As long as the law is not explicitly forbidding it, it can be established by precedent, as was the case in Honduras 2009.

What will CVR say?

Their report is due any day. They ought to include the political analysis to the legal study. In this blog post I have indicated how I think their analysis should go. But the question is if they have the balls to challenge the entire global community, who called this a coup d’état. Do they dare? Can their careers survive it? That’s the question.

Some quotes

Reading the main text of the analysis, the report appears even more in line with the thinking of the supporters of the interim presidency. Could it be that the executive summary is adopted for political reasons to agree more with the official opinion of OAS and others? If so it is a shame. A truth commission should not look over its shoulder, but be the standard-bearer for independent analysis. In my humble opinion their conclusions are precisely what I have concluded since the very first posts on this blog. But now it is official.

About Zelaya

Concluimos que la utilización del Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas para el propósito previsto en estos decretos fue ilegal bajo las leyes de Honduras.” (We conclude that the use of the National Institute of Statistics for the purpose of these decrees [holding a referendum] was illegal under the laws of Honduras.)
Adicionalmente el Acuerdo 027-2009 violaba la normativa constitucional y legal relacionada a la utilización de la Fuerzas Armadas.” (Additionally the agreement 027-2009 violated the constitutional and legal norms for the use of the armed forces.)
También concluimos que los Decretos Ejecutivos y el Acuerdo llamando a la “consulta” o “encuesta” probablemente no fueron conforme a derecho.” (We also conclude that the executive decrees and agreement calling for the referendum or poll probably were not in agreement with the law.)
Estos artículos parecerían prohibir una Asamblea Nacional Constituyente bajo el orden constitucional actual.” (These [constitutional] articles would seem to forbid a national constitutional assembly under the present constitution.)
Nosotros concluimos que el Presidente Zelaya Rosales ilegalmente incumplió con las órdenes judiciales del Juzgado Contencioso Administrativo.” (We conclude that president Zelaya Rosales illegally disobeyed the judicial orders from the contentious-administrative court.)

About Congress

Al menos algunos de los cargos contra Zelaya Rosales parecen estar bien fundamentados.” (At least some of the accusations against Zelaya Rosales appear to be well founded.) [They exemplify with abuse of authority for disobeying a court order.]
Nuestro análisis aquí concluye que el intento legislativo de destituir a Zelaya Rosales de su cargo probablemente violó la Constitución.” (Our analysis here concludes that the legislative intent to depose Zelaya Rosales probably violated the Constitution.)
Por lo tanto el nombramiento [de Roberto Micheletti Bain] siguió lo establecido en la sucesión constitucional especificad en el artículo 242.” (Therefore the appointment [of Roberto Micheletti Bain] followed the constitutional succession order established in article 242.)

About the Armed Forces

Por lo tanto, los comandantes de las Fuerzas Armadas observaron la ley cuando rehusaron a asistir con la Cuarta Urna.” (Therefore, the commanders of the armed forces were following the law when they refused to assist with holding the [referendum].)
Las Fuerzas Armadas violaron el artículo 102 de la Constitución cuando expatriaron a Zelaya Rosales.” (The armed forces violated article 102 of the constitution when they expatriated Zelaya Rosales.)
También dejamos nota que los oficiales militares fueron exonerados de su acusación penal en enero de 2010. No expresamos ninguna opinión con relación a este caso penal. Nuestro caso está limitado a la discusión de la legalidad de las acciones. La pregunta sobre si los oficiales militares son responsables criminalmente por la expatriación de Zelaya Rosales es distinta a la pregunta de si la expatriación fue legal.” (We also take note that the military officers were exonerated from their criminal accusations in January of 2010. We are not expressing any opinion in relation to this criminal case. Our task is limited to discussing the legality of the actions. The question of whether the military officers are criminally responsible for the expatriation of Zelaya Rosales is a different question from that of whether the expatriation was legal.)

My Comments

After reading the analysis of the constitutionality of the events, it appears to be the conclusion of the authors that president Zelaya Rosales was clearly acting outside the Constitution and the laws, as were the military when they expatriated him, but that the Congress was balancing near the margin of the Constitution (“probably violated”). Note again that this analysis is strictly based on the constitutional legality, and does not include neither a political analysis, nor a criminal analysis.

For a political analysis one has to evaluate the alternatives, and consider what they would likely have led to – in this case, and as a precedent. Failure to stop Manuel Zelaya Rosales would have led to the executive being above the law. He had amply demonstrated that he was not going to accept any order from anyone. There was no other tool at the disposal of Congress and the Courts than the use of force. The report finds that the Supreme Court had the legal right and due cause for having Zelaya arrested, and that the arrest order to the military was constitutional.

