Tag Archives: Lobo

Chávez is a Global Threat to Peace

The chavistas have claimed that it was a coup d’état in Honduras in 2009, and that the new elected president, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, is a “golpista,” a coupster. However, a recent Venezuelan diplomatic cable reveals that the democrats in Honduras were right all along in being suspicious against Lobo, whose name means Wolf. It turns out he really is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a communist elected president in the right-wing Nationalist Party. He has now entered a pact with Chávez to do exactly that for which Zelaya was deposed by the Congress and Supreme Court: Help Chávez add Honduras to his sphere of influence, and introduce “21st Century Socialism”, a euphemism for communism. See El Nuevo Herald and El Heraldo, the two newspapers who have a copy of the telegram. UPDATE: This blog now also has a copy, Acuerdo Lobo-Chávez.

It would be a full time job to maintain a blog record of all the violations of the Constitution, of Democracy, of Human Rights, and not at least of Decency, that Venezuelan Dictator Hugo Chávez is doing nowadays. Yet, if it does not get documented, there are naïve people who will refuse to believe that he is a dictator, just because he was elected in a democracy. Never mind that it is far from the first time a democratically elected leader has made himself dictator.

Venezuela is already far away from democracy. The damage to the economy is already vast. It seems apparent that the regime has been lying about oil reserves in order to borrow money, and that the country is basically broke, having sold the skin (i.e., the oil) before the bear was shot (i.e., having proven that the oil reserves actually exist). It is a plundering of catastrophic proportions that Cuba has carried out in the South American nation, with Hugo Chávez as Fidel’s quisling.

In 2007, Chávez himself said that he is a Trotskyist, a follower of the strategy of Leon Trotsky. He was the chairman of the soviet in Saint Petersburg during the (failed) Russian Revolution of 1905. When the White in Finland, the democrats, got their demands satisfied and the old Swedish-era democratic Constitution was reinstated in Finland, the Red took out their revenge and murdered all the “capitalists”, e.g. white collar workers, they could lay their hands on. That included my grandfather’s house, but he survived through a miracle, saved by their own workers who stopped the communists. Make no mistake, Trotskyists are no less bloodthirsty than Leninists or Stalinists, they just have a different strategy: First take absolute power in all major countries (so that there is nobody left with the necessary power to stop them), and only thereafter put their plans for total communism into action. One part of the Trotsky strategy calls for entering other parties in order to gain power through deceit – exactly what Lobo has done.

When Chávez said he is a Trotskyist, he thus said, “I plan to take absolute power on a continental scale, and when nobody is left to stop me I will eliminate all capitalists and introduce pure communism.”

Communism is not defeated. It just changed plan. It seems like they realized that “if you can’t beat them, join them.” By making the West believe that communism was defeated in 1989, the guard was let down. But also in 1989 the first steps were taken by Fidel Castro to take over Venezuela through a fifth colon rather than by guerilla war. It resulted in the Caracazo, and then the failed military coup by Chávez in 1992. In 1998 they managed to get Chávez elected, and in 1999 he illegally changed the Constitution. From there it has been downhill for Venezuela. China went into business with USA and now owns a significant part of USA’s foreign debt. Russia allegedly went democratic but is now back to its old authoritarian ways.

The biggest change is, however, in Latin America. Armed struggle has been replaced by a strategy of taking over through the use of civil society groups, which is not a bad thing in and of itself. In fact, it is the preferred method in a democracy. The problem is, however, that these groups are being used, or rather misused, for the benefit of an anti-democratic force that is acting under false flag: 21st Century Socialism. Hugo Chávez for years argued that it was democratic, but a new kind of democracy, not liberal democracy with strong and independent institutions but popular democracy, direct democracy. Using another word it can be called “mob rule” and that would be closer to reality. His plan is nothing new; it has been used since antiquity. Already the old Greeks saw many examples of when a strong-man took power from the city council through the support of the masses, those who did not understand the machinations of democracy, the balance of power. They had a name for such a strong-man. They called him “Tyrant.”

