Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Honduras Coup, Act V, Day 3

Posted by Charles II on October 22, 2009

What you can do: E-mail Frank LaRue of the UN to protest press intimidation.

Mr. Frank La Rue
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 9006
Email: freedex@ohchr.org
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Update 4. Score a major win for RAJ. RAJ did analysis (here and here) of a report by Norma C. Gutierrez of the Library of Congress’s Law Library which pretended to justify the coup. Now, appearing in of all places Forbes Magazine(!), two legal heavyweights have refuted Gutierrez and supported RAJ on all key points:

… Note, then, a recent Law Library of Congress analysis regarding the legality of the removal of Zelaya. The report misunderstands several basic tenets of Honduran law. …

The report goes most seriously awry when it concludes that the Honduran Congress had the authority to remove the president. This conclusion hinges on the observation that the Honduran Constitution authorizes Congress to “approve or disapprove” of the conduct of the President and that Congress “implicitly exercised its power of constitutional interpretation…

Dubious legal reasoning aside, it is doubtful that the Honduran Congress has the power to interpret the country’s constitution. In fact, one of the provisions the report cites to support the existence of such authority does not exist. The provision in question–Article 218, section 9 of the constitution–was struck down by the Honduran Supreme Court more than six years ago.

Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s seminal Marbury v. Madison decision, the Honduran Supreme Court affirmed the rather basic principle that for true separation of powers to exist, the courts–rather than the legislature–must have ultimate authority to interpret the constitution. This principle is further enshrined in the 2004 Law on Constitutional Justice. …

The decree that removed President Zelaya included no such formal interpretation of the constitution, nor any reference to Congress’s purported power to interpret the constitution, suggesting that the legislature itself was well aware of the limits on its own authority.

There is little evidence, therefore, to support Gutierrez’s conclusion that Congress engaged in an implicit interpretation of the Honduran Constitution when it deposed Zelaya, much less that such an interpretation was constitutionally permissible. On the contrary, there is every reason to conclude Congress unconstitutionally exceeded its authority by granting itself an impeachment power that does not exist under Honduran law.

The Law Library of Congress report also fails to mention a series of due process violations that took place in the criminal proceedings against President Zelaya. …

For example, Zelaya was not read his rights, informed of the charges against him or provided access to his lawyers while being detained and forcibly expelled from the country….

Finally, the Supreme Court ordered the armed forces to capture Zelaya and search the presidential residence, despite the fact that article 293 of the Honduran Constitution explicitly establishes that the national police execute legal decisions and resolutions.

…. But everyone should agree on the need for policymakers to have access to reliable information. …

Viviana Krsticevic is an Argentine attorney trained at the University of Buenos Aires and Harvard Law School. She is executive director of the Center for Justice and International Law in Washington.

Juan Mendez is former special adviser to the U.N. secretary general on the prevention of genocide, former president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a founding member of Center for Justice and International Law. He is currently a visiting professor at American University’s Washington College of Law.

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Update3: Meanwhile in neighboring Nicaragua… Daniel Ortega asked the Supreme Court to declare the constitutional provision preventing re-electing unconstitutional. They obliged. So, the Catholic Church is saying that the next step is that Ortega will become a dictator and the US State Department is taking their side. Have we heard this story before? By the end of this, American credibility is going to be non-existent in Latin America, and Latin America will be atheist (or, at least, Protestant).
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Update2:

Police spokesman Danilo Molina has been declared officially missing by CODEH (homan rights).

The El Salvadoran government accuses the imaginary government of Honduras of imposing tariffs on imports as a means of forcing them to negotiate with them and thereby recognize them. El Salvador says this has cost them $1.5M by blocking the sale of 200,000 eggs daily.

Garifuna radio stations Flumabinetu and Duruugubuty have been threatened.

