Open letter to his excellence Carl Bildt

Regarding the defense of Honduras’ democracy and freedom

It is as though the world has forgotten the basics of democracy when it comes to Honduras. If one answers the following questions the absurdity of the position of the world community becomes clear:

  • What regulates who is head of state? –The Constitution.
  • Who has the final word in interpreting the Constitution? –The Supreme Court of Justice.
  • Who appoints the Supreme Court? –The elected representatives in Congress.
  • The present Congress is the one elected in the last elections, why it is legitimate.

    The present Supreme Court is the one appointed by Congress, why it is legitimate.

    This Supreme Court has found that the former president violated §239 of the Constitution why he no longer is president, and they issued an arrest order for him to the military.

    The Constitution determines the succession, and the one who according to the law was to step in after Zelaya was the president of the Congress: Roberto Micheletti.

    The Congress has sworn in Micheletti as president according to the Constitution.

    These facts are the only ones that matter for determining who is head of state in Honduras. Everything else is irrelevant, or a pure smokescreen. The democratic institutions of Honduras have defended the country against an attack on the Constitution, instigated by a foreign power. This does not speak to the weakness of the country’s democracy, but to the strength of its democratic institutions. We should congratulate them, not condemn them. Those who deserve condemnation are those who through illegal means tried to undercut the democracy of the country.

    When the world community now demands that Zelaya is reinstated it is equivalent to forcing a king on a colony.

    It is understandable why it turned out so wrong. In diplomatic relations only the head of state has a voice. Sweden is at an advantage by having a king, since it makes it hard to lose the continuity. But in the many republics of the Americas the president is typically both head of state and head of government, and on top of that commander in chief. When the head of government has to be fired one loses also the head of state. Since the Supreme Court lacks voice in relation to foreign countries, the diplomatic continuity is lost. This is what happened to Honduras. It was no coup, but due to a design flaw in the diplomatic structures it appeared as one.

    It is also worth noting that it is the new government in Honduras that has brought up the issue of a truth commission in the talks in Costa Rica, not the deposed president. This can reasonably be interpreted to mean that they feel they have everything to win and nothing to lose if the truth comes out, and this ought to provide a justification for you and others within the European Union to take a closer look at the issue.

    The talks under Oscar Arias are in deadlock now since Honduras cannot negotiate away its Constitution, and the demand from the world community violates it. They are faced with the choice of being punished by the world, or to sacrifice their independence. The only way out of this trap, set by Hugo Chávez, is to persuade the world to listen to them. But as long as the world figuratively speaking is covering their ears, it is difficult.

    Therefore I ask you to look closer at this. A start might be to read what the Honduran-American lawyer Miguel Estrada wrote today in the journal AJC (http://www.ajc.com/opinion/in-95580.html).

    signed Ulf Erlingsson

    Published in Sydsvenska Dagbladet July 24th, 2009 in Swedish
    (Carl Bildt is minister for foreign relations in Sweden, and Sweden presently has the presidency of the European Union)