Category Archives: Political crisis 2009

Related to the deposing of Zelaya and the interim government

El Salvador wants to Reform OAS

El Salvador wants to reform the Democratic Charter of OAS (OEA in Spanish). It is obviouslys not functioning, since Cuba was allowed back, Honduras is not allowed back, and they do nothing in response to the coup d’état that Daniel Ortega i slowly carrying out in Nicaragua right now.

The foreign minister of El Salvador, Hugo Martínez, said that “it is already overdue that Honduras returns to OAS”. He critized the “heterogenous” reaction and announced that El Salvador is working on a proposal to reform OAS.

Knark-kommunisternas planer avslöjade: 15-års “Reich”

Ett dokument som påstås vara upprättat vid ett besök i Nicaragua av Venezuelas president Hugo Chávez (spanska, engelska) lägger fram hela den välgenomtänkta planen för hur Latinamerikanska länder skall tas över, köpta för en miljard dollar per land och år av Venezuela. Vare sig dokumentet är äkta eller förfalskat så är det intressant, för hela strategin som presenteras har redan implementerats i ett eller flera länder. Min egen reflektion då jag läste det var att Chávez verkar ha studerat hur nationalsocialisterna kom till makten i Tyskland, för likheterna i strategin är slående.

Pepe Lobo och Mel Zelaya är inte bara kompisar, de verkar också ha liknande intressen.
Pepe Lobo och Mel Zelaya är inte bara kompisar, de verkar också ha liknande intressen. Lobo har nu startat en process för att ändra grundlagen så att en konstituerande grundlagsförsamling kan hållas - just det projekt som fick Mel att förlora presidentposten den 28 juni, 2009. Projektet är i grund och botten knark-kommunism.

En artikel om dokumentet har även publicerats på Huffington Post, vilket är anmärkningsvärt eftersom det är en blogg på vänsterkanten som tills nyligen varit ensidigt Chávez-vänlig. Detta betyder att vinden kanske har vänt, så Honduras inte längre behöver stå ensamt i kampen mot detta hot mot frihet och demokrati i Amerika. Ojala.

Notera att dokumentet, upprättat i januari 2009 enligt vad källan påstår, säger att Zelaya skall återväljas i november 2009 (presidentval hölls den 29 november). Problemet är att en president inte kan återväljas i Honduras. Därför skulle grundlagen ändras, det är en av punkterna i programmet. I mars 2009 utlyste Zelaya mycket riktigt en folkomröstning den 28 juni, om att hålla en folkomröstning den 29 november, om att tillsätta en konstituerande grundlagsförsamling. Han påstod att han själv inte skulle kunna väljas om, officiellt, men sanningen läckte ändå ut. Ledande personer i Honduras kände till planen redan före den 28 juni.

Planen var att folkomröstningen skulle riggas (Zelaya vann), han skulle på natten förklara att resultatet var så överväldigande att han bestämt sig för att utlysa grundlagsförsamlingen meddetsamma (massvis med Chávez-media var där och nyheten var redan skriven), han skulle så utse sig själv till ordförande för den, skriva om grundlagen så att han kunde bli omvald, och kasta ut resultatet av de redan hållna primärvalen genom fönstret. Det faktum att han inte anslagit några medel till de ordinarie valen visar tydligt att han inte avsåg att de skulle hållas.

Riksåklagaren hade väckt åtal för detta försök till att hålla en grundlagsvidrig folkomröstning, och högsta domstolen hade utfärdad ett direkt förbud mot alla i landet att på något sätt delta i den. De krävde också att presidenten rapporterade senast den 25 juni om deras order att stoppa planerna. Då han inte lämnade någon sådan rapport utfärdades en arresteringsorder för honom. Militären förstod att fienden hade förberett ett motdrag om presidenten arresterades, i form av ett väpnat upplopp lett av beväpnade infiltratörer, stormtrupper, från Venezuela. Därför sändes presidenten istället utomlands, och gränserna stängdes, med hänvisning till nationellt nödvärn. De agerade som om rikets säkerhet var hotat av en irreguljär attack. Dokumentet från Nicaragua stödjer deras hotbild.

Vad dokumentet inte nämner är den starka kopplingen mellan vänstergerillor och knarksmugglare i Sydamerika. Knarksmugglingen är dock inte så omfattande i Nicaragua, där säkerhetsstyrkorna har lyckats bekämpa den rätt effektivt. Honduras däremot fungerar sedan några år som landningsbana för hundratals eller till och med tusentals knarkflygningar varje år. Omkring 150 ton kokain passerar landet, uppskattas det. Medan Nicaragua knappt har några landningsbanor (vilket kunde slutat illa för mig men det är en annan historia) har Honduras massvis eftersom en stor del av landet är väglöst.