Via Magbana at Honduras Oye, an article in Foreign Policy in Focus by Margaret Knapke on the misogynist targeting of feminists in the resistance. As of September 3rd, there were 19 documented cases of rape by police. This number surely understates the problem, and there are other forms of violence against women.

Clearly, the Honduran crisis is a real opportunity for Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to prove their human-rights and feminist mettle. Conversely, a failure of resolve toward the illicit and abusive coup regime could do lasting harm to Obama’s and Clinton’s political credibility — and cost many more Honduran lives.

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Update:
Channel 36 is showing people sitting in the street blocking traffic in front of Seguridad Social. Cops everywhere. Rafael Alegria says COFADEH (human rights) talked with the UN. Radio Globo is discussing the four people murdered last night. Nothing definite.

In Tiempo, confirmation of the murders of last night: Brothers Marco Antonio Dubón Flores (27) and César Noé Sánchez Flores (21), el their brother in law Francis Armando Henríquez Trujillo (29) and a local resident José Alexander Rodas Osorto (21). The assassins arrived on two motorcycles, with one rider on each. Jose Alejandro was apparently murdered because he happened by, and they didn’t want to leave witnesses.

On Vos el Soberano, an additional report from Radio Liberada that there was also violence in Colonia Montes de Bendición, and initial reports said that 11 people had been killed, but later reports called it “possible aggression” against seven people.

Four murdered

Mica Rosenberg, Reuters:

“I would be really surprised if they reinstate Zelaya because they have been so incredibly recalcitrant and truthfully there is no pressure on them to do otherwise,” said Central America expert Christine Wade at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland…[Armando] Sarmiento said the de facto leaders might be looking to the example of the African country of Mauritania where the leader of an internationally chided military coup won an election this year and was quickly recognized by France

Precedent is always dangerous.

Sandra Cuffe at Honduras Solidarity has reposted an interview by Mario Casasúsin Clarin of Dionisia Diaz, the (or one of the) grandmother of the resistance. She was in the 1954 strike, as well. It was a time, she says, when a worker was worth less than a mule. She puts the death toll so far at 24.
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RNS at HondurasCoup 2009 reports on the new decree (226-2001) that pretends to revoke the inherent right of assembly. There is a public safety exception that has to do with blocking traffic or if there is widespread criminal activity, but neither apply.

The noise/light war against the Brazilian embassy continues. General Vasquez says that “it might be mariachis sent to entertain the troops.” and then adds a bit more ominously, “the OAS shouuld be grateful that in Honduras, it’s music and not bombs.” Brazil will file a human rights complaint with the UN [which they should have done a month ago]. The sentiment was echoed by pretend-Defense Minister Sevilla, who also says that the military doesn’t want Zelaya re-installed. The Permanent Council of the UN OAS, which speaks for the UN, condemned the actions of the pretend-government.

15 Responses to “Honduras Coup, Act V, Day 3”

  1. Are the golpistas allowing in food and water again, or is that still shut down?

    • Charles II said

      As I understand it, water and electricity are on at present. Food (and everything entering the embassy) is being searched. Probably the police are selectively seizing food items, but I don’t have specific word on that.

  2. Nell said

    We set the precedent for this ugly torture, back in 1989 against the Vatican embassy where Noriega took refuge.

    And we’ve continued to use music as torture, via use of the LRAD at Guantanamo (ATC got a $485,000 contract with the Army to deliver it there), along with using the sonic cannon as a weapon in Iraq.

    It’s still highly unclear how or when the Honduran forces acquired the LRAD, and from whom — directly from ATC? Via an arms dealer? Or has the military had it for a while, purchased with U.S. military or police aid?

    Given the awkwardness and consequent unlikelihood of our government directly condemning this torture, in light of Gen. Vasquez’ lies and mockery and his role in blocking any agreement, it’s time to freeze his accounts, along with those of all the coup-meisters as well as the members of the usurper cabinet.

    At a minimum that list should include all the Facusses and Canahuatis, Amilcar Bulnes, and Ricardo Maduro (owner of the radio station silencing the feminist shows).

