A Democracy Must Defend Itself, also Honduras

Every state has two classes of potential enemies: External, and Internal. The defense against external enemies is allowed in the UN charter, as every country has the right to defend itself if attacked militarily.

The defense against internal enemies is an internal matter, though. A revolution in a country is not a matter for the international community.

For this reason, if one state wished to take control of another state, the only method that they can get away with is to disguise an overthrow of the constitution as an internal matter. Such an act would not violate any international law, only the national laws in the country under attack.

An attempt to overthrow the constitution or government is in Honduras called “delito contra el forma de gobierno,” meaning ‘crime against the form of government.’ In Swedish law that is called “högmålsbrott,” which is subdivided into “uppror,” i.e., revolution, if it is a domestic affair, and “högförräderi,” ‘high treason,’ if it is done with foreign assistance. This is the most severe crime that Zelaya is formally accused of.

The institutions in charge of defending law and order in Honduras acted according to their purpose in defending the country from an internal threat, when Zelaya was removed from office. A new president was installed, a new government set up, and the constitutional continuity was preserved.

If this had been an internal Honduran affair it would have ended there, but it wasn’t. The attack against the form of government was directed from Caracas, Venezuela. Using media, Zelaya’s co-conspirer Chávez managed to dupe the world into believing that there had been a military coup d’état. As a result, he managed to get all international institutions on his side, against the constitutional democracy of Honduras.

Chávez also relied on paid demonstrators and rioters within the country, amplified by people with limited understanding of the laws who genuinely believed that a coup had taken place, and who were strengthened in their belief by the whole world saying so.

However, Honduras is and remains a democracy, defending itself against an assault on its very fabric.

The assailants have used peaceful demonstrations, violent demonstrations, riots, propaganda lies, staged clashes for media effects, and more, all to portray the democratic government as a repressive military regime. While most serious media have managed to filter out most of the propaganda lies, they have still swallowed the basic lie that it was a coup, and many bloggers and online media have spread even the hysterical lies.

Well-intended but ignorant and naïve “help workers” from richer countries have become propaganda mouthpieces for the anti-democratic forces in this upside-down world, where the real coupsters accuse the democratic institutions of being coupsters.

It took many weeks but slowly the conditions in the country returned towards normalcy. Until Zelaya returned and sought asylum at the Brazilian embassy, and from there tried to rally a mob to overthrow the government. This created a new situation of internal threat to the form of government, since both Zelaya and the mob leaders professed to wishing to overthrow the constitution.

At this point, about 3 months after exiling Zelaya from the country, the democratic government saw itself compelled to declare a state of emergency (called “estado de sitio,” literally ‘state of siege’). In agreement with the constitution, certain civil liberties were suspended for a limited time in order to control the internal threat that the country was facing.

The order contained strict requirements for the security forces to follow protocols to assure that the government can demonstrate that nobody is tortured, since accusations have been made in the past. Honduras has an independent ombudsman for human rights, but the strategy of the real coupsters is to allege that he is biased, and then present fake reports from organizations that lack an institutional foundation, such as NGOs that are nothing but a front for Chávez. [See also this article on Human Rights.]

This attack against Honduras is very real, it is very well orchestrated, and it came within hours of succeeding. If it wasn’t for the determination of key persons at the democratic institutions in Honduras, the democracy would have fallen. Among Latinos in Miami, Honduras is looked up to. Their perseverance in the face of the whole world just adds to the admiration.

A lesson that they have learned the hard way is that having a very large social gap in the country is a security risk. Even if there is no domestic revolution, as in Russia and Cuba, it opens the door for foreign-supported coups as the one Zelaya attempted in Honduras. Hopefully the ability for all citizens to participate in the democratic process will be addressed in Honduras as a result. It is also quite likely that the constitution will be amended as a result, but legally, and not in the way that Chávez wanted. A proposal that has been suggested is some form of parliamentarian system, whereby the executive is elected by the congress so that the head of government cannot so easily be bought as today (Zelaya is allegedly in debt to Chávez to the tune of $400 million).

PS, added 2009-10-18: On 2009-10-10, New York Times ran an opinion piece that clearly outlined how the real coupster of June 28th was Manuel Zelaya, and that his ousting actually prevented the coup, rather than being the coup, as the world has come to believe based on Chavez’ propaganda.

Mel Zelaya, failed coupster
Mel Zelaya, failed coupster

67 thoughts on “A Democracy Must Defend Itself, also Honduras”

  1. Excellent article. Excellent explanation. Thank you for helping us illustrate the world.

  2. Your point of view on the Honduran crises has been precise. What has happened has awakened us Hondurans as to the necessity that the problems that led to the ousting of M. Zelaya never happen again. We, the people must be in close contact with our government and take active action. Yes, there are many things than can be ammended in our constitution to make it better. But what is most important is that the future Presidents take heed as to the fact that before we have Chavez like presidents, changes are urgently needed to fulfull the basic needs of the people. We are not a poor country but an undeveloped country that squanders our few resources.

