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View Diary: Honduras: Diplomatic Fail (83 comments)

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  •  Can someone explain to me (1+ / 0-)
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    Why so many people think this is a clear-cut situation?  I read some of the posts calling into question the warrant, but that's just speculation so far.  Assuming the SC did what it said it did (order his removal from office), why was that improper?  

    •  The Supreme Court didn't order his removal (1+ / 0-)
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      That's been widely misreported. They received a complaint from the Public Ministry and designated a judge to begin legal proceedings, as for any other case. To initiate those proceedings, the court issued an arrest warrant and a search warrant, to be executed by the Estado Mayor of the army. The army was supposed to deliver Zelaya to a judge who would take a statement. Instead, the army put him on an airplane and deported him to Costa Rica, which the army now admits was illegal. The Supreme Court did not order him removed from office and, since the proceedings hadn't even begun, had certainly not reached a verdict on his guilt or innocence.

      "I had seen the universe as it begins for all things. It was, in reality, a child's universe, a tiny and laughing universe." Loren Eiseley

      by cadejo4 on Sat Jul 04, 2009 at 09:28:05 PM PDT

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      •  Is this an accurate excerpt of the Constitution? (1+ / 0-)
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        "No citizen who has already served as head of the Executive Branch can be President or Vice-President. Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform, as well as those that support such violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years."

        If so (see "immediately"), why was a trial needed?  To make a factual determination as to whether Zelaya supported a proposal to change that provision of the Constitution?  Seems pretty obvious to me, but before this happened I knew nothing about Honduran law so I am keeping an open mind.

        •  I've never seen a quote from Zelaya (2+ / 0-)
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          litho, mariachi mama

          saying he wanted to change that part of the constitution, and that's not what the survey was for. The survey was to determine whether people wanted to vote, in the November presidential election, on whether to hold a constituent assembly on changing the constitution in general. Because Zelaya had joined ALBA and developed close ties with Hugo Chavez, people were persuaded that he wanted to eventually run for a second term. Of course, that would all depend on IF a vote was held and IF the majority voted "yes" in November and IF the assembly even looked at that part of the constitution (which it legally can't) and IF it decided to change it (which it legally can't). There is no way Zelaya could have run for reelection in this November election no matter what and I don't think anyone even suggested that he would.

          "I had seen the universe as it begins for all things. It was, in reality, a child's universe, a tiny and laughing universe." Loren Eiseley

          by cadejo4 on Sat Jul 04, 2009 at 09:41:27 PM PDT

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        •  Factual determination would be needed IMO (1+ / 0-)
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          given he was pushing an opinion poll

          on whether to establish a constitutional assembly

          which would then need to (maybe) reform that article

          so there are quite a chain of findings of fact necessary to establish presidential intent in changing that article

          which is reformable contrary to some reports

          it is just that elected leaders can not propose its reform with out losing office

          citizens could propose and reform it

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          by jhpdb on Sat Jul 04, 2009 at 09:41:33 PM PDT

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          •  But isn't it a bit naive (0+ / 0-)

            To assume he just wanted everybody's opinion?  Plus, as I read the C, it says you can't even do that.  It was written so that this part would not be changeable.  If so, why take a poll on whether to change it?  Plus, I didn't think the Prez could unilaterally put anything on the ballot.  Again, maybe that's how it works there.  And maybe in Honduras voters participate in ballot-cast public opinion polls.  Seems a little fishy to me.

            Now I agree that the military overreached (or so it seems), but if he returns, it also seems to me the Court has solid grounds to go forward with some sort of proceeding to find one fact: whether he supported, directly or indirectly, a proposal to change that provision. Even if all he wanted was a public opinion poll, he's gone, immediately, and Michelleti is in.  So they should go through that process, but we are not dealing with a white hat/black hat situation here.  Certainly the U.S. has no business taking sides, given how unclear the situation is.

            •  Congress recently passed law estabslishing (2+ / 0-)
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              litho, mariachi mama

              Consultas of citizens opinions

              I do not think situation is unclear

              there was a coup

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              by jhpdb on Sat Jul 04, 2009 at 09:59:58 PM PDT

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            •  The congress would have to approve (2+ / 0-)
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              litho, mariachi mama

              a referendum or plebiscite, and there's little chance it would have done so. It's very unlikely the question would ever have been put to the voters.

              While I admire anyone who plays devil's advocate, I think it's worth remembering that virtually every country in the world, after careful analysis, has condemned the Honduran coup.

              "I had seen the universe as it begins for all things. It was, in reality, a child's universe, a tiny and laughing universe." Loren Eiseley

              by cadejo4 on Sat Jul 04, 2009 at 10:01:12 PM PDT

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              •  I can understand condemning what the military did (0+ / 0-)

                But I cannot understand endorsing what Zelaya did.  

                •  Even Colombia and Mexico (2+ / 0-)
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                  litho, la urracca

                  The two remaining "elected" right-wing governments in Latin America refuse to recognize this coup regime.  That is a very powerful rebuke by all the countries of a region that has suffered so generally from coups.

                  Believe me, when the bad guys come for Obama, it will not be to restore your liberty.  They're just not that kind of people.

                  •  Countries often do things for diplomatic (0+ / 0-)

                    or political reasons that are not necessarily truth-driven.  I admit to thinking I must be missing something given the unanimity of the world's response.  However, it seems Zelaya was almost certainly in violation of the C, and I'm still waiting for some world leader to say he should be returned to face trial rather than just saying he should be returned.

            •  The poll was whether or not to hold (1+ / 0-)
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              mariachi mama

              a referendum on a new constitutional convention.  The rightwing interpretation of that initiative was that Zelaya was doing it in order to get himself reelected.  I've never seen direct evidence he wanted reelection and the indirect evidence suggests the accusation was false.

              This is a bit confusing, so bear with me.  Last week's poll would have been a non-binding opinion survey.  If it had passed, it could have led to a second referendum on the November ballot -- that is, if Congress agreed to accede to the wishes of the citizenry as expressed in a non-binding poll.

              The second referendum would have allowed citizens to vote on whether new elections should be held for a Constituent Assembly.  In the meantime, however, people would have been voting for a new president and a new congress.

              Presidential elections in Honduras take place in November and the president is inaugurated in January.  It's not at all clear that a Constituent Assembly could have been elected and installed in power before Zelaya had to leave office under the existing constitution.

              Once a Constituent Assembly comes into being, however, it is by definition sovereign.  It can do whatever it wants.  If it chooses, in the sovereign exercise of its power, to undo the language of a clause written twenty-seven years ago, there's not really a constitutional problem with that.

              The golpistas themselves have committed various violations of Honduran law and the Constitution.  Most recently, Micheletti proposed early presidential elections, which appears to put him even more clearly in violation of Article 237 of the Constitution -- which is unamendable -- than Zelaya ever was of Article 239.

              Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

              by litho on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 05:09:40 AM PDT

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        •  Its a rule of law situation (0+ / 0-)

          Even if it were a slam-dunk case a trial (or other constitutionally decided procedure - for example impeachment) would still be necessary. Otherwise it opens the doors for someone to simply allege the President had wanted to run for a second-term or had said he/she wanted the constitution changed - whether the person said it or not or acted on that basis or not. Simple hearsay could be enough if you set the bar that low. Someone could basically make it up and - poof - whoever is President at the time could be expelled from the country by the military.

          That the current President was seeking a non-binding referendum creates a slam-dunk prima fascia case. But it still should have gone to trial and been dealt with under the rule of law. It would have achieved the same ends only it would have taken a little more time. Instead, the people of the country are going to bear the burden of the international backlash. It all could have been avoided.

          I have my own speculation as to why this event went down this way (tacit US approval). But given it is speculation and I am obviously long-winded I will leave that topic alone for now.

          •  I can't go along that there is a (2+ / 0-)
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            betson08, mariachi mama

            "slam dunk prima fascia [sic]" case against Zelaya.  The Constitution makes no provision whatsoever for a Constituent Assembly, so it is a leap to suggest that discussing calling one violates a specific provision.

