¿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.

Chávez, Honduras, and the new Cold War

It is well known in Honduras that Venezuela’s president Hugo Chávez was front and center of last year’s political crisis. In the parallel universe that is international news media, notably AFP, EFE, and Reuters, Chávez has, however, nothing at all to do with Honduras. TeleSur I don’t even count as news, it is simply propaganda, just like “FOX News,” albeit on the opposite end of the new cold war; a media and propaganda war that has Venezuela – Iran – Russia as one axis, and the traditional allied USA – UK as the other pole.

Some articles and bloggers ridicule the notion that Chávez was behind the crisis. Be very wary against any media that ridicules that, since it is easy to show that it is factually correct. There can only be two reasons to ridicule it: Either a high level of ignorance, or willful propaganda. In either case it should raise a red flag for that media outlet in the reader’s mind.

Let me just give you some examples out of the literally hundreds. Chávez threatened war against Honduras in response to something that is clearly a Honduran domestic matter, something that did not threaten international peace and security. If in doubt, consider this: The UN Security Council never took up the issue of Honduras. Nobody reported Honduras to the Security Council, and although Honduras reported Venezuela’s war threats, they didn’t take it up for the sole reason that the UN did not recognize the Micheletti government.

The days before Zelaya was deposed, many tried to talk him out of pursuing his plans for holding a so-called poll which the Supreme Court had ordered that nobody was allowed to partake in (there was an injunction against it; later they tried the case and found it illegal). To one of these persons, who tried to convince him to listen to the Hondurans, Zelaya replied “After God, Chávez!”. In other words, he cared less for what those who elected him said than what Chávez said.

When Zelaya made the infamous attempt to return in an airplane belonging to Venezuela, Chávez has been exposed as having planned the event with the purpose of creating martyrs. I recently got hold of a video from another perspective that day, and could conclude by analyzing the sound (spectrum and echo) that at least one of the demonstrators was firing a gun. It has previously been shown how TeleSur in cohorts with armed demonstrators tried to make it appear as the military was firing on the demonstrators, the second time that Zelaya staged an “attempt” to return (he could have returned any time he wanted, the issue was just that he didn’t want to get arrested, that’s why he stayed away).

There is evidence of several kinds that many demonstrators on the red side were paid. There is photo evidence that Rafael Alegria, a leader of the self-denominated “resistance,” handed out dollars to them. There is a notebook with sums in it that appears to indicate who got what to hand out; Alegria got $5,000 according to it. There is evidence from the banks that significant sums of dollars were introduced into circulation on the days of major red demonstrations (in the tens of thousands of dollars).

Manuel Zelaya did not have that kind of money; I have heard from several sources, in his campaign and in banks, that he received large campaign contributions from South America. He tried to pay back after winning the election, but the money was not accepted. They wanted his services, not the money. In fact, he led a rather modest lifestyle before he became president. The extravagance that we have seen lately, and that the Dominicans are now paying for, was financed with money intended for the poor in Honduras. That is why several countries cut their aid to Honduras when Zelaya was president.

There is essentially one person who had both motive and opportunity to spend that kind of money on those demonstrations: Hugo Chávez. There could be a second interest in the drug cartels, of course, since by binding the police and military resources in controlling demonstrations, they get the countryside free for smuggling cocaine. In Zelaya’s home region of Olancho the drug smuggling has increased a lot the last few months, since the drug czar was murdered. It is reported that about half a dozen planes a day leave their cargo on clandestine fields. The general wisdom in Honduras is that they fly from Venezuela. However, it seems that Chávez is pretty close to the Colombian narco-guerilla FARC, who may well be behind this, so even with this alternative explanation the compass needle swings back to point at Chávez in the end.

It is not hard to see why Hondurans – as most Latin Americans – consider Chávez the driving force in Zelaya’s attempt at overthrowing Honduras’s Constitution. His open support of Zelaya with words and money cannot be dismissed (this support was only terminated when they realized that it created a PR problem for Zelaya, since Chávez’s own approval rating internationally fell drastically when it turned out that Chávez’s generals had given Swedish RPGs to FARC, a group that the EU classifies as terrorists).

Honduras was another one of Chávez’s projects for spreading his so-called “Bolivarian Revolution” to all of Latin America. All his previous attempts have succeeded (e.g., Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia), but in Honduras he met his first defeat. Of course, nobody is expecting that he will give up so easily – Honduras is prepared for new assaults on its Constitution and democracy. However, there may be a new front opening in this cold war: Venezuela.

