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Honduran coup reloaded

1 October 2009

Still attempting to convince the world that the coup was not a coup because it was sorta constitutional, the de facto regime, is looking desperately seeking a way to make their own convoluted rationales acceptable enough to keep them from being ignominously tossed out of the country (maybe in their PJs?).

Pretend president Micheletti imposed a very real state of siege (abrogating constitutional rights) last week — claiming it would protect the constitutional transfer of power (which, if you remember, was the rationale behind the original unconstitutional act of exiling a Honduran citizen, in this case, the sitting president).  Yesterday, the

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE, in its Spanish initials) of Honduras … asked president Roberto Micheletti to cancel the decree that suspended constitutional rights because it harms the electoral process scheduled for November… and thus joined in similar demands made by Congress, presidential candidates and other sectors…

Micheletti said… that he would agree to analyze the request and insisted that the decree will be “cancelled in the opportune moment.”

“Analyze” means “baffle ’em with bullshit”.  As Al Giordano wrote yesterday (The Field):

In typical style, he fools gullible reporters to repeat claims that he has already backed off the decree, while this morning military and police troops continued attacks on peaceful demonstrators that have maintained government agricultural offices occupied for three months now. Clearly, the real powers behind the decree – the Supreme Court and the military – want to make sure it meets its main goals before having to call it off.

What the electoral commissioners can clearly see that the inner trinity of coup power – the Army, the Court and Micheletti – don’t seem to “get” is how the decree has destroyed any hope of convincing Hondurans or the world that the November 29 elections can be made free or fair. It’s already too late. Smarter minds are seeing it, while the the Army, the Court and Micheletti push on out of an apparent belief that if they don’t keep brutally repressing and silencing speech, the nonviolent civil resistance is going to roll right over the coup.

So… with no one even listening to Micheletti — and no one really believing him, the real powers are looking for their own out. J.F. Strang from Hemispheric Briefs tries to make some sense out of the next move:

The focus today turns to the proposed plan forwarded by some in the Honduran business community which, according to the New York Times, for the “first time suggests Mel Zelaya’s return as president” while at the same time demanding the ousted President face trial on charges that he stole money while in office. “What we’re trying to do is break the ice,” business leader Adolfo Facusse said Wednesday, adding that the U.S. and others were “deteriorating” the Honduran election process, “the most destructive thing they can do in a democracy.” However, the Honduran business association which Facusse heads distanced itself from his plan proposed this week, saying this was Facusse’s own personal initiative rather than that of the business council. In La Tribuna, the president of the Cámara de Comercio e Industrias de Cortés (CCIC), Luis Larach, said Wednesday that determining whether or not Mr. Zelaya should be reinstated are decisions for the National Congress and Supreme Court to make. Moreover, advisers to Mr. Zelaya are of course very skeptical of the Facussé plan, with one economic adviser calling it a plan that was “born dead.”

However, that Facussé plan — besides the novel idea of coming up with new charges to justify the original coup (allegations of Zelaya’s corruption have been raised, post-coup, and — for all I know — may even be valid, but weren’t  the “legal” reasons for his illegal exile) — also includes (as Elisabeth Malkin writes in the New York Times):

Mr. Facussé and other leaders have proposed that after an accord is reached, troops or police officers from other countries in the hemisphere will keep the peace and an interim multiparty government will take charge. Mr. Zelaya would face trial, but he would not serve prison time if convicted; instead, he would be sentenced to house arrest.

In other words, admitting the coup supporters totally screwed up, and — like Haiti — putting the country under international tutelage, while nothing really changes for the people.

The auxillary bishop of Tegacigalpa, Juan Jose Pineda, meanwhile, is at least recognizes there are other players (like the people) who need to be considered in this mess.  My source, believe it or not, is the gardener from La Ceiba, who carps that “international mediation” has been the problem all along (a new one for her):

President [sic]Micheletti and ex[sic]-president Zelaya will each select 2-3 honorable and responsible representatives. The Unión Civicá Democrática (the association of civic groups) and the “Resistencia” will each also select 2-3 representatives. An international mediator will be selected.

So, rather than deal with the first set of international mediation… which didn’t give the Micheletti gang what it wanted, it’s time to send in a new envoy. Okey-dokie.

The few remaining friends of the coup are also starting to sound desperate. U.S. House Representative Iliana Ros-Lehtinen, who — having already made up her mind — appears to be seeking confirmation of her opinion:

“I am traveling to Honduras to conduct my own assessment of the situation on the ground and the state of U.S. interests in light of the U.S.’s misguided Zelaya-focused approach,” she says.

Her fellow Republican, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint was also supposedly going to Honduras, but — with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee insisting De Mint pay for his own trip (since it is not Senate business) may or may not be going, depending on whether or not he can strong-arm the Senate leadership into picking up his tab in exchange for releasing his “hold” on the confirmation of U.S. State Department Deputy Secretary for Latin American Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela (and, incidentally, the appointment of a U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, which has a dog in this hunt, too).

None of which means the coup has not succeeded in its basic goal of preventing a call for structural change within Honduras.  Shannon O’Neill, the Council on Foreign Relations Latin America expert (and probably the best informed “inside the beltway” person when it comes to the situation) suggests in her podcast (here, or here) outlining the Honduran situation that an election — even a tainted one — is a “win” for the golpistas, in that the status quo is preserved and international attention will turn away from Honduras.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 2 October 2009 11:27 am

    OOPS! That lead to my email. Could you remove it?
    Here is the clip:
    NTERNATIONAL RELATIONS — KERRY AND DEMINT SPAR OVER DEMINT’S OBSTRUCTION OF KEY DIPLOMATIC APPOINTEES: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) alleged yesterday that the Obama administration and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) were “bullying” him when Kerry attempted to prevent a trip by congressional Republicans to visit the Honduran military regime that came to power in an “illegal coup” in June. DeMint planned to visit Honduras with several Republican House members when Kerry intervened to block the trip, which would have been funded with tax payer money. DeMint immediately issued a statement that portrayed him as the victim of a plot to “protect Zelaya,” the deposed democratically elected Honduran president. In response, Kerry’s spokesman explained that the source of the tension was DeMint’s obstructionist efforts to prevent two key State Department officials from receiving hearings by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He also said that when DeMint lifts the hold, “the Committee will approve his travel to Honduras.” The two key diplomats, Arturo Valenzuela, President Obama’s choice to be assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, and Thomas A. Shannon Jr., the nominee to be ambassador to Brazil, have both of served in the State Department previously. Their appointments have been held up since the Honduran coup, in an attempt by DeMint to influence American policy in favor of the current regime, which has been condemned by the U.S., the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization of American States. Kerry said that DeMint’s claim of victimhood “wins an A for ‘audacity,'” and argued that “thanks to his intransigence, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee can’t even hold hearings on our policy in Central and South America.” In frustration, DeMint turned to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who “intervened and approved the trip” and had the Defense Department to provide a taxpayer-funded aircraft.

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