State Department puts more pressure on Honduras

The State Department does it again. It acusses Honduras of having a de facto government product of a coup d’etat, but is unable to present a legal analysis justifying this position.

Apart from the termination of assistance in an amount not yet exactly determined, what seems more worrying is their position regarding the coming elections when they say: “At this moment, we would not be able to support the outcome of the scheduled elections”.

And I think: “Well, maybe at this moment they are unable to support the outcome of the escheduled elections, but they will have to, eventually”. To do otherwise would be to support a de facto government, which would be contradictory with their stated purpose of supporting democracy.

Read the whole communiqué:

Termination of Assistance and Other Measures Affecting the De Facto Regime in Honduras

Ian Kelly
Department Spokesman
Washington, DC
September 3, 2009

The Department of State announces the termination of a broad range of assistance to the government of Honduras as a result of the coup d’etat that took place on June 28

The Secretary already had suspended assistance shortly after the coup. The Secretary of State has made the decision, consistent with U.S. legislation, recognizing the need for strong measures in light of the continued resistance to the adoption of the San Jose Accord by the de facto regime and continuing failure to restore democratic, constitutional rule to Honduras.

The Department of State recognizes the complicated nature of the actions which led to June 28 coup d’etat in which Honduras’ democratically elected leader, President Zelaya, was removed from office. These events involve complex factual and legal questions and the participation of both the legislative and judicial branches of government as well as the military.

Restoration of the terminated assistance will be predicated upon a return to democratic, constitutional governance in Honduras.

The Department of State further announces that we have identified individual members and supporters of the de facto regime whose visas are in the process of being revoked.

A presidential election is currently scheduled for November. That election must be undertaken in a free, fair and transparent manner. It must also be free of taint and open to all Hondurans to exercise their democratic franchise. At this moment, we would not be able to support the outcome of the scheduled elections. A positive conclusion of the Arias process would provide a sound basis for legitimate elections to proceed. We strongly urge all parties to the San Jose talks to move expeditiously to agreement.

PRN: 2009/869

America revokes visas to “coupsters”

The State Department has decided to revoke diplomatic visas to what it believes are four members of the “de facto” government of Honduras. These people have been working for the government of Manuel Zelaya, but now serve to the “de facto government.”

And as America does not recognize this “de facto” government, these diplomatic visas are expected to be removed from its members, as they would be useless, unable these people to represent the government of Honduras in America.

These individuals are: Alfredo Saavedra, President of the Congress; Adolfo Sevilla, Defense Minister, Ramon Custodio, Human Rights Commissioner, and Arita Thomas, Judge of the Supreme Court.

My comment:

If this is a measure of pressure, I should say it is not a very effective deterrent.

These officers have a tourist visa, so they can travel to America as many times as they deem necessary.

Mr. Alfredo Saavedra, president of the Congress, confessed that he had never used his diplomatic visa. Adolfo Sevilla said he rarely travels abroad. And Ramón Custodio has said he has a tourist visa, but will not use it because he believes that this measure is an insult to the Honduran people. He doesn’t consider himself as part of the government.

The State Department is somewhat disoriented. This government is not a de facto government, it is a legitimate government under Honduran law. Representative Saavedra was elected in free elections, and has all the legitimacy to represent the people of Honduras in the Congress, he is not a “de facto” legislator.

Mr. Thomas Arita, judge of the Supreme Court, is not a “de facto judge”. He was appointed when Zelaya was in office. The removal of his diplomatic visa for his arrest warrant against Zelaya suggests a repudiable interventionism in the internal affairs of the State of Honduras. It sends a wrong message to international public opinion: that presidents anointed with the popular vote are above the law.

These actions will not produce the return of Zelaya to power, but will cause the Honduran people to distrust the American government, which we felt was our ally.

The alleged racism of Enrique Ortez Colindres

We Hondurans know so well that there is a vast disinformation campaign against this interim government, because we moved to the center of the Chavista ideological struggle field.

And part of that campaign is to slander those linked to this government. And character assassination is frequently used in order to make people look as despicable monsters deserving to be trampled.

Chavista Leftists have no manners: They insult, lie and denigrate with no qualms.

It has been said that in Honduras there is a repressive military regime, that there are many dead, wounded and desaparecidos. These are lies.

One recent victim of character assassination is Mr. Enrique Ortez Colindres, who was Foreign Minister for a few days and then had to resign, under pressure from the American Embassy.