Chávez’s increasing tyranny, with media closures, expropriations of companies, expropriation of hundreds upon hundreds of family-owned farms without due process and without compensation (so he can give the land to the thugs that he uses to enforce his policies), and abolition of the institutional liberal democracy, undermines whatever popular support that once brought him to power in democratic elections.

The opposition in Venezuela has taken a lesson from the opposition in Iran, and is using Twitter, much to Chávez’s chagrin. Unfortunately for the Venezuelans, they allowed the dismantling of the constitutional democracy to go too far. It is now an uphill battle to restore it.

Although Honduras was the first country in this wave of spreading authoritarian rule that successfully halted the threat to democracy, there are more countries in line. Nicaragua is the one in most imminent danger now.

One can only hope that the lesson they take from Honduras is that it is possible to stop the assault on democracy, and that it is worth the price. Also, chances are that the next time some country is forced to depose of a president to save democracy, they will have at least one ally to argue their case before the international community, namely Honduras. They have been there, done that.

Of course, it would be better to revise the mechanisms of diplomacy so that not just the head of state has a voice, but that also the checks and balances of each country (typically the Supreme Court and or Congress) are recognized by the United Nation, so that they can come to the General Assembly and make their case, in situations when the head of state has been deposed. That would be a simple adjustment to make, I would presume.

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 Philosophy of Democracy

It has struck me while following the constitutional crisis that erupted in Honduras June 25 last year, that many of those who are actors in the drama do not seem to have an understanding of democracy on a philosophical level. Without a normative foundation, they end up being blind to the long-term implication of their choices, and are guided only by the immediate benefit they see.

To overcome this problem I believe it is essential to strengthen the knowledge and understanding of democracy, not just in Honduras but in all of the Americas. Yes, including the U.S. of A., the Senate of which appears quite unable to function in a democratic way. In fact, I would propose that this task should be based on the most fundamental of levels, i.e., on the philosophical level.

There is an academic subject called Political Philosophy, which overlaps with what I propose. However, not all democracy is politics, and not all politics is democracy. Democracy is a method of decision-making also outside the political arena, i.e., in societies with voluntary membership and an idealistic purpose, and in corporations (although there the principle is one share = one vote, not one person = one vote).

Democracy and politics overlap, but a large part of democracy exists outside of the political realm.
Democracy and politics overlap, but a large part of democracy exists outside of the political realm.

Democracy in non-political contexts is fundamental in Sweden. Since my early teens I was exposed to the workings of democratic organizations, holding constituting meetings, yearly assemblies, board meetings, and so on. It was a way of cooperation that we took for granted. The formalities were key; although the actual work was quite informal, the formalities were rock solid and always solved any potential conflict before it could grow out of hand. In that sense, the democratic method of holding meetings and taking decisions was a tool for preemptive peace and conflict resolution.

Perhaps it is because the challenges of managing a club with 15 members, and a country of millions, are so different, that we don’t think of them as being related, both being aspects of democracy. Often, especially in the U.S., democracy is thought of as almost a synonym for politics. That in turn is thought of as the intrigues and manipulations of the specifically anglo-saxon form of governance (that has also been exported to Greece), of type “the winner takes it all”. This means that democracy and politics is largely focused on winning elections. In fact, in the U.S. this has gone so far that the very word politics has come to mean only that aspect, and not the art of making decisions.

As I wrote in Democracy for Dummies, the core purpose of democracy is of course to make decisions, not to get elected. It is to make decisions that have legitimacy, that are universally respected, and that can bring the issue forward while avoiding conflicts. The core process in democracy is therefore the meeting (in which the decision is taken), not the election of representatives (which is, incidentally, a means to a means to an end: we elect them to take part in meetings to take decisions on our behalf).

The two main types of democracies

In my opinion, for the purpose of classification and analysis, the most important distinction to make visa-vi democratic organizations is in those with voluntary membership, and those with involuntary membership.

Organizations with voluntary membership are democratic clubs and societies. This also includes typical political parties (note that U.S. political parties are atypical). In the typical case membership is open to everyone who wishes, but subject to some condition, such as paying a fee. In other cases it may be an invitation-only club, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be democratic.

