Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Honduras Coup, Act V, Day 39

Posted by Charles II on November 28, 2009


(Image from Honduras Resists via HondurasOye)
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Update: I missed this. Rodolfo Pastor Fasquelle has a piece, The joke and the jokers: Old Hawk Diplomacy and Multilateralism, in which he speaks frankly.

He calls out the game that the US has played:

Someone has to say it to the American people. The people of Honduras feel betrayed by the United States government and resent the bad joke played by American diplomats at its expense. We were led to believe first that the US government sympathized with our plight, only to discover gradually that it is willing to back and whitewash the dictatorship imposed on us. It is not a personal impression; the jokers have names and faces, which we will take note of and remember. Nor is it a matter only of declarations. The facts that speak for themselves, and are of, as yet, unknown but almost certainly terrible consequences

Radio Globo: A soldier died in a truck accident. Military established a cordon around Gijuatepeque (sp?) (El Paraiso?) searching for election materials and arms. They invaded the center of a resistance group. They didn’t present an order, so it was illegal.

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Radio Globo has a long interview with a colonel regarding youths who were injured, but I’m pretty busy and can’t follow it well. Popular groups from El Salvador and Guatemala (Aguacaliente) have seized the highway and customs posts to block traffic to or from their countries in sympathy with the resistance. Luis Galdamez: the bloodbath at the checkpoint is a “verguenza” for the people. Three youths who didn’t respond to the police order to stop have been injured and are in the Hospital Escuela (the first report was of deaths) in the Sector Sor (?). Zelaya says the society has reverted to the law of the jungle, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth and that the resistance must not stain its hands by supporting the dictatorship by voting. Zelaya mentions a letter by British politicians urging the US not to recognize the elections. The people must stay in state. Then the interview moves over to STIBYS (the Beverage Workers). Now an Amnesty International Report by Javier Zuniga: There are people dead, people wounded, and people jailed. But there are other violations: Freedom expression, movement, association.Threats and menacing. The atmosphere is not propitious for an election. We have had access to some official documents showing purchases of gas grenades and have seen the grenades. They can cause death at short range. Tanks which dispense high pressure water can injure people. The announcer says that that the “observers” are from the Chamber of Commerce and private enterprise, but no observers from governments.

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38 Responses to “Honduras Coup, Act V, Day 39”

  1. Here is the letter to which President Zelaya refers.

  2. Myles SG said

    I am starting to think that as a rule post-Honduras (the U.S. can’t extricate itself at this stage), if some Latin American general is too trigger happy, well, unless he accepts Russian missile installations then we really have no business intervening. Much more important things for the U.S. to deal with than Latin American farces. For example, NATO and the EU. Smoothing out the road for the remaining Eastern European countries to enter the EU and NATO is a lot more important as a diplomatic matter than mediating between people who clearly can’t stand each other. I mean, f*** it, I can’t imagine a single f***ing time U.S. involvement in the messes that happens in the place leading to good results.

    It’s a completely untenable position. The right wing in Latin America expect the U.S. to be their boundless, unquestioning benefactor, while the left-wing either makes up insane conspiracy theories or in this case demands actions that are not diplomatically possible; i.e. for the U.S. to intercede on behalf of Latin American populists in this case while clearly opposing any U.S. action that would prevent all the populists and Liberation Theology nutters (god they are noxious) form getting out of hand (i.e. Chavez, Correa). I mean, for god’s sakes, Chavez is effectively legislating opposition free speech out of existence (I don’t care how reactionary they are, free speech is free speech).

    Screw the whole lot of them.

    • Charles II said

      Perhaps you’re starting to develop some wisdom and insight on Latin America, Myles.

      I think there are things we can do, such as provide hurricane relief. Certainly reasonably-priced loans for reasonable development projects, though Venezuela is starting to do that, one of its most constructive actions. Our worst decisions come in trying decide who ought to govern others: it makes the people who don’t support our guy angry and, as you say, the ones who support him expect us to be “their boundless, unquestioning benefactor.”

  3. Myles SG said

    And yes the right wing in Latin America is heinous, but frankly, aside from the fact that the U.S. funded them during the Cold War (as a necessity; anticommunism is a a lot more important imperative than satisfying Liberation Theology nutters), at this point we don’t have anything to do with them. That isn’t really clear to them sometimes (i.e. Honduras), but I mean, I think we’ve made it sufficiently clear that we have no dogs in this fight, and if they wish to pull coups in the future, well, good luck, but won’t get assist from Uncle Sam.

