FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Honduran Coup Myths Dispelled

by STEWART J. LAWRENCE

Two new reports dealing with the June 28 military coup in Honduras have demolished the arguments of the current de facto government and its foreign apologists that the coup was consistent with the Honduran constitution and that most Hondurans welcomed the illegal ouster of the country’s democratically elected president, Mel Zelaya.

In a recent commentary published on the Forbes Magazine web site, two veteran human rights lawyers, Juan Mendez and Viviana Krsticevic, take to task the authors of a recent analysis prepared for the US Congress that suggested that the Honduran constitution allowed the Honduran Congress to remove Zelaya from office.  In fact, the Honduran Congress has no formal impeachment power and the vote to remove Zelaya was merely a legislative decree that was of dubious legality, the authors note.   In 2003, the Honduran Supreme Court had struck down the efforts of the Honduran legislature to assert its independent authority – but according to the authors, that didn’t keep the legislature from invoking this same authority to try – wrongly – to justify legal action against Zelaya..

The Honduran Supreme Court was also complicit in violating the Honduran Constitution, Mendez and Krsticevic note.  Most notably, the Court ordered the armed forces to capture Zelaya and search the presidential residence, despite the fact that article 293 of the Constitution explicitly establishes that the national police, not the army, execute all legal decisions and resolutions, in accordance with the principle of civilian rule. There were also due process violations that occurred throughout the criminal proceedings against Zelaya.   Zelaya was never read his rights, informed of the charges against him, or provided access to his lawyers while being detained, then forcibly expelled from the country.

And then there is the matter of the expulsion itself, which as Mendez and Krsticevic note, has no grounding whatsoever in Honduran law.   In theory, Zelaya should have been held for trial, or arrested and then released, pending trial.  Amazingly, the Supreme Court cited the threat of a “flight risk” to justify an indefinite detention of Zelaya – as if Zelaya had any interest in leaving office, much less the country.

The only “flight” that occurred, in fact, was the airplane trip that Zelaya took into exile courtesy of the armed forces. They rousted him at night in his pajamas and at the point of a bayonet, demanded that he leave – or else.   Some “democracy.”

The aftermath of the coup has also given rise to speculation, and charges, that whatever the legality of Zelaya’s ouster, most Hondurans were fed up with his rule, and were happy to see him go.   Conservatives have noted that protests on Zelaya’s behalf have been fairly limited, while Zelaya’s supporters, and international human rights observers, have pointed to post-coup military repression, including extra-judicial killings, and other military abuses, as the primary reason for cautious popular protest.

Now, a recent polling survey conducted by the highly respected polling firm Greenberg, Quinlan and Rosner thoroughly debunks the latest conservative propaganda.  According to the poll, conducted just two weeks ago, 60% of Hondurans still oppose Zelaya’s ouster, and just 38% support it.  19% say Zelaya had performed “excellently” in office while 48% say his performance was “good” (a total of 67%).

By contrast, by a margin of 2-1, Hondurans say they have a negative opinion of the coup plotter who supplanted Zelaya, Roberto Micheletti, the current de facto president.

The survey also found that contrary to conservative propaganda, most Hondurans (by a 53% to 43% margin) support amending the country’s Constitution to allow the president to be re-elected – the very issue that became the pretext for Zelaya’s illegal ouster.  Zelaya, of course, never actually tried to stand for re-election.  He was accused of “high treason” and overthrown merely for suggesting that ordinary Hondurans be polled on the matter in a strictly non-binding referendum.

Therefore, the pollsters at Greenberg, Rosner and Quinlan polling should probably consider themselves lucky.  In the US, clients sometimes fire you when a poll brings them bad news.  In Honduras, they throw you in jail, tear gas you – or worse.

STEWART LAWRENCE is a recognized specialist in Latino and Latin American affairs, and author of numerous policy reports and publications.   He can be reached at stewlaw2009@gmail.com

 

 

Stewart J. Lawrence can be reached at stewartlawrence81147@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Rob Urie
The (Political) Season of Our Discontent
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Manuel García, Jr.
Fire in the Hole: Bernie and the Cracks in the Neo-Liberal Lid
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Yearsley
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Formation: Form-Fitting Uniforms of Revolution and Commerce
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Matthew Stevenson
Confessions of a Primary Insider
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Uri Avnery
A Lady With a Smile
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
David Busch
Bernie’s Blinding Light
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
Steven Gorelick
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Winslow Myers
Looking for America
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Tony Christini
Death by Taxes (A Satire of Trump and Clinton)
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
February 11, 2016
Bruce Lesnick
Flint: A Tale of Two Cities
Ajamu Baraka
Beyonce and the Politics of Cultural Dominance
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail