Propaganda-video about Honduras

A propaganda-video against the democratic government of Honduras has been uploaded to the Internet today. Here it is:

I am the first to criticize the police when they use unnecessary force, which some of them clearly did, e.g. outside the stadium after the football (soccer) game in July. Those acts must be investigated and prosecuted to the maximum extent possible, to establish an example.

However, the raw footage often shows the police and – especially – the military exercising admirable restraint in the face of violent demonstrators, who are using potentially deadly weapons by throwing heavy rocks at them. They should get credit for that, and the demonstrators – or rather, rioters – should be criticized for their violence, too. But the video is completely biased in that respect. Not a critical word against those who disturbed the public order.

The voice also makes a number of factually incorrect statements. First of all that it was a coup; the removal of Zelaya from office was in response to him attempting a coup, as I have shown in this blog, e.g. here. Also the number of people who showed up at the airport is exaggerated, by a factor 100 or so (5,000 was mentioned as recently as 3 days ago in international pro-Zelaya media, but the video says 500,000). The images shown seem to be from another occasion.

Towards the end the voice falsely accuses the police and military of having taken the universities. In reality, rioters gathered outside the university, and ran into it when the police came, while wantonly destroying private property, such as a car and a fast food restaurant. The video is practicing Orwellian newspeak.

A lot of the footage doesn’t tell much of a story at all, but there is one interesting part early on: From the airport, when Zelaya and Chávez tried to create a martyr. A man who is interviewed in the video says that the soldiers had blanks (the military say they had rubber bullets), and that only the officers had live ammunition. He therefore concludes that the young man who was killed by a bullet in his neck was shot by an officer.

However, it is interesting to listen to the sound from the video, where they were throwing stones (7 minutes in). There are many explosive sounds that appear to be from somewhat distant gunfire, judging from the suppression of the high frequency part of the spectrum. However, at about 7:50, 7:59, 8:02 etc there are explosions with the high frequency part of the spectrum preserved, indicating an origin quite close to the microphone. Moreover, the 7:50 explosion clearly has an echo. An acoustic analysis might be able to indicate where the presumed shooter was standing.

Just for the heck of it, I analyzed the sound in a computer program. The delay of the audible echo is 0.19 to 0.20 seconds. The air temperature on that afternoon was about 25ºC, so the sound velocity would have been ca 346 m/s. This translates to a distance of 66 to 69 meters. This is the distance by which the path gun – echo-object – microphone is longer than the path gun – microphone. Since we can see from the image where the cameraman is standing (at 7:30 he is in the median outside the Popeye restaurant, moving south), we can guess that the echo is from the buildings on that side of the street.

However, when looking at the sound waveform it turns out that there is also a strong echo after only 0.059 seconds, corresponding to 20 m. Taking that into consideration, my guess is that the shooter was in front of the camera in the picture below, some ten meters off the wall, among the rioters marked with a yellow oval.

Screen shot from 2 seconds before a shot is heard nearby, with a double echo.
Screenshot from 2 seconds before a shot is heard nearby in the video.

Of course, one would have to do a test shot and record the sound at that location, to determine with certainty where the shooter was standing. But, it seems highly unlikely that those three shots were fired by the military inside the airfield. This of course opens for the possibility that the young man who was shot dead died from a bullet fired outside the airport, by a rioter. If so, Chávez got what he wanted.

PS. Also the Amnesty International report is very thin on facts, the shooting mentioned in this video (just after the incident above, and allegedly with the producer of the video carrying the victim) being one of about 4. Actually, AI fails to mention any case that has already been solved. That, and the fact that they call it a coup without any attempt at justification, shows that it is a biased report. Much of the text is irrelevant since it does not relate to the political reality on the ground in Honduras. AI would be well advised to focus on how best to contribute to a better human rights situation, rather than to play politics and alienate those they are trying to influence. The report seems written to appease donors rather than to actually contribute to human rights.

