Why Sweden took side for Zelaya?

Honduras president Manuel Zelaya was executing an autogolpe, a self-coup, and for that he was deposed by the Supreme Court and the Congress. Still Europe sided with Zelaya, not with the institutions charged with preserving democracy in Honduras. To understand why, let’s look at the European Union.

Recently the EU (UE in Spanish) has changed its “constitution”. The member states had to approve that change. Take Sweden as example. The organ within the parliament that has to evaluate the legality of proposed legislation is called “Lagrådet”. Their analysis can be found here, in Swedish.

In short, they conclude that the proposed legislation violates the Swedish constitution by enabling the parliament to pass laws that have the effect of neutralizing parts of the constitution, without following the procedure required for changing the constitution. This is tantamount to a self-coup, a coup d’état executed by the one in power at the time.

So why did they not stop it? Well, they gave an argument that this change had in effect already been made, why this was not new. The creeping changes of the constitution that had been made in 1994 and 2002 had, according to them, already foreseen that more would come. At what point does it become a coup d’état? That is the question. Some say that the decision to pass this law was in fact a coup d’état in Sweden. It would be interesting to have this tried before the Supreme Court, to see if they agree.

Of course, given that this very questionable creeping change had been made in Sweden, how could the Swedish government then with a straight face say that Zelaya was not allowed to do the same thing? In fact, Sweden supported civil organizations in Honduras, and may even have encouraged this creeping change, I don’t know. All I know is that the judicial system in Honduras acted correctly in stopping it at the doorstep.

Unos Pocos Con Valor

Never before have I written about a movie, much less one that hasn’t yet come out, but this one seems so relevant for the topic of this blog that I cannot ignore it.

It is called “Unos Pocos Con Valor” (A Few Brave Ones), and is tentatively hitting cinemas in August. Here is the trailer, and the official site of Unos Pocos Con Valor with a previous trailer from when Zelaya was president (it seems some actors have been replaced). It may seem like just another police movie, but the issue is very serious.

Kidnapping scene from "Unos Pocos Con Valor"
Kidnapping scene from "Unos Pocos Con Valor"

Honduras has for a decade had a serious problem with kidnappings. I doubt there is anyone in the country who has not had a family member or acquaintance kidnapped, and for sure there is nobody in the higher levels of society who didn’t know someone who got murdered by kidnappers.

Add to this that the country lately has been invaded by Mexican drug cartels, causing the murder rate to rise to the highest in the world. And that the police force is the smallest in Latin America, relatively speaking.

If I tell you that the movie takes place in Honduras, and deals with the police fighting kidnappers, I’m sure you can understand the choice of title. I just hope it is shown outside the Latin community as well, and in other countries, because too many people around the world have been misled about the true nature of the human rights situation in Honduras. Those misleading them, those behind the propaganda, have a vested interest with the criminals running amok in Honduras, because they benefit from the security apparatus failing.

Fake stock market crash on Dashboard

Apples Macintosh application dashboard has a little thing for following the stockmarket. I seldom look at it, but this weekend I opened the dashboard for another reason and almost fell off the chair when I saw the stockmarket graph.

From the dashboard stockmarket graph. Note the crash in the graph, but the INDU value does not match.
From the dashboard stockmarket graph. Note the crash in the graph, but the INDU (same as ^DJI) value does not match.

It appeared to be a downturn to the lowest value in a year, enough to justify fears that fears of a depression could come back. However, a closer look reveals that the value of the index does not match the graph. Also, when looking at the data in 1 day or 1 week view, the downturn does not appear. Only in 1 month or longer plots.

Puh.

Indianer: ALBA är bara lögn

Sydamerikas av vänstern omhuldade så kallade “bolivarianska revolution” har utgett sig för att vara indianernas uppvaknande. Att urbefolkningen återtagit makten från de vita europeerna som “förtryckt” dem i 500 år. Till och med det officiella namnet på ALBA, Hugo Chávez allians mot USA, innehåller orden “folken av vårt Amerika”.

Men nu protesterar indianer i både Ecuador och Bolivien (Bolivia) mot deras “revolutionära” presidenter, Rafael Correa respektive Evo Morales.

Indianer i Ecuador protesterar.
Indianer i Ecuador demonstrerar. Och ja, spjuten har järnspetsar. Rediga grejor.

En indianledare i Ecuador, Marlon Santi, sa i en intervju till TV-stationen Canal Uno, att “Här finns frågorna om rasism, främlingsfientlighet och integration inte ens i programmet för [regeringspartiet]”. Han kallade presidentens tal om socialism en lögn, en kuliss.