Organizations with involuntary membership are those where membership is implicitly or explicitly required for persons in certain circumstances. The most obvious example is a country, in which the members are the citizens. Another example is a condominium association, in that you have to become a member (and be accepted as a member) to buy the apartment.

Obviously, organizations with involuntary membership in some ways infringe on the individual’s freedom. The very term “involuntary” conveys that. Of course one can leave it, but only if you give up something (e.g., the right to run for election, the possibility to live in a certain apartment). It is therefore only to be expected that most focus is put on this class of democracies.

It is also worth considering that certain rights can be delegated to an organization with involuntary membership, for instance the right to defend ones rights with force. That is the basis for the common defense, and for a police and judicial system. Note that it is not a requirement to have a police force, for instance. In pre-historic Scandinavia there were no policemen, no prosecutors, no justices, no jails. Instead, someone who had broken the law was dealt with in the same way and at the same meeting as all other business, with all the people voting. The worst punishment was to be declared an outlaw, to no longer to be protected by the law, as it was not a crime to kill an outlaw.

It seems to me that the traditional studies of political democracy are done from a biased position, i.e., from the implicit assumption that the state comes before democracy. But it does not have to be that way. What I propose is to study democracy as a subject in its own right, and see what that leads to in terms of the requirements on the state.

It also seems to me that this has some urgency to it, since there is a rather strong political movement towards re-inventing democracy, namely “The Bolivarian Revolution” a.k.a. “Socialism in the XXI Century”. This is of course the project of Hugo Chavez with the moral support of Fidel Castro. However, there seems to be no scholarly foundation under this building. It therefore risks wreaking havoc and creating utter chaos in the countries where it is implemented, such as Venezuela.

Honduras recently stopped this change in its tracks. It gives them breathing room for analysis and thought. I would propose that they use this opportunity to seriously analyze the philosophy of democracy, and come up with a workable solution to obtain the objectives without getting into trouble with human rights, loss of economic activity, and other predictable risks.

When will Zelaya’s supporters denounce violence?

Over and over again, media supportive of the self-labeled “resistencia” in Honduras are reporting that they openly confess to being a militant group. For instance, yesterday a Canadian site reported one of the leaders, Rafael Alegria, as saying that their intention is “to convert ourselves into a militant political force which will work toward taking political power in our country” [my emphasis].

When will these Zelaya-supporters stop advocating militant solutions and start denouncing violence?

When will the international community stop supporting this terrorist organization?

It surely is a strange new world we are living in. The UN and OAS support a coupster – Zelaya – against the democratic government of Honduras. The U.S. demands amnesty for terrorists in Honduras (who caused millions of damages and even bodily injuries), while at the same time holding alleged terrorists without due process on the flimsiest of grounds in an illegally occupied naval base on Cuba.

Too many people dismiss the truth with the argument that they “know” it was a military coup, with no other argument than that it is “self-evident”. Well, it once was equally self-evident that the sun rotated around the Earth…

Footnote: Rafael Alegria was implicated last year in handing out large amounts of cash to rioters, in the form of US dollars that apparently came from Hugo Chavez. The total amounts of hard currency that showed up in the economy on the days of riots was so large that it could be counted in the banking system, in the tens of millions of dollars, it has been reported. (Ironically, this inflow of currency partly offset the negative effects of the sanctions imposed on Honduras, by providing an alternative source of dollars for paying foreign debts.)

MSM lägger locket på om Honduras

Det är nu den 4 februari 2010. Dagens Nyheter har inte skrivit en enda notis om krisen i Honduras sedan den 21 januari kl 6 på morgonen. Det var någon timme efter att jag skrev att Obama orsakade den akuta krisen genom att i praktiken ge klartecken till Zelaya att göra vad han ville.

Parantetiskt kan nämnas att tre läsare i kommentarer till den sista DN-artikeln har påpekat att texten är felaktig: Valet var inte extrainsatt utan ordinarie. Det finns också blogglänkar till artikeln (vilka DN inte visar) som säger samma sak. Trots detta låter tidningen den felaktiga uppgiften stå kvar. Liksom att de kallar det en kupp.

Sedan dess har mycket hänt, varav åtminstone ett halvt dussin stora nyheter. Men DN har inte med ett ord nämnt något av detta.

Inte att USA drog in visum för ytterligare ett antal personer, vilka tog det som en hedersbetygelse och ett bevis på att de är patrioter och inte medlöpare till USA.