Chávez has bought significant amounts of modern war material from Russia and others. Russians have re-created their Caribbean fleet, and are building a military base in Venezuela. USA is allied with and has access to military bases in Colombia to the west of Venezuela, and to a base in the Dutch-administered Curacao just off Venezuela’s north coast. To the south Venezuela has a friendly nation, Brazil, but her neighbor to the east is Guyana, a nation with which Venezuela has a non-resolved border dispute. Venezuela claims that about 2/3 of Guyana really is Venezuelan territory and that the arbitration settlement in 1899 is invalid due to Britain not having acted in good faith, etc. All Venezuelan maps since 1970 show the disputed territory as belonging to Venezuela. Guyana is part of the British Commonwealth. There is a potential conflict that at present is being handled by the Secretary General of the UN. Hopefully it will not become the “Sudetland” of Venezuela.

The financing for Chávez’s plans comes of course from the coffers of the Republic of Venezuela. As a Trotskyist, he prioritizes taking power in other countries to consolidating the revolution in his own. Therefore he is allowing Venezuela to decay, and she is. Widespread electricity outages, lack of food production, and so on. The country is in dire straits, but Chávez pushes forward with supporting Cuba and buying influence in other Latin American countries. Apparently he must count on the final victory being so close so as to be within reach before Venezuela collapses completely. It means that he must count on final victory within a few short years, because that is how close Venezuela is to economical collapse.

What we cannot rule out, however, is that civil war starts in Venezuela sooner than that. If so, his stint is over. He cannot continue to expand his empire while fighting a civil war at home. One way in which a civil war could start is through a popular revolt, in which the military eventually has to pick side, and different parts of the country take different sides. This is just what happened in Libya this year, and similar to what happened in Spain after Franco’s half-failed coup, or in Finland after the November revolution in 1917. Venezuela sees more support for Chávez in some parts of the country, and more opposition in others. The risk for civil war is therefore significant as a result of any kind of revolt, civilian or military. There is a big powder-barrel and the fuse is very short now.

The bottom line is that there is a big and growing threat against peace and security in Latin America, but the threat is not confined to that continent. Chávez sees the enemy as being USA, but also her allies such as Israel and the UK. At the same time he is allied with other enemies of USA and Israel, such as Iran, Syria, Gaddafi’s Libya, Bielarus, etc., and also with drug lords and cocaine smugglers. But USA is ignoring him, not seeing him as a real threat. Is this wise?

Honduras’ president Lobo licks dictator’s boot

President Pepe Lobo is figuratively licking the boot of his country’s main enemies, and not just in words, but by trying to execute a self-coup, an autogolpe, by overstepping the separation of powers in the most perverse way. He is trying to illegally replace the Supreme Court.

The president of Honduras, Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo Sosa, was elected in November 2009, after the previous elected president Manuel Zelaya had been deposed on June 28 for ignoring a binding verdict from the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ). Powerful friends of Zelaya, who have an extraordinary influence over the global public opinion, made sure that his legal deposal got labeled a military coup in the minds of all who didn’t look under the surface. As a result Honduras interim president Micheletti was not recognized by any country. President Lobo has been recognized by perhaps a 100 countries by now, but not by a number of countries in Latin America, and they block the readmission to OAS. It is to achieve that readmission that Lobo now is taking actions that cannot be described as anything but boot-licking.

The countries that don’t recognize Honduras are the ALBA countries, the allies of Chavez’ Venezuela, and Castro’s Cuba. The friend of Zelaya that I mentioned is non other than Hugo Chavez. He used his ministry of propaganda, which has an international satellite TV channel at its disposal in the form of TeleSUR, to create the global image of the event. They stage events and have “news actors” in the form of paid demonstrators who create scenes for the cameras, while at the same time other staffers, pretending to be demonstrators as well, use force to keep the other media from covering what they are doing. They go as far as firing firearms, and whether by accident or on purpose it seems that it was they who killed the 19-year old outside Tegucigalpa’s airport on July 5th, 2009. Their version of events is spread by many blogs that appear to represent grassroots in many countries, but which in reality most likely are all coordinated if not controlled from Havana, Cuba.

Against this media super-power Honduras has not much more than a handful of bloggers.