American Ambassador in Honduras, Hugo Llorens, released a communiqué in which he said he felt “deeply outraged” by the alleged racist statements from Ortez Colindres. Ortez Colindres said in the television show “Frente a Frente” of Televicentro Network that Obama was “a Negrito who did not know where Tegucigalpa [Honduras’ capital city] was”.

Llorens interpreted the word Negrito as a racist and derogatory term.

(Negrito means in Spanish “black boy”, with different connotations).

We Hondurans are not obsessed with racial issues and political correctness the way Americans are. The word “Negrito” is not necessarily racist. Therefore there was no reason to feel “deeply outraged”. These statements were given before Ortez was sworn as Foreign Minister.

However, one might object that having said that Obama “does not know where Tegucigalpa is” is demeaning, because it is like saying that Obama is an ignorant fool.

But it is not. It is a fact that many Americans do not know where Honduras is, and can not locate it on the map. And this happens to Americans of all colors, it is not a racial issue.

What Ortez Colindres meant is that we Hondurans can not expect America to solve all our problems, and we must take our responsibility to save our motherland. This is certainly a message that many people from the Left can identify with.

I do not know if Hugo Llorens sympathizes with Chavismo. I hope not, but his interpretation of the comments from Ortez Colindres has served to Ortez’s unfair denigration, and to denigrate this interim government, which is not a de facto government, or military government, as is maliciously repeated.

Enrique Ortez Colindres is a career diplomat who studied in France. He is around eighty years old, but is full of energy and good humor, with all the intention of serving his country. Ortez Colindres was an adviser to the former president Manuel Zelaya, of which he is relative. He was the first to denounce his plans for continuism.

Why was Manuel Zelaya expelled to Costa Rica?

On Sunday morning of June 28, the then president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was taken by force by a group of soldiers who put him on a plane and sent him to Costa Rica.

They had received an arrest warrant in order to put him at the orders of Honduran legal authorities; however, what they did was to send him to Costa Rica.

How is this justified? Was this not illegal? Who gave the order to send him to Costa Rica?

According to Colonel Herberth Inestroza Bayardo, legal adviser of the Armed Forces, the decision to send him to Costa Rica was taken by the Armed Forces. They disobeyed the court order even though they knew they were committing a felony: “We know there’s a felony. At the time we took him out of the country there was a felony”. However, this decision was taken to prevent a tragedy in Honduras. “If we had left him here we would now be burying a lot of people.” “What was more beneficial, to take this man out of Honduras or to take him to the Public Ministry where a mob would storm, burn and destroy, forcing us to shoot at them?”

This decision was made based on the legal principle of necessity, which states that is best to choose a lesser evil. This principle is “a defense in the Criminal Code, article 24.” The military hoped legal authorities will know of these circumstances, and then “we will have a justification and a defense that will protect us.”

This being so, there is no sign of a military coup. The military took a decision based on justice.

See interview at elfaro.net.

Media blackout for supporters of Zelaya

While international media is almost unanimously condemning the alleged coup in Honduras, supporters of ousted President Manuel Zelaya can not freely express their opposition.

Since Sunday early hours, June 28, when Zelaya was forcibly taken out of the country, most media were removed from the air, and cut the electricity supply throughout the country. The power came back minutes before noon, and the main source of news at the time was CNN, which was broadcasting large amounts of misinformation about Honduras from the start.

Channels of Televicentro Corporation and Channel 10, owned by Wong Rodrigo Arevalo, were soon on the air. Other channels took more time to start broadcasting.

Channel 11, owned by Jaime Rosenthal started broadcasting yesterday.

Even today there are stations that are not normally broadcasting.

Today I was listening to Radio Globo, a station that has been characterized by his defense of Zelaya’s government and his project for reforming the constitution. At one o’clock were (un) informing the journalists David Romero Ellner and Ariela Caceres, calling to disregard the new authorities and raise popular insurrection, when they were removed quickly from the air. It is said that the journalist Eduardo Maldonado, strong supporter of Zelaya, who participated in past internal elections , has taken refuge at the American Embassy. Also fleeing is the journalist Esdras Amado Lopez, also in favor of Zelaya.

The law prohibits calls to make an insurrection against the government. This should not be interpreted necessarily as a repressive action of the new government. The law has always prohibited open insurrection. However, some people have opined in favor of Zelaya discreetly in the media, but media can not have an editorial line openly in favor of former authorities.

However, many people have heard the broadcasting of CNN en Espanol on the crisis in Honduras, which is considered highly uninformed and misinformator. It’s particularly unfortunate the emphasis that what happened here was a military coup, when never the military have held power in Honduras, not even for a moment. What we have in Honduras is a civilian government.