The point where the constitutional order was broken (after it was broken by Zelaya) was when the military expatriated him. It left the Congress and the Supreme Court with a very difficult situation to handle, in which both the president, and those charged with arresting the president, were acting unconstitutionally. It was a fundamentally political crisis, not legal, at that point. Consider the alternative to allow Zelaya back as president. He would surely not have agreed to return without having all his adversaries arrested first. The legal case against him would have been dead. The expatriation of him put the entire establishment before a fait accomplis: the military had figuratively burned the ships. From their perspective this was desirable, since they had openly defied him, refused to obey his orders. They knew that if he remained president their careers would be over. They had a personal interest in making sure that there was no chance for Zelaya to survive the crisis in office.

Personally I would not be surprised if they got tacit support from different individuals, within and even outside the country. It is no secret that Zelaya is allied with one of the greatest threats to peace in the Western Hemisphere: Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías. It is furthermore no secret that Chávez Frías has conspired to overthrow a number of democracies using the same unconstitutional method as Zelaya Rosales attempted in Honduras (starting with Venezuela in 1999). In none of the other cases has the democratic checks and balances managed to defend the constitutional order. Although one would have preferred that Honduras’s military officers had stuck to the legal route of actions, one must therefore have a certain sympathy for their reasoning that “attack is the best defense”. There is no guarantee that the law would have prevailed if they had followed it.

Whatever one thinks about the military’s actions they did not assume power, and the actions of Congress are defensible under the circumstances as a precedent for a case not contemplated under the Constitution. That is the bottom line that emerges from a political analysis of this legal report, and that makes it perfectly clear that the deposal of Zelaya Rosales was not a coup d’état. (While the authors of this report have not been able to determine if the secret arrest orders were issued the days they are dated, or created when they were made public in order to cover up a military coup, I am assuming that they were for real, for 3 reasons: First, because they had legal backing and it would be illogical to use extra-legal methods when one has legal methods at ones disposal. Second and third, because I have it from two different sources, who don’t know each other, that they knew about the secret arrest order already June 25 or 26; both are family members of people involved in the events. Of course they could be lying, but what sense would that make when they had the law on their side? Therefore I consider it far fetched to believe that it was a military coup that they were trying to cover up.)

Summing up

When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report is published, the last chapter of the events of June 28, 2009, will be written. That marks the end of the political events, the final step in the implementation of the Guaymuras-dialogue agreement, the San José-Tegucigalpa Accord. It has been implemented meticulously by first interim president Micheletti, then president Lobo, even though ex-president Zelaya backed away from it when he realized that Congress would not vote him back as president.

What remains is to learn from this event. Honduras has already amended its constitution as regards popular referendum, but as this report points out in its recommendation section, also the new wording is insufficiently clear. The recommendations in this report should be taken very seriously by the Congress in Tegucigalpa, both those regarding crisis solution, regarding the removal of a high office-holder especially the president, those regarding changing the constitution, and those regarding popular referendum. All of those parts were involved in the crisis of 2009, and all of them are important to protect the democracy against the kind of attacks launched by Hugo Chávez and his Cuban allies; their goal is to take over all countries in Latin America, installing Quisling regimes that are beholden to “Socialism of the 21st Century” (i.e., communism).

The strategy of Castro and Chávez is to win democratic elections with the financial backing of the Venezuelan state (oil revenues), and then once in office call for a national constitutional assembly to rewrite the constitution, creating a structure that will enable their Quisling to stay in power indefinitely. Only when the power is secured will they complete the transformation to communism, as they appear to follow Trotsky’s strategy of spreading their power first before consolidating communism. (In fact, in 2007 Chávez himself confessed to being a Trotskyist!)

Honduras was the first major set-back in their plan. The attacks continue unabated, and the war is not yet won. Millions of dollars are still being spent to try to bribe their way in. It is a dangerous and volatile situation, and the more the world punished Honduras economically after the alleged “coup”, the more they pushed Honduras into Castro’s and Chávez’s fold. The wise thing to do now, when this legal report is out, is to acknowledge that Manuel Zelaya Rosales was in clear violation of the Constitution, that he had to be arrested and removed from office to preserve constitutional democracy, and that while a clear error of judgment was made in expatriating him it, it does not change the equation: Zelaya could not be left in office. We have to separate the two issues, the expatriation and the removal from office. We can condemn one while applauding the other. It was, frankly, stupid to expatriate Zelaya Rosales, but the action of Congress can be defended as attempting to find a way out of an impossible situation not contemplated by the Constitution, setting a precedent that can well be codified in a constitutional amendment now, following the recommendations of this report.

Published 13:37 June 9, last updated 07:59 June 10.

The Danger to World Peace

The other day Honduras was readmitted into OAS, after deposed president Manuel Zelaya returned to his homeland on May 28th. The only detail left to be taken care of from the crisis of 2009 is the presentation of the report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, CVR. So is all well now? Hardly.