Later posts on this subject: I accuse Hugo Chávez of Conspiracy to Murder, Did the Propaganda Director Witness Murder?, Zelaya’s propaganda director has blood on his hands.

How to recognize lying media

This is a little how-to blog post. On numerous occasions during the Honduran crisis I have come across websites of newspapers with articles containing gross factual errors. For instance, Le Monde Diplomatique wrote yesterday that Micheletti got immunity for life as “congressman for life”. The truth is of course that it is a purely honorary title, and furthermore, nobody in Honduras enjoys immunity, not even the president.

I have noticed that quite a few newspapers on the left – who are worst at publishing lies – don’t have a comment feature, nor do they post blog pingbacks. Now, some in the center and right who have those features still from time to time print fake facts, but it is less of a problem since the reader can check the comments and blog links. There is usually someone who will point out an error and link to a verifiable source.

By now the reporting in international media is so saturated with falsehoods about Honduras that even right-wing media who supports the country often by mistake let them through. The lies dominate over the truth by a wide margin.

So my advice is, do not trust at all any newspaper that does not provide for reader input, and be very skeptical to those who do.

Epilogue over the crisis in Honduras

This is a modest attempt at summing up the events that turned Honduras into Chávez’s el Alamein: the place where the advance of the Bolivarian revolution was halted.

Yesterday, mainstream international media declared the Honduran crisis dead after Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo, elected in the general and regular elections November 29, had been sworn in as new president. Most nations are expected to resume normal diplomatic relations in short order. The exceptions are some Latin American leftist countries, but due to the right wind blowing in the hemisphere now, several of those may very soon change color, and one already has: Chile. History will show that Honduras election result started the pendulum swinging the other direction, and that the misdeeds of Zelaya – and the undiplomatic support he got from Chávez and OAS – was the triggering cause.

What made Honduras the place where Chávez, with his leftist revolution, was to meet his Stalingrad?

Zelaya was elected in 2005 and took office in 2006. He passed a law for popular referenda, to increase popular participation in politics. Later, he took a strong turn to the left, joined ALBA (with Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, etc), and started arguing that to get more people involved one has to create “institutions for direct democracy.”

This is Chávez’s thing; move power from the traditional democratic institutions to local committees. A problem with this approach is that the legal protection for the individual risks getting undermined. For that reason the idea is opposed by defenders of the rule of law, which includes virtually the entire private sector. They started organizing against Zelaya.

Zelaya also met constitutional problems. He concluded that Congress didn’t have the authority to change the constitution in the intended way, and that a Constitutional Assembly therefore would be required. He tried to stay within the law by creating a poll on a referendum on creating a Constitutional Assembly. However, also this was challenged in court. Zelaya lost, and was ordered not to in any way, shape, or form continue with the idea of a Constituting Assembly, because only Congress can change the constitution.

It might seem self-evident that Zelaya would obey the Supreme Court, wouldn’t it? To understand why he didn’t, but instead said something like “What are they going to do? Arrest me? Let them come and arrest me!”, we have to look at what else went on.

In 2008 the candidates were getting ready to run for the presidential primaries. Two strong candidates from Zelaya’s Liberal party wanted to run, the president of congress, Roberto Micheletti, and the vice president of the republic, Elvin Santos. However, each tried to prevent the other from running by referring to the constitution, saying that he couldn’t run while holding that seat. It went to the Supreme Court, and it declared that a recent constitutional change that prevented Micheletti from running was unconstitutional, and revoked it. Thus the field was clear for him. Santos was less lucky. He ended up resigning as vice president in order to run (he later won the primary, but lost in the general elections to Lobo).

These maneuvers, this high pitched rhetoric, must reasonably have undermined the respect for the Supreme Court, as well as for the constitution itself. When Zelaya defied the Supreme Court and its interpretation of the constitution, he and his followers may not have realized that he had reached the shore of the Rubicon (if an army passed that river in Italy it was taken to mean that they aimed to overthrow the emperor).

