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Honduran National Resistance Update 11/1

November 1, 2009

7:30PM

 

>DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE ABOUT THE “HISTORIC DEAL” REACHED IN HONDURAS – NO JUSTICE FOR THE PEOPLE

Friday, October 30, 2009

by Eva Golinger

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared early this morning:

“I’m very pleased to announce that we’ve had a breakthrough in negotiations in Honduras.

I want to congratulate the people of Honduras as well as President Zelaya and Mr. Micheletti for reaching an historic agreement. I also congratulate Costa Rican President Oscar Arias for the important role he has played in fashioning the San Jose process and the OAS for its role in facilitating the successful round of talks.

As you know, I sent Assistant Secretary Tom Shannon and his deputy Craig Kelly and the White House NSC representative for the Western Hemisphere Dan Restrepo to Honduras yesterday after speaking with both President Zelaya and Mr. Micheletti last Friday to urge them finally, once and for all to reach an agreement.

I cannot think of another example of a country in Latin America that having suffered a rupture of its democratic and constitutional order overcame such a crisis through negotiation and dialogue.

This is a big step forward for the Inter-American system and its commitment to democracy as embodied in the Inter-American Democratic Charter. I’m very proud that I was part of the process, that the United States was instrumental in the process. But I’m mostly proud of the people of Honduras who have worked very hard to have this matter resolved peacefully.

We’re looking forward to the elections that will be held on November 29, and working with the people and government of Honduras to realize the full return of democracy and a better future for the Honduran people.”

But what is the real story?

Exactly what some of us have been saying all along – that Washington played the coup out as long as possible, trying to gain legitimacy and credibility for the dictatorial regime, but when that strategy failed, and the United Nations, OAS and countries around the world still refused to recognize the illegal regime as a “government” and further reiterated over and over again that the upcoming presidential elections on November 29th would not be recognized, the Obama/Clinton team went for Plan B.

The past few days have been a rush to figure out a way to get President Zelaya “placed” back in “power”, but with no power to govern, just his cowboy hat in the presidential office, so that the elections could proceed. And so Washington sent down it’s heavy duty delegation on Wednesday, led by Sub-Secretary of State for Latin America Thomas Shannon, National Security Council Advisor on Latin America Dan Restrepo, and Adjunct Secretary of State Craig Kelly (a fanatical anti-Chávez propagandist). The trio “resolved” the four month long Honduran crisis. Washington to the rescue!

Right. Basically, the Empire’s trio went down to their backyard and told dictator Roberto Micheletti that if he didn’t just allow Zelaya’s cowboy hat back in the presidential office, Washington wouldn’t recognize the upcoming elections and that could be a problem for the small Central American nation. And, they said, don’t worry, Zelaya won’t be able to do anything anyway, it’s all for show. So, Micheletti bowed his oversized ego and said, well, ok, let the Congress decide (the same Congress that approved the coup d’etat on June 28th), and so long as I go free.

The “agreement” lauded by Clinton merely says the Honduran Congress will decide on Zelaya’s restitution, and if approved, a government of “reconciliation” will be installed. Read: puppet regime with no power. Washington is overjoyed and excited about having found a way to save face and look like the good guys!

But what about the people of Honduras who have suffered four months of repression and violence from the coup regime and the armed forces at its service? What about the US military presence on Soto Cano that have been coordinating with the coup leaders from day one? What about the four months lost from Zelaya’s presidency? And justice for the people? That’s not in the “historic agreement”.

Thomas Shannon said he was pleased that an agreement was reached to resolve the crisis in Honduras “without violence”. What about the dozens killed and hundreds injured and detained over the past four months at the hands of the coup regime? And the constant suspension of constitutional rights and guarantees? Is that not “violence”?

We still have to wait and see how the situation plays out. But without real justice for the people of Honduras, this “historic agreement” is just a bunch of Washington hype.

 

 

>Accord for National Reconciliation and the Strengthening of Democracy in Honduras
Text of the Agreement Signed on October 30, 2009

By Negotiating Teams of the Elected Government of President Zelaya and Coup Regime of Roberto Micheletti
Tegucigalpa, Honduras

October 31, 2009

Preamble

We, Honduran citizens, men and women, convinced of the need to strengthen the rule of law, protect our Constitution and the laws of our Republic, deepen democracy and ensure a climate of peace and tranquility for our people, have carried out an intense and frank process of political dialogue to seek a peaceful and negotiated solution to the crisis in which our country has been submerged in recent months.

As the result of this dialogue, in which the common sense, tolerance and patriotic spirit of all participants have prevailed, we have drawn up a political Accord that will allow civic coexistence to be reestablished and ensure a suitable climate for democratic governability in our country. This Accord, we are certain, will mark the road toward the peace, reconciliation and democracy Honduran society urgently requires.

