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?

Micheletti held the fortress until help came

Micheletti held the fortress for over half a year, waiting for help. The proverbial cavalry came January 6, when the prosecutor indicted the militaries who sent Zelaya to Costa Rica instead of to jail, as their orders said they should. Through this court case it was finally demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt that the deposing of Zelaya was a legal affair, and not a military coup. The prosecutor and Supreme Court thus came to the rescue, bringing heavy guns for the defense of the position. Micheletti held out in a battle against wind and tide so that the prosecutor got the time he needed to mount the case.

For the first time Honduras now has a very strong defense. However, at almost the same time, Micheletti has to hand over the helm to Lobo. His first act he did already before taking over, and it was to open the back door to the fortress. He went to Dominica to sign a unilateral promise to let the coupster Zelaya leave. It remains to be seen if he will close the back door again and continue to defend the position, or if he will abandon all defenses once he takes office, and declare defeat.

In other words, will Lobo continue to defend the democratic institutions of Honduras, or will he throw them to the wolves? Will he say, after his inauguration, that what Micheletti did was wrong?

On another note, the self-labeled Resistencia has decided to keep “resisting” Lobo, since they don’t recognize his election. Nor that of the Congress (that started their session today), nor that of any governor, mayor, or any other elected office-holder of the country for that matter, by extension, since they don’t recognize the November 29 elections at all. They claim that they will “peacefully” resist until a constitutional assembly is created. First, there is a difference between peaceful and legal. Just because it is peaceful does not mean it is legal. Second, a constitutional assembly is illegal, and unconstitutional. Especially since they are receiving money from abroad. Thus, it is equally correct to say that they will continue with their treasonous activities, their attempts at insurrection and revolution, using criminal means. This is how it must be described by any honest reporter. Otherwise, how can we understand why people get arrested?

To the credit of the leftist party UD, they left the Resistencia just before the election, electing to participate in the democratic process. The realized that to accomplish change, one must work within the law, with democratic means. Their reward for this is that they now are in the leadership of the Congress, for the first time today, and that they may have a seat in Lobo’s government, which will be announced no later than tomorrow.

These choices by Cesar Ham, the party leader, are commendable. The decision of Lobo to reach out to him is, too. That is the kind of dialogue across the political and social spectrum that Honduras needs.

However, if Lobo got this cooperation by promising to declare what Congress did last year a coup, then he would be selling out the fortress; then he would be opening the back doors of the castle to let the enemy soldiers in that way, to have their way with the people inside. The one who lives to the end of the week will soon know the answer.

AFP is pro-revolution, anti-democracy

The French news agency AFP, Agence France Press, from whom the Swedish news agency TT, Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå, and thus most Swedish media get much of their news from Honduras, is openly biased against democracy, and for a revolutionary overthrowing of the form of government in the Central American country.

This is the only reasonable conclusion from an analysis of their recent reporting. I have previously shown that they are willing to use not just blatant bias, but even lies, to make their case. Today I will present just one example: A report on a meeting in Brazil in which the Honduran revolutionary insurrection movement “Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular” was fishing for international support.

AFP quotes the representative of this movement as saying that they do not recognize the results of the (regular and general) elections in Honduras in November, and that they still insist on overthrowing the form of government in their country. However, unlike me, AFP does this in a positive tone, as if what they are aiming for is legal, democratic, and socially acceptable.

My conclusion of this is that AFP is a branch of Hugo Chávez’s propaganda ministry. You as reader must draw your own conclusions, but with this I hope I have opened your eyes so that you in the future always check where a certain piece of news comes from.

Getting the coupster out of Honduras

According to a report in El Heraldo,* the president of the Supreme Court of Honduras, Jorge Rivera, has said that the “salvoconducto” that the new president, Porfirio Lobo, intends to issue to Zelaya on Wednesday, will allow the former coupster to leave the country. However, it will not relieve him of criminal responsibility for the 18 charges that are pending against him.

The only thing that can eliminate the political and related criminal charges, notably high treason, is an amnesty, which only the National Congress can issue. The previous Congress earlier this month tabled the amnesty bill that Lobo had requested. The new Congress, in which Lobo’s Nationalist party has absolute majority, and which was sworn in today, has scheduled to debate the amnesty tomorrow, Tuesday, the day before Lobo takes office.

The amnesty bill as written does not include the common crimes unrelated to political crimes, e.g. corruption, for which Zelaya is also charged. It would even be unconstitutional in Honduras to give amnesty for such crimes. Incidentally, neither Micheletti’s nor Zelaya’s supporters want any amnesty, they say.

Zelaya attempted to commit a coup d’état on June 28, but was stopped by the other branches of government. Led by the Sandinista revolutionary D’Escoto (a leftist ally of Zelaya, Chávez, and Castro), the General Assembly of the United Nations declared the democratic institutions “coupsters”, and demanded that the real coupster, Zelaya, be reinstated as president.

Also tomorrow, the Supreme Court of Justice will sentence the military leadership for having allowed the coupster Zelaya to leave the country, rather than to throw him in jail as they had been instructed to do. The militaries’ defense is that they acted to protect the nation, and – from what I gather – save lives from expected armed jail-breaking attempts by Venezuelan and Nicaraguan agents who had been arriving the preceding days.

*2010-01-26: This is contradicted in today’s El Heraldo. The justice will not state an opinion because the case may come before him, he says. The previous story was thus in error.