The Honduran constitution does not have an impeachment clause, since there is no immunity. It is therefore up to the Attorney General to request an arrest order from the Supreme Court for the president. So Zelaya was right, the correct way to proceed would be for them to arrest him. He just believed they would never dare to do that.

Why did he believe they wouldn’t dare? This is where the U.S. comes in. On about 5 occasions leading personalities in Honduras approached Zelaya and tried to talk him into giving up the project instead of defying the Supreme Court. Obama’s ambassador, Hugo Llorens, appointed by Bush, participated in a number of those reunions. When talking proved futile, they considered using force. That would mean to have him arrested according to the constitution and the laws. Of course, he could not continue to be the acting president while sitting in jail, so someone else would have to take the helm. Since Santos had resigned, and the other two deputies were also out of the picture, the next person in the succession order was, by chance, Micheletti.

Llorens stayed in contact with Washington, and the Obama administration obviously kept the chairmen of the respective committees in Congress informed (CYA being an important principle). This is when Senator Kerry said “no,” he would not put up with it. He has been pointed out, unequivocally, as the one who put down the foot.

At this point, Llorens informs the Hondurans that if they carry out this arrest, the U.S. will call it a coup and not recognize the interim leader. (The legal research center at the U.S. Congress later reported that it indeed was legal, and thus no coup; Kerry objected loudly and demanded that they retract or change the report, but after re-assessing it, they instead confirmed their original conclusion.)

Here comes the really, really important part: Someone told Zelaya.

Whereupon he, of course, concludes that “nothing can stop this project except the Holy Virgin.” That’s what he told his staff, euphorically.

By now the Supreme Court had impounded the ballots for the poll and left them in the custody of the military. However, with the reassurance that he could not be stopped no matter what, Zelaya gathered a mob and went in person to take the ballots by force from the military base.

This is where he miscalculated. Until that moment, the balance weighed in favor of letting him remain in power. However, after using force to impose his will over the other independent branches of power, the Attorney General and the Supreme Court of Justice no longer had a choice. They had to arrest him, or they would have been derelict of duty.

Zelaya left the judicial and legislative branches no choice. They had a constitutional obligation to do what they did in response to his crossing the Rubicon, which was the storming of the air force base.

What has to be pointed out again is that if it hadn’t been for the U.S. effectively giving Zelaya a carte blanche, he would most likely never have crossed that line.

When the events played out – with the inevitability of something predicted by a seer in a Greek drama – and Micheletti was sworn in as the new president, he already knew that no country would recognize him as president. If the U.S. didn’t do it, no country would.

But he also knew that he had an obligation under the constitution – which he had sworn to uphold – to do it regardless. When he asked colleagues to work in his cabinet, he told them straight out that there is no chance that any country will recognize them, but in spite of that nobody turned him down. When he left office yesterday he did it as a national hero for the majority, and the final message was simple: Mission accomplished.

The politicians in Honduras have learned a lesson – hopefully – and that is to keep the rhetoric down, and that a “nuclear option” cannot actually be used since it hurts everyone. Hopefully some leftist US politicians will take away from this that one must never, ever, take a position that can be taken as a blank check for someone to violate laws. Next time, just listen politely but keep your mouth shut, will you? If you absolutely must say something, then tell all parties to just do what they know to be right, because in the end that is the best strategy.

“Tacka Micheletti!”, skrek folket då Lobo svors in

Idag svors Pope Lobo in som ny president i Honduras. Då han i talet tackade president Oscar Arias från Costa Rica buade folket så det hördes ända till Miami (via webTV då). Likaså då han nämnde president Fernandez från Dominikanska Republiken, vilken förhandlade fram ett avtal enligt vilket Zelaya kan lämna Honduras och få politisk amnesti. Och återigen då han nämnde USAs ambassadör Hugo Llorens, och OAS, Organisationen för Amerikanska Stater. Då han däremot nämnde Hillary Clinton så var det en mera blandad reaktion, och slutligen då turen kom till Panamas president Martinelli så applåderade folket och han ställde sig upp för att ta emot hyllningarna.