Värdet av det kokain som smugglas genom Honduras varje år är mer än dubbelt så stort som landets bruttonationalprodukt, vilket jag skrev om på Newsmill igår. Det är en Davids kamp mot Goliath som det lilla landet som kunde utkämpar. Men en dag, det är jag säker på, kommer de att få erkännande för att ha stått upp för fred, frihet, lag och rätt, den dag de avsatte Zelaya och de 7 månader de, under Micheletti, vägrade vika en tum för omvärldens påtryckningar. Om det finns någon rättvisa i världen så kommer de att hyllas en dag.

PS. Sverige kan ta åt sig en del av äran för att de stått upp för dessa höga värderingar, för vårt land har under flera år hjälp till att bygga upp kompetens inom demokrati, och den institution som även i Honduras kallas “ombudsman” för mänskliga rättigheter.

Publicerat 09:28 ET, sist uppdaterat 17:06 ET.

The Truth Commission in Honduras

The political crisis in Honduras last year ended in an agreement, the Guaymuras Accord, in which it was stipulated in point 6 that a Truth Commission be formed to investigate what really led up to the crisis, so that the risk of repetition can be minimized. The commission is working since this Spring, and the report is due in early 2011.

The text gives these instructions, in my translation: “With the purpose of clarifying the events occurred before and after June 28, 2009, a Truth Commission will also be created that will identify the acts that led to the present situation, and present to the Honduran people elements to avoid that these acts are repeated in the future.” The Spanish original reads, “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.

On the website of the Truth Commission, a scheme of inquiry is described.

A work plan for the truth commission could rather look something like what I will describe here. It is based on the scientific method, in which one erects an hypothesis and then tries to prove it wrong.

  1. Erect the hypothesis that the institutions (the courts, the congress, etc.) acted correctly in relation to the deposing of Zelaya, and try to disprove this hypothesis. Note that it would be scientifically wrong to erect the hypothesis that they acted incorrectly, since that hypothesis is virtually impossible to disprove. The burden of proof has to be on the one that claims that they acted wrong, not on the one that claims they acted correctly. Therefore, the null hypothesis must be that they acted correctly.
  2. Establish a paper trail for what happened, gather documents and other evidence and try to verify their veracity.
  3. Evaluate the actions (by Zelaya and others) and the reactions (by the judicial branch) step by step, in chronological order, based on the Honduran Constitution, the Honduran law, and Honduran jurisprudence.
  4. Repeat this procedure for each institution, i.e., the legislative, the prosecutor, the military, the police, and so on.
  5. For every case where someone acted outside the law, verify if the case was dealt with appropriately by the judicial.

If no proof of wrongdoing can be found with this approach, then the hypothesis is retained, and the institutions are found to have acted within the law. If some wrongdoing is found, then one must follow up and see how that wrongdoing was dealt with (point 5). If it was dealt with appropriately, then, too, the institutionality of Honduras shall be deemed to have passed the hypothesis-testing.

Jumping the gun, what it will come down to is the expatriation of Zelaya. We already know that those responsible were prosecuted. The question is rather if Zelaya was held harmless;in other words, if his legal rights were respected the same in the light of his illegal expatriation, as they would have been had he instead been thrown in jail as the arrest warrant ordered. This is of course somewhat of an hypothetical, since he has not returned to Honduras to face justice. The only way to find out if there is justice or not is, really, for him to return and defend himself in court.

If the commission does its work appropriately, we will have authoritative answers to these questions:

  1. Does the Supreme Court have the authority of arrest the president (based on Honduran jurisprudence, of course)?
  2. Did the Supreme Court, on June 26 when the arrest warrant was issued, have due cause for issuing the arrest warrant?
  3. Does the Supreme Court have the authority to relieve the president from office, temporarily or permanently?
  4. Does the Congress have the authority to relieve the president from office, temporarily or permanently?
  5. Who issued the order to expatriate Mel Zelaya?
  6. Has the one(s) who issued the order to expatriate Mel Zelaya been prosecuted according to the laws?
  7. Has Zelaya’s legal rights been safeguarded, before and after he was illegally expatriated?

The more important question may not be if the commission will do its job correctly, but if media will report its conclusions correctly.

The Risks and how to Mitigate them

It seems clear beyond reasonable doubt that there is a concerted attack against Honduras carried out by certain groups, the face of which is Hugo Chavez. The tools of the attack are not military, the goal is not a military victory. Rather, the tools are manipulation of the media story by means of false news and control of the media news cycle, and the goal is to make Honduras ungovernable, so that the smuggling of cocaine to the north can be carried out cheap and safely – relatively speaking. Only the cocaine economy can explain the vast investment that is being made in this attack on Honduras institutions of government. We are talking about tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars “invested” in destroying Honduras. This is a cold war precisely as Adolf Hitler intended when he coined the term.

