2009-06-29, 9:37 am
The factual historical background of events for those who don’t know them follow here.
The Constitution of Honduras was designed to avoid dictatorships, by the inclusion of articles designated as “petreos”, meaning “inalterable”. That is, they cannot be changed by constitutional amendment.
Included are stipulations covering: democratic and representative government, territory, transition of power, presidential terms, constitutional conventions, a ban on presidential re-election, and a ban on reform to any of said listed articles. They are 2% of the Constitution: Articles 1, 4, 5, 9, al 14, 237, 239, 374.
Here are links to the Constitution of Honduras:
Manuel Zelaya abandoned duties of the office of the president by failing to publish in the “gazette oficial”, or offiicial register 96 laws passed by Congress.
The president is obligated under law to send a budget to the Honduran Congress for the following fiscal year. In 2008 instead of following the law, Mel Zelaya ordered the Minister of Finance to transfer government funds to his office.
Zelaya also cut off funds to institutions that against against his own illegal measures.
Articles 1, 3, and 374 of the Constitution prohibit changes to the “inalterable” portions of the Honduran Constitution.
Ex-president Zelaya, in March of 2009, began the call for a “fourth ballot” or “fourth ballot box” in the November elections to reform the Constitution to allow himself re-election. He had already made clear that this was his intention, a fact he now denies.
In April, he announced this referendum/survey for the latter half of June, later settling on June 28.
But Articles 1, 3, and 374 of the Constitution prohibit changes to the “inalterable” portions of the Honduran Constitution, including presidential reelection.
So the Attorney General of his own cabinet, and another, the Prosecutor for the Defense of the Constitution, declare his illegal initiative unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court also declares this usurpation of powers unconstitutional, illegal, and orders Manuel Zelaya to cease and desist from any further such activities.
Manuel Zelaya continued as if there were no law or civil entity that could stop him. At this point it became obvious that he would not respect either the Constitution, any other civil authority, and ordered all state departments to ignore the Supreme Court order and to cooperate with his “encuesta”.
He then ordered the independent Elections Board to begin printing and distributing his ballots. They refused.
So Zelaya then changed the label and ordered the Statistics Department to carry out a “survey” in June 2009 to ask for a Constitutional Convention, again with the so-called “cuarta urna”, or “fourth ballot”. Everybody knew by that time that everyone who respected the Constitution and the Court decisions will not participate, therefore making a “Yes” vote majority probable.
At this point, the “survey” (1)_will have all “Yes” votes because the only ones “voting” will be those who do not care that it is illegal, (2)_will not have the balanced oversight of the Elections Board with representatives from various parties at “voting”, (4)_and the entire process of voting and counting will be handled by those who respect neither due process nor the Law.
This violation of the Constitution is declared illegal by the Attorney General as a violation of the clause that exclusively empowers ONLY the Congress to call for a Constitutional Convention.
But he would never get re-election that way, and the overwhelming majority of Hondurans do not want to open such a can of worms.
As a side note, in March 2009, Hugo Chavez himself declared publicly that the call for a constitutional convention was his idea.
By now, all political figures, in the Congress and from official party declarations, declared opposition to this usurpation of powers, but Zelaya continued.
Among other strange things, the director of the “Instituto Nacional de Estadistica”, declares publicly that he does not know how much money is flowing through his department in this effort. He also refuses a request from competent authorities to explain why he is collaborating with an illegal order.
The Supreme Court then ordered him to cease and desist based on the constitutional and legal requirements for calling a constitutional convention, prompted again by the Attorney General.
Led by Zelaya’s own party, the Congress declares opposition to such illegal activity, and strengthens related measures.
In May, the special court for resolution of conflicts between powers resolves that the presidential decree is illegal and that anyone who participates is in violation of the law.
In June begin marches and rallies against Zelaya’s unconstitutional initiatives, some of them with thousand.
Also massive is the under-reporting by international news media of all these events, a coup in progress.
The week leading up to June 28, the Congress set up a commission to investigate the and his fitness for the office and mental state of the president, which of course culminated in the unanimous vote Sunday 28 June 2009 to confirm his removal based on four constitutional grounds, one of which is the de-facto resignation.
In this writer’s opinion, the document was brought along and ready for him to sign. Faced with the alternatives of going to prison for treason and other violations of the law, or signing and going into exile, he chose exile. Then, in the safe refuge of Costa Rica, we saw he began his propoganda attack against the constitutional authorities that ordered the arrest, pretending that it was the Armed Forces.
The chief prosecutor’s office ordered officers to all of the supposed polling sites to monitor for any illegal activity related to this “poll”.
**_FACT_** Ex-president Zelaya fired the head of the Armed Forces for refusing illegal orders in obedience to the orders from the Supreme Court as well as the Constitution and the other competent civil authorities.
Then Defense Minister quit in protest, along with all three chiefs of all the three branches of the Armed Forces.
The Supreme Court of Honduras orders full immediate reinstatement of the military chief.
The “Tribunal Superior de Cuentas”, the legal body charged with review of executive finances, receives several official requests in early June to investigate the origin of funds being used to organize this illegal “Fourth Ballot”. Dozens of activists admit receiving pay to participate in marches, and others admit that they are government workers.
–In a personal note from this writer, we have heard directly from close family friends who are government workers that report pressures to cooperate with Zelaya’s initiatives at risk of losing their jobs, and journalists across the countryside report citizens requiring government services being told to sign these forms or be refused service.
Zelaya’s forms were printed and shipped in from Venezuela, according to his own mouth.
In the early hours of Sunday, June 28, 2009, military units entered the Presidential Palace to arrest Mel Zelaya for treason and other infractions, to execute an order from the Supreme Court of Honduras. Later that day the Supreme Court confirmed that the military fulfilled its order and that they acted completely within the law at all times.
Treason is the specific word in the Honduran Constitution for actions that violate the clauses that specifically prohibit dictatorial activities outside those prescribed.
If the international community is against attacks against constitutional order, then they would first get their facts straight, and then of course confirm that the government in Honduras is constitutional.
Allowing the ex-president to escape prison and trial by way of exile is under investigation, but all the competent civil authorities also agree the decision avoided what could have been a great deal of bloodshed as a result of both the act and the manner in which it was done.
As it happens, nobody died, and at NO time at all, as of 6:00 PM on Sunday July 5, 2009, and at no time did the Armed Forces take any de facto power at all.
The world is beginning to understand the message that the destitution of the ex-president Zelaya was constitutional, and that the government of Roberto Micheletti has the support of all sectors of the population, compared to the tiny few demanding the return of Zelaya, is finally getting the world’s attention.
**_UPDATE_**_Sunday 5 July 2009
Our friends in Tegucigalpa tell us they’re afraid to go to work because of the random violence of pro-Zelaya thugs breaking windows, stealing things, throwing projectiles, and trying to create the greatest havoc they can.
A number of these random rioters have been arrested, four of whom have been identified as Nicaraguans.
Hondurans are expressing concern about growing numbers of Nicaraguans and Venezuelans infiltrating into the country, from Nicaragua.
This is something they take seriously after threats of invasion from Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega, and Rafael Correa, and the presence of Venezuelan military bases in Nicaragua, and the reported sight of Venezuelan fighters clearly marked flying over the capital on Sunday June 28, 2009, that flew off when Honduran Air Force aircraft went up in response..