            The allegation that Zelaya's interest in calling for a Constituent Assembly was simply to get himself reelected, as I suggested above, doesn't fit the facts of the situation.

            Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

            by litho on Sun Jul 05, 2009 at 05:14:19 AM PDT

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            •  The person I responded to (0+ / 0-)

              Had suggested that there wasn't a need for a trial. I suggest otherwise. As to the "slam dunk" comment any prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich so what I was getting at wasn't whether or not Zelaya would be found guilty or not (though that is what would happen) I argue that the rule of law be pursued and he have his day in court.

    •  Mini Constitucional Analysis (2+ / 0-)
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      litho, cadejo4

      Steps for removal of President

      1. Declaration of cause by Congress
      1. Confirmation of cause found by Supreme Court
      1. Execution of order by Fuerza Publica
      1. If Fuerza Public refuses, call for citizen action

      Actual (apparently) steps taken

      1. SC order arrest, assuming FP will refuse calls on Army instead of citizens
      1. Army does not arrest, but expels..
      1. Congress elects new president


      (Constitutional articles used above copied below in Spanish)

      ARTICULO 205.- Corresponden al Congreso Nacional las atribuciones siguientes:

      1. ...
      1. Declarar si ha lugar o no a formación de causa contra el Presidente, Designados a la Presidencia, Diputados al Congreso Nacional, Magistrados de la Corte Suprema de Justicia, Miembros del Tribunal Nacional de Elecciones Jefe de las Fuerzas Armadas, Secretarios y Subsecretarios de Estado, Jefes de Misiones Diplomáticas, Contralor y Subcontralor, Procurador y Subprocurador de la República y Director y Subdirector de Probidad Administrativa;


      ARTICULO 319.- La Corte Suprema de Justicia, tendrá las atribuciones siguientes:

      1. Aprobar su Reglamento Interior;
      1. Conocer de los delitos oficiales y comunes de los altos funcionarios de la República, cuando el Congreso Nacional los haya declarado con lugar a formación de causa;


      ARTICULO 313.- Los Tribunales de Justicia requerirán el auxilio de la Fuerza Pública para el cumplimiento de sus resoluciones; si les fuera negado o no lo hubiere disponible, lo exigirán de los ciudadanos.

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      by jhpdb on Sat Jul 04, 2009 at 09:57:31 PM PDT

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      •  A minor correction (2+ / 0-)
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        litho, jhpdb

        You're quoting from the unamended 1982 constitution. 205.15 was eliminated by Decreto 157/2003.

        Here's the constitution with all subsequent changes.

        It's worth going back to litho's diary with an analysis of the defects of the Honduran constitution in this regard.

        (I know . . . put any two Kossacks in a room and they'll eventually find some point of disagreement on the Honduran constitution . . .)

        "I had seen the universe as it begins for all things. It was, in reality, a child's universe, a tiny and laughing universe." Loren Eiseley

        by cadejo4 on Sat Jul 04, 2009 at 10:06:12 PM PDT

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        •  thanks and... (3+ / 0-)
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          litho, betson08, cadejo4

          the better constitution link you have is through 2005

          and the removal (derogacion) of 205.15 in 2003 would have needed to de subsequently confirmed in a further decree

          wonder if that happened or not

          not to nitpick, just further confirm your comment on Kossacks ;-)

          Tax Paradigms, Feed Imaginations

          by jhpdb on Sat Jul 04, 2009 at 10:38:28 PM PDT

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    •  Too many LatAm coups, too much blood on our hands (2+ / 0-)
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      la urracca, laurenc

      We are calling it a clear-cut situation because there have never been any good right-wing coups.  The combination of the landlord class and the army means the same thing as the combination of a slaveholder's hand and a whip.  Does it matter that some slaveholders might have meant well?  Does it matter that some slaves did things that were objectively bad?

      It is the institution of the coup itself, and the entire Latin American propertied class, that is discredited by history.  There are always pretexts at the start, but in the end there is always beating and butchery.

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