Inte att militärerna frikändes från ansvar för att ha flugit Zelaya ur landet, vilket betyder att högsta domstolen godtog deras försvar att de handlade utifrån ett övervägande om rikets säkerhet, i syfte att minimera riskerna, och baserat på trovärdiga hotbilder.

Inte amnestin som mer eller mindre tvingades på Honduras av USA (Micheletti föreslog en folkomröstning om amnestin, men den nyvalda kongressen gick USA till mötes).

Inte att en ny president har tillträtt, Pepe Lobo, eller att vid ceremonin i landets nationalstadium de tusentals människorna på läktarna buade ut alla som stött Zelaya, inklusive USA. De buade framför allt ut en utländsk president som var närvarande, Fernandez från Dominikanska Republiken, för att han (uppenbarligen som “målvakt” åt USA) hade kommit för att hämta Zelaya och förhindra att denne ställdes inför rätta i Honduras.

Inte heller har DN nämnt att den diplomatiska krisen nu är över och Honduras åter är erkänt av FN sedan den 1 februari, men att den ekonomiska krisen kvarstår och landet står på ruinens brant.

Framför allt har inte DN nämnt att orsaken till denna situation är att omvärlden gjorde ett fatalt misstag, och straffade ett land vars demokratiska institutioner bara följde lagen.

Och allra minst har de nämnt att denna draksådd nu används för att ytterligare hota demokratin i Latinamerika.

Lyckligtvis är inte latinamerikanarna så okunniga eller ointresserade av sin politiska verklighet, utan stora delar har genomskådat den så kallade bolivarianska revolutionen, och dess så kallade socialism i 21:a århundradet för vad det är: En strategi för att bryta ner de demokratiska institutionerna och rättsstaten genom att ersätta beprövade institutionella system med nya, baserade på pöbelvälde. Denna strategi är naturligtvis inte ny, det är bara namnet som är nytt. Samma strategi har använts av tyranner sedan de gamla grekernas tid, och ända fram till nazister och kommunister i vår egen tid.

Så varför skriver inte DN om detta? Jag förutspådde redan då jag startade denna blogg i början av juli förra året att då till slut MSM (mainstream media) inser att de haft fel, så kommer de inte att medge det, utan bara att lägga locket på och sluta skriva om Honduras.

Dragon’s teeth sown in the UN now ripe

Things should be called by their right names. It is not just a tremendous injustice, and injury, to the people of Honduras to call the constitutional deposing of a president – who was violating the constitution and the other branches of government – a “coup”, but it is also a dangerous precedent.

This precedent has already been put to use in anti-democratic propaganda. In an article yesterday, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) is reported as accusing “radical sectors of the opposition of planning an institutional coup to depose of president Hugo Chávez.” They accuse them specifically of attempting the “Honduran plan, which is nothing else than an institutional coup,” according to vice president of the party in the eastern region, Aristóbulo Istúriz.

Note that they are no longer claiming that it was a military coup in Honduras; not even in this Cuban news outlet. If neither Cuba nor Venezuela calls it a military coup, then at least that argument is won for Honduras.

From the ashes to the fire

This, however, just brings us from the ashes to the fire from the perspective of risk to democracy. Consider the PSUV argument closely:

According to [PSUV], the enemies of the government are waging a campaign to win the legislative elections of September 26, which would enable them to carry out their plan.” The plan is described as follows: “They want the Attorney General to press charges against Chávez, and the Supreme Court to convict him…

In other words, the alleged plan that they are warning for is simply to impose the rule of law through democratic means. The ruling party in Venezuela thus labels this constitutional procedure in a democracy a “coup.”

It is Orwellian newspeak; democracy and the rule of law is called a coup, and the auto-coup that it would be for Chávez or Zelaya to prevent this, is called democracy.

If the elected congress and the judicial system depose the president in agreement with the constitution, they call it a coup.

Does it sound lunatic? Does it violate your sense of justice? Does it make you think that if there is no democratic and legal way to depose of the president no matter what he does, it sooner or later leads to tyranny?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, citizens of the world, this is what your own leaders opted for when they, in the United Nation’s General Assembly, condemned the legal removal of Zelaya from office as a coup.

The international community has set this precedent itself, by condemning Honduras in the UNGA.

