Tag Archives: Nicaragua

The Organization of American States is lost

Nine years ago the OAS members signed a special charter tasking the organization with safeguarding democracy in the Americas. Yet they did nothing when former president Zelaya of Honduras violated the Constitution. They did nothing when president Ortega of Nicaragua now violates its Constitution. They were quick to side with president Correa’s questionable claims in Ecuador, calling it a coup attempt although witnesses say that the president himself ordered the military to fire on the hospital.

While OAS utterly failed to criticize these three ALBA presidents, affiliated with Hugo Chávez, their secretary general, Insulza, has humiliated Honduras at any chance he has got since that country stopped the attempted coup d’état by Zelaya on June 28, 2009.

Insulza’s organization even pushes for Honduras’s new president, Lobo, to violates his country’s constitution by discussing to hold a constituyente, something that is explicitly illegal in the Honduran constitution. The idea of a constituyente was even put aside “for ever” by Zelaya himself in the agreement he signed with Micheletti. Yet, the OAS (!) is now bringing it back on the agenda.

Even the Washington Post is today calling OAS hypocrites, since they have done nothing to stop the blatant disregard for democracy in Nicaragua lately. They write, “Mr. Ortega’s assault on Nicaragua’s constitution makes both Mr. Zelaya and the Honduran army look timid.”

Latin America is overflowing with cocaine money, especially the isthmus. This obviously corrupts, lower levels, middle levels, high levels, national levels, and – apparently – also international levels such as the OAS. What other explanation can there be?

Latin America’s Vanishing Democracy a Threat to Peace

Nicaragua cannot be called a democracy any more with a straight face. The president has stacked the Supreme Court, had them declare that he can run for re-election contrary to the constitution, had a new constitution printed when Congress refused to change it to his liking, and ignores blatant election fraud such as tossing 100% of opponent votes in the garbage bin.

This appears to be part of a plan to perpetuate the Ortegas at power. The plan is spearheaded by Venezuela, backed by Cuba, and includes Ecuador and Bolivia, while El Salvador and the Dominican Republic are “candidates”. Also Honduras is on the list.

Until now, Honduras has been the only country to effectively fight back and stand up for democracy.

Unfortunately, it may have been a temporary victory. The new president, Lobo, by claiming to follow instructions from abroad by financial necessity, appears to be playing a double game. It would seem that he is on the one hand pretending to act as though Zelaya’s deposing last year was a coup d’état that his country now has to atone for, while on the other hand he is doing things in a way that benefits the South American cocaine communists. Examples include not funding the fight against crime sufficiently, while engaging groups that don’t recognize the legitimacy of his government in discussing plans for throwing out the constitution by holding a “constituyente” – even though the Supreme Court has already declared that unconstitutional.

Real democracy requires rule of law. The pseudo-democracy of Chavez is democracy only to the name. The society lacks rule of law, lacks respect for property, lacks respect for laws and the constitution, and cooperates more or less openly with criminal and terrorist organizations.

Chavez allegedly buys other countries for $1 billion per year. That way he also gains votes in international organizations. When the OAS and the UN turn into tools for criminals and terrorists, gradually changing the majority, then the whole international framework of peace and stability is endangered. Venezuela is already supplying uranium to Iran, and Russia has agreed to build nuclear reactors in Venezuela – a country in which narco-terrorists control part of the territory without objection from the government.

What happens with Honduras and Latin America is crucially important for the security analysis of any country, also Sweden. Unfortunately, Latin America does not even seem to be on the radar in Europe. It is all Africa and Asia, leaving Latina America for the US to “handle”. A task that they apparently are incapable of, given that the US itself has the same flaws in its constitution that makes systemic corruption possible and legal.

The war of aggression on Iraq suggests that some US Republicans are way too close to the military-industrial complex. The reaction of part of the US Democrats after Zelaya’s attempted coup d’état and resulting deposal in Honduras on June 28, 2009, suggests that they are closer than comfortable to the narco-communists of South America.