Understanding their goal we can predict their strategy. There is no doubt in my mind that they will write their story-lines and edit their news coverage in advance of the release of the report from the truth commission. Once the report is out they will quickly scan it for a quote that they can use to “support” their story, and then quickly go out with their version of what the commission actually said. By being quick, they hope that the other media, like AP, AFP, EFE, and Reuters, will run with their version instead of taking the time to actually read the report.

Judging from how those news agencies have acted in the past, I’d predict that the strategy is going to work.

The only ones that can prevent this willful distortion of the commissions report is the commission itself. If they desire for the truth to be known, they have to manage the news themselves.

The most important counter-measure is to remove the possibility for the enemy of Honduras to act. The opportunity for the enemy is in the moment when the report is released. The mitigation must therefore be to not release the report all at once at the end. A range of methods can be used, and some have already started.

Social media: The commission is already using social media to communicate with people, thus gradually diffusing information about the process and gaining confidence.

Radio: They could cooperate with radio shows to discuss subjects on air, taking questions and even discussing with people who call in. This, too, will gradually diffuse their findings and undermine the chances for the enemy to spin the story when the final report comes.

Leaks: By leaking findings in advance, the enemy is denied the chance to spin, or lie, about these facts later.

Galleys: Provide copies of the report to select news outlets about a week in advance of the official release date so that they have time to read it and write their own, accurate, stories.

What is essential here is to understand that some media are not news outlets, but propaganda organizations. They must be treated accordingly. While they pretend to be news outlets and claim to be protected by the rules of journalistic freedom, they really are the enemy in disguise. It is a tricky business to on the one hand not violate their rights, and on the other hand not allow them to play the game they want. It’s like a game of chess, but it’s not a game, what is at stake is human lives. Millions of human lives.

First Honduras, now Ecuador?

Update 2010-10-01: The president was brought out from the Police Hospital by the military last night, after a firefight with the police that we could see on live TV here in Miami. There was never a declaration of a coup, and the whole things seems to have been nothing but a protest that went out of hand when someone fired a tear gas grenade in the face of the president. In that respect this event was of a completely different nature than last year’s events in Honduras.

In Honduras, the protests started with peaceful mass demonstrations, in which unarmed civilians dressed in white demanded that the president respect the constitution and the rule of law. At the same time, a judicial process was being carried out against the president in the courts. The first loss of life was many days after the president had been deposed, and then as a result of a deliberate stratagem to create a martyr, staged by the deposed president and his supporters.

In Ecuador the kettle immediately boiled over as a result of seemingly spontaneous protests by the police, and, weapons being fired, it caused the loss of lives on both sides the first day. Yet the situation is similar in many respects in the two countries. Both were members of ALBA, and both presidents were taking bribes from a foreign country, Venezuela (the so-called ALBA “loans”), thus potentially committing treason but at the very least a severe case of corruption.

Another similarity is that both presidents were pursuing policies that threatened the very existence of the popularly elected Congress, the ultimate voice of the people between elections: Zelaya by holding a referendum that would have opened the door for him to abolish the constitution, and Correa by threatening to abolish the Congress and rule by dictates. Anybody concerned with the rule of law and democratic institutions thus had reason to distrust the president in both countries.

Honduras painstakingly pursued a legal process to stop their president, peaceful protests coupled with a judicial process. It is the civilized way to do things.

Coup d’etats can never be justified, and that goes for autogolpes, too. If Correa insists in his plans he will be guilty of an autogolpe, but that in and of itself does not justify the police starting to riot in the streets. The deposing of a self-coupster has to be initiated in the proper democratic institutions, as was the case in Honduras. The rule of law cannot be defended by violating the rule of law.

Original text 2010-09-30: Yesterday I blogged about how Honduras could have started a new centrist trend in Latin America when the democratic institutions, led by the popularly elected Congress – got rid of an increasingly despotic president.

Today the fury of the masses was directed at Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa, who also is showing increasingly despotic traits. The president was taken to a hospital, allegedly injured by tear gas as police was protesting.

The word is that there is a strong sentiment among ordinary people that he has to go, but as I write this nobody has declared that he has been replaced. Perhaps it will, this time, stay at a strong warning sign for Correa, and not develop into a coup. Or maybe not.

At any rate, here is a reminder to him that no president is above the law:

Ceremonial Pajamas of the Republic of Honduras
The Ceremonial Pajamas of the Republic of Honduras is offered as a loan to Ecuador (or Nicaragua, or even Cuba), but they need to return it promptly after use in case it is needed again, I am told.