Men sedan hände det mest anmärkningsvärda. Någon ropade “Tacka Micheletti!” och folket började skandera “Tacka Micheletti, tacka Micheletti!”. Men det gjorde inte Pepe. Inte en enda gång nämnde han med namn den man som genom sin heroiska men otacksamma uppgift räddade demokratin i Honduras, och såg till att valet vilket Pepe vann över huvud taget kunde hållas.

Sverige fanns på plats med en diplomatisk representation.

Manuel Zelaya flyger ikväll till Dominikanska Republiken, trots att han inte sökt eller fått politisk asyl. Han har fått politisk amnesti i Honduras genom ett belut i kongressen imorse, som undertecknades av presidenten direkt då han svurits in (redan i stadion!), men han är fortfarande efterlyst för bland annat korruption och förskingring av 1,5 miljoner dollar. Hur denna fria lejd hänger ihop med lagar och folkrätt har ännu inte rapporterats i Honduras. Högsta domstolens ordförande har antytt att saken kan komma inför honom om någon väcker talan, varför han inte vill gå in på juridiken.

Som en honduran skrev i en tidnings kommentarsutrymme: “Leve Zelaya – men så långt som möjligt från Honduras!”

Media: SvD, GP, AB, och en blogg av en anställd på USAs ambassad i Tegucigalpa som har lite ytterligare skvaller – t.ex. att då amerikanerna kom så fanns det inga stolar till dem. Hon bekräftar att uppåt hälften av folket gick därifrån i protest då Lobo tackade Insulza, Aries, Llorens med flera.

Pepe Lobo faces challenges and opportunities

When Porfirio Lobo Sosa is sworn in as president of Honduras right now, he is facing a huge challenge as regards the economy. On the flip side, he may have a more politically engaged populace than in a long time, and one that is prepared to rise to the challenge of transforming the nation into a modern welfare state of Western European style.

Let’s take a step back and look at the whole picture. The previously elected president, Manuel Zelaya, was elected on a platform that included the introduction of “institutions of direct democracy.” What did he mean with that term? If he really was thinking of an institution with a charter and elected officials, then it is an oxymoron to call it “direct democracy.” And he if was thinking of a self-selected group of people doing things together on the street level, he would be well advised to study up on history. It is getting uncomfortably close to the mob rule of the Nazi or Soviet systems, due to the lack of protection of the rule of law.

Nevertheless, Zelaya pushed ahead with this plan. He determined that in order for this to become reality a change to the constitution was required. According to him, the Congress could not pass that change, why a Constitutional Assembly had to be called. Unfortunately for Zelaya, the Supreme Court of Justice disagreed. They ruled that nobody else than Congress can change the constitution. Zelaya disobeyed the court, they issued an arrest order for him, and Congress replaced him. End of the procedural story.

Now that Honduras has a new president, let us look back again at Zelaya’s end game, and leave the procedural issue behind. This kind of direct democracy is what Hugo Chávez also promotes, calling it democratic socialism, but I still have not found any implementation of it. Until we see a bill, a text in a law, we can’t really know what the rhetoric means in practice. It seems increasingly probable that it is just a euphemisms for mob rule. The street-level support that tyrants need.

That is not what the Hondurans voted for, is it? Of course not.

There are real social issues to be solved in Honduras. It is now clear that Zelaya was a false prophet. His end game was not the right one, and his way of implementing it was unconstitutional. He probably meant well, so say even his detractors, but he lacked the capacity to select the right route and set the right course.

The good thing is that the events of the last half year when Micheletti took the helm, has proven to Hondurans that they can, that they have a choice, that it is not futile to strive for a better life in their republic. This profound change of attitude, of dignity, of determination, is the best resource that Honduras new president can get.

God bless.

Meida: A Honduran blogger.

Micheletti receives a hero’s farewell

His last hour in office, president Micheletti is attending a mass in the Suyapa Basilica together with his cabinet, co-workers, and the Union Civica Democratica (UCD). He went there to thank God for helping him save Honduras democracy through the constitutional crisis created by president Zelaya.