Maybe you think I wrote Cuba by mistake instead of Venezuela above. No, it was no mistake. You see, Hugo Chavez turns out to be surrounded by only Cubans, led by non other than Comandante Ramiro Valdez, who fought with Castro in the Cuban Revolution. With Chavez admiring Fidel Castro, he is effectively just a capataz, a farm foreman, for Castro. It is a fitting description also because Cuba is poor and Venezuela is the “farm” that feeds Cuba. Not at least with oil.

Castro is also using his capataz Chavez to buy other countries in Latin America, by including them in the ALBA group (the “Bolivarian Revolution” alliance): Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and some minor islands. Honduras joined under Zelaya but left again under Micheletti.

When Lobo took office his very first act was to allow Zelaya to leave the country, in spite of there being pending court cases against him for very severe corruption. The ALBA countries refuse to recognize Lobo as president if he doesn’t remove those charges against Zelaya. Having constitutional separation of powers, neither the president nor the national Congress (CN) can interfere with the judiciary; nevertheless, they are trying as hard as they can. The word now is that they will vote in CN to fire the attorney general and all the justices of the CSJ – even though that, too, would appear to be unconstitutional.

In essence, Lobo is licking the boot of his country’s enemies by trying to please those dictators while violating the oath he took to obey the Constitution. The word treason comes to mind.

What will this lead to? Assume that they take the vote and it passes. The decision could of course be challenged in court, by those that are supposedly fired. At that point Lobo, who acts as the capataz of Honduras for Castro, could say that the CSJ is attacking the CN, even though it is the other way around. Who wins in the court of public opinion is a question of who has the most effective propaganda at his disposal. But who wins on the ground in Honduras is a question of whose orders the military chose to obey; the president’s, or those of the Supreme Court? Assuming that the president disobeys the court. But if he does, then he may be deposed legally the same way that Zelaya was.

What Castro, Chavez, Zelaya, and Lobo are counting on is that if it fails the first time it will succeed the second.

Honduras must braze itself. The attack directed from Havana, Cuba, aimed at introducing maffia-style narco-communism all over the Americas continues. Honduras has won one battle but the war rages on. So what to do?

Attack is the best defense, they say. Instead of waiting for the wolf to attack again, seek him out and fight him where he lives. In other words, cooperate with the democratic opposition in the countries from where the wolf is attacking. Cuba is where the brain is, but what matters most is the money. Venezuela is the source of the money.

Chavez’ has just made himself dictator by a Hitler-style coup. The vast majority are hostile to the Cuban model, yet that is what is being implemented by Chavez. The repression of the opposition has started, but most dissidents are still not jailed. However, with the new censorship laws it is just a matter of time until free speech has been so suppressed that Cuban-style conditions take over, and effective opposition becomes impossible. The optimal time for a revolution against Chavez’ dictatorship is just now.

Such an anti-Communist revolution in Venezuela would benefit all countries that are being threatened by the narco-communist plans that are being financed with the oil income that is being stolen from the people of Venezuela. This is why Hondurans would be wise to go online and help their brothers and sisters in Venezuela to spread the truth about their country internationally. It is essential as a balance to the regime propaganda. It would also give the judiciary in Honduras, and the military, and the opposition parliamentarians, fortitude in resisting the pressure from the dictator’s boot on their necks.

A Honduran Synthesis

Looking at Honduras from a long distance, in space and also more and more in time since last year’s political crisis, this is what I see: A democratic country that is de facto controlled by an oligarchy, through deep-running corruption and state control that goes way beyond what most western democracies would be comfortable with. By price fixing and splitting up the business in segments, so that each of the main Families gets some solid source of income, status quo is preserved. The result is a rich elite, but a poor country.

The anthithesis of this, the opposite extreme, is communism, such as the so-called Socialism of the XXI’st Century, that Venezuela and Cuba are doing their best to spread in Latin America. The methods include buying presidential candidates or presidents, such as Zelaya in Honduras, who then set in motion a process to change the country’s constitution. The new constitution calls for democratic socialism with a large degree of populism. In essence, populism is the opposite of institutionality. The effect of this change, if implemented fully, is a formally democratic dictatorship, where the ruler has at his disposal a herd of election cattle. Since this isn’t the first time in history that this strategy has been used, several countries have articles in their constitutions designed to make it impossible. Honduras is one of those countries.

