Friday, July 31, 2009

Delay and repress

Roberto Micheletti is back to saying that he will not allow Zelaya to return to the presidency. The Honduran Congress will also not even discuss the amnesty issue until Monday.


Also marking a tougher stance, riot police in the Honduran capital used tear gas and night sticks to break up a pro-Zelaya blockade of a main artery leading into Tegucigalpa. Police said 25 people were injured and 88 arrested.

A Zelaya supporter was wounded in the head by a gunshot and was seriously hurt. Police spokesman Daniel Molina alleged the shot was fired by protesters.

"We will not allow any more disturbances," Micheletti said. "We are going to bring order to Honduras."

That won't mean anything good.


leftside 1:58 PM  

I thought this quote from Arias was quite interesting:

He (Arias) said the envoy would have to meet with several sectors, "especially businessmen ... who have been very reluctant to consider the possibility that Zelaya be reinstated."

There has long been speculation that the these 10 ultra-rich families who own Honduras were behind the coup. Now we have some independent confirmation.

Also this:

But late Thursday, Micheletti denied indicating to Arias he would back off his opposition to Zelaya's return to power, saying he was "a man of character who maintains his positions."

Meaning he is stubborn as a mule - as everyone knows. Negotiations with such men were bound to be useless. Can we finally bring ourselves to admit the obvious - that the Costa Rica talks are dead and a Plan B is needed (as Weisbrot was ridiculed for saying)??

Anonymous,  2:14 PM  

If this is delayed until the elections, what are other countries going to do? Ignore the new president?

I doubt it.

leftside 2:21 PM  

If this is delayed until the elections, what are other countries going to do? Ignore the new president?

That is becoming the million dollar question. I think it's pretty obvious that a legitimate election can not be presided over by golpistas. Regional countries are likely to agree - and continue the isolation (new measures are likely to be announced by the OAS soon - says Zelaya). But what will the US do? I fear it is so desperate for ANY allies down south, they will continue their equivocal approach and try to have it both ways.

Anonymous,  2:30 PM  

A legitimate election can't be presided over by golpistas?

Wow, that will come as shocking news to the majority of Latin American countries that had such elections. So, according to you Alfonsin and all subsequent Argentine presidents were not legitimate?

Same for Chile, I guess. And Brazil.

Should I go on?

Justin Delacour 3:44 PM  

A legitimate election can't be presided over by golpistas?

Not the kind of golpistas who shut down critical media and employ marshal law. These aren't the conditions under which democracy flourishes.

Greg Weeks 3:53 PM  

Yes, of course elections can be held under authoritarian conditions (e.g. no one had any problem with the 1989 Chilean presidential election), but certain factors need to be present. In particular, there needs to be broad consensus about the legitimacy of the election itself, which will be lacking in Honduras. The specifics of the Chilean election were agreed upon by both Pinochet and the democratic opposition.

Anonymous,  4:00 PM  


And why will there be any doubt about the legitimacy of the election? Are you claiming the Micheletti government is going to commit fraud? Who is he supposed to favor?

The date and candidates had all been set before the coup. The Electoral Tribunal and other authorities that will oversee the election are all legitimate. So what's the problem?

Not directed at you Greg, but I'd have more faith that those supporting Zelaya really cared about democracy if they were equally outraged by what's happening in Venezuela or Nicaragua. Or if they didn't somehow think Cuba is a model for anything.

Anonymous,  4:05 PM  

And let's not forget that in Chile, Argentina and all the other countries that held elections under military rule there was not a single democratically legitimate institution at the time of the vote. Not a single one.

Meanwhile, in Honduras, every single institution, with the exception of the presidency, has such legitimacy. The Supreme Court, the Electoral Tribunal, Congress, the Attorney General. The ONLY debate is about Micheletti.

Yet somehow this taints Honduras' election but did not taint Chile's 1989 or Argentina's 1983 elections?

Greg Weeks 4:08 PM  

When the status of the current president is in dispute, then it is safe to say that the legitimacy of the election is also doubtful. That status must be resolved to everyone's (of course, especially Zelaya's) satisfaction before the election will be legitimate.