A friend was flying out today but the flight was cancelled when it was about to take off, as the military blocked the runway. Stay tuned.

Swedish Media: DN.

Truth Commission to be installed today

The truth commission, initially proposed by the Micheletti side in the San José talks, will be installed today in Tegucigalpa. The purpose of the commission is specified in the accord signed by Micheletti and Zelaya. It is to bring out the truth of what happened before, during, and after June 28, so that Honduras may learn from the experience and avoid that it happens again.

In short, they must investigate what chain of events led up to the disastrous consequence that no country in the world recognized the Honduran government.

According to the Human Rights Foundation report, the Supreme Court had every right to separate Zelaya from power, since he had engaged in a coup d’état, but the process was not carried out properly, starting with the military acting beyond their orders when they expatriated Zelaya to Costa Rica June 28th.

The truth seems to scare the Zelaya supporters, who have now announced that they will create their very own, partisan, “truth commission” in order to narrowly look at only what happened after June 28th. Among the things that I predict they will cover up is the involvement of Zelaya’s propaganda director in the death of the 19-year old boy at Tegucigalpa Airport July 5th, as I blogged about yesterday.

¿Porqué la Comisión de la Verdad?

Quizás vale la pena finalmente explicar el propósito y los pensamientos atrás la Comisión de la Verdad, propuesto por el lado de Micheletti en San José.

Primero, fue para enviar el mensaje que la constitucionalidad hondureña no tenga nada a esconder.

Segundo, fue para crear un documento de referencia para la comunidad internacional, que pueda servir para limpiar la acusación falsa del imagen de Honduras.

Tercero, fue para abrir los ojos de los grupos en Honduras que creían que fue un golpe de Estado, y lograr la reconciliación con ellos, la gran mayoría de los que demostraban en contra de Micheletti.

Nunca fue para lograr reconciliación con la minoría en la llamada resistencia, porque ellos son verdaderos revolucionarios, insurgentes, que realmente quieren destruir esa republica y crear un nuevo en las cenizas. No habrá nunca reconciliación con los enemigos del Estado.

En mi propuesta una amnistía política fue incluida para ellos que abiertamente declararon sus acciones. En mi juicio fue un error otorgar amnistía ciega como el congreso hizo el 27 de enero este año. Sin embargo, este comisión todavía tiene metas importantes.

Todo esto en conjunto sirviera para aumentar la confianza en la ley y las instituciones legales.

Para lograrlo, transparencia es importantísimo. Todo se tiene que hacer en la luz del día. Reuniones cerradas haría la comisión contra-productiva. Espero que el gobierno de Pepe Lobo entienda la importancia de esto.

Truth Commission in Honduras

The Guatemalan ex vice president Stein, who Pepe Lobo put in charge of forming the Truth Commission that is to investigate what exactly happened in the crisis that started some time in early 2009, culminated on June 25 to 28, and ended either with the November 29 elections or the January 27 inauguration, depending on how you view it.

However, words of caution have been raised today saying that Stein was too close to Zelaya, that he may be a stooge for Insulza in OAS, and that his recent words that the objective of the commission is to propose changes to the Constitution, risks making him appear as little more than a continuation of the “Cuarta Urna”-project. That is the term used for the referendum on creating a Constituting Assembly, something the Supreme Court of Justice in Honduras has found unconstitutional.

Specifically, Stein mentioned that the role of the military in Honduras’s Constitution might need to be looked at. As is well-known, the deposed president, Zelaya, had turned to the military for help with police work, rather than giving the necessary resources to the police for doing their job. This is allowed in Honduras, but Zelaya made it the norm rather than the exception. It is frowned upon internationally, since the military are not trained in the human rights issues that the police must be well versed in. Still, judging from TV footage the military has routinely been more passive than the police in the riots after June 28.

Constitutional Crisis

In fact, in my personal opinion, the passivity of the military may actually be the singular cause of this crisis going international. The Supreme Court impounded the illegal ballots and left them in the custody of the military. On June 26, Zelaya went with a mob to retrieve them, and the military did not offer any resistance.

If the military had done their duty on that occasion, and prevented that the president took the ballots by any means necessary, as they were supposed to, including staring down death if it came to that, then the crisis would have ended very differently.

What actually happened was that Zelaya took the ballots, and his followers distributed them for the illegal referendum on June 28. This forced the Attorney General to request, and the Supreme Court to issue, an arrest warrant for Zelaya. He was arrested at dawn, just after daybreak as can be seen on photos, on June 28. The military as a cautionary action exiled him, which the Supreme Court in January declared justified as an action of national self defence. Congress swore in a new president. This ended the constitutional crisis in Honduras on June 28, but it created an international problem for the country, since the rest of the world declared it a coup and froze the diplomatic relations.