What happened in Honduras June 28, 2009, was the end of an attempt to overrun the constitution and introduce the antithetical form of government, by a person who himself belongs to the oligarchy: Manuel Zelaya. It was an attempt at replacing one corrupt system with another corrupt system (in fact, even more corrupt according to many sources). Instead of an elite ostensibly ruling for the upper class, it would be part of the same elite ostensibly ruling for the working class. But of this came naught, since all the institutions of government objected to it in unison, and stopped it.

During the months that followed, there was a widespread hope that finally corruption would be dealt with, that the rule of law would be established, and that liberal democracy had triumphed in Honduras. Even the color of this movement reflected that; instead of blue or red, this was the white movement, using the color of peace. Rather than dominated by the elite or the working class, this was a movement of the middle class, a newly politically awakened middle class.

A year after the election of a new president – Porfirio Lobo from the nationalist party – it seems that his ideal is very close to the old thesis: Keep the rich in power. He allows the extreme left to express their opinions, partly because they have the international spotlight on them still, partly because their message is so foreign to most Hondurans that they do not constitute a serious opposition. However, he has repeatedly expressed discontent with criticism from the middle class, and even gone as far as to silence critics by threatening to withdraw their citizenship. It seems that the middle class is where he sees the real threat coming from – and he would be right.

It is only the educated middle class that can bring about a real liberal democracy under the rule of law in Honduras. However, as yet there is no obvious leader for the movement (and, I might add, it may not be good for a person’s health to be that leader, in a country where even congressmen are chased down and murdered in broad daylight).

Still, we can already see that there is a political void, a space that a savvy politician could take and make into his or her platform for the next presidential election. To position himself, or herself, is key. To be seen as the synthesis, as appealing to the majority in the middle, while not alienating any reasonable person on either side. There are ample campaign themes available for the one who wants to run for the middle, but which one(s) to pick will depend on the candidate’s background.

USA needs OAS more than Honduras does

Honduras president “Pepe” Lobo has gone to great extremes to placate OAS so the country can be allowed back in. In the process he seems to have lost almost all support at home.

Already before he was inaugurated he went overseas and signed a paper that said that the deposing of Manuel Zelaya, in an arrest ordered by the Supreme Court for violating the Constitution, was a coup d’état. This was his first major mistake.

For 7 months interim president Micheletti had held the moral high ground by insisting that Zelaya had committed an autogolpe (a self-coup) and that his deposing was constitutional. He had done so under international isolation and sanctions. He had taken over a country without a budget, with ransacked coffers, and all credit in the banks that Honduras was and is a member of was frozen. Yet, in spite of governing over a bankrupt country he held the hill, the moral high ground, to the very end.

The end came not the day that Lobo was inaugurated, but a couple of weeks before when he called the event on June 28th a coup. At that time Micheletti graciously stepped back, refrained from criticizing Lobo, and instead ceded to the president-elect. From the people, on the other hand, a roar of fury went up. Especially, of course, from those who had voted for him.

The others, led by Zelaya, just said “so he is a golpista, now he has admitted what we knew all the time.”

The strategic blunder of giving up the high ground and getting nothing in return was just mind-boggling.

The next precipitous fall in grace came about 10 minutes after he had sworn his oath of office. When giving his inauguration speech he thanked Honduras enemies, those who had harmed the country, but in spite of calls from the audience for him to thank Micheletti – who had made his election possible – he did not do so. At that point half the audience rose up from their seats and left the stadium in protest, according to a blog by an employee of the US embassy. This was hidden from the TV audience, since the cameras stopped panning over the galleries.

I would venture to say that Lobo probably set a new world record in losing support quickly after an election.

Today one would be hard pressed to find someone who defends his policies in Honduras. The redshirts see him as a golpista, and the whiteshirts see him as either a fool or a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

In fact, that is a position he shares with the US ambassador, Hugo Llorens, who is believed by some to be the one who dictates to Lobo what to do and not to do.

Lobo has bent over backwards to be allowed back in to OAS. He seems willing to go as far as to talk about holding a constituyente, even though that is completely anti-constitutional in Honduras, and he risks running afoul of article 239 in the Constitution – the one that says that an elected official who even suggests reforming certain paragraphs in the Constitution immediately loses his office.