Hugo Chávez, the guy in Caracas who thinks the Devil is around because he can smell sulfur, not realizing that the stench surely comes from himself, is spending a huge amount of capital and efforts on undermining Honduras’ democracy. He has not given up by any stretch of the imagination. Furthermore, he is getting active assistance from the diplomats of the present U.S. administration. Whether that is due to stupidity or worse I cannot tell. What I can prognosticate, however, is that American security is heading straight towards Hell – and that includes North American as well as Latin American security.

It is fascinating to see how similar the development now is to that in Europe in the 1920’s and 1930’s. In both the economic and the political spheres. The Great Recession has now turned out to be a double-dip recession, just like the Great Depression was. It was not the first dip that made the late 1929 and early 30’s so horrible, it was the fact that when the recovery was supposed to set in a new, much worse recession hit, fueled I’m sure by bad economic policies, like those that the Republicans want to introduce in U.S.A. today. Austerity measures now will guarantee that this develops into “Great Depression 2.0”.

On the political front the similarity is equally scary. Now as then there is a profound polarization, and the middle is all but absent. There are no grown-ups in the room. The debate belongs to ideologues on both extremes, all of whom seem to believe more in the map than in the reality. Furthermore, just like the 1930’s saw a communist regime in Spain, which with its irresponsible ideological actions was destroying the economy of that country, so does the 2010’s see a communist regime in Venezuela, which with its irresponsible ideological actions is destroying the economy of South Americas arguably richest country (being a major oil producer). We know what happened in Spain; a half-failed military coup led to a cruel civil war in the lead-up to WWII; a battle between communists and fascists.

The Cold War ended around 1990 – or did it? The Bolsheviks are violent, they do not recognize ethical rules and moral restrictions. They consider that the goals justify the means, so in the first Russian Revolution of 1905 they went from house to house and murdered people with whose opinions they did not agree. My grandfather’s family was on their list, but he narrowly survived. In 1917 they succeeded in their revolutionary quest, and started eliminating opponents on a grand scale; first Lenin, then Stalin. Stalin’s strategy was to consolidate the revolution in the Soviet Union first, while Trotsky preferred to first spread it to the rest of the world. Trotsky had to flee the country, and ended up in Mexico where he was murdered by Stalin years later. Nevertheless, he was active in Latin America for a while before being eliminated.

It should come as no surprise, thus, that the Latin American communists apparently are following Trotsky’s strategy, not Stalin’s. Fidel Castro has for half a century worked underground to spread communism in Latin America. One of the earliest targets was Venezuela, for her wealth no doubt. At first they tried military intervention with guerillas. When that failed they tried to infiltrate the military and use that Trojan horse to incapacitate the security forces at the time of popular protests in 1989, against then president Carlos Andres Perez (CAP). They also deployed snipers, armed by Castro, to shoot at the military. The bloodbath became known as the “caracazo”, and Hugo Chávez never fails to blame the slaughter on CAP, even though he was in on the whole plan and knows that the architect was Fidel Castro.

When that also failed, the next attempt was to have Hugo Chávez carry out a military coup in 1992, against CAP. Also that failed, and Chávez went to jail. Unfortunately, he was let free after 2 years and allowed to run for president in 1998, an election that he won – presumably with the help of significant funding from Venezuela’s enemies, a modus operandi that Chávez himself has deployed repeatedly once in power, spending billions on propping up Manchurian candidates in countries like Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina. This is the Trotsky plan in full swing: Spread communism to the whole world, by getting access to the resources of a rich state such as Venezuela, and using those resources to subvert democracy in other countries, using the democratic method to gain power, only to immediately dismantle democracy thereafter so that they cement their hold on power.

So is the Cold War over? Yes in the sense that Stalin’s strategy failed. But No in the sense that communism has not been defeated, because Trotsky’s strategy – which survived in Havana, Cuba – has not yet been defeated.

Honduras won a battle against Trotskyism

However, they only won a battle. The war is still going on, and no country has come to the assistance of Honduras. In fact, some of those that ought to have helped Honduras have instead assisted the aggressor, the Trotskyist Republic of Venezuela (Chávez’s name, the “Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”, is a misnomer since Bolivar was not a communist).

It is imperative to understand what the weapons are of the Trotskyist approach. Apart from using astronomical amounts of money (stolen from the Venezuelan people) to bribe politicians abroad, and to buy positive publicity, they simultaneously sow mayhem and chaos by actively working to help criminal activities in the target countries. This means facilitating for cocaine smugglers, by not interfering, by providing safe haven, and even by providing military weapons (such as the Swedish anti-tank weapon AT-4). Cuba and Venezuela are criminal enterprises, no less. They are mafia states. They should not be accepted in civilized company, or as we say in Sweden, “in rooms with furniture”.

The worst about this dire development is that there appears to be no awareness among groups that are able to do something about it. Within Honduras there is ample awareness, but the Trotskyists have managed to make the rest of the world isolate Honduras and close their ears to their arguments, thus rendering their warnings unable to reach those who need to hear it. Within Venezuela there is also awareness, but they, too, are being attacked and marginalized with the help of false imprisonment (case in point: Alejandro Peña Esclusa), scare tactics, violence, or propaganda campaigns. Sure, there are people that know what is going on, such as former Venezuelan Ambassador to the UN, Diego Arria, but for some reason media seem to dismiss them. Could it be money? Could it be threats? I don’t know, but we cannot allow ourselves to be scared.