What could have happened if the military stopped them from taking the ballots is that no referendum could have been held, and thus Zelaya would have remained in office, Honduras would have remained recognized internationally, but the constitutional crisis would have continued. Zelaya had already violated the Constitution in such a way that there was ground for his arrest and immediate removal from power, but the U.S. had stated that they would consider any such act a coup, no matter how legal it was under Honduran law. So status quo would have continued, with a bankrupt economy, no budget, and a general election approaching. The fact that there was no budget for the general election was a big concern for all parties.

However, the above hypothetical peaceful scenario is very unlikely. It is well known among people with close insight into the Zelaya presidential palace that they were not preparing to leave power in only 7 months. It is just completely unbelievable that Zelaya and that mob would have left the air force base and the ballots peacefully. There would have been a bloodbath, and Zelaya would have blamed it on the military in an attempt at getting rid of those who did not obey him.

One must not forget that when the present Supreme Court was appointed in early 2009 (they sit for 7 years), Zelaya was not happy with the candidates to the 15 seats. He demanded that he appoint justices, but Micheletti among others refused to give in to his demands – even as he threatened to send out the tanks on the streets. Yes, Zelaya threatened to make a military auto-coup! His most outrageous demand was that the wife of his Minister of the Presidency was made chief justice in the Supreme Court.

The Congress did not yield. If they had, there would have been no way of legally stopping Zelaya’s violations of the Constitution in June, or him dissolving the Constitution and creating a Constituting Assembly with him as president and thus supreme ruler of the country. Of course, he would have used newspeak to describe those actions, since the world apparently only cares about words, not legal realities.

In conclusion, even though it theoretically would have been possible for the military to prevent having to do the action to prevent a coup on June 28, by resisting Zelaya on June 26, a final showdown would probably have been inevitable. From a military strategic perspective they acted correctly, refusing to take the fight on the enemies terms, and instead taking the fight on their terms two days later.

The only way in which things could have been better in this aspect is if the court had left the ballots in the custody of the police instead, and or the police had arrested Zelaya. But this does not require a change of the Constitution.

Diplomatic Crisis

Let us look now at the diplomatic crisis. It started the same day as the constitutional crisis ended, June 28. The reason for it was that the world mistook the action to end the constitutional crisis and the coup attempt by Zelaya for a military coup in itself. The world thus saw a successful white coup when in reality it was an unsuccessful red coup.

Could this have been avoided if the Constitution had been different? Yes, most certainly. Namely if the country would have had a parliamentarian system of government, as is common in Europe. The president in a parliamentarian republic is the head of state, and is thus representing the country internationally, but it is the prime minister who is head of government. In such a system Zelaya as president would not have had the power to create the Constitutional crisis that he created, and as prime minister he could have been dismissed without causing any diplomatic crisis.

If the president in a parliamentarian republic would be thrown out like Zelaya was, it would of course have caused a similar reaction internationally. The key to avoid that from happening, is not to give the president very much authority. If he cannot cause problems there is little reason to depose him. That is the way it is a monarchy such as the Kingdom of Sweden; the King (or Queen) has no power at all. Thus there cannot be any reasonable reason to dethrone him.

I must admit that I still haven’t read the entire Constitution of Honduras (it is quite long and not that well organized), so I don’t know if such a change would be possible. But that’s another story, one that I will probably have reason to return to when the Truth Commission starts working.

Media: Latin America News Dispatch. Statement from the Honduran NGO Pro-Justicia, pointing out biases and concluding that Hondurans have to be alert to defend their democracy and freedom without having confidence in that their government does it, like the previous one did.

The Oxymoronic Discourse on Honduras

Last year Honduras entered its most serious constitutional crisis ever. President Zelaya was pushing for throwing out the Constitution, and create a Constituting Assembly to draft a new one from scratch. Of course he ran afoul of the existing Constitution in so doing, why the checks and balances kicked in, and Zelaya was kicked out.

By the color of the shirts of the people who demonstrated during this crisis, those who are defending the existing democratic constitution have become known as the white, and those who want to overthrow the constitution are called the red.

Regrettably, the world mistook the defence of democracy for a military coup by the white. The reasons have been amply exposed on this blog so I will not repeat them. Suffice it to say that the OAS, USA, and media are all as a minimum guilty of thick-headiness. Hugo Chávez is, on the other hand, a direct culprit; he is the hub that makes the wheel spin.