  3. totally agree with you Ulf, and living this situation firsthand I can tell you that this “chavismo” is a renewed national socialism of the likes of Hitler’s Nazis with similar origins of a “democratic” start to then a dictatorial establishment of a antisemitic and a fascist state. God save of us of this evil!! Fortunately I trust, there are enlightent people like you that will resist and assist the Honduran cause, regards John

  4. This is a very sensible and well informed commentary. After 100 days of being bombarded by biased opinions coming from interested observers, as you have described, I welcome your perspective. There is little doubt that the citizens of Honduras face trascendental challenges in modifying our model of government, but those changes are to come slowly, peacefully, and without intervention.

  5. Finally somebody explained to the world the reality of what happened, what is going on and the way to solve it. Also how the future most be molded for our people in Honduras. Chavez do not have a thing to be sticking his nose in Honduras affairs. Our Constitution big or small, is a Constitution Mr Zelaya promess to keep and he didn’t, that is why congress and the Supreme Court of Justice had to remove him, Amen of all the money waisted and the drug trafficking that was going on under his nose. In Honduras we need improvements not radical changes.

  6. Great article! We thank you for clarifying our situation in Honduras so well. I do hope governments and people in Europe will read it and understand what really happened. Zelaya simply cannot be reinstated!

    1. This is a great article…I am so happy to see so many friends making excellents comments to this issue. even citizens from others countries have been giving their own point of view, and YES Ex President ZELAYA never can even walked by The Casa Presidencial..JAMAS…!!!!!!! Sigan con la fuerte lucha Hondureños, e ILUSTREN al mundo con su ejemplo.

  7. God! $400 Million in debt to Chavez. Well Zelaya better get accustomed to jail because Honduras is ready to put him in ours for what he owes us, and after that probably Venezuela in theirs, because we aren’t paying all that money with our taxes. Enough is enough. He put himself in this mess.

  8. Thank you very much for your unbiased and truthful article about Honduras. All you have stated is a non-political observation of what has really happened in our country. What people do not understand is why Zelaya was not “impeached” – our Constitution states very clearly that “the president who attempts to break the Constitution immediately ceases to be in office”. Zelaya knew what he was doing was and is wrong; he was also told so by Congress, Public Ministry, and Supreme Court but he thought himself (like Chavez) above the Law. Honduras will prevail and we have learned a painful truth: we must all be aware of our government – we must all become involved in making our class differences less great; we must all demand honesty and knowledge from our leaders! Especially so, we must all VOTE and make our leaders accountable!! Thank you again!!!

  9. Thanks for your article. It clearly illustrates the situation in Honduras. We are having a tough time with so much of the international opinion in the hands of those interested in taking over our country. Most of us are not wealthy and our government have much to learn about transparency, but we are fiercely defending our dignity. Your writing helps us find hope in our present and future. Thank you again.

  10. Thank you for explained to the world what really happened in our country . It is very clear and we hope the international community will change their mind and know that Zelaya was trying to imposed a Communist Regimen in our country. Now we all know that Chavez has the power to manipulate the whole world , but he didn’t realize that the people from Honduras are brave and courageous.
    Thanks again for making this article very very clear.
    Blessings from above.
    Thank you again.

  11. You are the president of your country, elected by your people, and your house is invaded by military forces in the middle of night. You are forced to leave your country even though the constitution prohibits this kind of actions. The persons that organized this act are now leading the country. That is a coup d’etat, and there is not another way of calling it.

    1. You are misrepresenting the facts. Let me help you:
      You are the president of your country, elected by your people, and by order of a foreign country you prepare to overthrow the constitution. The checks and balances kicks in, and the judicial branch, the Supreme Court of Justice, orders the military to arrest you for high treason. The military arrests you, but in violation of the constitution they allow you to leave the country to seek asylum abroad, rather than to spend the rest of your life in jail. They motivate this act of leniency towards you with necessity. The legislative branch, the National Congress, elects a new president as directed by the Constitution. All democratic institutions of government remain unchanged, only you, the treacherous president and your ministers, have been removed.

      You seem to think, like so many others in the Americas, that the president is a King. He is not. We Europeans have got rid of our kings (except to the name) but many here in the Americas treat their presidents as if they were Kings, and did not have to answer to Congress and Courts. It is really sickening to see.

    2. Thank you Ulf for that reply, I am so tired of people believing that the President doesn’t even owe us a BUDGET!!! It is very against the law that the president does not submit a budget by September of the previous year, and Zelaya had not presented one by June 28th, despite the fact he spent OUR money whichever way he saw fit….

    3. So, you got rid of your kings in exchange of a burguesia??? Nice change, that was the France revolution…you misread the constitution when stated that was a constitutional act to overtrow the president without a trial? Nice done for democracy!!!!