One should not use strong language unnecessarily, because it undermines the power of the words. This is one of those occasions when that power is needed: A grave mistake was made in the United Nation’s General Assembly when they condemned Honduras. They took a hasty decision without access to relevant facts; through manipulation and newspeak they were deceived into legitimizing tyranny.

Every leader of every country in the world is guilty of permitting this mistake. Most through intellectual laziness, by voting as the group. Some have been actively involved, including Insulza of OAS, and some, like Obama, have unknowingly facilitated it through naiveté and lack of diplomatic experience.

Going forward, though, every leader that does not re-evaluate his or her position is doubly guilty, but no blame shall fall on the one who admits a mistake and tries to mitigate the harm caused by it. They need, however, to be made aware of the situation, since this is no longer in the news.

If democracy and the rule of law is dear to you, now would be a good time to take action to defend it. How? By speaking up, simply. Increase the awareness of this threat. When a critical mass is reached you will be successful, provided that you (still) live in a democracy.

Originally published 09:51, last edited 12:42.

English version of the PSUV statements in Brunei.

Draksådden i FN skördemogen

Draksådden ifråga var då FNs generalförsamling enhälligt fördömde den påstådda kuppen i Honduras i juni förra året. Nu är draksådden redo för skörd, av rättsstatens och folkstyrets fiender.

Prejudikatet har redan börjat användas. Enligt en artikel igår anklagar  Venezuelas förenade socialistparti (PSUV) “radikala delar av oppositionen för att planera en institutionell kupp för att avsätta president Hugo Chávez.” De anklagas specifikt för att förbereda den “honduranska planen, vilket inte är något annat än en institutionell kupp.” Uttalandena hänförs till vice ordförande för PSUV i östra regionen, Aristóbulo Istúriz.

Notera att varken denna nyhetssajt i Kuba eller det styrande socialistpartiet i Venezuela kallar händelsen i Honduras för “militärkupp”. Åtminstone på den punkten har Honduras nu vunnit debatten.

Ur askan i elden

Detta för oss dock ur askan i elden ur ett demokratiskt perspektiv. Fördömandet av Zelayas avsättande som en kupp i FNs generalförsamling vänds nu mot demokratins principer om maktdelning. Artikeln på Kuba visar med all önskvärd tydlighet vilken draksådd det var:

Enligt … Istúriz bedriver regimens fiender en kampanj för att vinna valen till den lagstiftande församlingen den 26 september, vilket skulle göra det möjligt för dem att sätta planen i verket.” Planen beskrivs så här: “De vill att riksåklagaren skall väcka åtal mot Chávez, och att högsta domstolen skall döma honom…

Med andra ord, den påstådda planen som de varnar för är varken mer eller mindre än att på demokratisk väg tillse att rättsstaten fungerar. Det styrande partiet i Venezuela kallar alltså denna grundlagsenliga process i en demokrati för en “kupp”.

Det är Orwellskt nyspråk; försvar av grundlagen kallas “kupp”, och försök att sätta sig över grundlagen kallas “demokrati”.

Om det av den folkvalda riksdagen tillsatta rättsväsendet avsätter presidenten enligt grundlagen, kallar de det för statskupp.

När det inte finns något sätt att avsätta en maktfullkomlig härskare så kallas det för envälde, och det är dit deras argument leder. Men, kära landsmän, vår egen regering är medskyldig till att ha försett dem med detta argument, tillsammans med alla andra länder i världen.

Det internationella samfundet satte själv detta prejudikat då de fördömde Honduras i FNs generalförsamling.

Beslutet i FN togs i otillbörlig hast, och utan att höra den anklagade. Ordföranden i generalförsamlingen var en gammal sandinist-revolutionär, D’Escoto; en god vän till Zelaya, Chávez, Castro. Det förtjänar kritik att inte Sverige eller andra anade ugglor i mossen, och försökte se till att få ett riktigt beslutsunderlag före omröstningen.

Det är emellertid aldrig för sent att ändra sig, och börja försöka rätta till konsekvenserna av ens misstag. För det första måste prejudikatet undanröjas, för om det får stå så hotas all världens demokratier.

För det andra behöver Honduras akut ekonomisk hjälp, eftersom detta misstag från världssamfundets sida har fört landet till ruinens brant. De försvarade demokratin för oss alla; nu måste vi göra rätt för vårt misstag och hjälpa dem.

Media om Venezuela: DN, SvD.

Fotnot: Sedan den 1 februari 2010 är Honduras åter erkänt av FN.

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.