    • Charles II said

      I never quite believed that the Sandinistas were going to drive up to Harlingen. Not with a lot of resistance from the Mexicans. And if they stayed away from Harlingen and the Panama Canal, who cared what they do? Bananas are not a national security issue.

      Anticommunism in Latin America was always bait for rubes, to get the taxpayer to pay for propping up United Fruit, Kennecott Copper, and other business interests. George Washington warned us against “foreign entanglements.” All empires start making commitments that they can’t sustain.

      You might be surprised just how long the United States has been propping up the Latin American right. And you might be surprised just how wrapped up in the Honduran coup we are.

      • Myles SG said

        Depends. I think the Chilean coup was probably necessary. I mean, the whole thing was just astounding. Allende was going to cause problems that were going to reverberate past Chile’s borders, and If there is any country in which we should never be having problems with communists, it’s Chile. It would have been nice had it not been Pinochet, but I don’t think anyone had a choice at that point.

        With the Sandinistas, well, you are probably right on the factual level, but they from a U.S. perspective the Contras was insurance policy. You could never play it too safe. I mean, in hindsight, it was utterly brutal, but hey, Latin American public opinion was probably down the list of top concerns during the Cold War, and it was probably useful as far as driving home the point that we were absolutely serious about Better-Dead-Than-Red (which for some reason never quite seemed to have gotten through even with Allende).

      • Myles SG said

        And yeah I know Allende wasn’t Lenin or Stalin, but he was a gratuitous headache absolutely nobody needed.

        On another note, frankly I think all the U.S. intervention didn’t mean that much on a macro level (it was mostly rooting out local hassles) until the Catholic Church started cleaning house in Latin America with Ratzinger heading the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (i.e. the Holy Office of the Inquisition) in 1981. I suspect had it not been for Ratzinger’s (non-bloody) inquisition, which made our life a lot easier, the difficulties would have been a lot more inflamed.

      • Charles II said

        Gee, Myles. It’s an even farther drive from Santiago to Harlingen than from Managua.

        And what does Chile have besides copper? A material that can be gotten all over the world.

        While we were protecting our vital national security interests (ITT and Kennecott, mostly) by murdering a legally-elected leader, the real national security threats were appearing as:

      • * a failure to keep up in manufacturing and technology, allowing the Japanese to surpass us
      • * a failure to anticipate the emergence of the oil cartel and the need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, leaving our economy vulnerable to oil shocks
      • * the importation of drugs and violence as backwash from the Vietnam War (another vital national security interest that we’ve done fine without), leading to a decade of social conflict and stagnation
      • I could go on, but you get the idea. American foreign policy has increasingly been built around a war-making model, in which we try to damage the opponent. It might work against lightly armed Plains tribesmen in a world where our oceans protect us, but it doesn’t work in the world of the 20th and 21st century. We won the Cold War not by killing Russians but by having our economy grow faster than theirs. The Chinese are winning this phase of global domination by lending us money to buy shoddily-made but cheap goods and blow up Afghan tribesmen at $100K a pop.

        Every time we kill someone or coerce someone, we make enemies. In Chile, we got 20 years of false peace and who knows how many years of enmity. In Honduras, we are throwing away everything to gain a few more years of profits from T-shirt factories, coffee, and banana plantations.

        None of those look like vital national interests to me.

      • Myles SG said

        Perhaps so. But nobody has 20/20 hindsight. Did anyone actually know if Chile wouldn’t turn into another Cuban Missile Crisis? And I mean, if any president in the past 50 years was a foreign-policy genius, it was Nixon, and even he couldn’t be sure Allende wouldn’t be a bastard. I am not sure monday-morning quarterbacking on how Nixon and Kissinger didn’t know how to run foreign policy isn’t exactly a little absurd. Monday-quarterback Reagan all you want, but hold it back on Nixon and Kissinger.

        And the whole Japanese thing is absurd. What appeared to be the Japanese miracle turned out to be an unending 1% annual recession since 1990 or so, despite exceeding the U.S. in engineering and science. Given that Japanese incomes have way fallen relative to U.S. incomes, it’s a puzzling argument.

      • Myles SG said

        And I think, quite aside from national interests and all that, the U.S. had a moral duty to defend the world from communism. You might not agree with that; that’s fine. But that’s how the setup was back then, and I suspect a good number of postwar senators who ever sat on the foreign policy committee would have gladly traded some national interests to obtain a swifter victory against communism.

