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

 

 

More articles by:

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

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

July 25, 2017
Paul Street
A Suggestion for Bernie: On Crimes Detectable and Not
David W. Pear
Venezuela on the Edge of Civil War
John Grant
Uruguay Tells US Drug War to Take a Hike
Charles Pierson
Like Climate Change? You’ll Love the Langevin Amendment
Linda Ford
Feminism Co-opted
Andrew Stewart
Any Regrets About Not Supporting Clinton Last Summer?
Aidan O'Brien
Painting the Irish Titanic Pink
Rob Seimetz
Attitudes Towards Pets vs Attitudes Towards the Natural World
Medea Benjamin
A Global Movement to Confront Drone Warfare
Norman Solomon
When Barbara Lee Doesn’t Speak for Me
William Hawes
What Divides America From the World (and Each Other)
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?
Chandra Muzaffar
The Bilateral Relationship that Matters
Binoy Kampmark
John McCain: Cancer as Combatant
July 24, 2017
Patrick Cockburn
A Shameful Silence: Where is the Outrage Over the Slaughter of Civilians in Mosul?
Robert Hunziker
Extremely Nasty Climate Wake-Up
Ron Jacobs
Dylan and Woody: Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
Dan Glazebrook
Quantitative Easing: the Most Opaque Transfer of Wealth in History
Ellen Brown
Saving Illinois: Getting More Bang for the State’s Bucks
Richard Hardigan
The Media is Misleading the Public on the Al-Asqa Mosque Situation
Matthew Stevenson
Travels in Trump’s America: Memphis, Little Rock, Fayetteville and Bentonville
Ruth Fowler
Fire at Grenfell
Ezra Kronfeld
The Rights of Sex Workers: Where is the Movement to Legalize Prostitution
Mark Weisbrot
What Venezuela Needs: Negotiation Not Regime Change
Binoy Kampmark
From Spicy to the Mooch: A Farewell to Sean Spicer
Wim Laven
Progress Report, Donald Trump: Failing
Weekend Edition
July 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Kevin Zeese
Green Party Growing Pains; Our Own Crisis of Democracy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Red State, Blue State; Green State, Deep State
Paul Street
“Inclusive Capitalism,” Nancy Pelosi, and the Dying Planet
Anthony DiMaggio
Higher Education Fallacies: What’s Behind Rising Conservative Distrust of Learning?
Andrew Levine
Why Republicans Won’t Dump Trump Anytime Soon
Michael Colby
Ben & Jerry’s Has No Clothes
Bruce Dixon
White Liberal Guilt, Black Opportunism and the Green Party
Edward Hunt
Killing Civilians in Iraq and Syria
Matthew Kovac
Is the Flint Water Crisis a Crime Against Humanity?
Mark Harris
The Revolutionary Imagination: Rosa for Our Times
David Rosen
America’s Five Sex Panics
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia: the Kingdom Whose Name We Dare Not Speak At All
Jack Heyman
Class War on the Waterfront: Longshore Workers Under Attack
Kim C. Domenico
Marginalize This:  Turning the Tables on Neoliberal Triumphalism
Brian Cloughley
Trying to Negotiate With the United States
John Laforge
Activists Challenge US Nukes in Germany; Occupy Bunker Deep Inside Nuclear Weapons Base
Jonathan Latham
The Biotech Industry is Taking Over the Regulation of GMOs From the Inside
Russell Mokhiber
DC Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox Won’t Let Whistleblower Lawyer Lynne Bernabei Go
Ramzy Baroud
The Story Behind the Jerusalem Attack: How Trump and Netanyahu Pushed Palestinians to A Corner
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail