Monday, September 21, 2009

Where's Zelaya?

Look, this is just weird.

Mel Zelaya says he is in Tegucigalpa, but won't say where. His supporters are at the UN building there because a "senior Zelaya aide" says he was, but the UN says he isn't there. Roberto Micheletti says Zelaya is in a hotel in Nicaragua. The State Department says he is indeed somewhere in Honduras. Another rumor is that he is in the Brazilian embassy.

If he is indeed in Honduras, it is hard to imagine him hiding too long, and indeed it would not be very presidential. What happens when he goes public is impossible to predict. The coup government has said repeatedly that it will arrest him, but that will not be easy. Hopefully there will be some sort of dialogue, though I cannot think of any point of agreement.


RAJ 3:23 PM  

Brazil confirms he is at the Brazilian embassay, and the US State Department also confirms he is in the country. We have a contact on the ground within blocks of the site who promises to send updates.

leftside 3:23 PM  

From Narco News:

12:29 p.m.: The US State Department confirms that Zelaya is in Honduras (via AP).

12:39 p.m.: Meanwhile AFP reports that the Brazilian government has confirmed Zelaya's presence in its Embassy in Tegucigalpa, according to TeleSur.

12:47 p.m.: TeleSur is showing images of uniformed National Police members, with billy clubs, shields, helmets and guns, surrounding the zone near the Brazilian Embassy, apparently to close access to the area, blocking anti-coup demonstrators from entering or leaving. The network is also broadcasting live images, from Channel 36, of two helicopters circling over the Embassy (Which has apparently been jammed or blocked again)

12:51 p.m.: TeleSur reporter Adriana Sívori is now inside the Brazilian Embassy and confirms President Zelaya's physical presence there.

Justin Delacour 3:33 PM  

Good choice of an embassy.

Anonymous,  3:49 PM  

So will Zelaya finally turn himself in, given that there is an order for his arrest, or will he continue to act as of he is the only legitimate institution in Honduras?

Justin Delacour 4:14 PM  

I'm just wondering when Gabriel will finally acknowledge that he hitched himself to the wrong train.

Nell 4:53 PM  

It's not even a bit wierd.

What's wierd is the U.S. government's policy -- telling the world that Zelaya's the only legitimate president, that the coup is illegal, cutting military aid, but letting all kinds of recognition and support go on in the background and refusing to declare a military coup, while pretending that there's any sort of negotiations going on.

Zelaya is in Honduras to end that charade, to undertake face to face negotiations, with the people of Honduras and with the coup regime. As Laura Carlson says in an excellent overview,

his plan is to initiate internal dialogue and that the idea is to demonstrate the support of the international community without involving it in the dialogue.

Nell 4:55 PM  

Spelling correction: Laura Carlsen.

And 'weird', a weird word.

leftside 5:03 PM  

So will Zelaya finally turn himself in, given that there is an order for his arrest...

I don't think it is splitting hairs to point out that there is not "an order for his (Zelaya's) arrest" - at least in common legal terms. There was a detention order (or an "order to capture)", which may or may not have been produced by the time the army knocked on his doors early that morning. As I understand it, the order was based on the idea that the "encuesta" (non-binding poll) could not proceed that day and as a way to take an official statement from Zelaya. The request came from the public prosecutor, who was arguing for the (secret) order by claiming Zelaya represented a flight risk.

So this detention order was very time specific and it it questionable whether it has any legal validity in today's circumstance. If it does, the purpose would be the same as June 28th, one would presume. To take a statement from President Zelaya - and nothing more.

Anonymous,  5:09 PM  

I think that's wrong leftside. I believe there's an arrest order out for him right now, that was sent to Interpol.

leftside 5:14 PM  

What's wierd is the U.S. government's policy...

Of course, we can not forget that the only consistent US policy these last 2.5 months seems to have been to keep Zelaya as far away from Honduras as possible. It will be interesting to see how they react now that Zelaya has chosen another path with a more reliable patron (Brazil).

leftside 5:31 PM  

I think that's wrong leftside. I believe there's an arrest order out for him right now, that was sent to Interpol.

And Interpol threw that "order" in the garbage. It was issued post-facto, based on 18 supposed crimes (like "Publicly exhibiting a child contaminated with the H1N1 flu virus!" charge #17). This "order" invoked all kinds of things not present at all in all the hundreds of pages of Court documents. It also is only relevant if you accept the notion that Zelaya is not President.

As RAJ has pointed out, "None of the three different versions of orders for June 28 actually called for "judicial detention", a euphemism for arrest."

Anonymous,  5:43 PM  

Yes, I get it that Interpol doesn't think the order is valid. But Honduras's courts do. And in Honduras, that's what matters. If there's a debate about what it covers, it's up to the courts in Honduras to decide. Zelaya needs to turn himself in and ask for judicial redress.

Unless, of course, you are of the idea that Zelaya can decide which court rulings he will follow and which he will ignore.

leftside 5:49 PM  

Gabriel, you known darn well the Micheletti regime doesn't give a rats ass what the Courts say about the legality of a detention order. If they want to arrest Zelaya, they will. They'll have a friendly judge justify after the fact. The question now is whether the regime wants to go down this path.

They have already called a curfew for tonight in an attempt to clear the streets, and remove the physical protection the people are offering Zelaya. What happens tonight is going to be crucial. I don't think the military has the stomach for this fight.

Anonymous,  5:58 PM  


that's a separate point. What is it with Zelaya supporters and how they always answer only their own questions?

Whatever you think of Micheletti the fact remoans that the courts ARE legitimate in Honduras the HAVE issued an arrest order. Given that Zelaya should turn himslef in.