I Bolivien marcherar sedan den 21 juni över 500 indianer från Amazonas i öst mot huvudstaden i Anderna, en sträcka på 100 mil. Ledaren för indianerna, Adolfo Chávez, säger att de marcherar för att kräva sina rättigheter. I protesten deltar ett tjugotal av de 36 indianfolken i Bolivien.

Tidigare i år har det varit våldsamma demonstrationer i en annan del av Bolivien men då var det fackföreningar som krävde regeringens avgång.

Morales är för övrigt den förste indian att bli president. Hans politik inkluderar att tillåta kokainodling, och för 2 år sedan kastade han ut USAs knarkbekämpare, DEA. Kokain är en traditionell kulturväxt i Bolivien. Kokain exporteras från Ecuador till Sverige, och från Chávez Venezuela till USA via Honduras.

Honduras: The Big Picture

The deposing of the president of Honduras on June 28, 2009, has been interpreted in different ways by different groups. In this article I would like to offer the bigger perspective, and show how each of the other discourses fit into the bigger picture.

The world stage 2010. USA and military allies in dark green, ALBA in red, former member Honduras in white, informal allies in orange, and Latin American democratic ALBA-friendly governments in pink. Blue stars mark some US military bases, and the flash is the current war in Afghanistan.
The world stage 2010. USA and military allies in dark green, ALBA in red, former member Honduras in white, informal allies in orange, and Latin American democratic ALBA-friendly governments in pink (click for full resolution). Blue stars mark some US military bases, and the flash is the current war in Afghanistan. Dark grey indicates isolated dictatorships, and light green are non-classified.

Background

Honduras is the second poorest country in Latin America, after Nicaragua, its southern neighbour. A large part of the GDP comes from low-cost manufacturing for the US market, with bananas no longer being number one. The majority of the population lives below the poverty line. The other year, the Swedish government classified Honduras as the second most unequal country in the world, after Guatemala, its western neighbour. The present democratic constitution is from 1981. In that year an election was held during the last military rule, and the democratically elected president took office in 1982. The constitution is the longest surviving one in Honduras history, and it contains strict formulations to make new coups impossible. Yet, in 2009 the president was deposed. Honduras says it was because he tried to do a coup d’état and ran afoul of those strict prohibitions, while the rest of the world says that his deposing in itself was a coup d’état.

The arguments

Zelaya’s original argument

President Zelaya, elected in 2005, wanted to help the poor people. They were being suppressed by the rich, and they had no democratic influence. The only way in which they could get influence was to write a new constitution, by holding a Constituting Constitutional Assembly (and thus throw out the old constitution).

Comment: this is exactly what Chávez and several other presidents in ALBA have done.

Counter-argument

Nobody has explained in which way the existing constitution is to blame for the poverty, nor has anyone proposed what the new constitution would look like, or why a constituting assembly is required. The existing constitution can be changed by the elected representatives in Congress, and the president can propose changes – but he never did! There is only one relevant article that cannot be changed: The prohibition for the president to be reelected. Thus, the purpose of Zelaya’s policy must have been to enable reelection. Why is this important? Read on!

An alternative point of view

The poverty is rather a result of corruption, crime, a dysfunctional legal system, human rights violations, resulting in a somewhat failed State. The way out is to strengthen the rule of law, and the respect for the law. To overthrow the constitution, a patently unconstitutional act, would be totally counter-productive. Instead, the deposing of Zelaya by the rule of law was a good thing, that strengthened people’s belief in the State. The fact that many of his corrupt accomplices are now being prosecuted is a step in the right direction, but the fact that the present president is trying to stop the courts from doing this job is very discouraging. There is unfortunately a misunderstanding in the international community; they are effectively working to undermine the rule of law in Honduras, by pressuring Lobo to pressure the courts not to follow the law as they see it, but rather as the international community sees it (though they are no experts on Honduran jurisprudence).

The accusation that the US was behind the “coup”

This is based on two things: First that the US has supported military coups in Latin America and elsewhere in the past, and second that the US has a military base in Honduras (they are allowed to operate from the Palmerola, aka Soto Cano, military airport). Those making the accusation claim that the US acted to preserve its military base.