But why? Why does he spend so much time and energy to please people like Hugo Chávez, Zelaya, and Insulza, even though it is obvious to any child that there is nothing, NOTHING, that Lobo can say or do that will please them.

Why doesn’t Lobo instead spend all his energy on transforming Honduras into a modern capitalist entrepreneurial country, ready to compete with the world on the global marketplace – but with a socially responsible face?

Maybe the answer is that USA is controlling Lobo, and USA needs the OAS. There are many regional organizations in Latin America that Honduras is a member of, and that can replace OAS, but OAS is the only one that the US is a member of. It is the strategy of Chávez to isolate the US from Latin America by making OAS obsolete.

If Honduras would turn its back to OAS it would contribute to making OAS obsolete, and thus isolate USA. That’s why Obama is so desperate for Honduras to return to OAS.

But is it worth the price?

I’d say no. Honduras and USA would be better off creating a new partnership, with Canada and other countries that truly are for democracy – unlike, as we have seen, OAS under Insulza.

Time for a new course. Stand proud, Honduras, and stop trying to placate your enemies, Obama!

Why is TV Channel 8 so important in Honduras?

The situation in Honduras has not normalized. The new president, Porfirio Lobo, or “Pepe”, is continuing a policy of his elected predecessor Manuel Zelaya to ignore Supreme Court rulings. A couple of years ago the highest judicial authority in Honduras ruled that TV channel 8 was to be controlled by Mr Afiusa. However, president Zelaya refused to accept that verdict, wanting the frequency instead for a government channel. When Zelaya was deposed last year, for violating another Supreme Court ruling, interim president Micheletti started paying rent for channel 8 to Mr. Afiusa, and declared that the state channel started by Zelaya to propagate his plans for overthrowing the constitution was operated illegally, and should be shut down.

Manuel Zelaya in Costa Rica, with pajama over street clothes, June 28, 2009.
Manuel Zelaya in Costa Rica, with pajama over street clothes, June 28, 2009.

However, Pepe refuses to abide by the court decision, and sent the matter to Congress. Yesterday the Congress passed a motion declaring that channel 8 belongs to the state. A minority vehemently opposed the move, saying that it violates the Constitution and the separation of powers.

But why on earth is it so important for the government to have channel 8, as opposed to another channel, like 20 for instance, which it already has the right to?

About this one can only speculate. Is it a mere coincidence that their southern neighbor, the ALBA-country Nicaragua, earlier this year bought the private TV-channel 8? This temporarily forced off the air a debate program led by Carlos Fernando Chamorro (son of former president Violeta Chamorro), a strong critic of the present president and former revolutionary Daniel Ortega.

Or is it a mere coincidence that the state TV-network In Venezuela sends on channel 8 in all the country? Chavez’s Sunday TV show “Alo Presidente” is seen on Venezolana de Television (VTV) every Sunday, and so are the “news” broadcasts from TeleSur, the international satellite TV channel that staged “news” in Honduras last year.

Is it, furthermore, a mere coincidence that the vote in the parliament was accompanied by street violence targeting news media and the human rights ombudsman, and led by Zelaya’s local henchmen, people like Rasel Tomé, Rafael Alegría, and Juan Barahona? Tomé was intimately connected to the illegally run channel 8 during the Zelaya administration, and Alegría has been denounced as leading street violence with mobs paid by Chávez.

The eery feeling in Honduras under Lobo is of a “dejá vu all over again”. Lobo misunderstood the lesson from June 28 last year. Instead of learning that nobody is above the law not even the president, he understood that a president is an elected modern-day king. Why did he get it wrong? Simple. The international community reacted as if the president is a modern-day elected king, and that’s the lesson he learned.

The international community reacted all wrong, but not by chance. The news cycle was dominated by a Chávez channel, TeleSur. The UN General Assembly was controlled by a Sandinista revolutionary. The OAS was controlled by an Allende-friend. The deck of cards was stacked against the rule of law, and the majority of countries were sleep-walking, believing that someone else was in charge on the bridge, controlling the helm.

Let us hope and pray that there won’t be a next time, but above all, let’s work to avoid a repetition by spreading the news a bit better. Shall we?

Read more at La Gringa’s Blogicito – and check the comments too for more info.

Honduran Presidency for Dummies

On the occasion of president Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo’s statement yesterday that they are planning a coup d’état against him, I have decided that it may be useful to write a little manual for Honduran presidents. This is a temporary manual awaiting the report from the Truth Commission, due in January 2011, since that report should give instructions on how to avoid another epic fail: getting de-recognized by the whole world after the democratic institutions deposed the president. So hear goes.

Rule 1: You know that piece of paper they call the constitution? Read it! I know it is long, but it is actually important. The courts base their decisions on it, you know. And the prosecutor bases his prosecutions on it, too.

Rule 2: Don’t ever tell the courts, or the prosecutor, what they should or should not do. Whatever they do, just say “it is a separate branch of government and as president I cannot comment on their actions.” Don’t even ask them for information about ongoing cases. That violates the separation of powers.

Rule 3: If the court tells you to do something, do it. If they tell you not to do something, do not do it. It’s rather simple, actually.

Rule 4: If you are told that someone is planning a coup d’état against you, then shut up; do not say a word in public about it. Let the investigative arm of government investigate, and if they find foul play, let the prosecutor prosecute, and let the courts rule. But as president you should stay out of it, and not comment on it while things are ongoing. After the verdict has been passed and the sentence is firm, then you can comment, but not before.

Rule 5: If rule 4 does not apply since it is the prosecutor and courts that are planning a coup d’état against you, apply rule 4 and shut up. You see, there is one legal way to depose of you, and that is if the prosecutor prosecutes you and the court separates you from the office of the presidency. So if they are planning a coup d’état against you, it is no coup d’état. Suck it up, and repeat rule 1.

Rule 6: You can not get around the constitution by overthrowing the constitution. Holding a constituting constitutional assembly to write a new constitution from scratch is not a working strategy, since it violates the existing constitution. Only Congress can change the constitution, and nobody can overthrow it. In fact, if someone was to hold a constituting constitutional assembly and declare the old constitution no longer in force, then the last article of the existing constitution permits every institution and person in Honduras to use basically whatever force is necessary to assure that the existing constitution remains in force. That includes arresting the president. So if the president tries to overthrow the constitution, he is essentially an “outlaw” in the original sense of the word: Totally outside of, and unprotected by, the law.

Rule 7: You were elected to run the country and to improve conditions for the people of Honduras. If you stick to that mission, and refrain from violating the laws in the process, you have a good chance of finishing your term and be allowed to continue living in your country as a free man (or woman, as the case one day may be).

Rule 8: The most important thing for prosperity is investments. The most important thing for investors is risk reduction. Keep this in mind, and try to always act such that you instill confidence in your country among investors, foreign and domestic. This is the most important rule after rule 1.

Rule 9: Honduras can be among the 40 richest countries within 40 years, and if you don’t believe that, then you probably shouldn’t be president.

Honduras’s President: They plan a coup against me

Honduras’s newly elected president, Porfirio Lobo, claimed Wednesday that there are forces within Honduras that are planning a coup d’état against him. He named no one, but the local radio chain HRN said that three leaders in the president’s own party, the Nacionalistas, are behind it.

Last year then-president Manuel Zelaya from the liberal party was deposed and replaced by another liberal, after he had failed to heed orders from the Supreme Court to cease and desist in trying to overthrow the constitution of Honduras. President Lobo is seen by some as pursuing the same path as Zelaya. His own party is totally against that policy, much more so than the liberal party.

The Union Civica Democratica, UCD, says that these are very serious allegations, and express surprise because if someone is planning a coup d’état it is because they have control of the armed forces, which seems not to be the case.

Or could it simply be that Lobo has read my blog? And maybe got scared over my warnings that the next time a president is deposed it may be in a real military coup, and a bloody one at that? After all, given how much trouble Zelaya has caused, why would any real coupster ever want to leave a president alive again?

If this is the case, then Mr. Lobo, pay attention: You are getting paranoid. Stop looking for ghosts, and start taking care of the business of Honduras instead. There are many things to do. The investment climate must be improved, and that means making investors feel that Honduras is a safe and predictable country. You have to make them certain that democracy and the rule of law are for ever, and that nobody ever will succeed in making a coup, neither a self-coup nor a military coup.

Mr. Lobo, what you just did was perhaps the most stupid thing you possibly could have done in a hundred years.

