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Ear to the Ground

Honduras Headache Won’t Go Away

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Posted on Aug 23, 2009
State Department / Michael Gross

Hillary Clinton met with Manuel Zalaya at the State Department back in July, when the administration took a much tougher rhetorical approach to the Honduras problem. Wonder if she’s still taking his phone calls? Although he does have a killer hat.

The Honduran Supreme Court just stuck its tongue out at the rest of the world, which has been waiting patiently for the country’s coup leaders to restore lawfully elected and promptly ousted Manuel Zalaya to the presidency. A carefully negotiated deal would have hit the reset button and called for early elections, but the court wasn’t interested. It doesn’t help that the U.S. has softened its position. —PS

BBC:

The ruling is a blow to a proposal mediated by Costa Rican president, Oscar Arias, to try to end the crisis.

Under the proposal, Mr Zelaya would be reinstated as president, while Mr Micheletti would return to his pre-coup post as the speaker of Honduras’s parliament, and early elections would be called.

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By ardee, August 27, 2009 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

Aaron Ortiz, August 27 at 9:45 am #
(Unregistered commenter)

Well Ardee,

  It is with sadness that I say, this conversation with you has not been profitable.
.......................................

Profit is in the wallet of the beholder…or something like that. I found our discussion quite profitable from one point of view; your inability to justify the actions of those in your nation who acted illegally in ousting and exiling an elected official, though I commend you for the literate, polite though sadly fruitless attempt.

I trust that your nation will be restored to a democracy as soon as possible.

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By Aaron Ortiz, August 27, 2009 at 6:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well Ardee,

  It is with sadness that I say, this conversation with you has not been profitable. I hope you will be more open to others’ ideas in the future, for everyone’s edification.

Aaron Ortiz

Report this

By ardee, August 27, 2009 at 4:17 am Link to this comment

Fascism has become a meaningless insult, which even scholars struggle to define.

Only to one who advocates for it I fear. The definition of that form of govt has been made quite clear, and the actions of the Honduran govt. fall directly within those parameters.

The ousting of Zelaya by a group of businessmen fearing the spread of socialism is characterized by you as a wholly legal and legitimate action. Most of the Americas disagree with you, as do I.

I am a lifelong resident of the USA, never claimed to be anything else…

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By Aaron Ortiz, August 26, 2009 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ardee,

  Your implication that I am in Virginia, and that I am CIA and not a real person does not attack the issue, but me. The use of the word “fascist” is another unmerited attack. In order to have a conversation we need to keep our focus on the subject.

  You seem unfamiliar with Honduran law, and to be fair with you, until this crisis, even a Honduran that I am, so was I. Honduras does not have an impeachment mechanism.

  What it does have, is several articles that are unmodifiable except by a Constitutional Assembly. All other articles are modifiable, and many amendments have been made so far. The only reason for calling for a Constitutional Assembly is to change these articles. Zelaya has gone further than this, saying that the entire constitution needed replacement.

  The content of the unmodifiable articles are the territorial limits of the nation, the length of the presidential term, and the prohibition of reelection of the president. A person who proposes to modify the last two of these articles is automatically removed from office and barred from public office for ten years. This is to protect Honduras from rogue presidents and dictators, with which our history is littered.

  Zelaya first tried last year, unsuccessfully, to change the date of primary elections, then, in January, to pad the Supreme Court with his candidates, and finally to replace the constitution altogether. A president is not allowed to hold a referendum. A referendum must be sanctioned by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, ratified by congress, and approved by a majority of voters before becoming binding.

  But the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and Congress called the referendum illegal, and the Supreme Court, unconstitutional. When Zelaya insisted on holding the referendum, storming the Air Force headquarters to remove the confiscated ballots, and firing the head of the armed forces, he automatically removed himself from office.

  The Supreme Court and Congress ordered his arrest by the military, as our constitution provides. The military had the authority to arrest him. What they didn’t have the authority for was to remove him from the country.

