Thursday, September 24, 2009

Micheletti's negotiations

From CNN: Roberto Micheletti says that he is willing to have a dialogue anywhere with Mel Zelaya. But that he would also have him arrested. Just that little hitch.

Micheletti's willingness to engage Zelaya seemed to be a reversal of his position. On Tuesday, he had said in an interview with local network Televicentro that Zelaya's sudden appearance would not revive negotiations to have him return to power.

Actually, no. The position is the same. Micheletti is willing to talk, but not to negotiate. He has often said he will discuss the San José Accord as long as he does not have to accept any of it.

And, by the way, when the power went out in the Brazilian embassy, Zelaya supporters did it themselves.

Despite local reports citing police officials that authorities turned off the power to the embassy and surrounding area ostensibly to discourage looting, Micheletti said that a congregation of pro-Zelaya protesters at the embassy short-circuited the power themselves.

Remarkably, they also threw tear gas at themselves and beat themselves with batons.


Russ,  12:01 PM  

The rioters have destroyed many businesses through looting. They are a small minority making their voice heard through violence and destruction, so batons and tear gas is what they get in return.

I live and work in Honduras and had way too much experience at the highest levels of Zelaya's government. They were completely looting the country and deserve what they got.

Nell 2:59 PM  


The people in the street outside the Brazilian embassy, and those trying to enter Tegucigalpa to join them, were completely peaceful until the police waded in to clear the street with batons, tear gas, water cannons, and live ammunition.

The police invaded houses all through the neighborhood of the embassy to pursue people who had been in the street, terrorizing inhabitants who had done absolutely nothing. They launched tear gas into houses and apartments where they suspected residents had taken in people fleeing the assault.

The looting began after 24 hours of curfew, when people who'd been kept by the regime's illegal curfew from going out to earn meager incomes were out of food, desperate, and facing another day of the same (Wednesday's lifting of the curfew from 10am to 4pm wasn't announced until a few hours beforehand).

Micheletti's and Vasquez's intransigence and violent response to opposition has brought things to this point. Saying that political opposition or even criminal behavior by government officials merits being shot, beaten, or tear gassed forfeits any claim you might have to invoking the rule of law or democracy.

Nell 3:23 PM  

Russ may think Elvis Euceda deserved what he got.

The teenager, riding a red bike, yelled "golpistas" at a police patrol from 200 feet away. Apparently that's now a capital crime with no messy, time-consuming due process, as one of the policemen got out of his vehicle and fired two shots, killing the boy on the spot.

Slave Revolt,  8:20 PM  

The apologeics for the coup and the subsequent repression are really creepy. Basically, this points up the deeply internalized, anti-democratic worldview of priviledges people that depend on exploitation for their power.

That the left tendency is not allowed expression is at the root of the problem.

Thanks for the info about this horrific murder Nell. It is clear that giving the coup supporters immunity ( as they did with 316 in the 80's) would be a huge mistake.

The lives of the people in a poor barrio as just as valuable as the elites--but tv corporate media haven't honored the victims of the coup government, the crimes have pretty much been blacked out.

Anonymous,  8:50 PM  

Here's the report O'Grady was talking about in her latest WSJ piece, released by a GOP Congressman:

I just read it quickly but it seems to agree that that the authorities in Honduras had the right to arrest Zelaya and remove him from office, as well as to order the security forces to carry out such orders. What they couldn't do was kick Zelaya from the country.

In other words, if I read this correctly, this legal analysis by the CRS seems to agree there was no coup, that the only crime was to expel Zelaya from the country once he was removed from office.

RAJ 4:32 AM  

The CRS report proposes its own theory of law, in which the Honduran Congress on June 28 could have been interpreting the Constitution, and interpreted its own authority to "disapprove" of the President's actions (normally understood to mean, to censure executive action) as extending to "remove him from office".

Had the Honduran Congress itself made such a claim on June 28, it would have been easier to understand why the CRS report made this proposal.

The Honduran Congress did not, however, make such a claim. It couldn't: on May 7, 2009, the Honduran Supreme Court had declared unconstitutional the amendaments proposed and ratified by the Congress itself, that gave to the Congress the power of constitutional interpretation.

So, the CRS report is factually wrong, in that it cites a power of Congress which was ruled unconstitutional long before the report was written, well before the coup.

This was the only argument that the CRS report came up with to justify the removal of the President from office. If this interpretation were true, Honduran scholar Armando Sarmiento notes, it would mean the Congress was defining a new Constitutional impeachment proceeding. It did not do so.