Honduran Verification Commission to hold last meeting

Le Heraldo writes today that the Verification Commission, formed as part of the Tegucigalpa/San José-accord, is getting ready to hold its last meeting. The final report is expected in the first two months of 2011.

The purpose of this commission was to verify the implementation of the accord. However, the deposed president, Manuel Zelaya, has refused to cooperate, since he unilaterally declared that the accord was broken by the other side.

It should be pointed out that it is the role of the Verification Commission to judge whether a party broke the accord, and the other party is not at liberty to unilaterally withdraw the way Zelaya did.

According to the article, it was to persuade Zelaya to cooperate with this commission that president Lobo offered to bring him back from the Dominican Republic, and why he put pressure on the judicial branch to drop all charges against him. Well, that failed, Zelaya sneered, and Lobo deserves all criticism he can get for trying to run roughshod over the Constitution and twisting the arms on the justices in the Supreme Court.

Honduras president fails to influence the Supreme Court

Honduras president Porfirio Lobo has been openly engaging in “ministerial rule” in that he expressed his opinion that the Supreme Court of Justice should reinstate a couple of judges who had been dismissed for violating the laws. Even though the court was convened in an “Ortega” move, i.e., while some regular justices were absent in the hope that the substitute would vote differently, the court nonetheless upheld the dismissal by a vote of 10 to 5. This apparently greatly upset the president, who must not have heard of the separation of powers – or perhaps he hasn’t bothered to read the constitution.

The latter would explain why he is – just like his deposed elected predecessor Manuel Zelaya – advocating arranging for a constituting constitutional assembly, although that is patently unconstitutional. But if he hasn’t read article 375 (I may be wrong on the number, but the last one anyway), then he doesn’t know that if he proceeds, then all the Hondurans, all their institutions, and all their military, are compelled to use whatever means necessary to defend the constitution.

Perhaps he doesn’t realize it yet, but somewhere in Honduras there is a pajamas ready for him, or for any other president who attempts high treason:

Ceremonial Pajamas of the Republic of Honduras
Ceremonial Pajamas of the Republic of Honduras

First 100 days in Honduras: New Hope?

May 7th will mark the 100th day that Porfirio Lobo Sosa is president in Honduras. So how has he done, and what is the status for Honduras now?

Pepe Lobo started out already before he was sworn in by going to the Dominican Republic, and signing an agreement that the then deposed president Manuel Zelaya would be allowed to leave Honduras for DR on the day of Lobo’s inauguration.

This decision was politically necessary. Honduras was virtually bankrupt due to (1) Zelaya’s disastrous policies and corruption, (2) the global recession, and (3) the harsh economic sanctions from the world against Honduras for having defended itself against the coup d’état that Mel Zelaya was carrying out in 2009. It was politically necessary to get Zelaya out, and end the military siege on the former Brazilian embassy (which had become necessary under interim president Micheletti, when Zelaya engaged in sedition from its roof, without Brazil stopping him, even though it is a violation of international law).

However, no matter how politically necessary it was, it was very unpopular in Honduras, where they wanted to see Zelaya in prison for his crimes. Micheletti stepped back from the stage at that moment, expressing no opinion about the action taken by Lobo, but deferring to the president elect. This was a wise move, and it clearly demonstrated that Micheletti respected democracy.

Lobo went on to have a Congress dominated by his party pass a law with a long term plan for Honduras. However, from before the election there has been an element on the extreme left that refuses to recognize him as the legitimate executive of the country. And after his trip to DR, many who supported Micheletti and had great hopes for Lobo, lost their faith in him. The only side from which he has got support is the United States. That is not a desirable seat. History is full of regimes that have had a strong support from USA, but not from their countrymen. It usually does not bode well.

So why is the US ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, acting as a proconsul in Honduras, a viceroy? During the political crisis that started March 23, 2009 (when Zelaya decreed that a poll on holding a referendum on creating a constitutional assembly would be held June 28, 2009), to June 26th, 2009, the democratic institutions of Honduras acted appropriately. However, on June 26th, in the middle of a very tense situation when it was perceived that Zelaya was carrying out a coup d’état that had to be stopped, and the US backed Zelaya rather than democracy, the democratic institutions started taking decisions that were not entirely legal, according to the report from Human Rights Foundation.