The only thing that can save peace, liberty, and democracy, is if normal people wake up from their complacency, stop believing the hate messages spread by those wanting to control them, and insist on the rule of law. The single most important objective is to insist on the rule of law, and to refuse to be scared silent.

Footnote: A few days after writing this, Washington Post had an editorial on the same topic, Nicaragua, Honduras and hypocrisy.

World pushes Central America towards disaster

Through their response, the nations of the world are contributing to pushing the Central American nations of Nicaragua and Honduras towards disaster. They are already the poorest and second poorest countries of Latin America, and they are both in deep political crises of credibility in the rule of law.

The Nicaraguan president, former revolutionary leader Daniel Ortega, has stacked the Supreme Court illegally, is altering the Constitution illegally, and wants to run for re-election illegally. Yet the reaction from the world is almost non-existing.

The former Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya, tried to stack the Supreme Court but was stopped by the president of Congress, Roberto Micheletti, tried to alter the Constitution but was stopped by the Supreme Court, and tried to make himself a dictator but was deposed by a near unanimous vote in Congress and the Supreme Court. The reaction of the world was to demand his reinstatement.

The stance of the world, including of course the U.S., seriously undermines the faith in the rule of law in Central America. The caudillo wannabe is rewarded, the democratic institutions are chastised.

If the world wanted to create chaos, conflict, even war, they couldn’t have devised a more efficient strategy than the one they are now implementing in Central America.

Several Viking time laws start with the statement “Countries are Built with Laws.” It reflects an understanding that functioning, peaceful societies require that there are rules that are universally accepted, and honored since there is confidence that they are enforced. What is going on in Central America is an undermining of these sentiments, since the presidents that attack the rule of law are seemingly rewarded, and the institutions and persons who defend the rule of law are punished by the world.

Yet, it may all be unintentional. As they say in Washington, never blame on malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

In the case of Zelaya, it is apparent to everyone that a crime was committed when he was sent to Costa Rica. Not knowing the background, the only possible conclusion would be that it was a military coup d’état. However, now that we all have had ample time to study the background, it is equally clear that the Supreme Court of Honduras had the legal authority to arrest the president; that they had due cause to arrest the president; and that they could relieve the president from office during the trials.

They issued an arrest order for the president, not an expatriation order. Expatriating him was a separate crime. Two wrongs don’t make one right. Yet the world demanded that Zelaya be reinstated. From a foreign perspective it seemed like a politically correct stance, not to say the only possible stance. I cannot criticize those who took that stance, since I would have done the same in their positions.

Yet, from a Honduran perspective it was impossible, since it would have meant disaster to reinstate Zelaya. He would rapidly have attacked those that acted to arrest him. To allow him to be reinstated and wield power would have been suicidal for the republic. Thus, I cannot criticize Micheletti either. Both sides did what they had to do.

Was there no possible compromise? The legally acceptable solution, to both sides, should have been to have Zelaya return to Honduras to face jail; to take up the process where it was interrupted. For him to turn himself over to the custody of the military, be brought before a judge, and the judge deciding if he should be removed from office or reinstated. In fact, this is exactly what Micheletti was proposing in the negotiations: That the Supreme Court decide on his reinstatement or not.

However, Zelaya responded by demanding that Congress take that decision, and Micheletti relented. As we know, Congress voted almost unanimously not to reinstate Zelaya.

In summary, although the process went bad when the military expatriated Zelaya, it was brought back on track with the Guaymuras agreement, where the topic of his reinstatement was decided (although it technically should have been done by the Supreme Court, one can argue that Zelaya gave up that right when he himself insisted that Congress should decide instead of the court).

Yet this resolution to the legal situation has not brought back peace and stability to Honduras. Why? It seems the largest problem is the lack of faith in the rule of law in Honduras.

It is very detrimental that other countries accuse the Supreme Court of violating the law.