However, this is ridiculous on the face of it. First, since it was no coup according to Honduras. Second, since USA denies any involvement. Third, since even those having been accused of being behind the “coup” claim that USA made it clear in advance that Obama would not recognize the interim president, no matter how legal the procedure to replace Zelaya was. This stance was formulated by Senator John Kerry, according to my source. [UPDATE: A Senate staffer informed me that Kerry cannot have been the one to set this policy since they were not informed about the plans to depose Zelaya in advance. On the other hand, there are indications that the US ambassador to Honduras, Llorens, was personally strongly opposed to his country recognizing any interim president replacing Zelaya, also before Zelaya was deposed.]

Although in Kerry’s defense [or Lloren’s], he might just have been under the impression that there was no legal way to depose Zelaya, but that they were talking about a coup, the reason being that Honduras does not have the institution of impeachment. Rather, the president can be prosecuted and dealt with by the courts just like any other person.

ALBA

The arguments of Zelaya sound plausible for many, but they are not his real motivation. During the election campaign he received some $50 million from a South American country. They were transferred via a bank in El Salvador. Once in office he sent them back, but the money was returned. The message was clear: We don’t want your money, we want you to follow our orders.

Your guess is as good as mine as to who the money came from.

Chávez has oil millions, he started the ALBA political block, and he is anti-USA. Someone also contributed money to the election campaign of Rafael Correa in Ecuador, who once elected threw out the US military base from that country, changed the constitution so he could be reelected, and joined ALBA. When Evo Morales was elected president in Bolivia he, too, changed the constitution and joined ALBA. Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua also joined ALBA, and plans to change the laws so he can be reelected. Chávez, of course, already has changed “his” constitution.

ALBA is an anti-USA alliance named after Simon Bolivar. It has been suggested to become a military alliance, and it belongs in the far left politically. Although Chávez calls it a socialist revolution, it is probably more accurate to call it communist. They are armed by Russia and have contracted to get nuclear technology from Iran.

The hidden agenda

International politics is about influence. One way to get that is to project power. As is evident from the above map, USA and Russia (following the tradition of the Soviet Union) use different methods. Look for instance at the Guantanamo base on Cuba. USA retained that after the war with Spain. It is thus irrelevant who is running Cuba at present. Just like the colonial powers of  centuries past had fortresses around the coasts of Africa and India, surrounded by other countries, USA has military bases in other countries surrounded by sometimes friendly, sometimes hostile nations.

Russia does not. Instead, they have “sold” top modern fighter jets to Venezuela, apparently intended to be operated by Russian pilots if they are ever needed.

As we see, the US strategy does not depend on the colour of the government in the country. It can be a democracy that shifts policy every 4 years, doesn’t matter. USA maintains control of its military resources.

Russia, on the other hand, is using a strategy that hinges on that the government remains faithful to Moscow. This does not work well in a country where the president cannot be reelected.

I think I need to say no more. It is pretty obvious why the Honduran constitution had to change, from Moscow’s perspective (and this explains why an alleged Russian agent was spreading anti-Honduran propaganda in the US press, doesn’t it?).

You know, I suspect that the real strategist behind this is Fidel Castro. The whole game plan seems so based on the Cold War strategy that he knew so well. And no wonder he wanted Barack Obama elected president; he must have figured out that he would not dare to stop him by using a military coup, so by just playing Obama into a corner where any attempt of stopping Zelaya would even appear to be a military coup, Chávez would win. However, he didn’t know the Hondurans, the proudest little nation in the world last year.

Honduras security

The attackers have far from given up. They try to get the head of the supreme court deposed so that they can alter the composition of the court. They also want Zelaya’s corruption charges counted as political crimes, so that they will be covered by the political amnesty extended to all in January 2010 (against the will of the vast majority of the Honduran people, but forced on them by the international community as a condition for recognition). With those two things in place, Zelaya could return and continue his work with overthrowing the form of government, whether he is working as an agent for Venezuela, Cuba, or Russia itself.

Honduras value lies in two fields: First, that they could get rid of a US base there. Second, that they could make the country a base for themselves instead.

It is clear that the presence of the US military base does not make Honduras safer; quite the opposite. It is the very reason why attacking the country’s democracy and sovereignty is so attractive for the communists.

In light of this, one might ask if it wouldn’t be in the interest of both Honduras and USA to discontinue the Palmerola base in Honduras, and instead equip and train the Honduran military to carry out the necessary drug traffic control. Or perhaps some other arrangement, as long as it does not involve a US base on Honduran soil, because that is a democratic weakness. A strong democracy in Honduras, that does not attract attacks from anti-democratic forces, also seems in the US interest.