The acceptance of this Accord demonstrates, yet again, that Hondurans are capable of successfully conducting a dialogue and, through it and by it, achieving the high goals set by our society and demanded by our country.

Pursuant to the preceding, we have agreed to the following accords.

1. Regarding the National Unity and Reconciliation Government

To achieve reconciliation and strengthen democracy, we will form a National Unity and Reconciliation Government composed of representatives from various political parties and social organizations, recognized for their capacity, integrity, competence and willingness to dialogue, who will fill the different Secretariats, Sub-secretariats and other agencies of the State, in conformance with Article 246 and succeeding articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras.

In view of the fact that, prior to June 28, the Executive Branch had not sent the National Congress a draft of the General Budget for Revenue and Disbursement, as established in Article 205, Subsection 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras, this National Unity and Reconciliation Government will respect the General Budget recently approved by the National Congress for fiscal year 2009 and will operate on its basis.

2. Regarding Renunciation of a Call for a National Constituent Assembly and Amending the Unamendable Articles of the Constitution

To achieve reconciliation and strengthen democracy, we reiterate our respect for the Constitution and the laws of our country, abstaining from calls for a National Constituent Assembly, either directly or indirectly, and also renouncing the promotion or support of any public consultation for the purpose of reforming the Constitution to permit presidential reelection, modify the form of Government or contravene any of the unamendable articles in our Founding Charter [constitution].

In particular, we will not make public statements or exercise any sort of influence inconsistent with Articles 5, 239, 373 and 374 of the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras and we will energetically reject any expression contrary to the spirit of said articles and the Special Law to Regulate Referendums and Plebiscites.

3. Regarding General Elections and the Transfer of Government

To achieve reconciliation and strengthen democracy, we reiterate that in conformance with Articles 44 and 51 of the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras, suffrage is universal, obligatory, egalitarian, direct, free and secret, and it is the responsibility of the fully autonomous and independent Supreme Electoral Tribunal to supervise and administer every facet of electoral activities and processes.

Likewise, we call on the Honduran people to peacefully participate in the coming general election and to avoid any type of demonstrations that oppose the elections or their results, or promote insurrection, unlawful conduct, civil disobedience or other acts that could result in violent confrontations or transgressions of the law.

For the purpose of demonstrating the transparency and legitimacy of the electoral process, we urge the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to authorize and accredit the presence of international missions from now until the announcement of the general election results, as well as during the transfer of power that will occur, in accordance with Article 237 of the Constitution of the Republic, on January 27, 2010.

4. Regarding the Armed Forces and the National Police

To achieve reconciliation and strengthen democracy, we affirm our willingness to comply, in all its terms and conditions, with Article 272 of the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras, in accordance with which the Armed Forces are placed at the disposition of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal from one month before the general elections for the purpose of guaranteeing the free exercise of suffrage, the custody, transport and surveillance of electoral materials and other security aspects of the process. We reaffirm the professional, apolitical, obedient and non-deliberative character of the Honduran Armed Forces. Likewise, we agree that the National Police should strictly abide by the terms of its special legislation.

5. Regarding the Executive Power

To achieve reconciliation and strengthen democracy, in the spirit of the subjects of the proposal for the San José Accord, both negotiating commissions have respectfully decided that the National Congress, as an institutional expression of popular sovereignty, in use of its authority, in consultation with the entities it believes pertinent such as the Supreme Court of Justice and in accordance with the law, resolve the issue regarding “restoring possession of the Executive Power to its status prior to June 28 until conclusion the current governmental period on January 27, 2010.”

The decision the National Congress adopts should establish a basis for achieving the social peace, political tranquility and democratic governability the society requires and the country needs.

6. Regarding the Verification Commission and the Truth Commission

To achieve reconciliation and strengthen democracy, we stipulate the creation of a Verification Commission to verify commitments made under this Accord and those deriving from it, coordinated by the Organization of American States (OAS). Said Commission will be composed of two members of the international community and two members of the national community, the last two to be chosen, one each, by the parties [i.e., one by Micheletti and one by Zelaya].

The Verification Commission will be responsible for attesting to the strict compliance with all of the points of this Accord and will receive the full cooperation of Honduran public institutions for that effect.

The failure to comply with any of the commitments contained in this Accord, as verified and declared by the Verification Commission, will result in the activation of measures the Commission will establish for the transgressor or transgressors.

For the purpose of clarifying the events occurring before and after June 28, 2009, a Truth Commission will also be created to identify acts that led to the current situation and provide the people of Honduras with elements to avoid repetition of these events in the future.