When journalists are murdered their colleagues get the message. “If you write about what he or she wrote about, you die.” So they don’t write about it, they don’t even report what it was that he or she wrote about, because if they do they sign their own death sentence. Communists have long used this method. My own grandfather used to travel around Sweden and tell the truth of what he had witnessed during a visit to the Soviet Union, at the height of the killing of farmers in Ukraine. First they tried to poison him in Moscow, then they made at least 3 attempts on his life in Sweden. Eventually he had to keep silent for the sake of his wife and children. So, argumentum ad bacculum does work. That is how the communists win their arguments. Do you want to live in such a world? And do you really want to fight another war against communism? If you don’t, then don’t yield to those bastards. Stand up for freedom Now, before it is too late. Especially You, president Obama. Especially You. The world economy can’t afford a Republican president after the next election, but if you treat Chávez the way Chamberlain treated Hitler, we surely will have one.

Wikileaked cable reveals USA ignorant

The USAmerican ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, wrote a cable on June 19, 9 days before the president of the country, Manuel Zelaya, was arrested by the military on orders of the Supreme Court, reports Le Monde. There had been rumors of a military coup, but on that morning he had breakfast with the head of the military General Romeo Vazquez Velasquez, and the head of the army, General Miguel Garcia Padgett, who both assured him that the military would not depose the president to install a junta. They said it was just a rumor circulated behind closed doors to put pressure on the politicians. The ambassador also reported that they would not act without the knowledge of the US, and concluded that the military “do not have the least intention to attack the legitimate government” (reverse translated from French).

When the president was arrested by the military at dawn on June 28, Llorens – one might guess from his cable communication – did not know that the Supreme Court had issued an arrest warrant for the president. Based on this previous communication, one may therefore suspect that the ambassador felt betrayed, thinking that they had done a coup d’État nine days after promising that they would not do it, not knowing or understanding that in spite of it appearing to be a coup, it was not a coup.

However, there is a problem with this interpretation: A persistent rumor that Llorens knew about the arrest order in advance. From the cables it appears he did not.

There is one way in which these different facts can be reconciled. The generals did not, in Llorens’s words as translated by Le Monde, say that they necessarily would inform him personally. Just his country. There is a US air base in Honduras, and Marines train there. Given the close contacts it is beyond likely that at least some of them would have known. Thus, the generals did not lie to the ambassador.

Furthermore, the military of Honduras never attacked “the legitimate government”, the legitimate government being the Congress and the Supreme Court. Furthermore, they did not “attack” the president, they arrested him on orders of the Supreme Court (and then they set him free abroad rather than hold him). So the generals kept their word quite literally on that point, too.

What should be of concern, though, is the ambassador’s words that Zelaya is not an ideologue, thinking that USA can manipulate him. That is either ignorant, or misleading. Zelaya was bought by South American interests, most likely Hugo Chávez, already in his election campaign. This bribery continued with the so-called ALBA “loans”, in a process that in most every country would have made the president guilty of high treason. Furthermore, he said explicitly that he obeyed Chávez second only to God (“Después de Dios, ¡Chávez!”). If Llorens was ignorant about this, it is not good. If he is protecting Zelaya (or someone else), it is even less good.

Having seen now what Chávez did once his democratic cover was blown, introducing a full-blown dictatorship by similar methods as Hitler once did, I don’t think anybody can argue that the defense of democracy in Honduras was too rash, too determined. It was appropriate. Unfortunately Venezuela is in a different position, the judiciary already having been completely compromised, and the legislative as well, so a repeat is not possible. The best hope for Venezuela is a popular uprising and that the security forces remain passive while the people throw out the dictator quite literally.

US reaction to Honduran Crisis 2009

The wikileaked daily security briefing from the US Department of State, June 29, 2009, the morning after Honduras’ president Manuel Zelaya had been deposed, reveals that DoS did not label it a coup d’état. On the contrary, the text starts (in paragraph 13) with stating that “Honduran military forces arrested President Manuel Zelaya June 28 according to orders issued by the National Congress and the Supreme Court of Honduras.

Thus, with access to information from the ground in Honduras, USA DoS did not label it a coup. The text continues: “Zelaya was taken to a local air force base and flown to Costa Rica. Emergency Action Committee (EAC) Tegucigalpa subsequently met to discuss the ramifications of the seizure of the president by host-cost country military forces. The RSO noted the general climate in the capital was calm … Later in the day, Congress officially named Roberto Micheletti interim president”. The remainder relates only to the safety of US personnel on the ground.

From this security briefing, classified as SECRET//NOFORN (secret, no foreigners), two things are apparent: First, that the US Department of State did not regard the event as a coup; and second, that there is no indication of US involvement.