Another key factor is to decrease the social tensions in Honduras. The elite has got the message. They have understood how their behaviour has undermined the safety of their country. The time for compromise and a new social contract is now. The poor have never had a better opportunity to negotiate, but they need to talk to their countrymen, and not listen to the foreign agitators and their Quislings.

Honduras is at a cross-roads. There is a good way to take, and a bad. But one thing they should not do. They should not listen to the international community. They should sit down in a closed room and make peace between themselves, and then stand united without any foreign influence. That is the meaning of free, independent, and sovereign.

Är SIDA på regeringens sida?

Uppdatering 2010-07-02: Vid förnyad kontroll av Sidas online artikel, senast besökt 23 juni, konstaterades att en redigering och ett tillägg (i kursiv) gjorts den 28 juni. Det lyder nu:

“Sverige, liksom huvuddelen av EU:s medlemmar och de flesta andra länder i Latinamerika, erkände inte den nya regeringen eftersom man ansåg att Honduras först måste återgå till vad som kallas den konstitutionella ordningen, det vill säga att Zelaya först måste återinträda som president och få göra klart sin period innan en ny president kan tillträda.”
I juni 2010 lever nu den avsatte presidenten Zelaya i exil. Sverige, liksom huvuddelen av EU:s medlemmar och andra givarländer, har erkänt Lobos regering som legitim och utvecklingssamarbetet har därmed återupptagits med Honduras.

Uppdatering 2010-07-01 19:18 ET: Regeringen har nu beslutat att tillsätta en ny styrelse för Sida, rapporterar DN. Detta sedan generaldirektören, Anders Nordström, sparkades i maj. Sista meningen nedan verkar onekligen träffande. Jag har fått känslan av att Sida har bedrivit en politik långt till vänster om den hos regeringen, inte minst vad gäller Honduras. Vi får se om det blir någon ändring nu. Det skulle ju inte ha varit helt fel om organisationen hade använt några av sina kontakter i Honduras för att hjälpa till i den politiska krisen förra året.

Ursprunglig post 2010-06-23 14:24 ET: Idag besökte jag SIDAs website för att se vad de skriver om Honduras. Som bekant försökte president Manuel Zelaya genomföra en statskupp där förra året, och satte sig över alla de andra statsmakterna. Han beslöt starta en process för att kullkasta det demokratiska statsskicket, göra sig av med landets grundlag, och han struntade högönskligen och uttryckligen i de order som högsta domstolen gav honom. Zelaya hade stöd i denna statskupp av Venezuelas president Hugo Chavez, själv en gammal militärkuppmakare, men också av sekreteraren för Organisationen för Amerikanska Stater, Insulza (som flydde från Chile efter den blodiga militärkuppen mot Allende); och, visade det sig, även av ordföranden för FNs generalförsamling, den gamla sandinistarevolutionären D’Escoto.

Den ideologiska bakgrunden för Zelayas agerande kan man läsa om i denna artikel ifrån Nicaragua, publicerad i augusti 2007 (den är på engelska). Vid den tidpunkten hade vänsterflygeln i Honduras liberala parti, kallade patricierna efter den ideologiskt tongivande personen, utrikesministern Patricia Rodas, redan blivit totalt politiskt isolerade i landet. Det heter att Zelaya styr presidentpalatset som en hacienda (vilket bekräftats för mig av flera som jobbade där; vad det betyder i form av auktotritära metoder och våldsbruk kan man se om man tittar på en typisk mexikansk såpopera), men att han inte hade något som helst inflytande utanför själva presidentpalatset. Rodas är sandinistaromantiker. Hennes mamma är från Nicaragua, hon växte upp där under revolutionen. Hennes pappa höll på att vinna presidentvalet i Honduras 1963, och det var för att hindra honom från att bli president som den blodiga militärkuppen genomfördes i oktober det året. Det har fått Rodas att ha en nagel i sidan till de som stödde kuppen, bland dem fadern till liberala partiets starke man och fd president, Flores. Micheletti tillhör Flores-falangen av det liberala partiet, den liberala falangen så att säga, till skillnad från patriciernas vänsterflygel.

Efter det att artikeln skrevs blev utvecklingen så som författaren förutspådde: Den enda chansen för patricierna att kunna behålla något inflytande efter 2009 års val var att liera sig med Hugo Chavez i Venezuela, och hans sk Bolivarianska Revolution i Latinamerika. Chavez militärkupp misslyckades som bekant, men senare blev han demokratiskt vald till president. Efter det ändrade han grundlagen så att han kunde bli omvald. Venezuela är nu på väg att bli en socialistisk diktatur. Företag och jordbruk socialiseras hej vilt utan ersättning till de rättmätiga ägarna. Statens finanser är katastrofalt dåliga. Landet rustar militärt trots att det inte har någon reell fiende. De har inte heller några utbildade soldater till att sköta den toppmoderna ryska utrustningen, utan i händelse av väpnad konflikt är de helt beroende av att utländska soldar kommer in – kanske ryska, kanske kubanska, kanske iranska. Chavez har nära militära förbindelser med alla tre.