This Dialogue Commission recommends that the next government, in the framework of a national consensus, constitute said Truth Commission in the first half of 2010.

7. Regarding the Normalization of Relations between the Republic of Honduras and the International Community

On committing ourselves to faithfully comply with the commitments made in this Accord, we respectfully request the immediate revocation of those measures or sanctions adopted bilaterally or multilaterally that in any way affect the reinsertion and full participation of the Republic of Honduras in the international community, and its access to all forms of cooperation [aid].

We call on the international community to reactivate, as quickly as possible, the cooperation projects in effect with the Republic of Honduras and to continue the negotiation of future projects. We especially urge that, at the request of competent authorities, necessary and timely international cooperation be provided so that the Verification Commission and the future Truth Commission ensure faithful compliance and follow-through for the commitments made under this Accord.

8. Final Dispositions

Any differences regarding interpretation or application of this Accord will be submitted to the Verification Commission, which will determine, in adherence to the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras and legislation in force, and through an authentic interpretation of the present Accord, the corresponding solution.

Taking into account that this Accord is the product of the understanding and fraternity of Hondurans, we vehemently request that the international community respect the sovereignty of the Republic of Honduras and fully observe the established principle in the United Nations charter of non-interference in the internal affairs of other States.

9. Calendar for Compliance with the Accords

Given that this Accord takes immediate effect upon the date of its signing and for the purpose of clarifying the time for compliance and follow-through for the commitments made to achieve national reconciliation, we agree to the following calendar for compliance:

October 30, 2009

1. Signing and entrance of the Accord into effect.
2. Formal delivery of the Accord to Congress for the effects of Point 5, “Regarding the Executive Power.”

November 2, 2009

1. Formation of the Verification Commission.

After the signing of this Accord and no later than November 5

1. Formation and installation of the National Unity and Reconciliation Government

January 27, 2010

1. Celebration of the transfer of government.

First half of 2010

1. Formation of the Truth Commission.

10. Final Declaration

On behalf of reconciliation and the patriotic spirit that has brought us to the dialogue table, we commit ourselves to complying in good faith with this Accord and what derives from it.

The world is witness to this demonstration of unity and peace, in which we commit our civic conscience and patriotic devotion. Together, we will know how to demonstrate our courage and decision to strengthen the rule of saw and build a tolerant, pluralistic and democratic society.

We sign this accord in the city of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on October 30, 2009.

11. Acknowledgements

We take this opportunity to thank the International Community for its accompaniment and good offices, especially the Organization of American States and its Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza; the [diplomatic] Missions of Foreign Ministers in the Hemisphere; the President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias Sánchez; the Government of the United States, its President Barack Obama, and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

12. Regarding the Tegucigalpa/San José Accord´s Entrance in Effect

For internal purposes, the Accord takes full effect upon signing.

For protocolary and ceremonial purposes, a public signing ceremony will be held on November 2.

Tegucigalpa, Municipio del Distrito Central, October 30, 2009

[Signed: Armando Aguilar Cruz, Vilma Cecilia Morales Montalván, Arturo Gerardo Corrales Alvarez, Victor Orlando Meza López, Mayra Janeth Mejía del Cid, Rodil Rivera Rodil]

>Honduras: Solution or Stall? By Greg Grandin

October 30, 2009

Honduran crisis may soon be over. Maybe. The leader of the coup government,
Roberto Micheletti, agreed to a nine-point plan to end the country’s
political impasse, brokered by Thomas Shannon, the former US Assistant
Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and Barack Obama’s
yet-to-be-confirmed ambassador to Brazil. The deal would return Manuel
Zelaya, the democratically elected president deposed in a military coup four
months ago, to office; in exchange, the international community will end
Honduras’ diplomatic isolation and recognize upcoming presidential
elections, scheduled for November 29.

Roberto Micheletti has agreed to a plan to end the country’s political
impasse. But the coup government is already looking for loopholes.
Honduran Coup Regime in Crisis Honduras

Greg Grandin: Those who seized power in June have polarized society,
delegitimized political institutions and empowered social movements.

Hardliners in the coup government, however, see a loophole in the accords,
which gives the Honduran National Congress the power to approve or reject
Zelaya’s return. And no sooner was the ink dry on the accord when a top
Micheletti advisor, Marcia Facusse de Villeda, told Bloomberg News that
“Zelaya won’t be restored.” In a barefaced admission that the coup
government was trying to buy time, Facusse said that “just by signing this
agreement we already have the recognition of the international community for
the elections.” Another Micheletti aide, Arturo Corrales, said that since
the congress is not in session, no vote on the agreement could be scheduled
until “after the elections.”