    • Charles II said

      Yeah, I’ve been waiting for the people who were so vocal about Waco to show up to denounce the Honduran government. At Waco, the noise level was probably much lower, since they weren’t able to approach to within two meters of the compound. But I guess it’s wrong to use noise harassment against a murderer and child abuser, but it’s fine to use it against a legally elected official.

  3. akwesasnecounterspin said

    Well, I have interviewed Dionisia Diaz briefly, but the interview I posted on the Honduras Solidarity blog is re-posted from the El Clarin de Chile paper… done by Mario Casasus…

    Thanks for re-posting, but if you could revise the mention to give due credit to the original author, that’d be great!

    Saludos solidarios…
    Sandra Cuffe

  4. Nell said

    Mica Rosenberg’s use of quotes around the word torture in this story (via Oye) is a continuation of the Frances Robles smear:

    Overnight, the caretaker government sent the army to play loud rock music, military band tunes, church bells and recordings of pig grunts over loudspeakers outside the embassy, a Reuters photographer inside the embassy said.

    Zelaya called it “torture.”

    She fails to mention that the Brazilian government called it torture, too, with no scare quotes, and that it is freaking torture. The manufacturer says that the LRAD can cause damage to people in its beam within 300 feet. The Vos story says that the device was placed 6 feet outside the Zelayas’ room.

    And the story, despite being filed after the OAS released its statement, contains not a word about the Permanent Council’s formal condemnation of the sonic assault against the embassy in language that makes clear they consider it serious abuse, if not torture:

    The Permanent Council denounces and strongly condemns the hostile action by the de facto regime against the embassy of Brazil in Tegucigalpa and the harassment of its occupants through deliberate actions that affect them physically and psychologically and violate their human rights. [my emphasis]

    Rosenberg’s piece is full of garbage: repeats the zombie lie, takes the bullshit grenade story at face value, and quotes only the Micheletti side on the “negotiations.”

    • Charles II said

      While I agree that putting quotes on a single word tends to signal bias, I don’t read it that negatively. The facts have already put paid to Robles’s smear. She hasn’t ceased her sniping, BTW: here’s a piece from the 17th that might as well have been written by the coupistas.

      Why do you call the grenades story BS? I haven’t seen enough on it to form an opinion one way or another.

  5. Nell said

    I blame Mica Rosenberg for making me too upset to close the tag. Is that fixable by you? If not, I’ll repost the links.

    • Nell, I looked for the open tag and couldn’t find any. Besides, this is material that rates bolding. Thanks for sharing it.

      (On edit) Ah, finally figured it out! Fixed now.

  6. Nell said

    Clarification: There’s no proof the LRAD was used at Guantanamo, although the Navy had access to the LRAD from at least March 2003 and signed a big contract with ATC for the LRAD in October 2003. The $485K contract was with the Army in May 2004, for use in force protection in Iraq (device had already been used as early as March 2004 there).

    Wrt to the grenades: My read is this is a plant by the military to paint the resistance as violent. (How would the resistance get access to such a thing? Who already has grenades?) Read the Front’s communique #30 at Oye; it’s pushing back against a government campaign painting the resistance as violent. (Among other things, this will “justify” the use of the recent illegal restrictions on demos — necessary to maintain the public order because the resistance is so violent. Look: grenades!)

    • Charles II said

      They’ll have to work at it harder than that. Plant them at Juan Barahona’s house, or something. Not that anyone will believe it except the dimwits who believe the coupista press.

      I do think that at some point the resistance will become violent. They have already endured much more than most movements do before becoming violent. But if they do become violent, then they will have lost the most important thing in these conflicts: moral leadership.

  7. Nell said

    Any news from El Paraiso?

    • Charles II said

      I haven’t seen any, but I also have been away from the radio. Radio Globo has often been almost impossible to understand, and Channel 36 is not much better.

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