In combination with the cable sent by Ambassador Llorens July 23, this cable seems to confirm the suspicions in Honduras that the Department of State and the Embassy were not on the same page. While the DoS clearly seems to regard the change of president as legal, the ambassador clearly did not.

A detailed account of the events of June 28 have recently become available in a 622-page Spanish book by Honduran journalist Armando Cerrato (see Honduras Weekly). Among other things, he details how Zelaya was dressed, and what happened at his arrest, citing eye-witness accounts from the president’s own neighbors.

The very pajamas that Mel Zelaya was NOT wearing when he was flown to Costa Rica.
The very pajamas that Mel Zelaya was NOT wearing when he was flown to Costa Rica.

It turns out that a lot of the “facts” that has stirred the public opinion outside Honduras has been fabrications and propaganda lies. From the pajamas story to the concentration camps, insanely hysterical lies have been spread by Zelaya and his associates. Many of whom are criminals, according to another leaked cable, from the former ambassador – who warned of the power-grab that Zelaya was attempting.

The Truth Commission is still active in Honduras, so these leaked cables may be taken into account in their work to find out what happened. It is getting time to close this chapter. There are lots of facts that are not in dispute.

Nobody disputes that Zelaya was trying to hold a constituting constitutional assembly, nor that such an assembly is unconstitutional in Honduras. The difference is what weight one puts on the fact that it is unconstitutional. Zelaya’s supporters don’t care one bit that it is unconstitutional. His detractors do; they want rule of law.

Nobody disputes that the Supreme Court of Justice had ordered Zelaya to stop his plans. The difference is just that Zelaya’s supporters don’t care what the court says. His detractors do; they want rule of law.

Nobody disputes that Zelaya openly mocked the Supreme Court of Justice, the Election Tribunal, and the National Congress. The difference is just that Zelaya’s supporters don’t care. His detractors do; they want rule of law.

Nobody disputes that it was illegal for the military to send Zelaya in exile, but while Zelaya’s supporters regard that as proof of it being a military coup, his detractors don’t. They agree that it was illegal, but given that Zelaya would be deposed as president anyway by completely legal means, they see it as a justifiable crime to prevent the loss of life (the militaries have already been charged for it, and the court dismissed the charges for exactly that reason).

There is only one thing that speaks for it being a coup, and that is the way in which the president physically was removed from office. Everything else speaks for it being a constitutional succession in defense of an attempted coup by the president himself. So ask yourself, what matters more for justice: appearance, or substance?

USA warned Zelaya dangerous for democracy a year before he tried to overthrow the constitution

In a cable written by former US ambassador to Honduras, Charles Ford, to his successor Hugo Llorens, on May 15, 2008, Ford warns Llorens about Honduras’ president Manuel Zelaya in no uncertain terms.

The cable represents a staunch warning of an imminent threat to democracy in a country that traditionally had been a close ally to the USA.

Ford’s account reflects getting to know the Honduran president during two and a half years of sometimes rather close contacts. It led Ford to conclude that Zelaya is “almost a caricature of a land-owner ‘caudillo’ in terms of his leadership style and tone,” a ‘caudillo’ being akin to a dictator.

The ambassador’s description of the president is blunt: “Zelaya’s principal goal in office is to enrich himself and his family while leaving a public legacy as a martyr who tried to do good but was thwarted at every turn by powerful, unnamed interests” (the emphasis is mine). He hammers home this assessment by immediately adding that Zelaya ”would be quite comfortable as a martyr who tried but failed honorably in his attempt to seek out social justice for the poor.”

Ford finishes the summary of the cable by warning of the anti-democratic tendencies: ”[Zelaya] resents the very existence of the Congress, the Attorney General and Supreme Court. Over his two and a half years in office, he has become increasingly surrounded by those involved in organized crime activities” (again, my emphasis).

The cable ends on a rather pessimistic note: “I believe we can engage Zelaya intensely in the hope of so as to minimizing damage to Honduran democracy and the economy.”

With the benefit of hindsight, Charles Ford’s warning appears to have been prophetic. Manuel Zelaya tried to hold a referendum in 2009, aimed at establishing a “constituting constitutional assembly.” Since it would have implied to overthrow the constitution of Honduras, it was declared illegal and ordered stopped by the Supreme Court (see video account of events, and an analysis I made in April 2010).

As Zelaya ignored the court and persisted with the plans for a referendum on June 28, 2009, he was arrested by the military at dawn, on an arrest order from the Supreme Court. However, due to the military illegally exiling him the act was deemed a coup d’état by other countries, in spite of the Congress in Honduras voting by a large majority to replace Zelaya by the person who was next in the succession line, Roberto Micheletti. This decision was later upheld by Congress, again by a very large vote margin. After Zelaya’s deposal the attorney general filed charges for a number of large corruption scandals, also involving a person mentioned by Ford in this cable.