When Micheletti arrived he was greeted with a 2 minute standing ovation.

Roberto Micheletti in the Suyapa Basilica in Tegucigalpa this morning.
Roberto Micheletti in the Suyapa Basilica in Tegucigalpa this morning.

Meanwhile, Hondurans are gathering at the stadium in Tegucigalpa for the swearing in of the next popularly elected president, Porfirio Lobo Sosa. Guests of honor include foreign presidents and dignitaries from a large number of countries (including Sweden).

Also meanwhile, the sickening distortions in foreign press continue. Such as the lie that Zelaya came to Costa Rica in pajamas. Could it have something to do with the fact that there were over 130 members of the press in Honduras on that date, with hotel room and rental cars paid for by Zelaya? Could there be hypocrisy in media, can reporters be bribed? Nah, that can’t be possible, they are the bulwark of truth, right?

Zelaya is granted amnesty for political crimes

Honduras congress voted last night to give amnesty to politicians, for the political crimes committed in connection with then president Zelaya’s attempt at overthrowing the form of government. He openly ignored and even ridiculed the other branches of government, until the Supreme Court of Justice issued an arrest order for him, and Congress deposed him on charges of treason, among others. It is for those political crimes that he is now being given amnesty. The charges of corruption still stand.

The Congress has to vote twice for the amnesty to take effect. The second vote will take place at 6 in the morning today, i.e., in about half an hour.

The Nationalists, the president elect’s party (he will be sworn in at 9 AM today), voted in favor, while the Liberal party, to which Zelaya and the interim president Micheletti belong, mostly abstained (just one in favor and one against).

The amnesty does not affect the supporters of Zelaya who in riots have caused property damage. Nor does it affect the police and military who had to confront those riots.

The amnesty was pressed on Honduras by the U.S., apparently against the will of the majority of its people. However, by explicitly not including the corruption charges, drug trafficking, and other non-political offenses, the politicians have tried to thread the needle. The amnesty only covers the political crimes of members of the Zelaya administration, according to La Prensa: terrorism, sedition, treason, and crimes against the form of government. Also common crimes in connection with the political ones are covered by the amnesty: usurpation of functions, violations of the rights of functionaries, disobedience, and abuse of authority.

Congressman Ascencio said in the debate that the purpose is to bring real peace to the country, but the amnesty will not do that, why he voted against it.

Congressman Saavedra from the Liberal party, who was president of the congress for the last 7 months, said that they abstained from voting because the bill had not been open for public comments, and because the Truth Commission should be formed first so that it becomes clear who exactly it is who will benefit from the amnesty, since until today nobody considers themselves in need of any amnesty.

The small parties UD and PINU voted against the amnesty, UD because they believe the purpose of the amnesty is to favor those who deposed Zelaya, not Zelaya. UD got less than 2% of the votes in the last election.

In my modest opinion, this amnesty is very bad for the country. It will be used abroad, by news agencies like AFP (Agence Faux Propagande?) as proof that there was a coup d’état, even though this has been proven wrong in the supreme court. Furthermore, it does not cover those poor souls who, believing the international media’s assertion that it was a coup, went out in resistance to the alleged coup and violated the laws. They are left facing justice for their crimes. They, the small people on the streets, are left responsible for the mistakes and/or deliberate lies of international media! Shame on the liars, shame on those who pressed this disgraceful amnesty bill on Honduras.

There appears to be no limits. Many international media have never told the truth about the events around June 25 to 28, 2009. Some foreign media, e.g. Chinese Xinhua, even go so far as to bold-faced lies, such as to claim that the amnesty applies also to the military. If there is anything everyone should learn from this, it is that you cannot trust media, you have to investigate for yourself.

Anecdotally, foreign investors were looking favorably on investing in Honduras as this year started, but they put the plans on hold when Lobo signed the deal with the Dominican president, giving Zelaya free passage away from Honduras and justice. Now, even worse, I would think. What are the chances of getting him to stand trial for the extraordinarily large corruption in his government? Pepe Lobo has – already before he took office – squandered most of the capital of trust that Micheletti had built up in the population for the government.

