Monday, September 28, 2009

Suspension of the constitution in Honduras

According to Roberto Micheletti, Honduras is a "happy country" whose people have moved on since June 28.

According to this logic, I suppose Hondurans must really be enjoying suspension of their constitutional rights, outlawing of public gatherings, deportation of OAS officials, and censorship. According to La Prensa, the state of emergency is in place for 45 days (not quite enough to get to the election for the current decree). Even the military is making accusations against specific reporters.

As I've written before, Hondurans will likely determine the outcome of this conflict in the absence of increased international pressure. These happy measures are directed at plans to have large anti-coup demonstrations.

Days since the coup: 92
Days until the scheduled presidential election: 62


Nell 11:00 AM  

The Honduran people are trying to do their part, but media blackouts, censorship, and severe repression are making it extremely difficult to mount the kind of large-scale, visible demonstrations that the lazy U.S. media seem to need (and pretty much ignore even when they happen).

I'll leave it to Greg to be specific about what more the rest of the governments in the hemisphere should do. All of them except the U.S. and Colombia spoke out in support of restoring Zelaya in their UN speeches. Brazil got a Security Council meeting, but at U.S. behest, it only focused on the embassy issues, not the broader repression and intransigence of the coup regime.)

Things the U.S. government could do:

- Denounce in unambiguous terms the coup regime's repression, censorship, and suspension of the rule of law and any semblance of democracy.

- Freeze the accounts of coup-makers.

- Formally declare a military coup (now that the mask is undeniably off) and follow through with the required termination of all U.S. aid.

- Call another UN Security Council session (U.S. chairs for another two days) and use it to take action: send in UN forces unless the regime agrees to step down and restore the Zelaya government.

Justin Delacour 12:57 PM  

Brazil got a Security Council meeting, but at U.S. behest, it only focused on the embassy issues, not the broader repression and intransigence of the coup regime.

But Brazil has done a lot more than that. Just by sheltering Zelaya in its embassy, it's putting its neck out there more than any other country in the region. You should check out Lula's response to Micheletti's ultimatum. He says point blank that Brazil doesn't accept ultimatums from coup governments and that the Brazilian press ought to be calling Micheletti's government a "usurper of power" rather than an "interim government."

Micheletti's stubborness verges on stupidity. He doesn't seem to understand that he'll be tarnishing the right's image for years to come by cracking down on Zelaya's supporters like this.

Greg Weeks 1:02 PM  

Actually, true, with this action Brazil is an exception because Lula is both taking a political risk and making a real sacrifice, which in turn has placed pressure on the coup government in a way that talking has not.

Nell 1:47 PM  

@Greg: What other actions involving sacrifice and taking political risks should other countries in Latin America take?

Do you agree that the U.S. government should take the steps in my first comment?

Nell 1:48 PM  

Radio Globo and Channel 36 were completely shut down by the military this morning.

Greg Weeks 2:47 PM  

Go back to the posts where I've talked about it. Over and over.

Nell 4:02 PM  

@Greg: Thanks for acknowledging one of my questions, if not answering it. Would you answer my other one: Do you support the U.S. government taking the steps outlined in my first comment?

As to what steps you've urged other countries to take, at the moment I don't have time to look up the two posts where you got specific (cites would be necessary to back up the 'over and over' characterization). All I can remember without checking is trade sanctions. As I said in one of those comment threads, I have no idea of the scale of trade between the hemisphere's countries other than the U.S. and Honduras; if anyone here has data to bring to bear on that point, it would be much appreciated.

Although the cost will be dire to their own people as well as ordinary Hondurans, the situation right now is probably dire enough that Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala should freeze trade. But they can't do so indefinitely if they are the only ones who'll be acting.

Which brings me back to the question about U.S. actions. I'm sure I'm not the only reader who'd be interested in your views.

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