For instance, the fact that the U.S. has revoked tourist visas for all members of the Supreme Court is a clear vote of lack of confidence in the highest judicial institution in Honduras. If the U.S. doesn’t trust the Supreme Court in Honduras, why would Hondurans? And if they don’t trust the Supreme Court, why would they obey the laws at all? It promotes the attitude that crime pays. And it does, in Honduras. The attitude is, I’m told, that if you don’t stuff your pockets illegally when you have a chance, you’re an idiot.

This attitude is reinforced by the policy of the U.S. and other countries.

So what to do instead?

First, the main principle in dealing with Honduras and Nicaragua must be to reinforce the faith in the rule of law, based, of course, on their domestic jurisprudence and experience, not on that of the U.S. All aspects of law enforcement and justice, including human rights, must be given top priority in institution-building support. This should be done with respect for the local conditions and experiences, to be effective.

A second point is respect for the democratic institutions, including direct diplomatic contacts that bypass the executive branch and go directly to the judicial and legislative branches. Name-calling must of course stop. It is so unprofessional for a staffer in the U.S. Senate to call Honduran Supreme Court justices and Congressmen “golpistas”.

A third point is how to deal with wannabe dictators. The OAS should intervene in the case of Nicaragua today. Once the court is stacked, the rule of law has ceased to exist. One cannot call Nicaragua a democracy any more; the coup d’état has already been sown and all that remains is to harvest it. The world should make clear that it will not accept having Ortega on the ballot, that it will lead to harsh sanctions.

The last point is to engage in the economy of these countries. Right now an environmental disaster is sailing up in Honduras. A beautiful and unique lake, Lago de Yojoa, is being destroyed by unsustainable fish farming. Within a few years the lake will die. Today it is still possible to develop eco-tourism as an alternate source of income in the community, but once the lake dies, so does that possibility. Yet the market forces inevitably drive the development towards that looming disaster. “Adult supervision” is desperately needed, but nothing can be done without risk capital willing to invest in tourism development, thus producing an opposing force to the one that is pressuring for unsustainable exploitation. For this to happen there must be stability and faith in the rule of law. See point 1.

Among those who benefit from the present policy is the military-industrial complex, who get to sell more weapons and security systems when the time comes to put out the fire in Central America, that the present policy promotes. Furthermore, those that sell systems for border security benefit, since ever more Central Americans are destined to migrate illegally to the U.S. Those who hire illegals in the U.S. will also benefit, because the supply of cheap labor will continue. Also the drug cartels in Mexico will benefit, since they can exploit the migrants and force them to work like mules, smuggling cocaine to the U.S. (and if they refuse, they are shot).

As you see, much is at stake also for the U.S. of A. It is time to wisen up.

Footnote: Former US ambassador to Honduras, Charles A Ford, wrote an analysis in June this year in which he – in my opinion – correctly and succinctly described the situation. Read it!

Mob Violence in Nicaragua is a Coup d’État

A violent street mob in Nicaragua is trying to prevent the democratically elected Congress from convening in order to declare an action by the president illegal. The police is not stopping the mob violence.

This is the first step towards a coup d’état. The international community must take steps now to stop the erosion of democracy. The Organization of American States, OAS, has tools at its disposal for intervening. Failure to intervene now would be disastrous for the credibility of OAS; the little that is left after it assisted Honduras’s president Manuel Zelaya in his coup plans last year.

If the mob is not stopped, and the Congress is not able to carry out their duty, then the only tool left to prevent a coup d’état by the president is to use coup d’état-like methods against the president. As I have argued here that is defensible, but it will lead to the international community turning against the democratic institutions, instead defending the wannabe coupster Ortega.

As those who have followed the development in Honduras closely know, that is just what happened there last year. A mob headed by the president stole ballots that were in the custody of the court, which was trying to prevent a coup d’état. The international community should have taken forceful action against Zelaya at that point, but they failed. That was, as the kids say, the “epic fail” of the conflict.