The remarkable thing is that even though the Honduran crisis is a direct parallel to what has happened in other ALBA countries, this seems to be very hard for media in the non-Spanish-speaking world to understand. Case in point: The Christian Science Monitor yesterday attempted to paint a link between Nicaragua and Honduras. However, they link Ortega’s (who is obviously red) unconstitutional maneuvers with Micheletti’s actions (although he is on the white side). It would be tragicomic if it wasn’t so serious; it is democracy itself that is at stake, and they are not able to tell the attacker from the defender.

The similarity between Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua, and Honduras, is crystal clear, much stronger than what CSMonitor realizes. They just have to compare with Manuel Zelaya, instead of with Roberto Micheletti.

Imagine that the Supreme Court in Managua stops Ortega, and that their Congress deposes him and replaces him with the person who is next in line in the succession order. Now try to figure out, after reading the article in CSMonitor, how that newspaper would present our hypothetical event. Would they present it as a victory for the checks and balances, or as a coup d’état?

That, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what happened in Honduras, and they – still – present it as a coup d’état. A coup d’état committed by the checks and balances, no less. Talk about oxymoron.

Alone against the world

Just like Finland stood alone when the Soviet Union attacked her in WWII, but won against all odds, so has Honduras stood alone against the whole world in this crisis. There are many similarities. Both were small and poor countries, but both had the moral high ground, and they were driven by the willpower of the people to fight for what they knew was right. In both cases it was also a fight between the white and red. Coincidentally, even the flags of the two countries have the same colours: white and blue.

Finland had of course seen a civil war between the red and white back when it was a Grand Duchy in Russia (when I grew up my grandfather used to tell me childhood memories of that conflict). Both countries had strong social tensions, and an upper class of a different ethnicity than the poor majority. There is no doubt that in both cases the red had legitimate grievances, but they were in both cases using very suboptimal methods to achieve their objectives. For many years I have argued for the need for reform in Honduras, but the way the so-called “resistencia” go about it now is completely counterproductive, and must be condemned. The white side has reached out with an olive branch, and anyone who does not take that, but opts for violence, deserves to go to jail.

The foreign minister under Micheletti, Carlos Contreras, said in an interview on January 26, recently published in El Heraldo, that there were countries that recognized that Honduras was acting in defence of democracy, and gave them moral support in secret, but not a single country came out in public and supported them. The diplomats knew that the global public opinion was completely and totally misled into thinking that it was a military coup, why they realized that it would be an uphill battle to try to argue the case.

During the crisis I have heard this myself from third country diplomats. As Contreras says in the interview, diplomacy is about interests, not about what is right and wrong. There was just nobody that had a national interest in defending Honduras, even when they knew she was right.

Other countries were indifferent, and some were openly hostile to Honduras, notably all ALBA countries. One of the many media falsehoods is that the U.S. would have been behind the alleged white coup. Quite the contrary, says Contreras. The U.S. was openly hostile.

This underscores what I have heard from sources with first hand insight into the constitutional crisis that culminated June 25 to 28. Simply put, the Obama administration apparently inadvertently gave Zelaya a green light for bringing to completion the red coup d’état he was executing. What Axel Oxenstierna wrote in 1648, “If you only knew my son, with how little wisdom the world is run”, seems like the understatement of the past millennium.

Pyjamas diplomacy

Given how Zelaya has lied to and manipulated media consistently since June 28, when he changed back to pyjamas before appearing before the TV-cameras in Costa Rica (he left Honduras with clothes, hat, and boots on), his latest actions should come as no surprise. The only surprise is that so much of media doesn’t seem to have seen through the lies yet.

For instance, Zelaya signed the agreement that was worked out in the Guaymuras dialogue. However, he did not live up to a single one of his commitments in that agreement. But rather than being the man for his (infamous) hat, he accused the democratic institutions of Honduras of breaking the deal. Most of the media outside Honduras uncritically reported Zelaya’s version, although it was very easy to find evidence inside Honduras for it being false. If I could find such evidence, surely trained journalists would be able to, right?

Among the things he agreed to was to accept the decision of the Congress; he didn’t. He also signed his name under a promise to support the elections; he didn’t. He further signed on to forming a unity government; he did not cooperate but instead accused the counterpart of having broken that point.

When Oscar Arias made the first draft of the deal that later became the Accord, he had put amnesty into it. Zelaya asked that it be removed, and it was. Zelaya to this day maintains in public that he was against the amnesty that Congress approved in January for his benefit. However, at least two congressmen (Yanny Rosental and Erick Rodriguez) have come out in public and revealed that Zelaya pressured them to vote for the amnesty.

Can you believe that much of the world media keeps repeating the words of such a hypocrite as the unquestionable truth? You know why? The reason is that he was “thrown out in pyjamas,” that’s why their minds are closed. Sokrates’ logic may be ever so perfect, but if those forming the public opinion do not use it, what hope does the truth have? The symbol of the pyjamas trumps all logic. Maybe Ortega, if it one morning becomes his turn, should claim that he sleeps naked. That outta get the world’s attention, right?