Today Zelaya is living in exile in the Dominican Republic, refusing to return to his home country to face corruption charges. Just as Ford predicted in the leaked cable, Zelaya has become a martyr for the poor and those who consider his deposal a coup d’état.

It is noteworthy that the cable that Hugo Llorens sent home July 24, 2009, after Zelaya’s deposal, ignores completely what happened before June 28. The only reference to it is by saying that there was “near unanimity among the institutions of the state and the political class that Zelaya had abused his powers in violation of the Constitution” while at the same time saying that the violation was “not proven”.

This is disingenuous, since Zelaya had violated a direct court order, failing to take the required act within the deadline given (i.e., submit a report indicating obedience of a ruling, by June 25). The prosecutor thus had due cause to ask the court for an arrest warrant for the president, and the Supreme Court had the legal authority to issue that arrest warrant, as they did on June 26. Yet none of this is even mentioned by Hugo Llorens.

In combination, these two cables from Tegucigalpa released so far by Wikileaks, raise questions regarding the role of ambassador Llorens in Zelaya’s attempt to overthrow the constitution of the Republic of Honduras. The fact that Llorens and Zelaya knew each other from previous dealings in the 1990’s has been brought up before. This is something that the US Congress can look into, and I predict they will, once the Republicans take over the House next year. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, from Miami, has made herself known as a strong supporter of the defenders of democracy in Honduras, and she will take over the chairmanship of the foreign affairs committee. So I expect action, and that the truth will win in the end.

Zelaya: Socialism or Martyrdom

USA considered Zelaya dangerous for democracy long before he tried overthrowing the constitution.

A secret cable has today been released by El Pais in Spain, written by former U.S. ambassador to Honduras Charles Ford, on May 15, 2008. It was written to inform his successor Hugo Llorens about the situation. The words and descriptions are so strong, so striking, so revealing of the background to the deposal (what some call a military coup) of Zelaya on June 28th, 2009, that I will just encourage you to read it for yourself. This text is on fire!

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 TEGUCIGALPA 000459

SIPDIS

MADRID FOR HUGO LLORENS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/14/2018
TAGS: PGOV, PINR, PREL, KDEM, ECON, SOCI, KCRM, ENRG, EFIN,
SNAR, SMIG, MARR, MASS, MOPS, HO
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL ZELAYA ROSALES: PERSONAL

REFLECTIONS OF AMBASSADOR FORD

REF: OFFICIAL BIOS ON FILE

Classified By: AMBASSADOR CHARLES A. FORD FOR REASONS 1.4 (b and d)

1. (S) Summary: Honduran President Jose Manuel “Mel” Zelaya Rosales is a throwback to an earlier Central American era, almost a caricature of a land-owner “caudillo” in terms of his leadership style and tone. Ever the rebellious teenager, Zelaya’s principal goal in office is to enrich himself and his family while leaving a public legacy as a martyr who tried to do good but was thwarted at every turn by powerful, unnamed interests. Various public statements over his tenure suggest he would be quite comfortable as a martyr who tried but failed honorably in his attempt to seek out social justice for the poor. He is comfortable working with the Armed Forces and until recently with the Catholic Church, yet resents the very existence of the Congress, the Attorney General and Supreme Court. Over his two and a half years in office, he has become increasingly surrounded by those involved in organized crime activities. End Summary.

2. (S) I have gotten to know Mel Zelaya quite well over my tenure as Ambassador, and offer these personal reflections on his character, his views of the United States, and on what his presidency means for our interest in the region with the objective of informing future policy choices.

3. (S) Personally, I have found Zelaya to be gracious and charming, quite willing to tell me whatever he thinks I want to hear at that moment. For example, in the period June-August 2007, we must have met weekly, with his agenda focused on explaining his nomination of Jorge Arturo Reina (who lost his U.S. visa for past terrorist connections) as the UN Ambassador, his presence in Managua at Sandinista celebrations and his intentions with regard to Hugo Chavez. It was interesting to see how his explanations differed from meeting to meeting, almost as if he had no recollection of our exchange just a few days before.

4. (S) In the period May-June 2006, Zelaya pressed me hard to obtain President Bush’s approval of his plan to join PetroCaribe. When he met in early June with President Bush who confirmed our strong opposition to his intention, Zelaya later told me that he was surprised that this item had been on our agenda. In short, over an almost three year period it has become crystal clear to me that Zelaya’s views change by the day or in some cases by the hour, depending on his mood and who he has seen last.

5.(S) Not surprisingly, Zelaya has no real friends outside of his family, as he ridicules publicly those closest to him. In the days preceding his inauguration, Zelaya without prior notification canceled a country team briefing for his new cabinet. Over a private lunch he explained that he trusted no one in his government and asked me the question: “Who is the most powerful; the person with a knife behind the door or the person outside the door who knows there is someone behind the door with a knife?” It is clear to me that tactically he will work with almost anyone, but strategically he stands alone.