Specifically, the arrest order for Zelaya was not formally correct in all details, they claim. Also the acts by Congress on June 28, and the Court on the following days, were not formally within the law, according to the report. However, the report does conclude that the Supreme Court had every right and justification for removing Zelaya from office – they just didn’t follow the proper protocol.

Since it is precisely this failure to follow protocol that caused the legal act to be interpreted as a military coup, and this had disastrous consequences for Honduras’ economy, as well as for Obama’s foreign policy, it is easy to see why Obama would like to offer advice to Honduras so that they avoid making such – for him – embarrassing formal mistakes. I am the first to admit that it is a good thing that the democratic institutions receive competent advice.

However, to have the US ambassador provide that advice is very detrimental for peace and reconciliation. It’s like sieving mosquitos and swallowing elephants. It is disastrous for the US image in Latin America and the Middle East (think Iraq and Afghanistan, and how the US is helping those regimes). It is also disastrous for Lobo, since it severely undermines his credibility among his own constituents.

The advice should be provided, but not through a political method. It should instead be provided via academic channels, from a foreign university via a Honduran university, for instance. Academic conferences, workshops, networking; that is the appropriate method for this kind of assistance. In my opinion both Obama and Lobo – not to mention Llorens – are counterproductive in how they go about this business.

In his defense, it may well be that Lobo doesn’t feel he has much choice but to accept the dictates from Big Brother Obama. The one who is in debt is not free, as Swedish PM Persson said.

As if this was not enough, the high crime wave from 2009 shows no sign of decreasing. There is seemingly indiscriminate killings of journalists, and there is obviously not a single reason behind them. Most of the crimes are certainly committed by street gangs and drug cartels, two kinds of organized crime. The justice system, including the police, is for sure corrupt, making it hard to stop this wave of crime. This is a serious problem, in fact, more serious than the calls for an illegal constituting constitutional assembly.

The first quarter of this year there were no foreign investments in Honduras. It completely dried up. Some believe that investments are the first step to turning the economy around, but the first step has to be taken by ordinary Hondurans.

Investors seek to minimize risks. The lower the risks, the lower return on investment they can accept. In Honduras today, the risks outweigh any reasonable expectation for ROI. These are some of the risks:

1. Revolution (i.e. that the constitutional assembly is held and is successful) since that would most likely result in private companies being nationalized without compensation, as in other countries that Chavez controls;

2. Criminality: murders, kidnappings, extortion, burglary, corruption;

3. Strikes, blockades, civil unrest, terrorism;

4. Infrastructure failure like electricity cutoffs, if the country cannot afford to buy oil, since much of the electricity is generated from diesel-powered plants;

5. Unexpected government mandates, such as Zelaya’s sudden raise of the minimum salary by 60%.

How could any board justify to the shareholders investing in Honduras in the present situation? The economy is in the tanks, and nothing will improve until there is stability. But here is the thing: This stability cannot be imposed from the outside (no foreign troops in the world can create stability in a country, because occupation is the opposite of stability). Nor can it be created top down alone.

While Pepe Lobo can try to improve the justice system and the police – and he is trying very hard in those fields – it will not be enough unless the people take responsibility, too.

The first step to economic progress is personal responsibility.

Personally, I am convinced that Honduras can be among the top 40 richest countries in the world within 40 years, if the Hondurans embrace this goal and starts working for it. It requires a concerted effort, it requires inspiration, but what will make it happen is that the masses start taking responsibility for their country, for their laws, for their development.

Personal responsibility means doing the right thing all the time, not just when someone is watching. It means rejecting corruption, and not protecting criminals even if they are family. Perhaps this is a foreign concept, but the law has to come before blood if the circle of corruption is to be broken. (It may also take a reconciliation process in which past corruption is forgiven in exchange for testimony, so that a fresh start becomes possible and the risk of revenge against the one who breaks the circle is eliminated.)

The challenges are thus great, but not insurmountable. What it does take is more than a political process; it is more of a spiritual awakening that is required. Meanwhile Pepe Lobo seems to be doing the best he can under the circumstances, and one can only hope that the Obama administration does not trip the wagon.