      • Charles II said

        Myles asks, “Did anyone actually know if Chile wouldn’t turn into another Cuban Missile Crisis?”

        Nobody knows whether the Vogons won’t show up to demolish the earth for an intergalactic bypass. But the fact that the Russians lost the Cuban Missile Crisis might have made them pause. Not to mention that the fact that it’s roughly 2000 miles from Chile to a major American city and about the same from Russian territory, so it wouldn’t make much difference in the balance of terror.

        The Japanese miracle involved going from a bombed-out moonscape to a major competitor in 30 years. Pooh-poohing that is how we became a trade-deficit nation.

        As for the United States defending the world against communism, my concept of defense does not extend to overruling elections in which people freely choose who they want as their leaders. If people are not free to make mistakes, they aren’t free at all.

    • Myles SG said

      The factual arguments are supportable (although really not convincing), but why do I get the persistent sense that you would have been one of those people who during the world would have it thought quite acceptable to accommodate communism on a permanent basis? I mean, you can make lots of decent arguments about why we ought not have done X or Y, but you didn’t exactly come up with superior alternatives. It’s all fine to argument that the Chileans had a democratic right to communism (not really at all; philosophically the majority has no right to vote away the inalienable natural rights of the minority, which includes security of person and property; they can’t really even vote away their own rights), but what exactly was the coherent plan to defeat communism, coming from those who opposed Kissingerian realism? None really, except for unilateral nuclear disarmament and dialogue. (i.e. the Labour platform in 1983)

      Now of course we are in a different place with regard to Honduras, because right now it’s just a soap opera, and the distinctions between the right and the left are not large enough to pose any threat to liberalism and capitalism. But it is distressing to see people who advocate reasonably supportable positions on Latin America of today being the same people who would have advanced completely irresponsible positions in regard to the Soviet menace. What, turn back and sit on our hands while the Soviets took over the world?

      Which is why I find the Zelaya situation so intriguing. That we are still being tangled up in Latin American affairs, when its importance to world security receded in 1991, is astonishing. And that a lot of people can’t see that at this point, we have made our point loud and clear, and there really is no particular point for the U.S. to advocate on behalf of Zelaya anymore (he’s turning into a fruitcake for god’s sakes), is terrible. Right-wingers in Latin America should have gotten the message that America doesn’t stand behind them (America’s links in Honduras don’t carry enough official endorsement to make it stick), and let’s not overdo it. Last thing we need is Chavez triumphalism and then having to come back AGAIN to pick a fight with Chavez.

  4. Charles II said

    I think the main difference between us, Myles, is apparently that I actually believe that representative democracy is the stronger system and (under reasonable conditions) will prevail, while you apparently believe that communism is inherently stronger. The Soviet Union collapsed of its own weight, not because we killed Russian leaders. Even the war in Afghanistan merely accelerated the date, putting additional strain on a system that was already collapsing.

    Also, I believe that the truth is stronger than any propaganda system, that as long as it has the tiniest foothold, it will eventually leaven the whole loaf, as the gospel says.

    I also believe that only people allowed to control their own destiny are free, and that anything else is just one more form of authoritarianism.

    You seem fearful of communism as if it were the only form of authoritarianism. But there are many forms of authoritarianism. China is living proof that communism and Gilded Age capitalism are much more alike than different: if a small group of people controls the majority of wealth, they are able to stifle the basic functions of democracy, whether or not they sell shares.

    The United States is in danger of becoming an authoritarian society. All kinds of warning bells are going off in terms of press concentration, government abuse of the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments, decline in participation in elections, polarization of wealth, corruption, (and on and on and on).

    I am concerned first with the United States. It is my native land. I am a citizen. I can do something about it. It is in danger, not from an outside threat, but from corruption and a loss of the vision of representative democracy.

    Some guy in a small, poor country a thousand miles away… it’s just a lot harder to take it seriously as a threat.

    As for what our actions in Honduras have done… I would say that they have accelerated the collapse of the American empire. As one of the nearly 300 million people who would end up under the rubble, that’s not something I look forward to.