The researcher who wrote the CRS report relied for confirmation of her novel legal theory on personal communications from a single Honduran lawyer, Guillermo Pérez-Cadalso, who was part of the delegation defending the de facto regime's actions before Congress in July. No other legal scholars were cited.

Anonymous,  8:51 AM  

This is a technical legal matter and I'm certainly not an expert on Honduran law. But the report does not rely on just one single argument, it cites several articles that can be interpreted as giving Congress that power and it makes clear that Congress did not need to mention them explicitly. A quick look at an online version of the Honduran constitution shows those articles are still in effect.

Also, the report indicates that the Supreme Court accepted Zelaya's removal from office which is why proceedings against him moved to the 'ordinary' justice, once he was no longer considered to be president.

I'm sure different people will have different interpretations. That's true in the US as well. Everywhere in the world, for that matter. So that tells us nothing,

In the end, the last two paragraphs summarize the situation well. The last word on what is, or not, allowed legally in Honduras is not for anonymous bloggers but for the legitimate institutions in Honduras. And they did.

Anonymous,  8:55 AM  

The other interesting aspect of the CRS report is that is lays out, very clearly, how Zelaya repeatedly ignored judicial rulings, over and over and over. Even after they were clarified for him. Even after he was asked to acknowledge the rulings.

RAJ 12:05 PM  

The CRS report cites other articles claimed as a basis by the national congress, but the only actual basis the analyst cites as possibly justifying the actions of the Congress is the idea that they can interpret the constitution. Simply quoting what the National Congress claimed were its bases is not an endorsement of those bases.

And of course, my last paragraph says using personal communications from a single source, a person openly part of the team sent to argue for the legitimacy of the de facto regime, is not acceptable in a research report.

Blogging-- and even commenting on blogs!-- can be gloriously anonymous. My very thin anonymity is, as everyone knows, intended to protect my Honduran sources from retaliation. My credentials are not at all in question, Anonymous/Gabriel. Most readers of this comment know exactly who I am, and why I am authoritative, by now: but they listen to me because I present arguments supported by evidence, not because of my professorial rank, endowed chair, history of research, or any of the many distinctions I have been awarded throughout my career.

RAJ 12:15 PM  

From the CRS report itself, p. 8:

An analysis of the facts of the case and the aforementioned constitutional provisions leads one to the conclusion that the National Congress made use of its constitutional prerogative to interpret the Constitution and interpreted the word "disapprove" to include also the removal from office. (emphasis added)

This is not, needless to say, legal research. It is an opinion. It is footnoted, and the footnote reads in full:

This line of analysis was confirmed in an August 3, 2009, telephone interview with Mr. Guillermo Pérez-Cadalso, a Honduran attorney who formerly served as Supreme Court Justice and Secretary of Foreign Relations.

This is the actual basis for the analyst's proposal that the Honduran Congress must have been acting using its assumed power to interpret the Constitution-- a claim the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional.

Anonymous,  12:24 PM  

Forgive me if I don't think you are so authoritative given what you wrote in the past. Claiming, as you did, that Zelaya had to go down this path because you can't do polls in Honduras due to lack of phones shows you know little to nothing of the topic and seriously undermines you claim that your arguments are "supported by evidence". And let's not forget your claim that Zelaya was justified in ignoring judicial rulings because he had a different interpretation of the law. Talk about novel theories! In the end I suspect other readers like what you write simply because it confirms their worldview. Nothing more.

As for the CRS report, I get it. You have a different view. Which is fine but, so what? It's not like there is any lack of judicial decisions that could have been decided differently. How many US Supreme Court decisions are decided with no dissenting votes?

In the end others disagree with your interpretation. The CRS report is the closest we have to an independent review of the legal facts (unless, of course, you decide to accuse Gutierrez of being part of some conspiracy). And they disagree with you.

What's clear is that the courts repeatedly ruled against Zelaya and he repeatedly ignored them. The SC and Congress acted and this one third party analysis agrees they were within their legal rights to do so. Zelaya should have accepted the rulings against him and we would not be in this mess today.

Justin Delacour 2:19 PM  

In the end others disagree with your interpretation.

So what, Gabriel?

Almost all of the governments of the Western hemisphere don't agree with your interpretation, so you and the CRS have a lot more to contend with than those of us who dispute your coup apologetics here in Greg's comments section.

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