Finally, the Accord contains a provision for a Truth Commission, which was suggested by the Micheletti side. It is to be formed the first half of this year, and its task shall be to investigate what happened before and after the culmination of the constitutional crisis on June 28, as well as to propose how to prevent that something like that ever happens again. Personally I feel that this is a very important task, and one that should be carried out mainly by Hondurans, but with advising experts who could be foreigners (as long as they understand Spanish, of course). As mentioned, Zelaya signed on to the entire deal, including this point.

However, many are worried about the implementation of it. The white (who supported Micheletti) are worried that the new president, Pepe Lobo, is giving in to international pressure to let OAS and USA influence the commission so that it can whitewash their respective guilt in the crisis. At the same time, the red (who supported Zelaya and who now profess to be for a militant strategy for overthrowing the constitution), through their coordinator Juan Barahona says that they think the commission was created for whitewashing what they call a “coup d’état”, i.e., the white anti-coup against Zelaya’s red coup.

The third part

What may make this confusing, admittedly, for international media is that there are not two sides in this conflict, but three. There is the red side of Zelaya supporters, who call themselves the “resistance” but who actually are the ones fueling the crisis. According to media friendly to them they openly declare that they are insurgents and that they have decided to go militant. It may be relevant that Honduran arms smugglers were arrested in Florida yesterday in a sting operation when they tried to buy machine guns; they have apparently already smuggled hundreds of weapons to their country. The red boycotted the election campaign, but their understanding of what “boycott” means was wholly unique; it included sabotage of infrastructure, bombing buses, shooting RPGs in cities, and other terrorist acts.

There is also the white side of Union Civica Democratica, who wants peace, democracy, and the rule of law. It is a group formed in opposition to Zelaya, by women, and whose mass actions may well have given the democratic institutions the spine to stand up to the president’s abuse of power.

The third part is not Honduran. It is the Joker in the game. It is a foreign power and its diplomats. It is the United States of America.

Most international media, almost without exception, has taken the side of the red, and has erroneously assumed that the U.S. has been on the side of the white. As mentioned, the U.S. has, however, consistently been hostile to the white. In fact, they have – probably by incompetence – helped the attempted coup by Zelaya. This has left Obama in a spot where he cannot tell the truth without acknowledging being an idiot. Instead he sticks to the “oxymoroniccoup d’état committed by the checks and balances.

And so the tale lives on in media, with falsehoods proliferating, and the truth being all but missing in action. That is exactly why a functioning Truth Commission is needed. It was unfortunate that amnesty was granted, not because the Truth Commission now becomes redundant, but because it may make it much harder for it to succeed. Perhaps that is exactly why the U.S. pushed so hard for the amnesty?

As is well-known from media reports, OAS supported Zelaya’s coup, and OAS is now lending technical support to the Truth Commission. Furthermore, it seems like Jimmy Carter’s center will form a part of it. It thus remains to be seen if OAS and the U.S. somehow can manage to castrate the Truth Commission.

But even if they do, not all is lost. You can rest assured that also the work of the Truth Commission will be among the things that will be scrutinized in the future. There are other cards to play, but I am not at liberty to blog about it yet. All I can say is, the Honduran people will not allow the truth to be buried, no matter what.

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.

Obama okayed leftist coup d’état for “peace”

It is easy to understand why the Obama administration was trying to isolate Honduras, by closing diplomatic relations, not letting them explain themselves in the UN, and revoking visas for everyone who knew what had transpired last june 28. It is easy to understand when you learn that the Obama administration had given a green light to Chávez-supported Zelaya to commit a coup d’état in Honduras.

Consider that it is not just decision-makers and influential persons in the private sector who have got their visas revoked lately. Also civil servants have now got their visas revoked, according to media reports from the country. These may have worked for the government for years, and their “crime” is not to have resigned, not to have given up their income. That is reason enough for the Obama administration to punish them by revoking their visas, so they can no longer visit friends and family in the U.S. It doesn’t make any sense – unless the true purpose of the revocation is, precisely, to prevent them from visiting friends and family.

It will not in any way, shape, or form alter Honduras’ foreign policy. So why do it? Why antagonize people both in the U.S. and in Honduras?

The simple truth is probably that the U.S. is ashamed of what it did in Honduras. Obama doesn’t want anybody from Honduras who knows what he did to visit the U.S., without first incriminating themselves, by forcing them to admit that they were at fault. Even though they weren’t. It’s like a Dan Rather-case all over again.