If what the international community wanted was to make sure that Honduras remains a third world recipient of aid and producer of cheap goods, then they have probably succeeded. Unless, that is, the Hondurans stand arm in arm, push back, and demand accountability. I hope the UCD, Union Civica Democratica, continues to hold the president’s feet to the fire.

Footnote: On his last day in office, president Micheletti yesterday signed a bill into law that makes Honduras leave ALBA, the Chavez-led group of countries that also includes Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, etc.

Recommended: Como se salvó la democracia en Honduras (La Prensa), Mel Zelaya was not wearing pajamas (La Gringa’s Blogicito).

Zelaya prepares to leave Honduras

The time is approaching for Zelaya’s departure from Honduras, this time with his tail between his legs. Even as Pepe Lobo will take over as president in less than 15 hours, Zelaya does not dare to face justice. Some hero for the left!

Let it be clear that Zelaya was not deposed for switching from a liberal to a communist platform in the middle of his term – although he did – but for attempting a coup d’état, an autogolpe. The poster below is from Zelaya’s new political base, representing (according to the last election) at the most a few per cent of the population.

Poster from Zelaya's new political base.
Poster from Zelaya's new political base.

This movement does not recognize the last election. They consider the democratic government of Honduras an “oligarchic dictatorship,” regardless of who is the president. Their one and only goal is to overthrow the form of government. They do not limit themselves to legal methods in their fight. In fact, they do not recognize the laws of the republic, and they do not recognize the authority of the forces who uphold law and order. They won’t tell you any of this to your face, but it follows from their positions.

This is Zelaya’s political base in Honduras. This is the “democracy” the world is supporting.

Meanwhile, the Honduran Congress, hard pressed by foreign powers (read: U.S.A.), has started debating an amnesty bill again. Hondurans don’t want it, mostly because they want to see Zelaya to pay for his alleged crimes, but the “resistencia” because they want to see Micheletti to pay for his alleged “military coup” (even though it has now been proven in court that it was no coup, but that does not sway the “resistencia”, since they don’t recognize the supreme court either).

In foreign press the amnesty bill is presented in a completely different light: As something invented by the “coupsters” to protect themselves.

To me, it thus seems that the amnesty bill is a sword forced onto Honduras by the U.S. with the intention that they fall on it. I sure hope they see through this scheme and do what is best for the country: Take a stance for the rule of law, and transparency.

The question of responsibility can wait until the Truth Commission, agreed to in the Guaymuras dialogue, has been formed. What’s the urgency?

Militaries exonerated in Honduras

The military leadership in Honduras was today exonerated by the Supreme Court of Justice, for having allowed the deposed president, Zelaya, to leave the country. Their orders, issued by the same court, had been to arrest him. The chief justice, Rivera, accepted the defense argument that they had acted in a “situation of real danger in Honduras” and under a threat of an “institutional collapse of the state.”

The defense had presented evidence that there were about 950 armed foreigners in Honduras on June 28, who presented a clear and present danger to the country.

Six militaries were prosecuted, and all of them were exonerated of all charges.

With this trial, all remaining doubt about the legality of the deposing of Zelaya is gone. This is a complete vindication for president Micheletti, who is serving his last day in office today. Tomorrow the newly elected president, Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo, will be sworn in.

Lobo’s first act, already before becoming president, was to sign an agreement with the Dominican president, in which Pepe promised to give Zelaya free passage from the Brazilian embassy, where he has been since September 21, to Dominica. He will do this immediately after taking office tomorrow. Pepe has been harshly criticized in Honduras for this act, and it is still not clear that it will be considered legal, partly because it does not adhere to the convention dealing with political asylum.