Liksom Chavez, och senare den av SIDA tydligen uppskattade presidenten i Bolivien, Evo Morales, och även president Correa i Ecuador, försökte Zelaya ändra grundlagen så att presidenten kunde bli omvald. Honduras grundlag hade emellertid ett mycket starkare förbud mot omval än dessa länders; att ens föreslå en förändring av det förbudet leder till att den som föreslår det omedelbart upphör i sitt förtroendeämbete. Även presidenten. (Boliviens nya grundlag röstades igenom utan riktig debatt mitt under en pågående eldstrid, och långt från huvudstaden.)

Zelaya försökte köra över kongressen och högsta domstolen genom att få alla att tro att han hade militären på sin sida. Den som håller i den laddade pistolen kan ju strunta i alla lagar och regler. Men den 24 juni 2009 sprack illusionen, då militären öppet sa att de inte kunde stödja presidentens plan för en olaglig folkomröstning den 28 juni. Zelaya avskedade då militärchefen, men högsta domstolen förklarade den 25 juni avskedandet olagligt. Militären hade ju bara följt lagen och domstolens order – till skillnad från presidenten. Den 25 begärde riksåklagaren presidenten häktad för hans för alla uppenbara domstolstrots, och den 26 utfärdade högsta domstolen häktningsordern till militären. Zelayas statskupp hade därmed stoppats av de demokratiska institutionerna. Den 28 juni i gryningen exekverade militären ordern, men tog av säkerhetsskäl presidenten ur landet istället för att sätta honom i något av de av lagen godkända häktena.

Riksåklagaren väckte senare talan mot militären för detta myndighetsmissbruk, men högsta domstolen ogillade talan eftersom de hade haft rikets säkerhet i åtanke. Honduras fortsatte att styras enligt grundlagen utan något som helst avbrott. Alla tjänstemän som inte hade varit delaktiga i kuppförsöket kvarstod, medan de som hade skuld blev åtalade. Som ny president utsågs den som grundlagen anvisade, i detta fall Roberto Micheletti. Han ledde landet på ett föredömligt sätt under 7 månader, trots att inget land i världen erkände hans regim. Chavez, Ortega och Castro skickade hejdukar och dollar till Honduras för att skapa oordning. De skapade “martyrer” och anklagade sedan landets lagliga regering för att bryta mot de mänskliga rättigheterna. Bortsett från dessa länder och deras allierade så fick dock dessa lögner inte det genomslag som de hade väntat. Honduras under president Micheletti fick hjältestatus bland många latinamerikaner, och han får fortsatt hedersbetygelser för sitt försvar av demokratin.

Det står alltså helt klart att den som försökte göra en kupp i Honduras var presidenten, Manuel Zelaya, och de som stoppade kuppen och försvarade grundlagen var de demokratiska institutionerna. Om Zelayas grundlagsbrott kan det inte råda någon tvekan. De som hävdar annorlunda måste kalla samtliga Honduras demokratiska institutioner “kuppmakare”. De måste säga att “högsta domstolen är kuppmakare”. De måste säga att “kongressen är kuppmakare”. Därmed måste de säga, indirekt, att “folket är kuppmakare”. Det finns de som gör allt detta, och bristen på sunt förnuft hos dem är så absurd att man häpnar.

Efter att den nyvalde Porfirio Lobo tillträtt som president har alla länder erkänt hans regim, utom några kommunistaffilierade länder i Latinamerika. På SIDAs webplats står det dock fortfarande, idag den 23 juni 2010, att Sverige inte erkänner Honduras utan kräver att “Zelaya först måste återinträda som president”. Det är ganska anmärkningsvärt, eftersom det är fullständigt grundlagsvidrigt för en president i Honduras att sitta mer än 4 år, och Zelayas period gick ut den 27 januari 2010. Dessutom står det i artikeln att den uppdaterades den 17 maj 2010, långt efter den 27 januari således.

Jag frågar mig därför om SIDA bara har missat att hålla koll på fakta, eller om de medvetet bedriver en annan politik än svenska regeringen.