Honduras one month from the elections

In one month Honduras will hold regular general elections. This in the middle of a political crisis that started on June 25 when the then president Manuel Zelaya issued a decree to hold a poll in defiance of a direct order from the Supreme Court of Justice, upon which the latter issued an order to arrest him to the military, which they did on June 28. Unfortunately they exiled him, and since he claimed that his arrest was a coup, the world community came to the assistance of the failed coupster Zelaya.

President Micheletti has today relinquished the command over the military and the police. The command passes to the election authority, in accordance with the constitution.

The U.S. has today sent a high official, sub-secretary of state Shannon, to Honduras to facilitate the negotiations. According to Shannon, there is an agreement on the table but no political will to sign it.

While the international community would like to see an agreement signed by Micheletti and Zelaya, one must ask, however, what authority those two gentlemen have for making such an agreement. Neither one is a sovereign ruler of Honduras. The sitting president cannot go beyond the powers that the constitution gives him, and the other one has no authority whatsoever apart from those of a regular citizen – and probably less, since he is wanted by the law. It would seem to yours truly that the real power to deal with this, in an institutional democracy such as Honduras, rests with the Supreme Court of Justice, and perhaps with the National Congress depending on how the constitution is written in each country.

Since both of those institutions agreed to replace Zelaya with Micheletti it is hard to envision any legal process by which to alter the facts inside the country. The question thus becomes, can the situation outside the country be changed?

Again, the political views being locked, one of the few things that can have a chance to change the perception of reality is if a court has to evaluate the events around June 25th, and declares that deposing Zelaya was legal and constitutional. The Honduran government is not stupid – they know this. Perhaps that is why the country has taken at least two cases to international courts, in which the legality of the succession has to be evaluated. The latest case is a complaint against Brazil filed at the International Court of Justice, a court that handles cases between nations. The complaint alleges that Brazil violated international law and treaties when allowing Zelaya to call for an uprising, thus instigating violence in Honduras, from the sanctity of Brazil’s embassy. Micheletti does not rule out demanding compensation from Brazil for the damages.

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