As for supporters of Zelaya, my own opinion is that I do not care what they think. I believe the coup was wrong.

Anonymous,  4:11 PM  

I don't follow your logic. Are you saying that there was no dispute about the status of Pinochet in 1989?

And what does the status of the president have to do with the candidates that have already been chosen in primaries according to the law? What does that have to do with all the other institutions in Honduras, which are all perfectly legitimate?

And what is the proposal to resolve this if it gets dragged on? To give Zelaya a do-over?

Greg Weeks 5:22 PM  

Correct--everyone had agreed upon Pinochet's status.

If the status of the presidency is in doubt, then I submit that presidential elections are problematic. You are free to disagree.

Anonymous,  5:39 PM  

Everyone agreed on Pinochet's status? Only in the sense they realized there wasn't much they could do about it. That's not the same thing.

Greg Weeks 5:41 PM  

When there is formal agreement by all parties then it is precisely the same thing. The Honduras-Chile analogy does not work.

Slave Revolt,  7:02 PM  

I would submit that elections are never 'legit', and that democracy doesn't even exist, in nations where an oligarchy controls the economy and the media.

Elections under such conditions perpetuate outcomes that work to enslave and immiserate a population.

The pace and the dept of the immiseration, of course, varies.

Then there is the case of social democratic countries as we see in
Europe, where the ruling classes have made partial peace with the working class.

This lends to much more political stability, but there is no denying that these cultures and economies are pathological--inasmuch as they wreck ecological havoc.

They will eventually collapse.

As for Venezuela and Nicaragua, I do suppose the populations of these countries can be a judge if they are more or less 'democratic' since the left governments arrived on the scene.
The pro-empire, capitalist nations go to great pains to present an extremely biased and unfavorable image of any left government that makes changes that empower the heretofore super-exploited, the marginalized, labor, indigenous peoples, civil society, etc. (Exactly the groups targeted by the Honduran coup-thug government).

I would also mention that Honduran institutions that aligned with the coup have lost any claim to being 'democratic'. Especially, with the severe repression that the popular movements are suffering at the hands of these US-aligned facists.

The coup government and the US have massively miscalculated--because this open display of oligarchic contempt for democracy and the will of the people has become a 'teaching moment'--much more so than priviledged elites sipping beers in the Honkey House.

(Obama is such a frightened whimp that he ordered a non-alcohal brew.)

RAJ 7:24 PM  

Legitimacy of an election in part derives from the understanding that the people voting were free, and felt free, to express their opinions.

That is part of the reason that elections held under the supervision of a regime that is engaged in suppression of free speech, of free circulation, and of assembly, would be of questionable legitimacy.

Further, when one of the candidates for president is subject to physical assault and arrest, and another is under threat of investigation and arrest by the regime, the potential supporters of those two candidates might normally be expected, at the very least, to feel less free to exercise their rights of suffrage than in a truly legitimate election.

Anonymous,  9:31 PM  

Zelaya is not an affected party in the November elections. He has nothing to agree or disagree with. That's up to the legitimately elected candidates and their parties. Zelaya represents neither.

Nobody thought, in 1983 in Argentina, to ask what Isabel Peron thought about the elections. It didn't matter that she was the previous elected president that had been kicked out in a coup. Same for all the other Latin American countries that have transitioned from defacto to democratic governments. Including Chile.

That's why RAJ's point is also wrong. If when the elections are held there is misuse of the power of the state (as there is in Venezuela today) or outright election theft (as in Nicaragua today) then we can talk about illegitimate elections. But not before.

The fact that Zelaya was kicked out of office and may miss part or all of what's left of his tenure does not give him any say in the November elections nor does it allow him to ask for an 'extension'. Such things don't exist. Once his tenure ends, it's over for him and it has no bearing on the next president unless there is evidence of fraud.

el callao 10:20 PM  

Can any one tell me who these "ten families" are? What are their last names?

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