SR ljuger, granskningsnämnden försvarar dem

Den 20 december anmälde jag ett inslag i Dagens Eko, ett nyhetsprogram i svenska statens radio, SR, för osaklighet. Det var en rapport från deras Sydamerikakorrespondent Lars Palmgren som innehöll rena faktafel om Honduras. Granskningsnämnden har idag lämnat anmälan utan åtgärd utan att ens försöka visa att inslaget var sant.

Min huvudkritik gällde att Palmgren påstod att Porfirio Lobo inte hade bjudit in Zelayas anhängare till den nationella dialogen, ett uppenbart lögnaktigt påstående. Granskningsnämnden har emellertid inte med ett ord ens försökt visa att det var sant, utan svarade bara att “Granskningsnämnden anser … att det inte står i strid med kraven på opartiskhet och saklighet … det anmälaren tagit upp i övrigt…” De anser att det är sant – utan någon som helst motivering.

Alla har rätt till sina egna åsikter, men inte till sina egna fakta. Till exempel är det ett faktum att FNs generalförsamling fördömde presidentskiftet i Honduras som en “kupp”, men det är fortfarande bara en åsikt att det var en kupp. Det är nämligen inte FNs generalförsamling som har att avgöra frågan, eftersom det är en juridisk fråga. Som bekant är alla oskyldiga tills funna skyldiga i en kompetent domstol.

De som avsatte Zelaya har inte och kommer inte att bli åtalade för det. Det står nu helt klart efter att militären som bröt mot arresteringsordern åtalats. Detta visar att det juridiskt sett inte var en kupp. Eftersom alla instanser i Honduras utom presidentämbetet förblev oförändrade efter bytet av statsöverhuvud kan ingen med hedern i behåll vägra erkänna de instansernas legitimitet (med mindre det kunde visas att de bröt mot grundlagen, men oberoende juridiska analyser visar att så inte är fallet).

När det gäller anmälans huvudfråga, det uppenbara faktafelet om Lobos inbjudan, så säger alltså Eva Tetzell, efter föredragning av Lottie-Ann Lindström, inte ett pip om det i Granskningsnämndens beslut. Låt mig illustrera med en liknelse hur fullständigt lögnaktigt Palmgrens påstående var, en lögn som nu försvarats av Tetzell.

Tänk er att Gösta Bohman hade ensam majoritet i riksdagen med sådär 55% av rösterna. Tänk er också att KFML(r) hade en dryg procent men trots det fått in en fot i riksdagen. Tänk er nu att Bohman gav en tung ministerpost till KFLM[r):s partiledare. Det är en bra liknelse för hur extremt flexibel Porfirio Lobo Sosa varit och är.

Cesar Ham är partiledare för UD, ett parti på yttersta vänsterkanten som fick en dryg procent i senaste valet. De är det enda parti som stött Zelaya, och de representerar därför den så kallade motståndsrörelsen i politiken. UD är för att kullkasta regeringsformen, vilket naturligtvis är revolutionärt. Ham har nu erbjudits och accepterat en tung ministerpost. Lobo har till och med bjudit in Zelaya som sin personliga rådgivare, för vilket han fått utstå mycket spott och spe i sitt hemland. Detta visar hur Lobo fullföljer sina löften från valkampanjen om en nationell enhetsregering och samling.

Jämför dessa fakta med Plamgrens påstående den 20 december: “…vare sig Manuel Zelaya eller den motståndsrörelse som stödjer honom har bjudits in…”

Jag gjorde anmälan till granskningsnämnden därför att det måste finnas gränser för hur lögnaktiga media får tillåtas bli. Speciellt statliga media. Palmgren och Tetzell måste, för att behålla sin heder, erkänna sakfelet och rätta till det.

Vi får inte låta en demokrati gå under igen genom vår flathet. Vi måste stå upp för vad som är rätt och fel när det håller på att gå helt åt helvete – och det har det gjort när det gäller rapporteringen om Honduras.

De demokratiska institutionerna kallas “kuppmakare” i svenska media, och den som verkligen försökte göra en kupp, Zelaya, porträtteras som någon sorts hjälte. Honduras får inte bli vår tids Tjeckoslovakien (tänk Böhmen och Mähren). Vi får inte offra ett lands frihet, oberoende och demokrati för kortsiktiga politiska vinster. Och vi får absolut inte göra det genom att de som jobbar i media eller övervakar media är lata, okunniga, eller ännu värre, har politiskt färgade glasögon påsatta.

De som gör det när det gäller Honduras går förre militärkuppmakare Hugo Chávez propagandaärenden. Jag skulle uppmuntra den ställföreträdande direktören att skärpa till sig lite, använda insidan av huvudet, kritiskt granska vad som är fakta och vad som är åsikt. Det är ett i media väldokumenterat faktum att Lobo bjöd in Zelaya och UD, men det är bara en (ogrundad) åsikt att det var en kupp. Tetzell förefaller tro att det är precis tvärtom.

Du som läser detta, skriv ut det och stoppa undan det på en plats där du kan hitta det om 10 år. När du då ser tillbaka kan du reflektera över hur sanningen i media ändras över tiden, och hur det är möjligt att se sanningen redan i nutid om man bara gör en intellektuell ansträngning. Vill du inte vänta 10 år så kan du istället gå till ett bibliotek och jämföra tidningsartiklar från 1937 och 1947 som handlar om Tyskland.