    • As Marx envisioned it, communism was the end result of a centuries-long sociopolitical evolution in a given culture. For communism to work out at all in a society, that society had to have put a few centuries’ worth of increasingly democratic and capitalistic experience between it and feudalism. That’s why Marx wanted to see it tried in England first, as they had been working on this since the time of the Magna Carta. By contrast, Russia’s early efforts at parliamentary democracy were quashed by Peter the Great and stayed quashed right up to the time of the 1905 revolution, and China didn’t even have that much experience with the form. So it’s no wonder that when two authoritarian nations tried communism, it took on an authoritarian form, by golly.

      • Charles II said

        I think the fundamental flaw in Marxism is deeper than that, PW. Granted that any economic system would work if run by angels, and no economic system can work if run by devils. Still, I think that the flaw with Marxism is inherent. Russia was certainly autocratic, but Cuba had had some experience of democracy, as had most of Eastern Europe. The USSR was much more repressive than either Cuba or East Germany, but it had a longer time and a more fertile environment in which to become that way.

        The basic idea of Marxism is that “the people” control the means of production. First, it’s not clear that it’s even possible for human planning to set sensible production targets independent of the information that price signals provide.

        Second, and probably more to the point, which people control? Are we going to set production targets by vote, and if so, is it everyone who votes? The workers in a production facility? A committee of bureaucrats?

        The end result in every society that has tried communism has ended up under authoritarian rule and, as a result, most of them have committed mass murder to hang on to power. Sure, most of them were basket cases before they became communist. And communist rule in most of them did accomplish some things, like better opportunities for women, higher literacy, and better medical care. But the general rule was that the societies showed more economic growth at the start, when everyone was inspired by the ideas of equal opportunity, sharing, helping one another, and so on that communism espouses. As the reality set in that there would be a small group of people who enjoyed the fruits of the sacrifices of the rest, growth fell.

        What’s happening in much of Latin America is confused by most Americans for communism, but it’s based in ideas of indigenous people about community: that the community has to hold in check individualism when it becomes destructive, that natural resources on which everybody depends are community property, that there’s a responsibility to care for one another and for the environment. I don’t think it works at levels of human organization higher than villages, but people should be free to try it. Certainly a capitalistic system in which most people feel alienated from the political system, in which unemployement and underemployment is chronically high, and which may be about to destroy life on the planet through letting shills for oil companies overrule scientists cannot claim to have a lock on wisdom.

  5. “The end result in every society that has tried communism has ended up under authoritarian rule and, as a result, most of them have committed mass murder to hang on to power.”

    Well, aside from Sweden, France, the UK, places like that. Then again, those places used their democratic traditions to dial back a lot of what Marx prescribed into the more democracy-friendly variant of communism called “socialism”.

    • Charles II said

      None of those countries have adopted communism. They practice democratic socialism, which is as far from communism as laissez faire is from mixed market capitalism.

      There’s a very clear line between communism and democratic socialism, much as the right would like to blur the two together. Democratic socialism limits state control to those activities in which there is an overriding state interest. This can occur because there is a market failure, as with medical insurance, or just because something is too important to leave to private industry.

      We do it with certain defense activities without thinking anything of it. Likewise highways. In America’s heyday, we did it with many other things: mail, public health, some utilities, etc. Now, ideological extremism has forced efficient public sector functions to be replaced by expensive private sector functions. Americans used to be pragmatic, doing things this way or that way because they worked.

      Other countries see their phone systems, their railroads, their water utilities, or their electric power as too important to privatize.

      But not one democratic socialist country wants the state to manufacture consumer goods, deliver hairdresser services, or any of countless other activities that the market delivers better.

      • Myles SG said

        There has to be a quip somewhere about democratic socialism being an a contradiction in words. Can’t recall if it was Hayek or something.

    • Myles SG said

      And seriously, we haven’t sunk so low as to advocating communism of all things? Is Phoe. Wom. even thinking about what she’s writing?

      George Orwell thereby turns in his grave. Although he was a soi-disant democratic socialist.

      It’s especially intriguing that he thought England was going to be democratic-socialist. The reason Labourist socialism got as far as it did was partially because the British middle class didn’t really see losses in domestic politics as being terminal; it could always immigrate (and did). It wasn’t until the loss of Rhodesia, when it set in that there was no escape from England however awful and ghastly it was to get, that, to use the trope, their lifeboats were discovered to have burnt down on the shores.

      • Oh, grow up and stop the cherry-picking and word-twisting, Myles. Are you seriously claiming that Sweden and the UK are Soviet Russia?