  That is the only thing they did wrong. A military legal analyst admitted this a few days after the events. He said though, that since they were acting to prevent bloodshed, and to protect the people, that they would be absolved. Up to then no one had died in the conflict.

  Fascism has become a meaningless insult, which even scholars struggle to define. Micheletti’s government doesn’t even qualify as a dictatorship, much less a fascist state. If you disagree with this, please provide more than just your opinion. I am more than willing to examine your claims if you explain them.

  Since you are so curious about where I am writing from, could you reveal where you are writing from and your nationality? I was born in La Ceiba, Honduras, and moved to Monterrey, Mexico last year. I was educated in Honduras and the US, and have lived in Honduras for 28 of my 33 years. I was last in Honduras in the final week of July of this year.

    You mention you have experience in this issue, I am sorry if I am new to this website, I would like to hear about your experiences, and won’t leave unless you wish me to.

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By ardee, August 26, 2009 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

Aaron Ortiz, August 26 at 9:43 am

Do you consider my words a personal attack? Or do you just seek to deride my opinion, one based upon much experience in suddenly finding folks like you appearing on a forum for the first time, discussing a single issue from an extreme right wing position and then vanishing?

When the military kidnaps an elected official, forces him on a plane out of the country that is fascism. When one lives in a true democracy one is impeached first and, if found guilty, ousted from office,maybe even face a jail sentence, but not exiled from the country.

When an individual defends such fascist actions then he opens himself up to being tarred with that brush. What would you expect?

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By Aaron Ortiz, August 26, 2009 at 6:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ardee,

Fascist? We are a long way from fascism. You insist on thinking I’m from the CIA. Do you believe that only the CIA disagrees with you?

It seems useless to talk to you, I have better things to do, it makes me sad that you can’t discuss an issue without trying to insult the other person. Attack the issue, not the person. The only one who looks bad in the end is you.

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By ardee, August 26, 2009 at 3:55 am Link to this comment

Aaron Ortiz, August 25 at 7:12 pm

We were only following orders, heh. No Posse Comitatus for Honduras, sadly. Orders to kidnap and exile an elected leader, and for reasons so spurious as to be done in fear that the Honduran people might actually express their wishes in opposition to your fascist coup.

I understand that your task is a difficult one, especially as we live in a shrinking world where information is more readily available ,making the role of a propagandist much, much harder.

The rest of Latin America condemns the actions of your country in this, its almost unanimous in fact. You defend what seems the actions of a Banana Republic in fact, congratulations.

There is really nothing more to say, except, how is the weather in Virginia?

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By Aaron Ortiz, August 25, 2009 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Much better Ardee,

I agree with both your points.

But remember that the military’s role in the current Honduran crisis is a minor one. They were the executors of Zelaya’s removal, but simply followed orders from the judicial and legislative branches of Government.

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By ardee, August 25, 2009 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

I despise greed. But socialism is so ideal, that only an ideal person could rule a socialist nation and not become more corrupt than the capitalists are. Power is a terrible temptation. I am not inventing this, look at the history of communism in the Soviet Union.

......

More distortions, but well played. Socialism means rule of the people not ,as you imply, one man rule. The corruption of the communist state by the USSR is not a condemnation of communism but of the elitism that corrupted it.

Speaking of the corruption of power, a military coup would qualify, such as the one you defend currently.


  If you never admit that you might be wrong, how will you learn anything? I freely admit my ignorance, that is the only way to keep learning. I want to hear everyone’s ideas with an open mind. But I will defend the truth. Closed thinking breeds the warlike words and thoughts that are ripping our continent to shreds.

What you defend is the truth as you insist it to be, much of Latin America seems to disagree with your version thereof.
...............................

Ron S., August 25 at 8:05 am #
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Ortez does Live in Honduras and I consider his opinions factful and truthful.

And you know this because…...?

This so called argument that poor innocent Mel was only wishing to have people vote in a poll and the outcome with that poll would have had no effect on the upcoming does not hold water. Mel was going to declare a national emergency based on a bogus poll and place his minions in charge of writing a new constitution allowing him to run for re-election.

