The entire military leadership of Honduras may get arrested

Original post 20:35 ET: Today an arrest order was requested for the entire military leadership in Honduras, including joint chiefs of staff general Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, the head of the air force, Venancio Cervantes, the comander of the navy, Luis Javier Prince, and the head of the army, general Garcia Padgett. As I have reported here previously (see Spanish interview; Miami Herald had an English translation of the interview with colonel Inestroza, page now expired), they exiled Zelaya from the country knowing it was a crime. They did so under the justification of national self-defense, similar to when the crew on a ship commits mutiny to save the ship from an incompetent captain.

To commit mutiny under such circumstances is not a crime, as is illustrated by the Danish court’s dealings with the mutiny on the Danish ships Christianus Quintus and Fridericus Quartus on March 4th, 1710, off present day Costa Rica. They let all the slaves free (their descendants can be found in Bluefields, Nicaragua, today) to prevent them all from dying of starvation. I have read the ships’ logs and the court proceedings in the Danish national archives, and in spite of everyone admitting to having committed mutiny, the court found it justifiable.

The Honduran generals will present themselves willingly to be judged, because they are equally convinced that they did the right thing. They fully expect to be exonerated by the court (source).

Some have insisted on calling the deposing of then president Zelaya on June 28 last year a military coup, and the interim president Roberto Micheletti a coupster ruling under the aegis of the military. It will be interesting to see what spin they will invent now to discount this development, or if they will do the honorable thing and admit that they have been wrong.

As regards media my bet is that they will ignore this rather than admitting that they have been wrong for half a year.

Update 22:35 ET: An hour after posting the above, CNN International has a story that still calls it a coup even though they some paragraphs down write that the military acted on orders from the Supreme Court. Newspeak indeed.

Update 23:00 ET: The Costarican newspaper writes that Manuel Zelaya calls the prosecution of the military leadership a “trick”, and states that the Attorney General of Honduras has more responsibility for his deposing on June 28th than the militaries have. So… then it was not a coup, right?

Clarification: The Attorney General has asked the Supreme Court of Justice to decide within 3 days whether to take the case and issue an arrest warrant, or dismiss the case. It is probably of relevance that the National Congress will debate the issue of a political asylum on Monday, as I blogged about earlier today.

PS. Although I have no official reaction from the Micheletti administration, I have been told unofficially repeatedly since July or August that they wanted this to happen, so that the world would see that Honduras is a land of law. At the same time the separation of powers have prevented them from getting involved, why they have kept a low profile in public about it.

Swedish newspapers publish the same text from TT, which says that the Attorney General prosecutes the military leadership for abuse of power “during the coup that deposed president Manuel Zelaya”, and that “The Supreme Court as well as the Congress and the Civil Society leadership supported the coup against Zelaya.” Can anyone please explain why they call it a coup?

Amnesty to be debated in Honduras’ congress

In an article in El Heraldo late last night, it is clarified that the amnesty that I wrote about yesterday would be for the people who took to the streets to protest what they believed was a coup d’état, based on the mistake made by the international community – including the General Assembly of the United Nations – in classifying it as such.

In other words, the U.S. and others provoked unrest in Honduras by misinterpreting what happened, thus causing violence, and now they want the people who acted on their mistake to get amnesty. The Honduran congress will vote on such an amnesty on Monday. The amnesty will not include corruption and other (non-political) felonies committed by Zelaya, but it will include violence and property damage during street protests.

In the same session the congress will vote on leaving ALBA, the organization of states led by Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela, since it turned out to be more political-military than commercial in nature. Although the treaty is written in such a way that only Venezuela can revoke it, Honduras considers that the South American nation has not lived up to its contractual obligations, by not delivering petroleum since June 28 last year.

The agreement includes delivery of petroleum products on very favorable credit terms. As part of the bill to leave the treaty Honduras plans on paying off the entire debt, and settle all related matters (including returning gifts) as a matter of honor. Similar bills have been introduced both by the sitting president and by a congressman from the party of the president elect.