        Charles, is Myles the Lying Cherry-Picker worth keeping around? Maybe as an example of dishonest argument-makers, but otherwise I can’t see any reason for it. Your call.

    • Charles II said

      Anyone reasonably polite and reasonably responsive should in my opinion be welcome, PW.

      I do feel that I have explained the reasons why I think that the coup in Honduras was A Very Bad Idea that will hurt the United States and the Honduran people most of all, and will enable the Honduran oligarchy in their own self-destruction. And that should be enough. If Myles disagrees, he could supply me with facts to change my mind or agreed to disagree, but so far he has not. Instead, we have drifted off into Chile, Marxism, and now Hayek, topics about which I have little interest.

      Myles, please focus on the topic at hand, and address the substantive points I have raised for over 4 months:
      * It’s illegal to deprive a person of statehood (which is the effect of deporting Zelaya)
      * The removal of Zelaya violated Honduran law
      * By associating itself with a plainly illegal action, the US government has weakened its influence
      * Even viewed from a completely amoral, realpolitik standpoint, the cost to the United States of embracing illegal actions is greater than the cost of allowing its ideological opponents to remain in office

      Things like this are the topics that this forum is designed to discuss. When we get too far off-topic, there’s a danger of flame wars.

      • Myles SG said

        Well, I don’t actually disagree with you. I am simply saying that at this point we move on and get over it. What are we going to do at this stage in time? Say that election results are not valid and they have to do a Zelaya-approved do-over? Abstention, for all I care, does not invalidate an election, and by abstaining Zelaya’s supporters simply indicated their non-support of the Honduran constitutional process, and taken themselves, so to speak, out of the constitutional ring. If you don’t want to vote, well then, there is no reason to consider your opinion, however justified and sanctified you think your non-voting is.

        Just because Sinn Fein refused to take their seats in Parliament, doesn’t meant Parliament doesn’t get to function without them. You don’t vote, your opinions don’t matter. That at least is a valid democratic principle.

      • Myles SG said

        Although it’s farcical that Micheletti claimed 60% turnout when it is clearly impossible. But his stupidity does not invalidate the fact that you can’t claim to be upholding constitutional government when you don’t even vote, and in any case even if you were able to stake a reasonable claim on such grounds, your non-participation does not trump anything else. Your non-participation matters to you and yourself alone. No vote, no power. I don’t care how many people support Zelaya, if they don’t vote, the right answer is, they should have no power.

      • Charles II said

        Myles says, “I am simply saying that at this point we move on and get over it. What are we going to do at this stage in time? Say that election results are not valid and they have to do a Zelaya-approved do-over?”

        1. It’s not our election to get over. It’s the Honduran people’s and about half of them regarded it as illegitimate.

        2. What is required for an acceptable election is (a) for the military to be back in their barracks and for the police to stop collecting names of people to target for political crimes, (b) for the death squad-linked Colombian paramilitary troops to go home, (c) for opposition media to be allowed to operate. That includes restoring their smashed and stolen equipment, (d) for the siege on the Brazilian embassy to be lifted, and for Zelaya to be allowed to leave without fear of arrest. At an appropriate time, an international tribunal should hear the charges against him, (e) for slush funds to the major parties to be eliminated; one of the major complainst of the resistance was that national funds were being poured into campaigns, and they had evidence to support this, (e) for those who conducted the coup to apologize to the international community for creating this senseless uproar, and (f) for the nomination process and process to register candidates to be repeated. One of the problems of the election was that candidates had been nominated and registered prior to the coup, meaning that a key piece of information necessary to select leaders was missing when they were selected.

        My opposition to the coup was never based on Zelaya. It was based on the disruption of international law, and the very bad precedent it creates for wanna-be dictators.

      • Myles SG said

        “One of the problems of the election was that candidates had been nominated and registered prior to the coup, meaning that a key piece of information necessary to select leaders was missing when they were selected.”

        I believe it’s the opposite. As the candidates were there before coup and will be there after the coup government, the coup does not materially affect the candidates and their platforms.

        You could perhaps make a theoretical argument that the pre-selected candidate slate disallowed the people from voting AGAINST the coup and in disapproval of it, but given how messy it is already I don’t think we want to even go there. If we had an election of that sort, with full-on anti-Zelaya and pro-Zelaya candidates, the result would probably be civil war. It’s not really a problem as much as it is a blessing, because the last thing we want is Zelaya Party against Parliament, the Sequel. I can’t see how anybody could see it as being a good thing. Whatever legitimacy concerns that exist are purely secondary to this.

