Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Grand theft, nation. Honduras under criminal rule.

Posted by Charles II on July 4, 2009

Bringing democracy to Honduras. Snipers in the Tegucigalpa airport control tower.

TeleSur TV

Al Giordano reports:

General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, who appeared on stage this week with Honduran coup “president” Roberto Michiletti, and who ordered the kidnapping and forced deportation of P resident Manuel Zelaya last Sunday, was charged with grand auto theft in 1993, Narco News has learned.

and also:

There, he [Micheletti] announced that his coup “government” of Honduras is withdrawing from the Democratic Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS). The Friday night press conference was meant to preempt this morning’s OAS meeting in Washington (at which various heads of state, including Presidents Cristina Kirchner of Argentina and Rafael Correa of Ecuador deemed important enough to attend) where the OAS will surely expel the Honduras coup regime for its flagrant violations of said Democratic Charter. Thus, the late Friday night press conference to say “You can’t fire us! We quit!”

The Honduras coup’s behavior virtually assures that come Monday, the US government will define it as a “military coup,” triggering a cut off of US aid, joining the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, PetroCaribe, the UN and the rest of the world in withdrawing economic support for the coup regime. (The US had already put all funds on “pause” this week, so the boycott has already begun and merely awaits formal moves to become permanent.)

This is very significant because of Honduras’ annual $3.5 billion budget, $2.3 billion – 65 percent – comes from those foreign sources.

TelesurTV says that the Pentagon was behind the coup. According to Aporrea, Eva Golinger says US interests financed the coup (Update: Here is a better link to a KPFK interview). She also says that the military base is a major consideration for the US.

Update: I forgot to mention that Honduras withdrew from the OAS. At DK, Betson08 contextualizes this.

11 Responses to “Grand theft, nation. Honduras under criminal rule.”

  1. If the US was behind the “coup,” then I doubt the US will want to cut off aid.

  2. Charles II said

    As I wrote to NarcoNews, the US government is not unitary. The Obama Administration has been reasonably responsive to objecting the coup. The Pentagon often thinks it is above the law. And US corporations and right-wing organizations very regularly act lawlessly in foreign interventions.

  3. I think you should also check out the Wikipedia article on this unfolding situation. It is a disputed article of course and you should take it with as many grains of salt as appropriate, but it does appear to support my understanding at the present time. Of course you don’t think that English language media is reliable at all on this subject, I take it.

  4. Charles II said

    Actually, the Wikipedia article states that only the pseudo-government claims that he was arrested in accord with the constitution; it says that many governments have refuted that and described it as a coup. So, your claim that “It appears that the arrest of president Zelaya was legal…” is not even supported by Wikipedia. That leaves the assertion that “He was subversive of the Honduras constitution.” Wikipedia labels that a theory.

    So, no, I don’t think that even Wikipedia supports your assertions.

    And, yes, I do think that an article that relies on the Wall Street Journal for its description of how the crisis evolved requires a lot of salt.

  5. Goodness, Charles, the second paragraph makes it perfectly clear: “The constitutional crisis was sparked when Zelaya’s referendum was ruled illegal by Honduras’s Supreme Court, attorney general, top electoral body, and human-rights ombudsman. Zelaya nonetheless unlawfully directed the Army Chief, in contravention to Honduran law and its Constitution, to distribute ballots in accordance with its role in lawfully assisting the Government of Honduras with conducting lawful elections (which the referendum was not lawful). After Army chief Romeo Vásquez Velásquez refused to distribute ballots, Zelaya unlawfully dismissed him from office. The dismissal was declared illegal by courts and the parliament. On June 28, 2009, shortly before polls were due to open for the poll, the armed forces deposed Zelaya. Roberto Micheletti, the speaker of parliament and next in the presidential line of succession, was sworn in as President by the National Congress.”

    But of course you can draw whatever conclusions you like, and the article will continue to evolve.

  6. Charles II said

    Michael says, “Goodness, Charles, the second paragraph makes it perfectly clear.”

    Look at the reference, Michael. It’s sourced to the WSJ. The one that I specifically said should be taken with a grain of salt. Especially since Jose de Cordoba makes it clear he is in the Chavez-Castro-Zelaya conspiracy theorist camp, in which the elections of leftists in Latin America has nothing to do with wretched wages and displacement from ancestral land, and everything to do with the omnipotence and demonic nature of Fidel and Hugo. And now Zelaya, who is a wealthy businessman.

    This is how we get lied to. We don’t have a clear understanding of what conflicts of interests sources may have. We don’t ask who is telling us what. We don’t qualify our information according to source. And we don’t ask if what they are telling us adds up.

    Added: This is how Clark and Figueroa at McClatchy describes the seizure of power…

    Zelaya was ousted in a predawn raid at his home last Sunday after he vowed to defy a court order and hold a nonbinding referendum that day on whether an assembly should be called to rewrite the constition. He was bundled aboard a plane and flown to Costa Rica. The Supreme Court and Honduras’ Congress later endorsed the military’s move, though it skirted other steps that could have been taken to remove Zelaya from office.

    Without ruling on whether either de Cordoba’s account or Clark and Figueroa’s account is accurate, notice how different this version is with regard to the legal niceties (it would be nice if their editor hadn’t mangled Micheletti’s name).

  7. McClatchy’s description sounds more balanced, I agree. It still appears to me that Zelaya was attempting to seize unconstitutional power. It appears to me that the other lawfully constituted branches of Honduran government deposed him. It appears that the military is used in Honduras for election related matters, which concerns me but is nonetheless consistent with Honduran law. It does not appear that there was a lawful basis to remove Zelaya from the country.

  8. Charles II said

    You’re certainly welcome to your opinion and certainly if you come up with any evidence that Zelaya was attempting to seize power unconstitutionally (as opposed to committing an act of civil disobedience to highlight the fact that Honduras is and has long been a de facto dictatorship), I would be happy to hear it.

    I should point out that the opinion of a reporter, whether from the WSJ or from McClatchy does not constitute evidence. Evidence is an observable and testable fact from a reasonably reliable source– for which I’m very open-minded, BTW. I just don’t like including forged resignations, for example, as “evidence.”

  9. You call firing the head of the army and defying the supreme court an act of civil disobedience? I guess it is a matter of perspective after all.

  10. Here is the bottom line: We agree (I think) Zelaya should be returned to Honduras. There is an arrest warrant issued, as I understand. So if he returns he will be arrested, and he will not be reinstated. That’s just a fact, unless someone wants to invade Honduras.

  11. My opinion for what it is worth is that presidents do not get to engage in “civil disobedience.”

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