Maybe you ask, what stops them from talking to American visitors to their country? Simple, the travel warnings, the un-necessary travel warnings that keep most Americans away for no good reason – except to hide Obama’s shame.

I have written extensively about the events on this blog, but to sum up: The elected president, Manuel Zelaya, was carrying out a coup d’état that would have been completed June 28 last year. He did this with the support of Venezuela’s de facto dictator and former military coupster Hugo Chávez, and with Insulza from the Organization for American States, OAS. All of these approved of the blatant violation of the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras, and of ignoring the separation of powers. Obama through his ambassador Llorens also knew, and tried to convince Zelaya not to carry out the coup d’état. However, he made a fundamental diplomatic error, a blunder of the same proportions as Chamberlain with his “peace for our time.”

Obama refused to back up his words with force.

In fact, he went even further – he vowed that if the democratic institutions tried to stop the coup d’état, he would side with the would-be dictator Zelaya, and denounce the democratic institutions as coupsters. Exactly what happened.

Word in Honduras (from someone whose visa has been revoked) is that it was senator Kerry who set this policy. Obama has no foreign policy experience. Why he didn’t consult Hillary Clinton is beyond me, she seems to have a lot more balls than either Obama or Kerry. Regardless of who advised him, Obama is responsible.

So here we are, the Republic of Honduras as the champion of the rule of law and the defense of constitutional democracy, while the U.S. is so ashamed they are hurting innocent persons just to avoid having the facts get out.

What will happen next? The truth always gets out in the end. There are numerous court cases that in one way or another hinge on the legality of what happened June 28, 2009. When courts start making their decisions, the lies will crumble. That is why the U.S. is in such a hurry to get this case off the agenda, into the history books, where the truth can’t hurt them any more.

In case you wonder what the justification was for the U.S. to revoke the visas, such as for the cabinet members in this last round, it is another lie: That Honduras has not adhered to the Tegucigalpa/San José Accord that was signed as a result of the Guaymuras dialog.

Here is my challenge to Obama: You have a person in the verification commission that is overseeing the implementation of the agreement, Solis. Show me the minutes from that commission’s meetings, show me the complaints that it was not being implemented, and show me the decisions of the commission. Until you do that, your words are empty and lack credibility. There is a process established, and if you yourself do not adhere to it, you have nobody to blame but yourself. Show me the minutes or shut up.

The verification commission of the Guaymuras agreement. From left Corrales, Lagos, Rico (from OAS), Solis, and Reina.
The verification commission of the Guaymuras agreement. From left Arturo Corrales (representive for the government of Honduras), ex president Ricardo Lagos from Chile, Victor Rico (representing OAS which coordinates the commission), labor secretary Hilda Solis from USA, and Jorge Arturo Reina (representive for the deposed president Manuel Zelaya).

Footnote: Given that the verification commission is coordinated by OAS, an organization that supported Zelaya’s coup d’état, I have no illusions that it will be forthcoming with protocols that reveal that the agreement was broken by Zelaya, not Honduras.

Update 21:20 ET: The president elect, Porfirio Lobo, has today signed an agreement in the Dominican Republic that includes creating a unity government, letting Manuel Zelaya leave Honduras as a free man on January 27th immediately after he takes office, and working for amnesty for all. I suppose there are some who are genuinely afraid of what might be revealed in a court hearing. Hondurans have not forgotten that Lobo was for the plan for changing the constitution. It has been suggested that the inauguration gift from the Honduran people should be a pajamas, so that he never forgets who he works for. [See negative reaction in Guatemala]

The outgoing president, through the Minister of Indstria y Comercio, Benjamin Bogran, said, “la posición del Presidente Micheletti, es respetar las decisiones que tomé don Porfirio Lobo como nuevo Presidente, y el pueblo lo eligió como su presidente, por lo que confiamos que sus decisiones tomadas serán las mejores, pero las leyes también se respetan. Esperamos que sea lo mejor para Honduras.

In translation, “The position of president Micheletti is to respect the decisions taken by Mr Porfirio Lobo as the new president, given that the people elected him as their president, why we have faith that his decisions will be the best, but that the laws also will be respected. We expect that this will be the best for Honduras.”

Addition 21:40: Swedish news agency TT, together with AFP, continues to peddle the lie that the regular presidential election in November, held every 4 years since 1981, was an extra election. See, e.g., SvD, DN. It goes to show how far the propaganda has gone, that it is virtually impossible to get mainstream press to stop spreading a lie once some goon has managed to get it planted. AFP has clearly demonstrated a total lack of journalistic integrity when reporting about Honduras. It is noteworthy that these Swedish newspapers do not correct their text even when they are repeatedly being told that they are wrong.