Of course Zelaya told you this with his own words….Who exactly are you anyway, one of the Marx Brothers? Searching through this vast internet yielded not one single hint of your allegation, got a link?

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By Aaron Ortiz, August 25, 2009 at 7:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ardee,

  You make me laugh with your idea of me as a CIA agent. You should investigate a little about me, there’s plenty of data in the internet about me, before you accuse me of being CIA!

  I despise the death squads as much as you do. I decry the evils of capitalism too. But even the committee for human rights found no evidence of death squads in Micheletti’s government. But of course his enemies say they are there and we should trust them of being the angelically truthful and sweet creatures they are. (sarcasm)

  I despise greed. But socialism is so ideal, that only an ideal person could rule a socialist nation and not become more corrupt than the capitalists are. Power is a terrible temptation. I am not inventing this, look at the history of communism in the Soviet Union.

  If you never admit that you might be wrong, how will you learn anything? I freely admit my ignorance, that is the only way to keep learning. I want to hear everyone’s ideas with an open mind. But I will defend the truth. Closed thinking breeds the warlike words and thoughts that are ripping our continent to shreds.

  Don’t be afraid to think freely. Don’t be afraid of being wrong. Don’t attack your enemies and demonize them. How can you learn from a demon? I might be wrong too, and the knowledge of that is one of my greatest treasures.

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By Ron S., August 25, 2009 at 5:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Ortez does Live in Honduras and I consider his opinions factful and truthful. This so called argument that poor innocent Mel was only wishing to have people vote in a poll and the outcome with that poll would have had no effect on the upcoming does not hold water. Mel was going to declare a national emergency based on a bogus poll and place his minions in charge of writing a new constitution allowing him to run for re-election.

Report this

By ardee, August 25, 2009 at 2:57 am Link to this comment

Mr. Ortiz This was bound to happen, the folks that value truth and justice are lighting torches and sharpening stakes, but you do have it coming.

We are no longer quite as naive to your tactics as once we were. I recall, during the ascendancy of Hugo Chavez Frias, many like you appeared on forums everywhere claiming to be Venezuelans, have relatives in that nation, had lived, worked, vacationed, studied, whatever, and presented themselves as honest and only here to impart the real truth.

That real truth was always favoring right wing interests, death squads and the like. I believe that you may be posting from a desk in Langley but I have no way of knowing for certain. I do know that any nation that sends the military to exile a duly elected politico for requesting a non-binding referendum or survey is an unjust nation indeed.

Spin it all you want.

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By Aaron Ortiz, August 24, 2009 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Umm, Financial Progressive, when the Supreme Court calls something unconstitutional, and Congress calls it illegal, how is it “not illegal”?

You probably mean that it shouldn’t be illegal, and there I might agree, if it weren’t that Chavez, Morales, and Correa have used the very same tactic to overhaul their nations’ constitutions.

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By Angry Pancho, August 24, 2009 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Aaron Ortiz makes some interesting claims which if
true would substantially weaken Zelaya’s claim on the
Honduran presidency. Given our pro-empire press I
can’t understand why Ortiz’ illegal referendum thing
hasn’t been brought up before. I’ll admit I haven’t
read too deeply into the incident. But if they think
that’s going to chasten us Zelaya supporters they’re
sadly mistaken.

The elites in Honduras have control of the Supreme
Court, the Army and even the Legislature in Honduras.
I’ve no doubt they’d sell the country out to the US
if they could, just as long as they themselves
profited handsomely. Meanwhile the peasants are left
to scratch out a living with nothing but table scraps
from their so-called ‘legitimate’ government.

So if Zelaya was over-reaching, I’m afraid MY
sympathy is still with him and not the stingy self-
serving elites.