CNN has exaggerated the sympathy Zelaya may have in Honduras. It was said that thousands of people had rushed to the streets to support Zelaya, which is not true. The opposite is true: Thousands of people attended yesterday downtown Tegucigalpa to support the new administration.

The media blackout of the early hours of the abrupt change of government has faded, and today the flow of information is almost normal. Today we have heard several people in local media defending Zelaya.

Honduras against the world

Ladies and gentlemen of the international community:

Honduras is a small country but with dignity.

We condemn the intervention to surrender the Constitutional Government of Honduras led by Roberto Micheletti. You have no right to impose your views on how to govern this country. Respect our right to self-determination.

Honduras is a country of laws. The constitutional order is not broken. If there was an imposed reinstallation of Zelaya in Presidency that would be a breach of constitutional order.

We are not going to be cornered with threats of isolation. Stop asking us to dialogue with Mr. Zelaya, We exhausted all opportunities of dialogue with Mr. Zelaya. This is the reason of his unfortunate outcome. Mr. Zelaya is a very stubborn person.

You ignore the administrative chaos left by Mr. Zelaya. The damage of this administration was worse than a hurricane. We prefer to suffer international isolation for the remaining seven months until a new elected government before Zelaya’s return as a hurricane to leave our country in ruins.

Mr. Zelaya wanted to impose the twenty-first century totalitarianism through a new constitution drawn up according to his whims. We prefer to be a little poorer than slaves of Hugo Chavez.

This was a Coup, ladies and gentlemen

Despite what new Honduran authorities say, what happened yesterday was a coup.

It’s obvious. President Zelaya was quiet sleeping at home, soldiers came with an alleged court order, and within minutes he is flying exiled to Costa Rica.

He didn’t received the due process. There is no law stating a procedure like this to defenestrate a president. This expulsion was illegal. Period.

It is paradoxical that those flying the flag of the law against Zelaya now make use of illegality to expel him.

Update

I correct, this is not a coup. If Zelaya tries to return home he will be captured and tried for treason. My best wishes for the constitutional government of Roberto Micheletti.

Coup d’Etat in Honduras

Former president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, having confronted various sectors of the country, has been taken out of the country yesterday by force.

Early morning, elements of the Armed Forces forcibly entered the house of the former president , neutralizing his security team, putting him in the presidential plane and sending him to San Jose, Costa Rica, where he was received by President Oscar Arias.

There Zelaya claimed he had received a coup d’Etat.

Yesterday Sunday it was intended to conduct a popular consultation that the judiciary had ruled illegal. This consultation was designed to legitimize the call for a Constituent Assembly which the current Constitution deems illegal. The military had gone to arrest the president with a court order.

In early hours of the morning there were power outages throughout the country and many radio and television stations left the air. Information was scarce, even in Radio America, which was one of the few stations that were transmitting.

In the morning, in an urgent session of Congress, was read a document signed by Manuel Zelaya in which he resigned as president. However, in Costa Rica Zelaya said he had not resigned.

In the afternoon, the National Congress decided to destitute the president for a number of irregular acts executed by the president, whom disobeyed court orders regarding this popular consultation. Soon Roberto Micheletti, former president of the Congress, was invested as new constitutional president of the Republic, because according to the Constitution, he was in order to take the presidency, being vacant this position.

Also, Congress proceeded to call as new president of Congress Jose Saavedra and as Secretary Carlos Lara.

Today the new president has appointed Enrique Ortez Colindres as Foreign Minister, Lionel Sevilla as Secretary of Defense and Gabriela Nunez as head of the Secretariat of Finance.

Lack of information

Many people did not know what was happening. Even today there are doubts in the air. False rumors spread quickly. It was said this was a coup d’Etat launched by the military, however, the fact that civil authorities have taken power in the nation denies this.

In Costa Rica former President Zelaya was devoted to misinform and lie about what had happened, taking advantage of the ignorance of the local known facts of the political crisis in Honduras in the international community. Former president Zelaya stubbornly continued with his confrontation campaign that threatened to make the blood run in the country, and led to this unexpected outcome we all wanted to avoid.

The international community echoed the president’s claims, and strongly condemned the supposed coup. One of the main challenges of the new president Micheletti will face is the possibility of international isolation.

Was it Coup or not?

The new authorities deny this has been a coup, they assure the constitutional order is intact, functioning in the three branches mandated by the Constitution: Legislative, Executive and Judicial.

What happened yesterday was allegedly not a coup d’Etat but a constitutional succession. All constitutional guarantees remain in force.

Hugo Chavez has warned yesterday he does not recognize this government, which he says will be overthrown.