My call to the international community is to take forceful action against Daniel Ortega’s government now:

-Regard this event as a full-blown attempt at a creeping coup d’état, because if you don’t, you will face another Epic Fail in Central America!

Risk för stängd gräns Nicaragua – Honduras

Nicaragua var bland de länder som skrev under ALBA-överenskommelsen att införa ekonomiska sanktioner mot Honduras. Honduras meddelar att de kommer att agera likadant mot andra länder som dessa agerar mot Honduras, och påpekar att mer än 50% av Nicaraguas export går via Honduras. Nicaragua saknar nämligen en djupvattenshamn i Karibiska Havet, varför lastbilar för varorna till Puerto Cortés på Honduras nordkust, några mil norr om San Pedro Sula.

Industrimagnaten Adolfo Facussé rekommenderar att återuppta ett lagförslag som tidigare fått Nicaragua att backa, nämligen att införa en vägavgift för fordon från grannländerna som kör på Honduras vägar. Detta skulle slå mycket hårt mot Nicaraguas export till El Salvador, Guatemala och USA, samtidigt som övriga grannländer skulle drabbas betydligt mindre.

Honduras importerar för 418 miljoner dollar från ALBA-länderna, och exporterar för 165 miljoner dollar. Den mesta importen kommer från Ecuador följt av Nicaragua, Venezuela och Kuba, medan nästan all export går till Nicaragua. Det verkar onekligen som om åtgärden är dåligt genomtänkt, därför att den kommer att slå hårdare mot ALBA-länderna än mot Honduras.

Honduranerna tar dessa hot som försök att från utlandet sabotera den dialog som pågår i landet. Två gånger har Zelayas utrikesminister, Patricia Rodas, förklarat att förhandlingarna har strandat, och två gånger har Zelayas förhandlare i Honduras, Victor Meza, fått gå ut till pressen och tala om att hon har fel.

Min tolkning av detta är att Rodas inte tar order av Zelaya utan av Chavez. Det var också hon som en gång sammanförde Zelaya och Chavez, och det skulle inte förvåna mig om hon också själv har aspirationer på presidentposten.

För övrigt rapporteras i honduransk press idag att landet ämnar dra den centralamerikanska banken inför internationell domstol efter att den på politiska grunder vägrat betala ut pengar till Honduras efter presidentskiftet den 28 juni. Om domstolen tar ärendet så blir det en prövning i internationell domstol om det var en statskupp eller inte, just det som landet önskar, eftersom alla demokratiska institutioner menar att det inte var en statskupp utan att landet blivit orättvist behandlat av omvärlden.

Försök till statskupp i Nicaragua

Samtidigt som Nicaraguas president Ortega anklagar Micheletti för att ha gjort en statskupp då han förhindrade Zelaya från att göra en statskupp, så anklagar oppositionen i Nicaragua nu Ortega för att göra en statskupp. Blev det rörigt?

Zelaya satte sig över de övriga statsmakterna i Honduras på ett sätt som skulle ha utgjort en statskupp om han inte hade blivit avsatt den 28 juni. Det faktum att högsta domstolen och kongressen avsatte honom och tillsatte en ny president enligt grundlagen (nämligen Micheletti), gjorde emellertid att det stannade vid ett kuppförsök i Honduras.

I Nicaragua vill förre diktatorn Daniel Ortega, nu demokratiskt vald president, emellertid också sitta kvar. Grundlagen säger att han inte kan sitta två perioder efter varandra, men nu har högsta domstolen i Nicaragua dömt att den paragrafen inte är “tillämpbar”. För oppositionen i Nicaragua är detta ett försök till statskupp, och det har anmälts av dem till OAS, FN, och så vidare.

Nu visar det sig om världssamfundet tar lika allvarligt på Nicaragua som de tog på Honduras, eller om de avslöjas som hycklare.

