Saturday, July 11, 2009

He is not a martyr. Two good articles.

Great Article on the Washington Post

"The army exiled Zelaya in consultation with civilian leaders to avoid precisely the sort of violence seen when Zelaya tried to return. He forced the country and its institutions against the wall, and for that he should take his medicine. "


And in more Hugo Chavez is a megalomaniac and a crazy idiot news:

From the Wall Street Journal

"Mr. Chávez even suggested that Honduras's military should stage a countercoup to restore Mr. Zelaya. "Let's see how long the 'blind obedience' of the Honduran troops lasts," Mr. Chávez said in a rambling news conference.

Mr. Chávez's comments are sure to raise anxiety in Honduras that Mr. Zelaya may try to return to the country again. But it will also likely solidify support for the interim government among Hondurans who resent Mr. Chávez's repeated intervention in their country. Mr. Chávez's call to Honduran soldiers is likely to fall on deaf ears for the same reason."

Indeed. Who's going to listen to that wacko? Not to mention the fact that Zelaya's messing around with military command was the last straw as far as many people are concerned.

And just...what the hell is Chavez doing? He's just completely insane at this point.


Doug said...

Fig -

I think you are missing the main thrust of the article; ie, that allowing Zelaya, himself not being the most blameless of actors, to be sure, to be re-installed is necessary in order to bring about peace and stability, and that the US, in pursuing this goal with a soft touch, is finally showing some signs of humility and wisdom in Latin America.

Now, the fact that Matos buys into the supposition that Zelaya necessarily was pushing re-election through the referendum is a separate point, and the idea that the Army did the country a favor by removing him forcibly, come on, I can't believe you agree with that..

Oh, and yeah, Chavez is an idiot who is acting in ways that are counterproductive to his stated goals.

Figgylicious said...

You're right, I failed to address that part of the article. I need to think a bit more about that, because while I'm sure it would be A solution I don't know if it would work or could ever happen.

And, I'm not convinced that Zelaya wasn't pushing for re-election. There was no other reason for him to change the constitution--and he never, EVER stated what he wanted to change.

And I do think that taking him out of the country was the best solution AT THAT POINT. I think legal actions should've been taken far earlier, and that using the military to take him out in the middle of the night was the wrong thing to do. But after all of that had happened, and after a judicial order had been given (supposedly), what else were they going to do? Keeping him here would have been terrible.

Doug said...

Fig -

Let's posit the counter, that Micheletti stays all the way through November's elections. I think that the Honduran business class is overestimating by far, even with a big NP win, the extent to which Obama is going to want to reopen trade and aid to Honduras in any sort of measurable way. He's already taken his hit for having allied himself with Chavez on this, and would have no real motivation to rapidly reverse himself. And as far as Chavez goes, you're probably not a big fan of Alba, but it's hard to argue that Honduras' permanently losing (at least while Chavez is in charge) 20,000 barrels of oil a day on beneficial terms is at all favorable. These two things WILL affect Honduras' economic stability, and will continue to do so.

Regarding the referendum and reelection, common sense says there's no way Zelaya gets a positive response from the fourth urn, convokes a constitutional assembly, gets a change to the constitution to run again, gets his name on the LP ballot (and Santos' off) and successfully wins re-election (already being unpopular with a wide swath of the population) all in the course of a half an hour between 5 and 5:30 pm on Nov 29, 2009.

And yes, although I am not a lawyer, there are reasons to change the constitution other than succession reasons. Minister of Culture, Rodolfo Pastor Fasquelle, wrote an editorial on the Saturday before the referendum was to take place. In it he lists various reasons why a constitutional change was necessary, but this paragraph, which I quote in full, strikes me as both sane and wise: "The present political system, petrified in the Constitution, is broken, more than the treasury. It is a system of corruption and privileges frozen by constitutionalization of corporatist pretensions and by groups of incontravertible economic power. It does not assure the fulfillment of the duties of citizenship and the payment of its obligations (no one in any country in the world has to be exempt from paying income tax) nor does it guarantee the enjoyment of minimum rights." The whole editorial can longer be found on the Heraldo website. I believe there is good reason for this. It stands in clear juxtaposition to the current government's lack of concern for basic constitutional liberties, including the right of assembly, the right to travel, the right to demonstrate, the right to a speedy hearing, and the requirement for court orders for searches.