        The coup organizers did not do what you thought was necessary for a decent election because they were (probably irrationally) afraid that it might lead to a takeover by the Zelaya’s populist demagogues. They weren’t justified, but let’s not kid ourselves, in as polarized a country as Honduras, it would be insane to expect either side to take the plunge. Hell, the Zelaya side STILL hasn’t given up the calls for constitutional whatever, and all the left blogs, back when the accord was thought to mean something, strategized of ways to get around the explicit meaning of the accord that Zelaya’s side cannot call for constitutional change. They didn’t make it any easier for Zelaya to exit the political stage gracefully, but one gets a sneaking suspicion that Zelaya would have tried again to call some sort of constitutional convention or some such unwelcome thing, not to extend his term, but just to further his ideological goals, if he saw any chance of success (which are increased given that we have just proven he can’t be stopped vi et armis). Basically, a complete mess and nobody could trust anybody.

        It would work if both sides actually cared about constitutional government, but given that neither side actually does (Zelaya is just using it as a prop; we both know this, he would scream his head off about “authentic” people power and all that stuff the moment constitutionalism turns against him. And the coup side; well, they mounted a goddamn coup), it’s hard to see how much we can do better. We are asking the players to abide by rules they all intend to trash the moment we turn our gaze away, which we will.

      • Myles SG said

        Is the fact that a coup now is legitimized lamentable? Yes. But in many ways it is the lesser of two evils. What makes the whole thing untenable is that the right wing had turned Poujadist, and the Zelaya movement had turned Jacobinite following the coup of the Poujadists.

        The accord would actually have been a good solution. The only problem is nobody actually accepted it in their own mind. The Poujadists treated the accord like some tactical weapon to be used and disposed, and the Jacobins, well, Jacobinite professions of love for compromise can generally be taken as seriously as dogshit.

        Could the whole thing turned out a lot better if the Honduran right wing was actually reasonable and cared more about constitutionalism as they claimed they do? Yes absolutely. But they are a group that mounts coup, so let’s get real and not depend on their good behavior. Given that they aren’t honorable and have already proven themselves to be the crass autocrats they are, is it a good idea to keep stoking the Jacobin flame for another four years? No. It might not be fair, but that’s how it is.

      • Charles II said

        Myles says, “As the candidates were there before coup and will be there after the coup government, the coup does not materially affect the candidates and their platforms.”

        The majority of the people who stayed out of the election were Liberal Party members or were people who did not vote in previous elections and would have voted for independent candidate Carlos Reyes.

        Myles says, “Hell, the Zelaya side STILL hasn’t given up the calls for constitutional whatever…”

        Myles, would it surprise you to know that the whatchamacallit was a major topic of the 2005 election, that 54% of people believe one should be held to get out of the current crisis (versus 17% who think Zelaya should be exiled) and that 55% believe that a president should be able to seek re-election? (all this from the Greenberg-Quinlan-Rosner poll, which I really urge you to read and reflect on )?

        The view that you seem to have of what is going on in Honduras (Jacobins??!? As in Robespierre???! Guillotines?? Madame LaFarge and her knitting needles???!!) seems to me to be– forgive me– a bit loony. The people supporting the restoration of Zelaya, many of whom did not support him before the coup, are people with very mainstream opinions and have chosen the very difficult path of non-violence.

        So, no. Frustrating the desires of the majority of the population, no matter for the best of motives, will not result in national reconciliation. It will result in the entire population rightly concluding that the people running things are totalitarians. And the Honduran Constitution gives the people the absolute right to insurrection against such usurpers. You’re advocating a fast track to civil war.

      • Myles SG said

        What the polls indicate, and what the agreement mandated, are completely separate and unrelated things. If clear terms of treaties are jettisoned on that basis, you can trust that no treaties will survive for a month.

        Given that you would probably agree that Zelaya and his supporters view this clause as dogshit and intended to override it all along, I mean, you can’t exactly blame the right wing for feeling fidgety about stepping up to their side of the plate, given that it would be irreversible. What happened was the people who arranged the accord from abroad thought that the right wing was gonna put Zelaya back in office, and in return Zelaya is not going to re-try the gimmicks that provoked the coup in the first place. The only problem is, neither Zelaya nor Micheletti are gentlemen (not even close; both have not the slightest sense of my-word-is-my-bond), so what is essentially a gentlemen’s agreement that things will revert to status quo ante, was never enforceable. I mean, the basic goal here is to get both the coup and Zelaya out of the picture and hand it over to Pepe Lobo, who will presumably govern per status quo ante, but clearly both sides will wreak that goal the moment it gets its chance.