Uppdatering 2009-10-21 22:00 ET: Enligt en gäst i A Mano Limpia ikväll var beslutsproceduren i högsta domstolen i sig själv olaglig: Sex av domstolens medlemmar möttes i hemlighet utan de övrigas kännedom. De “dömde” då att den paragraf i grundlagen som förhindrade successiva omval av presidenten var “grundlagsstridig” (baserat på sättet den tillkom 1995). Bägge faktorerna var för sig såväl som tillsammans gör att detta inte kan kallas för något annat än en konstitutionell statskupp. Trots det, och i totalt hyckleri, ställer sig ALBA-länderna och OAS positiva till den. Det visar att deras inställning till Honduras är rent politisk, och inte har någonting med lag och rätt att göra.

Nicaragua på tur efter Honduras

Anhängare till Nicaraguas president, förre diktator Daniel Ortega, uppträder nu på samma sätt i Managua som anhängare till Zelaya gör i Tegucigalpa. Samma brunskjortemetoder användes i lördags mot kyrkobesökare. Bilar slogs sönder och flera personer inklusive en journalist misshandlades utan att polisen ingrep, skriver La Prensa i San Pedro Sula. Tvärtom verkade polisen stödja pöbeln. En bil med honduranska skyltar, i vilken Mel Zelaya har setts köra omkring och som kan tillhöra honom, sågs kring uppbådet.

Personerna som anfölls var på väg till en koncert i en kyrka. Den ende polis som ingrep var Isaac Real, som hjälpte Irvin Larios då denne blivit nerslagen och låg hjälplös på gatan. Då han gjorde detta skrek en annan polis, med identifikationsnummer 2074: “Gå undan, blanda dig inte i det. Låt dem jävlas med honom. Det är inte vårt problem, utan idioternas som går ut på gatorna och ber om stryk.”

Nicaraguas centrum för mänskliga rättigheter, Cenidh, håller förre diktator Ortega ansvarig för det inträffade och kräver att han “upphör med förtrycket av det civila samhället”. Fd Ortega vill ändra landets grundlag precis som Chávez och Zelaya, något som dock fick den senare avsatt och utkastad iförd endast pyjamas – inte ens tjära och fjädrar kostade honduranerna på honom.

Prästen i kyrkan beklagade att sandinisterna inte tillät yttrandefrihet, och påminde om att tillställningen var rent kulturell, med kända artister, och inte hade någonting med politik att göra. Det var en avslutningskoncert för ett nationellt möte i en organisation som jobbar för att stärka demokratin i landet, Coordinadora Civil.

Honduras drar in visum för amerikanska diplomater

Honduras av folkkongressen utsedde president Roberto Micheletti bekräftade att de har beslutat att återkalla diplomatvisa från USA-diplomater. Detta är en reaktion mot att USA har återkallat diplomatvisa från fyra honduraner, nämligen försvarsministern Adolfo Sevilla, kongressens talman Alfredo Saavedra, ombudsmannen för mänskliga rättigheter Ramón Custodio, samt Tomás Arita Valle, domare i högsta domstolen. Custodio bidrog genom sin myndighetsutövning aktivt till att offentliggöra fd president Manuel Zelayas brott mot grundlagen, och Arita skrev under hans arresteringsorder.

“Det är vår rättighet för detta är vårt land… och det är inte möjligt att någon, hur mäktiga de än är, kommer och talar om för oss vad vi skall göra eller förödmjukar oss”, underströk Micheletti.

Samtidigt rapporteras från Nicaragua allt kraftigare kritik mot Zelaya, och mot landets president Daniel Ortega som spenderar stora summor på honom. Kritiken kommer från oppositionspolitiker, näringsliv, och media, men även från Ortega närstående politiker. Zelaya har nu uppehållit sig vid gränsen mot Honduras i över en vecka, vilket lett till mångmiljonförluster i handeln. Det har uppskattats att Honduras har förlorat 4 miljoner dollar, och Nicaragua 8 miljoner.