Also today, the national congress is debating an amnesty for Zelaya and others for the events around June 28, when Zelaya was de facto attempting a coup d’état. Pepe claims that people want an amnesty, but what I hear is just a giant roar from all quarters that nobody wants amnesty for criminals. Many consider Zelaya a gigantic criminal, but foreign press tends to spin it such that it is Micheletti who needs amnesty for a “coup d’état” – even though it was no coup d’état. Luckily, justice is made in courts and not in newspapers.

The real problem is that international media will take an amnesty bill, if passed, as the Congress confessing to being guilty of doing a coup d’état. Based on the comments from the congressional leaders, they seem completely oblivious to this. Don’t they have Internet in Honduras? Don’t they have a War Room with staff who follow international media’s reporting???

Media: BBC, NY Times, and a thorough blog on the subject, La Gringas Blogicito.

Zelaya’s flawed plan for immunity

As I have previously blogged about, Zelaya’s plan is allegedly to take a seat in the Central American Parliament, Parlacen, and thereby get immunity, which would shield him from the prosecution that is awaiting him in his native Honduras. What chances can such a plan have for succeeding?

1. Will Zelaya get immunity as a Parlacen delegate?

The internal rules of Parlacen say in §9 that the delegates will, in their home countries, have the same immunity as the delegates to their national legislative bodies. Some 8 years ago Micheletti spearheaded the removal of immunity for members of the Honduran Congress. Thus, even if Zelaya does get a seat, he will still not enjoy any immunity in Honduras.

In the other member states of Parlacen, he will have the same immunity that the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations gives to diplomats. But not in his home country. However, let’s see if he at all can become a delegate.

2. Can Zelaya get a seat in Parlacen?

The treaty of Parlacen states in §2b that presidents of the member states become delegates of the parliament when they finish their term (al concluir su mandato). Here is a possible stumbling block for Zelaya, because he never finished his term; Micheletti did. Now what?

In the internal rules of Parlacen, §12 says that the president will become a delegate to Parlacen immediately when the term for which he was “constitutionally elected” terminates (Los Presidentes, Vicepresidentes o Designados a la Presidencia de los Estados Parte, una vez terminado el período para el que fueron electos constitucionalmente, asumirán, de forma inmediata, como Diputadas o Diputados Centroamericanos. Estos diputados y diputadas cesarán en sus funciones cuando sus sucesores concluyan su mandato constitucional.). This is more to Zelaya’s favor than the treaty, but of course the treaty takes precedence.

In the case of Zelaya, the term for which he was constitutionally elected will terminate 2010-01-27, but Zelaya will not finish his term, since he was deposed on 2009-06-28 by the Honduran Congress. If Parlacen, however, considers his deposing null and void, in its judgment he will finish his term 2010-01-27, and then become a delegate.

Unless, of course, he is incapacitated.

3. What if Zelaya is incapacitated to serve?

In §5 the treaty speaks of “Incapacidades de los diputados“, and the key phrase reads, “Las demás incompatibilidades serán las que establezcan las respectivas legislaciones nacionales para el cargo de diputado o representante.” I take this clause to mean, that since Zelaya has outstanding arrest orders in Honduras, and therefore is ineligible to serve in the Honduran Congress, he is equally ineligible to serve in Parlacen.

It is obvious that if Parlacen acknowledges the government of Pepe Lobo, they also have to acknowledge the arrest orders against Zelaya, and thus that he is incapacitated to serve as a delegate. The alternative would be that they don’t acknowledge neither Lobo nor the arrest orders, but that they do acknowledge Zelaya as an ex-president with right to be a delegate. It seems extremely unlikely that they would refuse to accept Pepe Lobo.


This leaves Zelaya as an eternal refugee, a Flying Dutchman, who can only go to countries that don’t recognize Honduras. As they get fewer and fewer, the world of Zelaya will shrink around him. He will probably end up spending his old age in Havana, Cuba, unless the Castro brothers turn out to be mortal after all.

The best solution for Zelaya, his family, and his country is if someone can persuade him to grow up, walk out, and face his accusers like a man. Tell him from me that “if he doesn’t trust the justice system of the country, then x k p..a did he want to be president over it?