    4. The Supreme Court is the highest legal body charged with interpreting the law. If they say it was a coup, it was a coup; if they say it was not a coup, it was not a coup. If the people disagrees, they have to elect new members to the Congress who changes the laws. That is how an institutional democracy works. The kind of democracy that Chavez does not want. He wants the kind of “democracy” where the president has all the power.

    5. Carlos Diaz del Valle — Does the oath of office that Zelaya took have any meaning? I do belive he swore to follow the constitution and the laws of Honduras.
      Did he do that?

  12. There is light in Central America! The enforcement of constitutional law by the Honduran Supreme Court, to all citizens of Honduras is another step to the future of a viable democratic entity.

  13. This article is so true, why is it so hard for the world to understand? Hope some day you will not regret what you are doing to a small country, that has become a giant with dignity. I feel proud of the good citizens of my beatifil country, Honduras.

    1. Even if she is….isn’t she alowed to have her opinion.? Well she is, that is something people in Venezuela do not have any more, more than a 100 media stations closed. Is that realy what you wanted for our Honduras??

    2. ya Michelleti cerro emisoras y televisoras en Honduras que no estan de acuerdo con sus atropellos, IGUALITO QUE CHAVEZ, el burro hablando de orejas !!!

    3. OTRO MENTIROSO en nombre del pobre Juan Pueblo…
      Cerrada hubieran dejado la emisora que aún está incitando a la insurrección y violencia…

    4. Maribel, you seem to be a resentida social who judge people bu their name, please dont. People like you should grow up.

  14. You have absolutely no idea how correct in ever word you are.
    I have been here for 4 years and the corruption under Zelaya
    has actually been laughable to think he got away with so much
    and was on the verge of changing the constitution of this small
    country on behalf of Chavez under our nose is simply incredible.
    Why can’t the world see this issue as you?

  15. Thank you for having taken the time and effort to understand owr problems !!! Most goverments in the name of their people took the easiest way out : just condemn them , who are they anyway ?? where is that Country ?? But you , sir , have understood owr reality , which is not the one that Chavez has been so good at exporting !! As a honduran I thank you and hope that through persons like you we may get owr elections recognized , that will put and end to the actual conflict, and have us , try to build a New Honduras.

  16. gracias por su excelente articulo que cuenta como fueron efectivamente los hechos y la legalidad de los mismo, los hondureño no podemos entender porque la OEA no solo irrespeta nuestra legilacion interna sino que la misma de dicho organismo. el señor zelaya cuando salio de Honduras no era presidente de la republica en virtud del art. 239 constitucional entonces el no puede reclamar algo que no tiene. otra cosa que no entendemos como los cancilleres que vinieron aqui pueden estar defendiendo a una persona con mas de 18 acusaciones muchas de ellas por corrupcion. QUE CINISMO VENIRNOS A EXIGIR A NOSOTROS QUE RESTITUYAMOS A CORRUPTOS.

    1. Que paso con los corruptos de los gobiernos anteriores, porque no les dimos un golpe de estado? Para empezar Callejas, Maduro, militares de turno??

    2. Your argument is akin to saying, “So why didn’t you kill your other wives?” to the fresh widower. In other words, it is only you who assume that he has killed his wife. Or in this case, that there has been a coup d’état.

      Zelaya attacked the military of his own country in the head of a mob. He openly defied the Supreme Court in acts and words. He had effectively done a coup already. If he had not been arrested, it would have been an autogolpe. But thanks to arresting him, there was no coup in Honduras on June 28th.

  17. HERR ERLINGSOON.
    WE THE HONDURANS SHOULD BE SO GRATEFULL TO YOU FOR THIS REPLY,AND HOPE THAT MANY EUROPEAN BEGIN TO SEE THE TRUE
    ABOUT THE REMOVAL OF ZELAYA,WHY IT IS THAT WHEN GUATEMALA
    DID THE SAME THING,THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITTY DID NOT BARK AS THEY ARE DOING IT WITH HONDURAS,WHY IS IT THAT WHEN USA CONGRESS FORCED RICHARD NIXON TO RESIGN FOR A MUCH LESSER CRIME,THE WORLD DID NOT CRY WOLF AS THEY ARE DOING WITH HONDURAS,THE UN AND THE OEA SHOULD BE DISBAND THEY ARE GOOD FOR NOTHING.SHAME ON THEN AND THE INTERNATIONAL CIRCUS(COMMUNITY) WHO FAVOR THE RETURN OF MR ZELAYA

  18. Dear Sirs:
    That is correct, and I just hope that the rest of the world con see the Honduras situation the same way you put it here…it is very easy, it is very clear..Zelaya was violating the Constitution and he was punished…why the world have to punish Honduras?
    We need peace

  19. Dear Sir: Thanks so much for telling the truth about Honduras government succession. Thanks for telling the world that Honduran people are smart because we are fighting for our liberty and democracy.
    It does not matter if we are poor, but the most important is that we knew in advance what is going to happen if we allowed Chavez/ Zelaya and the rest to take our country.. God Bless You

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