6. (S) Zelaya also has been quite erratic in his behavior. Despite his often harsh public rhetoric, such as describing U.S. immigration policy against illegal aliens as “persecution” by “fascists”, Zelaya would meet again with President Bush in a heartbeat. At one point he even planned to go uninvited to a bilateral Bush-Berger meeting in Guatemala. Zelaya not only allowed the first visit of a U.S. warship to mainland Honduras in 22 years, but he delivered a ringing speech extolling bilateral relations on the ship’s deck, only briefly expressing pride in Honduras’ capture and execution of the American interventionist William Walker. Always suspicious of American intentions, he inexplicably submitted to a psychological profile at my Residence – twice. His erratic behavior appears most evident when he deliberately stirs street action in protest against his own government policy – only to resolve the issue (teacher complaints, transportation grievances, etc) at the last moment. This approach to problem solving seems to be Zelaya’s way of gaining acceptance, challenging the established political power structure, and moving his agenda – which is not populist or ideological, but is based on popular appeal.

7. (S) Zelaya remains very much a rebellious teenager, anxious to show his lack of respect for authority figures. Cardinal Andres Rodriguez has told me that not only did he not graduate from university but he actually did not graduate from high school. The Cardinal should know, as he was one of his teachers. The problem is that Mel has acted in this juvenile, rebellious manner his entire life and succeeded in reaching the highest office in the land. No need to change now. He will continue to lead a chaotic, highly disorganized private life.

8. (S) There also exists a sinister Zelaya, surrounded by a few close advisors with ties to both Venezuela and Cuba and organized crime. Zelaya’s desperate defense of former telecommunications chief Marcelo Chimirri (widely believed to be a murderer, rapist and thief) suggests that Chimirri holds much over Zelaya himself. Zelaya almost assuredly takes strong medication for a severe back problem and perhaps other drugs as well. His vehement attacks on the press have reportedly endangered journalists opposed to Zelaya’s policies. His style and tone in order to get his way is one of intimidation and bullying, threatening tax inspections and worse rather than substantive debate on issues. Zelaya’s inability to name a Vice Minister for Security lends credibility to those who suggest that narco traffickers have pressured him to name one of their own to this position. Due to his close association with persons believed to be involved with international organized crime, the motivation behind many of his policy decisions can certainly be questioned. I am unable to brief Zelaya on sensitive law enforcement and counter-narcotics actions due my concern that this would put the lives of U.S. officials in jeopardy.

9. (S) Finally, Mel is very much a son of Olancho, aware of his roots in the land and his family’s ties to Honduras since the 1500’s. Unlike most other Honduran leaders in recent times, Zelaya’s view of a trip to the “big city” means Tegucigalpa and not Miami or New Orleans. While he and his family have been part of the Honduran landscape for 400 years, they have not until recently inter-married with the Honduras elite in Tegucigalpa or San Pedro Sula. His son’s marriage in 2006 to one of the country’s leading Honduran-Arab families was very important to Zelaya yet a complex event, signifying acceptance into the very elite group that he so very much resents.

10. (S) I have found Zelaya’s real views of the United States hidden not too very deeply below the surface. In a word, he is not a friend. His views are shaped not by ideology or personal ambitions but by an old-fashioned nationalism where he holds the United States accountable for Honduras’ current state of poverty and dependency. Zelaya’s public position against the Contra War and against the establishment of Joint Task Force Bravo at Soto Cano Air Force Base are manifestations of this underlying viewpoint.

11. (S) Other behavior by the President confirms, in my view, the depth of his feeling. While Zelaya was open to our point of view of the selection of key members of his Cabinet, he was absolutely closed to listening to us on his appointment of his Ambassador to the OAS and to his appointment of Jorge Arturo Reina as Ambassador to the UN. The Honduran voting record in the UN in terms of coincidence with US positions is at the lowest point in decades.

12. (S) More revealing, at public events with key officials present, Zelaya will make clear that anyone interested in becoming President of the country needs first to get the blessing of the American Ambassador. Personally, in private conversations at the Residence, Zelaya has recounted to me, multiple times how a previous American Ambassador had ordered the President of the Honduran Congress to accept the Presidential candidacy of Ricardo Maduro, even though in Zelaya’s view Maduro was Panamanian-born and thus ineligible. Other sources have documented Zelaya’s views on this point where his anger and resentment are more apparent than in his exchanges with me. It is clear by the way he recounts the story that on one level he resents very much this perceived dependency yet accepts it exists and looks to me to define for him the rules of the game. He becomes frustrated at times when he believes I am not carrying out this responsibility.

13. (S) Most noticeable to me has been his avoidance of public meetings with visiting US officials. Whether Cabinet officials or CODELs, Zelaya always is a gracious host, but never comes out of the meeting to have his picture taken publicly with our visitors, as he is so anxious to do with other visitors from Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela. Almost all of our meetings take place at my Residence rather than at the more public setting of the Presidential Palace. He made no attempt to disseminate his may photo ops with President Bush after the June 2006 meeting in Washington. The fact is that the President of the country prefers to meet quite often in the privacy of my Residence but not to be seen in public with American visitors.