        So, unless you are willing to argue that the whole point of the agreement was that the coup side live up to its side of the accord’s bargain and the Zelaya side DOES NOT, with everybody pretending that Zelaya actually did, there is really no question that both sides are being complete assholes and neither deserve much admiration or support at this point.

        What people forget is that rule of law isn’t just based on rules; it’s a value system of internalising the supremacy of rules over personal views. Such a condition has not the remotest existence in either Micheletti or Zelaya.

        Heck, had Zelaya been King John, the Magna Carta would not have survived. After all, the world’s first bill of rights was signed at the point of a gun (or sword) too, wasn’t it.

      • Charles II said

        Myles says, “What the polls indicate, and what the agreement mandated, are completely separate and unrelated things. If clear terms of treaties are jettisoned on that basis, you can trust that no treaties will survive for a month. Given that you would probably agree that Zelaya and his supporters view this clause as dogshit and intended to override it all along…”

        I really don’t have any idea what you’re trying to say. Zelaya agreed in Tegucigalpa-San Jose that he would not raise the issue of a Constitutional Convention if he were restored to office.

        But in fact, the possibility he would resurrect it was always a sham issue. Only the Congress can order a Constitutional Convention. Period. The Constitution is a complete wreck on many points, but on that point it’s very clear.

        Zelaya had no way to bind his supporters not to press the issue, of course, but as a practical matter, what could they do? They didn’t control the Congress. They saw it as an issue for the 2013 elections.

        Myles says, “neither Zelaya nor Micheletti are gentlemen (not even close; both have not the slightest sense of my-word-is-my-bond), ”

        About Micheletti, I know that’s true and I can name instances (specifically, promising to form a unity government and appointing himself and his cronies; also agreeing to deliver the Accord to the Congress on October 30 for consideration but failing to convene the Congress so that it could be delivered; also the issuance of decrees suppressing freedom of the press and freedom of assembly (among other things) that are in flagrant violation of the Constitution, promising to immediately rescind them when the Congress indicated it would not play along, and then stalling on rescinding until after the military had trashed Channel 36 and shut down Radio Globo).

        By contrast, the closest that I can think of Zelaya coming to breaking his word was in promising to return to Honduras by such-and-such a day and not being able to do so… but returning a few days later. So, really, I can’t think of a case in which Zelaya meaningfully broke his word.

        I don’t know if you have heard of the Ninth Commandment, but it governs in situations like this. If you are going to make a serious accusation against someone, you should have unambiguous examples to hand. I’m waiting for you to provide them. Since you seem to be unfamiliar with basic facts like the requirement that Congress call a Constitutional Convention, may I recommend that you quickly look over my summary of the situation in Honduras (here, here, and here)?

      • Myles SG said

        I cannot make a full response right now, but I will note that this passage from your writing is interesting:

        “Zelaya wanted to fulfill the campaign rhetoric on an Asamblea Nacional Constituyente (Constitutional Convention), and was laying the framework by holding a non-binding poll to put political pressure on Congress to act. Since the power of the oligarchy requires that the political system frustrate any possible reform, this threatened their interests ”

        This is an action that would be considered wholly disreputable and unacceptable in any Anglophone country (that’s the political system I know). The people elected a Congress. The people empowered the Congress to act, as the members of Congress judged to be best, in whatever way, without interference, as the Constitution provides. If the people wished strongly the Congress to hold a constitutional convention, they would elect congressmen who share that opinion. Zelaya has absolutely no business browbeating Congress on this matter.

        As far as I am aware, Zelaya basically told his Supreme Court to fuck themselves when they told him in the strongest terms that the consulta was not permissible. Nice work.

        This is interesting:

        “Zelaya leads a group of people to the military base where the opinion survey forms are stored.”

        Had the Prime Minister in Canada done the same, he would face a vote in Parliament the same day, and be dismissed out of office by the governor general the next morning, and be thrown out of his seat in Parliament the day after. Had an American president done the same, impeachment would begin in an hour. I don’t suppose you have way of making such an action not seem thuggish? Provided, there is no impeachment mechanism, but this is appalling.

