Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Honduras Entr’Acte (day 3)

Posted by Charles II on July 8, 2009

Al Giordano has an interesting proposal for what might be behind the coup:

Some are scratching their heads, asking, “how can it be possible that both the United States – and its allies – and Venezuela – and its allies – say they oppose this coup?”

And a related question: “What can the coup plotters be thinking that they can do without US and World Bank and PetroCaribe funds?”

The answer is that there is indeed a powerful network behind this coup. It is an attempt by a certain element of organized crime to resurrect the Batista experiment of Cuba in the 1950s – a safe haven for narco-trafficking, money laundering and right-wing terrorism in the hemisphere, with billions of dollars already in its combined coffers. That is the power behind Micheletti and his Simian Council.

I’m not convinced it is this black and white, though there is an unholy alliance between right-wingers, the oligarchs, and the narcotraffickers that makes it often difficult to see it as an alliance rather than as a unified movement. Laura Carlsen adds this interesting comment:

In other developments, Under-Sec. of State Thomas Shannon met today with former Honduran president Roberto Maduro in Washington, a coup supporter. Zelaya dismissed criticism of this meeting, saying, “Maduro is not an official of anything. They have no reason not to receive him.” He went on to question the national loyalty of an ex-president who supports a military coup. There are no reports, as of this writing, who the coup leaders, virtually orphaned among the international diplomatic community, were able to meet with. Rumors of the involvement of rightwing former diplomats and conservative non-governmental institutions in the coup have been cropping up repeatedly in recent days, prompting calls for investigation.

Secretary Clinton’s intervention to get Zelaya and the coupistas to negotiate has had the effect of confusing the opposition to the coup, who are now trying to decide how they should respond. Shipments of Venezuelan petroleum have been cut off, though doubtless smugglers will make it available at a higher price.

Kristin Bricker, Narconews:

It has been widely reported that Zelaya was pushing for a new Constitution so that he could run for a second term in office. Honduras’ Constitution currently prohibits presidents from running for a second term. However, as Narco News reported on June 27, it was Zelaya opponents, not Zelaya himself, who raised the issue of re-election in a new Constitution. Zelaya has never said that he would seek re-election; on the contrary, he has repeatedly stated that his term ends on January 27, 2010, when his current term expires.

Given this widespread confusion regarding Zelaya’s true intentions in the June 28 opinion poll, the AP’s report that the State Department might want Zelaya to agree to “drop his aspirations for a constitutional change that might allow him to run for another term” can be read two ways:

1. That he may have to add a clause to any future attempt to re-write the Constitution prohibiting changes to the current Constitution’s article that bars presidents from running for re-election. Or
2. That he may have to completely drop his campaign to re-write the Constitution.

This would be ridiculous. We have a saying that no Congress can bind any future Congress. Circumstances change, and laws must change with them. To try to fix a law in stone by threatening those who would like to amend it is to guarantee that at some future date, there will be an overthrow of the law when its consequences become insufferable.

10 Responses to “Honduras Entr’Acte (day 3)”

  1. No congress can bind a future congress by statute, but constitutional provisions bind all congresses, presidents and courts. The US constitution cannot be amended by the president, the congress or the judiciary. It can only be amended by a process, which may be initiated in the state legislatures or the congress, but which must in any case be ratified by the states, in conformity with amendment provisions. And such an amendment process cannot be initiated by the president, by the way.

  2. Charles II said

    Yeah, if I were defending a coup that has been condemned by the whole world, I wouldn’t want to talk about how selectively the coupistas have guarded the sacred Constitution. Anyway.

    Mike says, “It [the Constitution] can only be amended by a process…”

    And the coupistas are claiming that that there is no process possible, thereby attempting to bind every Honduran government to the end of time.

    But of course, it was they who claimed that Zelaya was attempting to change the provision preventing re-election, an assertion for which there is no external fact to support it. And evidence mounts that the coup was planned before Zelaya even mentioned the referendum.

  3. I didn’t say anything about the Honduras constitution, by the way. My comment here was pertaining to the US constitution.

    • Charles II said

      But oddly the topic of the thread is the Honduran constitution.

      • Except that you made reference to a saying in this country that Congress cannot bind any future Congress. Hence my reply that the Constitution does indeed bind all branches of government in the future unless amended.

      • Charles II said

        Then your comment makes no sense, since (as you said) Constitutional Amendments are not ratified by Congress. Thus, it is not one Congress binding another, but the people binding all Congresses.

        Unless the people change their minds.

      • Then your post makes no sense, Charles. If the Honduran people want to change their constitution they can amend it where it is amendable. If they want to replace their constitution they can have a constitutional convention or revolution. That’s how it works.

        It is not for the president to do, or lead. Such is dangerous even when it is legal. If Barack Obama proposed a constitutional convention, I’d be very concerned.

      • Charles II said

        The Honduran process requires someone to propose a Constitutional Convention and get the process started. Nothing in the Honduran Constitution forbids the president from being that person.

        Hondurans seem to be a lot more concerned about having their will to have a Constitutional Convention thwarted than by the vague concerns you express. People have been in the streets, putting their bodies on the line to protest the use of the military to remove an elected president from office. It’s their country and they should be free to do what they want, free of interference both from foreign and domestic oligarchs.

      • Who is interfering? I’m in favor of the Honduran people solving their own political problems. It is not for the international community to force them to reinstate Zelaya, nor to prevent them. It seems to me he lacks sufficient support, but I don’t have enough knowledge of the situation in Honduras to predict what will happen.

        Like I said, there’s no law against Barack Obama proposing a constitutional convention either. If he did so, I’d be screaming pretty loud about the danger, however.

      • Charles II said

        As for internal interference by the oligarchs, there is the army on the streets, the murder of a teenager by snipers, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and other flagrant interference into the right of the people to determine their own affairs.

        As for external interference, it is alleged that:

        IRI has thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars to think tanks in Honduras that seek to influence political parties. What’s more, she [Eva Golinger] discloses that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided tens of millions of dollars towards “democracy promotion” in Honduras. I was particularly interested to learn that one recipient of the aid included the Honduran National Business Council, known by its Spanish acronym COHEP, a long time adversary of the Zelaya regime.

        and that

        Weinberg discloses that the Honduran Black Fraternal Organization, known by its Spanish acronym OFRANEH, has claimed that former U.S. diplomat Otto Reich and the Washington, D.C. based Arcadia Foundation were involved in the coup.

        It is further reported that:

        Within days of the coup, the Miami-based Cormac Group – the “strategic consulting and lobbying firm” that defines its group as “recognized advocate for open and fair markets” and which represents big business interests, was pushing pro-coup op ed columns to major daily newspapers in the United States. On Tuesday, it hosted a press conference by Honduran coup leaders at the National Press Club in Washington DC.

        and that

        Instead, the delegation — which is receiving assistance from a Washington lawyer, Lanny Davis, to help with its public relations — found a warm reception among Republicans on Capitol Hill including Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Florida Republican and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

        Based on past history– though no evidence has yet emerged to support this– it’s very likely that the US Chamber of Commerce is involved, and probably has been since before the coup.

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