14. (S) Finally, Zelaya recently is fond of saying that we need to improve our communication, which I interpret to mean that we need to agree with him more often. A similar fate has befallen Cardinal Rodriguez who used to meet, as I do, regularly with the President. As the Cardinal in recent months has found himself in disagreement with Zelaya and is not participating publicly in his projects, Zelaya is working increasingly with pastors in the evangelical community. The Cardinal recently told me that he and the President hardly speak now as the President is unhappy that he doesn’t agree with the direction Zelaya is taking the country. For Zelaya, communicating means agreeing unquestionably with his point of view.

15. (S) GOING FORWARD: The last year and a half of the Zelaya Administration will be, in my view, extraordinarily difficult for our bilateral relationship. His pursuit of immunity from the numerous activities of organized crime carried out in his Administration will cause him to threaten the rule of law and institutional stability. Honduran institutions and friendly governments will need to be prepared to act privately and in public to help move Honduras forward.

16. (S) We will need, in my view, to continue to engage Zelaya whenever we can in order to minimize damage and to protect our core interests. As a rebellious teenager, he will need a significant space to move, in but we must be very direct in our conversations with him as to our core interests. Despite his feelings towards us, he does respect the role the U.S. Embassy is still perceived to play in Honduran society and will expect us in private to be direct and clear in our views. Using an analogy from American football, we will need to continue to carry out an aggressive bend but not break defensive game plan in the run up to the next elections in November 2009. In this way, I believe we can engage Zelaya intensely in the hope of so as to minimizing damage to Honduran democracy and the economy.
Ford

My observation: After having read this, nothing of what happened in 2009 should be any surprise. Ford predicted it in significant detail more than a year in advance, even down to Zelaya’s willingness to fail trying to help the poor, and to be prepared to become a martyr. Exactly what he is now in the Dominican Republic, not interested in coming home, as president Lobo is finding out when trying to assist him. He is just where he wants to be, a martyr, a symbol, content with having become infamous while almost destroying his country. It should give pause to those who have supported him. But will it?

Llorens misled Washington: Wikileaks

Through a Wikileaks leaked U.S. diplomatic telegram (backup link using the IP number) from Tegucigalpa on July 23, 2009, we now know what the ambassador, Hugo Llorens, reported home regarding what he considered a coup.

First he reports the facts as he saw them. I note that he left out the fact that the Supreme Court had ordered president Zelaya to stop his activities with the referendum that he had planned for June 28th, and to report how he had obeyed the order no later than June 25th (see point 6). The president’s failure to submit that report on June 25th constituted a prima facie failure to obey the order. Llorens was thus wrong as regards the facts when he wrote to Washington that Zelaya’s breaking the law was “alleged but not proven”.

Whereas Llorens reported that it was just suspected that Zelaya might violate the court order by holding the referendum on June 28, he was in fact already in defiance of a court order by not submitting the report. The court case had played out, which Llorens either missed or chose to omit.

Regarding the arrest order for the president, he is implicitly dismissing it, by saying that the military does not have the authority to carry out judicial orders. He does not say whether he thinks that it was issued on the date that appears on it, or after the fact with a false date; he just says that they don’t have the authority, and that they did not act as if executing a judicial order of arrest on the morning of June 28th.

In his comments, Llorens speculates that they fell back to the old-fashioned ways of dealing with an unwanted president when the democratic institutions seemed unable to come up with a way to deal with the situation. He also expresses the hope that the prosecution of the militaries may open the door for a way out of the conflict. As we know, they were prosecuted in January, 2010, but it didn’t change the game – probably for coming way too late, and for the militaries to be let off the hook way to easy.

There is of course no arguing that the handling of the matter was poor. Llorens himself admits that they probably had due cause for the arrest and prosecution of the president (something that the U.S. did not admit publicly), so one cannot but be angry at the incompetence of those who deposed Zelaya. However, that incompetence in the execution can not justify Zelaya’s crimes, or render them null and void. Each crime must be handled independently by the courts.

The bottom line is that Hugo Llorens misled Washington, to the detriment of Honduras, but to the benefit of Zelaya. However, what is most misleading is the omission of any mentioning of Llorens’s own participation.

When reading the telegram one gets the image that Llorens tried to figure out what happened post facto. The truth is, though, that Hugo Llorens very much was a participant in the events that culminated June 28th. He participated in several meetings the week before, according to my sources who were in those same meetings. However, he does not pretend to know anything about that in this telegram. It definitely leaves me with a feeling that he was being disingenuous to his own boss. (In early July he was suspected of having alerted Zelaya about the legal proceedings against him, and his imminent arrest; this cable mentions neither any legal proceedings nor his knowing about them.)