The International Community and Honduras   Leave a comment

The international community has repeatedly said that they want Honduras to respect its constitution and democratic system, that’s why they want ousted President Zelaya back into power.

However, it is obvious that they have not read the Honduran Constitution and, if they have, they have chosen to ignore the articles on which the Honduran Supreme Court was based to order the capture of President Zelaya on June 28 this year.

Yet, they are right on that his exile was unconstitutional and therefore the military who made that decision should also be capture and put on trial.  However, since Zelaya’s exile was not part of the court decision, it must be considered as a separate legal issue.  Therefore, the Military’s violation of the constitution can not cancel out Zelaya’s own violations and the legality of his removal from power.

Yet, it is very disturbing to see the international community reacting with such a herd mentality solely on the basis of what the Honduras events looked like to them, not on the actual underlying legality of his removal from power.

Even more disturbing is to see how President Obama and Secretary Clinton could have gotten Honduras wrong for so long.

The Law Library of Congress’s Directorate of Legal Research for Foreign, Comparative, and International Law published in August this year the Report for Congress No. 2009-002965 with the title “Honduras: Constitutional Law Issues”  In such report, Norma C. Gutiérrez, Senior Foreign Law Specialist, explains the constitutional ground and legality of Zelaya’s removal.  Yet, she also reveals the illegality of his exile, which, once again, is a completely separate legal issue from that of his removal from power.

So, President Obama and Secretary Clinton, both prominent lawyers, should certainly know better.

Yet, it is also conceivable that President Obama has decided to sacrifice (unimportant) Honduras in order to not antagonize South American leaders already concerned about the American military bases in Colombia.

President Obama has even announced the continuation of American economic aid to drug-exporting countries Bolivia and Ecuador, while cutting off economic aid to Honduras, a partner in the war on drugs.

So, President Obama’s position regarding Honduras is either hypocritical or a sloppy one.  Either way, it is a very irresponsible position.  Forcing Zelaya’s return will not solve the crisis but make it worse, immersing Honduras in a vicious cycle of violence.

In summary, the international community at large seems to ignore what the Honduran Constitution actually says.  Obviously, the only thing that matters to them, in addition to their geopolitical and economic interests of course, is that the ouster of President Zelaya looked like a coup.  And they have stubbornly refused to hear otherwise.

Nevertheless, I still hope that the international community will take a moment to actually read the Constitution of Honduras (or the Report for Congress), analyze better the situation, and reconsider their precipitous position regarding the crisis.

In my humble opinion, they should not call for an unconditional return to power of Zelaya but to face, first, an open and fair trial in Honduras, perhaps overseen by the international community to ensure credibility.  Only then, if acquitted, should Zelaya return to power.

In the same way, the Honduran military must face trial for sending Zelaya into exile, which violated article 102 of the Constitution.

Micheletti and other members of Congress should also be investigated and put on trial for the falsification of a letter of resignation supposedly signed by Mr. Zelaya, which was read and accepted by Congress immediately after Zelaya was ousted.

Making everyone involved in the crisis accountable before the Honduran Constitution and laws is what we all Hondurans want.  We have had enough impunity in Honduras.  It is time to start respecting the Constitution of Honduras, not only by Hondurans but also by the rest of the world.

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Posted October 9, 2009 by jrargueta in Uncategorized

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