Of course he won't and it's clear Zelaya supporters don't care at all if Zelaya decides to ignore the courts. he did it several times in the past and they never talk about that.

leftside 6:37 PM  

(The Honduran Courts) HAVE issued an arrest order.

Maybe you can cite this order then for us? Until then, I am going with RAJ's analysis.

I just thought, as an institutionalist, you might care that this "curfew" is completely illegal (done without proper procedure), that 2/3 cel phone networks have been shuttered illegally, that oppostion radio and TV are being persecuted and that 20 some Commandos are att he house of an opposition reporter. You might also care that your "arrest warrant" was issued after the fact. And it is only valid if you believe that Zelaya is not the President. And this can only be believed if you accept that Congress acted legally when it voted to "transition" from Zelaya to Micheletti based on fraudulant information. Again, the Supreme Court is supposedly weighing in on this crucial point very soon (they gave Congress 24 hours to respond to a request for all information relating to that suspect vote). This seems like a pretty good way out of the entire mess, as RAJ has said.

But if you really think Zelaya ought to walk outside and turn himself in to these forces that have acted illegally and against his democratic rule the last few months, then you really are smoking some good stuff. If the golpistas really think they have the law and good practice on their side, they will make their move. But Zelaya did not come back to deliver himself as a martyr to the coup. This is what the (Arias/OAS) negotiations are to resolve. It would seem pardons for everyone would make some sense. Given Zelaya's plea for national unity, I think he would support an amnesty for the good of the country. Would you?

Anonymous,  6:40 PM  


So Zelaya can ignore the court's rulings but if the SC rules in his favor, than all need obey?

OK, got it.

leftside 6:43 PM  

Zelaya appears ready for any trial, which I said would be a good thing. But he also intends to dialogue and negotiate, and not just hand himself over without guarantees:

BBC: The Micheletti government has said you would be arrested if you came back?

Zelaya: I have no problem with facing any trial or any prosecution they could seek. I will submit myself to any trial because my hands are clean and my chin is up.

Anonymous,  6:44 PM  

Then will he turn himself in? Didn't think so.

leftside 6:47 PM  

So Zelaya can ignore the court's rulings but if the SC rules in his favor, than all need obey?

What "ruling" Gabriel? Please specify and show me what exactly you are talking about. This has been your problem all along. The rulings on his supposed "arrest warrant" are not so clear or applicable at all. The military and golpistas (and MSM) have repeatedly twisted and manufactured supposed judicial rulings all along this path. So you have to be clear.

leftside 6:51 PM  

Then will he turn himself in? Didn't think so.

I think that he will turn himself in, for the good of the country, once he has some very basic guarantees and clarifications. Ie. is he being detained only to provide a statement, as was in the original Judicial order. Or is he being arrested as a common citizen, whereby he will be able to post bond? Etc., etc. Perhaps if this de-facto regime had showed it cared about human rights and the judicial process, Zelaya would not need so many guarantees. But given the history here, I don't think anyone in their right mind would not want to clarify a few things.

Anonymous,  6:56 PM  


I'm responding to what you wrote:

the Supreme Court is supposedly weighing in on this crucial point very soon (they gave Congress 24 hours to respond to a request for all information relating to that suspect vote). This seems like a pretty good way out of the entire mess, as RAJ has said.

You think the SC could resolve this through a ruling, but that only works if you think the judiciary is legitimate. You can't pick and choose what rulings you will accept. Well, Zelaya can, and his supporters seem to be OK with that.

If the judiciary needs to be obeyed now, then Zelaya should have obeyed them before. Instead he stormed military bases and openly ignored the courts. So which is it? Does Zelaya have to obey court rulings in Honduras, yes or no?

Yet, of course, you won't answer that question either, will you?

leftside 7:28 PM  

Gabriel, first you need to answer what Judicial rulings you are talking about. You have had a major problem confusing accusations, adminstrative statements and anything with a Judiciary stamp on it with an actual Judicial ruling, which can only occur after an actual Judicial proceeding.

As someone who disagrees with almost all "institutional" rulings in this country (as they favor the wealthy and powerful) I have a complicated relationship with liberal Institutions and systems in general. Despite this, I have come to a conclusion that I am willing to give institutions the benefit of the doubt in most circumstances. But when an institution shows itself to be part of an illegal conspiracy or acts on the basis of fraud, any legal system in the world realizes those decisions are not free or fair. They are unlawful and must be voided. If you tell me what decision you are talking about, we can get into specifics.

Hampshire 1:50 AM  

Both Zelaya and his supporters are busy to enjoying in his come back and what about the orders of his arrest

susan banks 6:18 PM  

just let's work towards freedom in this county so that their people can stay there or go back to their homeland...this would make them happy.

Miguel Centellas 3:43 PM  

What's funny, is that despite his theatrics, Zelaya will likely emerge from this (at least in the eyes of the international community, on which Honduras depends, at least economically) as the only legitimate institution in Honduras. The military has thrown away its credibility, as have the traditional parties, the courts, and the legislature. In trying to prevent Zelaya from becoming a popular populist w/ real ability to change the country, the military has created exactly that.

Prior to the coup, Zelaya was an isolated president w/ few institutional supports. He would likely have ended like most of the failed Ecuadorian presidents of the 1980s & 1990s. Now he's a cause celebre. The right in Honduras made a HUGE tactical/strategic blunder. HUGE. And those international pundits who're sticking by the sinking ship are throwing away their credibility, too.

Greg Weeks 4:02 PM  

Yes, he is now an internationally known figure who enjoys massive name recognition and considerable sympathy.

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