        I’m gonna keep reading.

      • Charles II said

        Myles says, “This [conducting an opinion survey] is an action that would be considered wholly disreputable and unacceptable in any Anglophone country.”

        Myles, seriously, you’re starting to worry me. Holding an opinion survey is “browbeating”?

        Let’s just say you are about four standard deviations from the average of opinion on that one.

        I have to say that for such a very polite Canadian, you use quite a lot of language that I’d be ashamed to use in public.

  6. Myles said: “There has to be a quip somewhere about democratic socialism being an a contradiction in words. Can’t recall if it was Hayek or something.”

    Thanks for outing yourself as a confirmed far-right-wing ideologue who knows nothing about communism, socialism, neoliberalism or neoconservatism, but instead worships at the feet of Lew Rockwell. Nobody outside of racist Mises Institute nutters treats Frederich von Hayek as anything but a bad joke. And yes, when I say racist, I mean it:

    Ludwig von Mises Institute

    Auburn, Ala.

    Headed up by Llewelyn Rockwell Jr., the Ludwig von Mises Institute is devoted to a radical libertarian view of government and economics inspired by the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, whom the institute says “showed that government intervention is always destructive.”

    Indeed, the institute aims to “undermine statism in all its forms,” and its recent interest in neo-Confederate themes reflects that.

    Rockwell recently argued that the Civil War “transformed the American regime from a federalist system based on freedom to a centralized state that circumscribed liberty in the name of public order.”

    Desegregation in the civil rights era, he says, resulted in the “involuntary servitude” of (presumably white) business owners. In the past, Rockwell has praised the electoral success of European neofascists like Joerg Haider in Austria and Christoph Blocher in Switzerland.

    Both Rockwell and institute research director Jeffrey Tucker are listed on the racist League of the South’s Web page as founding members — and both men deny their membership. Tucker has written for League publications, and many League members have taught at the institute’s seminars and given presentations at its conferences.

    At the recent Austrian Scholars Conference, the F.A. Hayek Memorial Lecture was delivered by Donald Livingston, director of the League’s Summer Institute. In 1994, Thomas Fleming, a founding League member and the editor of Chronicles magazine, spoke on neo-Confederate ideas to an institute conference.

    Rockwell, who is also vice president of the Center for Libertarian Studies, runs his own daily news Web site that often features articles by League members.

    • Myles SG said

      I seriously hope you were not insinuating that I am a racist. Because it sounds like what it was, guilt by association, and I am assuredly not a racist. Accusing others of personal racism when none has been demonstrated is absolutely beyond the pale in any civilized conversation.

      Having made that clear, I still find the quip a useful rejoinder to anyone who fetishizes about human equality.

      “Nobody outside of racist Mises Institute nutters treats Frederich von Hayek as anything but a bad joke.”

      Unless you are willing to substantiate the claim the Lady Thatcher was an avowed racist, I should continue considering that claim invalid. Because she was certainly a Hayekian.

    • Myles SG said

      Hold on, this is even more absurd and hysterical than I thought. You aren’t claiming that that Lee Rockwell, who seems to be a racist, coined the quip. You are basing upon my guess that Hayek might have said it (which might be in any case inaccurate), and saying that because some racist somewhere likes Hayek, thus no one else can use what Hayek said!

      Good grief! This isn’t guilt by association, this is 64-dimensional chess.

      Which raises the question, since Louis Farrakhan so approvingly quoted so many great men, then thus no one can quote those great men anymore?

    • Myles SG said

      I hope you realize how this sort of thing is exactly what makes Latin American populism seem so unattractive and incomprehensible to the rest of the world: the paranoid style, adopted by both the American right and the Latin American left.

      Oh the universality of extremism.

      • Charles II said

        It’s more like the universality of flame wars, for which, Myles, I think you bear some responsibility. If Phoenix Woman were as unreasonable as you seem to think, you would find that you were unable to post at all. So, please stay on topic and avoid gratuitous personal remarks. I predict you will find that she is well-informed and normally of an even and generous temperament.

  7. Myles SG said

    I have to say that watching as a Canadian, whose country’s politics is at least supposed to pretend to have some gentlemanliness, I am absolutely disgusted and appalled by all involved. The brazen duplicitousness on display would have stretched even Stephen Harper’s Alberta Tories, and they as a general matter are no gentlemen.

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