Via Adrienne, the conscious involvement of the US in the establishment of a dictatorship in Honduras has been unmasked by Wikileaks. This cable from US Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens was published in El Pais:
1. (C) Summary: Post has attempted to clarify some of the legal and constitutional issues surrounding the June 28 forced removal of President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya. The Embassy perspective is that there is no doubt that the military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired on June 28 in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch, while accepting that there may be a prima facie case that Zelaya may have committed illegalities and may have even violated the
constitution. There is equally no doubt from our perspective that Roberto Micheletti’s assumption of power was illegitimate. Nevertheless, it is also evident that the constitution itself may be deficient in terms of providing clear procedures for dealing with alleged illegal acts by the President and resolving conflicts between the branches of government. End summary.
2. (U) Since the June 28 removal and expulsion of President Zelaya by the Honduran armed forces, the Embassy has consulted Honduran legal experts (one cannot find a fully unbiased professional legal opinion in Honduras in the current politically charged atmosphere) and reviewed the text of the Honduran Constitution and its laws to develop a better understanding of the arguments being parlayed by the coup’s supporters and opponents.
Arguments of the Coup Defenders
3. (SBU) Defenders of the June 28 coup have offered some combination of the following, often ambiguous, arguments to assert it’s legality:
– Zelaya had broken the law (alleged but not proven);
– Zelaya resigned (a clear fabrication);
– Zelaya intended to extend his term in office
– Had he been allowed to proceed with his June 28 constitutional reform opinion poll, Zelaya would have
dissolved Congress the following day and convened a constituent assembly (supposition);
– Zelaya had to be removed from the country to prevent a bloodbath;
– Congress “unanimously” (or in some versions by a 123-5 vote) deposed Zelaya; (after the fact and under the cloak of secrecy); and
– Zelaya “automatically” ceased to be president the moment he suggested modifying the constitutional prohibition on presidential reelection.
4. (C) In our view, none of the above arguments has any substantive validity under the Honduran constitution. Some are outright false. Others are mere supposition or ex-post rationalizations of a patently illegal act. Essentially:
– the military had no authority to remove Zelaya from the country;
– Congress has no constitutional authority to remove a Honduran president;
– Congress and the judiciary removed Zelaya on the basis of a hasty, ad-hoc, extralegal, secret, 48-hour process;
– the purported “resignation” letter was a fabrication and was not even the basis for Congress’s action of June 28; and
– Zelaya’s arrest and forced removal from the country violated multiple constitutional guarantees, including the
prohibition on expatriation, presumption of innocence and right to due process.
According to DK poster m16eib, Wikileaks has requested:
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Blogged at DK. Lord, give me patience for dealing with some of the Kossacks, who simply refuse to read the detailed analysis I prepared before telling me that there’s no evidence of US involvement in the coup.
Note to self: Relevant US law forbidding the provision of aid to a country in which there has been a military coup is HR 2764