The “Moment of Truth” for Pepe

The time has come for Pepe Lobo to form a Truth Commission in Honduras, as stipulated in point 6 of the Guaymuras dialogue (Spanish original, Swedish summary). This is the original text:

Con el fin de esclarecer los hechos ocurridos antes y después del 28 de junio de 2009, se creará también una Comisión de la Verdad que identifique los actos que condujeron a la situación actual, y proporcione al pueblo de Honduras elementos para evitar que estos hechos se repitan en el futuro.

Esta Comisión de Diálogo recomienda que el próximo Gobierno, en el marco de un consenso nacional, constituya dicha Comisión de la Verdad en el primer semestre del año 2010.

The agreement does not stipulate how the commission should be created, just what its purpose is and when it shall be created (the first half of 2010). The purpose is to “identify the acts that led to the present situation, and to propose to the people of Honduras elements to avoid that these deeds will be repeated in the future.”

From what has transpired so far, it seems clear, though, that OAS was actively involved in the events that led up to the violation of the constitution by the executive; and so was the U.S. of A. It thus seems rather self-evident that those two have a vested interest in getting a seat in the Truth Commission in order to prevent it from getting to the truth. The OAS and the U.S. therefore ought to be excluded even from consideration. The same goes for all allies of Venezuela, and even Costa Rica, since Oscar Arias obviously must have been an accomplice in the mediatic pyjamas charade.

In spite of this, the new president Pepe Lobo seems to be contemplating granting OAS a role in the commission. If he wants to make sure it fails, that would be a good strategy. If he, on the other hand, really wants to promote democracy and the defense of the republic, he is shooting himself in the foot.

To me, having followed this closely for 7 months, there seems to be some pretty obvious conclusions to draw from this. However, any conclusion I may have drawn is only tentative, as I have not been able to interview anyone in any official way, only off the record and on condition of anonymity. That is why I proposed the Truth Commission in the context of the San José talks, where it was subsequently introduced by the Micheletti side.

Let me repeat that: The Truth Commission was proposed by the side representing the democratic institutions of Honduras.

It is therefore with apprehension I see this spectacle unfold, by which the OAS – surely supported by the U.S. – apparently tries to bury the whole enterprise, truth and all.

The Truth Commission as I envisioned it should be composed of Hondurans, and if there were to be any foreigners involved, it would have to be people that did not in any way, shape, or form take part in what happened before or during June 28.

If Pepe Lobo undermines this effort, then I would urge the truly democratic forces of Honduras to set up a non-governmental, independent truth commission, that can closely follow and constructively criticize the official one. This week is the “moment of truth” for Pepe Lobo.

Immature on democracy in the US Senate

In a report by the ranking Republican, Senator Lugar, to the U.S. Senate committee on foreign relations, Multilateralism in the Americas: Let’s start by fixing the OAS, the Organization for American States is criticized for its failure in relation to the coups in Venezuela 2002 and Honduras 2009, as the report puts it. The OAS reacted when the military intervened, but not when the president violated the constitution. On page 10 it says: “In both Venezuela and Honduras, executive defiance of other government institutions provoked the breakdown of democratic rule.”

That sentence is very disturbing. It reveals a fundamental lack of understanding of the concept of separation of powers.

The Honduran Congress has shown a much higher degree of understanding of democracy than those staff writers in the U.S. Senate.

The Hondurans, unlike the Americans, understood that executive defiance of other government institutions constituted a breakdown of democratic rule – it didn’t provoke it, it was it.

I find it troubling that staff in the Congress of the United States of America have so little understanding for democracy. Then again, it does explain why they did not impeach president Bush XLIII, although there was prima facie evidence that he, just like Chávez and Zelaya, also violated his country’s constitution.

My recommendation would be to look at their own House first, so to say. How would the U.S. democratic institutions react if something similar were to happen here? If Obama would try to overthrow the Constitution, would you just sit idly by, Senator Lugar? Not that I think there is any risk, but it may be in order to contemplate the situation. The U.S. is a very young country and lacks domestic experience from these things. It is worth keeping this saying in mind: “You have to learn from other people’s mistakes, because you don’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

Sweden has had some showdowns between the executive and the popularly elected parliament in its history. It should be perfectly clear that since no branch of government is above the other, a president who defies the other branches of government, beyond a certain point which reasonably would be the use of force against them, has lost any legitimacy and can be deposed as allowed for by the Constitution. This is precisely what Honduras did.

Once you can respond to how the U.S. would handle a crisis such as the one Honduras was faced with, then, Senator Lugar, you have the standing to make recommendations to the OAS, or to criticize Honduras.