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By Financial Progressive, August 24, 2009 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

With all respect due to Aaron Ortiz (proud supporter of the School of the Americas no doubt).
I am not an expert, but I have followed this situation in both the English and Spanish media enough to know that you are lying.
The poll was NOT illegal - it was only a poll to see the level of public support of constitutional changes (the current constitution was written under a brutal military dictatorship and not democratically endorsed).
But then you know that don’t you Mr Ortiz?
Terrorist from the right always call for the rule of law - when they own the judges. 
I can only hope that the Ford Falcons pull up in front of your house someday soon so that you can know the horrors which murderous fascists like you would visit on others!

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By Aaron Ortiz, August 24, 2009 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Controlling is a stronger word, I said “directing”. Chavez has invested a heavy amount of money in Bolivia, Ecuador and Honduras. This gives him a stake in their leaders’ success.

The survey itself is irrelevant. I advised everyone to vote in it, but it never occurred. What got Zelaya deposed was his overstepping the Congress and the Supreme court in many issues ever since he became friends with Chavez. When he insisted on holding the survey once it had been declared illegal, he shot himself in the foot.

If anyone took me out of the cubicle, it was Zelaya’s protege, Marcelo Chimirri.

It’s hard not to be against Zelaya when he defends the one who shut down your employer with a false accusation of fraud, leading to months of no salaries while we rebuilt our company from scratch. We successfully sued the government, and got our computers back a year later.

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By ardee, August 24, 2009 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

You are entitled to your opinions, but I fear them a bit tinged by right wing passion. I doubt that Chavez “controls” any of those who you name, more truthful would be that they share a common bond, the rights and the welfare of the people of their respective nations.

A survey can be seen as a rather innocuous request, unless one fears the results of that survey. Unless the constitution strictly bans surveys then Zelaya did not violate the law.

“Fess up now, you work in a cubicle and attempt to sway public opinion.

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By Aaron Ortiz, August 24, 2009 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes, the referendum was prohibited by law, because according to article 5 of the Honduran constitution, only the Supreme Electoral Tribunal has the authority to hold a referendum. A proposed referendum would also need to be ratified by Congress before the vote could begin. The name of it was changed to “survey” to circumvent this requirement.

But Congress, the Electoral Tribunal and the Supreme Court refused to go along with it, and declared the survey illegal. After their refusal, Zelaya’s insistence with the survey, his statement that only God could stop him, and his “rescuing” of the ballots from the air force headquarters with a throng of his followers, were the true reason for his removal from office.

Chavez was the one directing Zelaya’s strategy, as he is clearly directing Bolivia’s Evo Morales, and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa. Chavez, Morales, and Correa have rewritten the constitutions of their nations. The survey was to see if the people wanted the constitution changed. How could changing the constition be “non-binding”?

Zelaya made countless decisions without considering Congress or the will of the people. He promised Hugo Chavez to sign the ALBA treaty without anyone in Honduras having voted for or against it. That would have been a great moment for a referendum, wouldn’t it?

That is why one of the main charges against him is abuse of power. The judicial and legislative branches were furious at him for ignoring them and overstepping their powers.

This had galled the other two branches of government even before the survey came up. The referendum was the last drop.

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By ardee, August 24, 2009 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

Aaron Ortiz, August 24 at 11:19 am

It is my understanding that what Zelaya proposed was a nonbinding referendum. Was this too prohibited by law? Was his growing alliance with Chavez perhaps more responsible for this coup than a questionable violation of a questionable clause?

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By Aaron Ortiz, August 24, 2009 at 8:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Court had no choice, because the Honduran constitution has a clause that automatically removes and blocks from public office for 10 years, anyone who proposes a change in the alternation of the executive branch.

Besides, Zelaya has been proven to commit fraud in the referendum, even though it was never held. Computers with the referendum “results” were discovered in an office rented by the minister of the presidency. The fake results were a resounding victory for Zelaya.

Read this blog article: http://lagringasblogicito.blogspot.com/2009/07/more-corruption-ballot-counts-are-in.html

Honduras has no impeachment like the US. Putting Zelaya back is putting a criminal in office, granting him immunity, and hoping that he won’t retaliate against those who upheld the law against him.

Terribly bad policy.

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