Regarding your third paragraph, I'll just disagree with you and leave it at that.

Thanks though for your considered response.

Oh and REALLY!, Fig, REALLY! Nah, Just Kidding..

Graham said...

Given the company Zelaya's been keeping lately, it seems exceedingly likely that he wanted to eliminate term-limits for himself. After all, it's what all the Cool Kids he's been hanging around with are doing. I assembled this from various sources and it obviously leaves out a lot of stuff and simplifies some things, but I think it's accurate. If anyone finds something in here that is not accurate, please say so and give me a citation.

Feb 2, 1999 Hugo Chavez inaugurated as President of Venezuela for a 5-year term
Dec 15, 1999 A new Venezuelan Constitution is approved that, among other things, increases the Presidential term from 5 to 6 years and introduces a 2-term limit for the Presidency
Jul 30, 2000 Hugo Chavez re-elected President of Venezuela to a 6-year term under the new Constitution.
Dec 3, 2006 Hugo Chavez re-elected President of Venezuela to his second 6-year term
Aug 15, 2007 Hugo Chavez proposes more changes to the Constitution that, among other things, would do away with the Presidential term limit.
Dec 2, 2007 The Constitutional Referendum fails
Feb 15, 2009 A Referendum is passed removing all term-limits on Venezuelan Presidents. Chavez immediately announces his candidacy for the 2012 election.

Jan 22, 2006 Evo Morales inaugurated as President of Bolivia for a single 5-year term (no re-election allowed)
Aug 6, 2006 Bolivian Constituent Assembly forms to draft a new Constitution
Feb 7, 2009 A 2/3rds vote is required to change the Constitution. However, Morales declares that only a simple majority is required and the new Bolivian Constitution takes effect with a simple majority vote. Among other things, it allows Evo Morales to run for a second consecutive term

Jan 10, 2007 Daniel Ortega inaugurated as President of Nicaragua for a single 5-year term (no re-election allowed)
Mar 6, 2009 Daniel Ortega says in an interview with Al Jazeera English that he would like to change the Nicaraguan Constitution to allow him to run for another term and that term limits are a Right Wing conspiracy to deprive the People of their rights

Jan 15, 2007 Rafael Correa inaugurated as President of Ecuador for a single 4-year term (no re-election allowed)
Nov 29, 2007 A Constituent Assembly is formed in Ecuador to re-write the Constitution. Correa declares that the Assembly (controlled by Correa's party) has the power to dismiss the Congress (controlled by Correa's opposition) which it promptly does, assuming legislative functions itself. Correa sends police to the Congress to evict them.
Sep 28, 2008 A new Ecuadorian Constitution is approved that, among other things, allows the President to run for a second term
Apr 2009 Rafael Correa is re-elected President of Ecuador under the new Constitution

Jan 27, 2006 Manuel Zelaya inaugurated as President of Honduras for a single 4-year term (no re-election allowed)
Nov 11, 2008 Zelaya announces that he wishes there to be a National Constituent Assembly called to re-write the Constitution of Honduras. It is unconstitutional in Honduras to attempt to remove the Presidential term-limit and Zelaya insists on not saying what he thinks should be changed in the Constitution.

Doug said...

Graham -

While your facts may be correct, your supposition is just that, a supposition, and in light of how the whole referendum was to occur, chronologically-wise, one that is simply, physically not possible.

gamus said...

An excellent article by a Spanish professor of constitutional law analyses in detail the court's decision on the poll and the justification for the coup and rules them illegal, vague and flimsy (an english summary is here:

There's also the news that Michelleti also considered extending term limits in 1985, which would have allowed then President Cordova to remain in power.

I'm interested in what Hondurans' response is to the sanctions. I read one article which quoted a poor family as saying their income had reduced by 30 per cent since sanctions were imposed. Surely Michelleti and his supporters can't believe the people will just remain peaceful for six months...

Richard Grabman said...

Graham... you seem to forget that Colombia's Alvaro Uribe was the first to break the informal "one term rule" common throughout Latin America. And, now Uribe is pushing for a third term.

It's a bit of a stretch to say Obama is siding with Chavez, when every country in the hemisphere, including rightist presidents like Calderon of Mexico and Uribe of Colombia has refused to recognize the coup's legitimacy.