But such a calculated reading of the agreement will not play well with most
countries, including the United Nations, the Organization of American
States, and the European Union, which have repeatedly called for restoration
of Zelaya. Brazil–whose Tegucigalpa embassy has given Zelaya shelter since
his dramatic surprise return to Honduras over a month ago–applauded
Shannon’s deal, yet made it clear Zelaya had to be reinstated. And in
Honduras, the National Party, whose candidate is expected to win next
month’s vote, wants this crisis to be over. Its members in Congress may join
with Liberal Party deputies loyal to Zelaya to approve the deal.

The accord leaves unresolved the issue of whether the widespread human
rights violations that have taken place since the coup will be investigated
and prosecuted, only vaguely rejecting an amnesty for “political crimes” and
calling for the establishment of a truth commission. More than a dozen
Zelaya supporters have been executed over the last four months. Security
forces have illegally detained nearly 10,000 people; police and soldiers
have beaten protesters and gang-raped women. And the very idea of a
negotiated solution to the crisis grants legitimacy to those provoked it.

Still, if Zelaya were to be restored to the presidency, even just
symbolically, to preside over the November elections and supervise a
transfer of power to its winner, it would represent a significant victory
for progressive forces in the hemisphere. Here’s why:

1. The attempt by Micheletti and his backers–both in and out of
Honduras–to justify the overthrow of Zelaya by claiming it was a
constitutional transfer of power will have definitively failed. If this
justification was allowed to go unchallenged, it would have set a dangerous
precedent for the rest of Latin America.

2. Efforts to rally support for the coup under the banner of anti-leftism,
or anti-Chavismo–much the way anti-communism served to unite conservatives
during the Cold War–will likewise have failed.

3. It will confirm the political influence–and unity–of Latin America’s
progressive governments, particularly Brazil and Venezuela, which have taken
the lead in demanding that the coup not stand–a position that aligned them
with much of the rest of the world.

4. It will be an important push back for Republicans like South Carolina
Senator Jim DeMint and Otto Reich, who tried to use the crisis to push for a
more hardline US policy against the left in Latin America. It is DeMint who
has put the hold on Shannon’s confirmation, as well as on the confirmation
of Arturo Valenzuela, Obama’s pick for Assistant Secretary of State for
Western Hemisphere Affairs.

5. It will hopefully help the Obama administration realize that in many
Latin American countries, there is no alternative to working with the left.
In Honduras, the violence of the coup government, as well as the fact that
the extended crisis smoked out its less than savory supporters, like Reich,
awoke not too pleasant memories of the Cold War. Reich recently penned an
essay urging Obama to replicate Ronald Reagan’s successful Latin American
policy, which the Iran-Contra alum believed paved the way for the fall of
the Berlin Wall. Many, however, remember too well Reagan’s patronage of
death squads and torturers. And reports that Honduran planters were
importing Colombian paramilitaries to protect their interests were not
helping defenders of the coup make their case. As protests continued, it
became clear to all who paid attention that it was the good guys – trade
unionists, peasants, Native Americans, environmentalists, feminists, gay and
lesbian activists, and progressive priests – who were demanding the return
of Zelaya.

6. Zelaya’s return would be a huge boost for those good guys, who are
largely responsible for the inability of the coup government to consolidate
its rule. Against all expectations, they have defied tear gas, batons,
bullets, and curfews, and engaged in creative and heroic acts of resistance,
growing stronger and more unified than they were before the coup four months
ago. They will engage with the new government from a position of strength,
while the elites who have long ruled Honduras will be fractured and
chastised.

The accords brokered by Shannon force Zelaya to renounce any attempt to
convene a constitutional convention, yet the National Front against the Coup
– the umbrella group that has coordinated opposition to Micheletti – has
made it clear that that demand is “non-negotiable” and that it would
continue to push for it, no matter who is president.

It was of course fear of a constituent assembly that provoked the coup in
the first place, and it is an irony probably not lost on those who executed
it that a large majority of Hondurans, according to a recent poll, now think
that such an assembly would be the best way to solve the country’s political
crisis.

The last thing Micheletti and his supporters want to see is Mel Zelaya, with
his white cowboy hat and wide smile, addressing a large crowd filling the
streets of Tegucigalpa celebrating his reinstallation, building momentum for
fights to come. And this is why Shannon’s deal is anything but done.

About Greg Grandin
Greg Grandin, a professor of history at New York University, is the author,
most recently, of Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten
Jungle City (Metropolitan). He serves on the editorial committee of the
North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA). more…

 >US labor official, Chile’s Lagos on Honduras panel

By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press Writer Olga R. Rodriguez, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 9 mins ago

 TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – The U.S. secretary of labor and a former Chilean president were named Sunday to a commission tasked with monitoring the creation of a power-sharing government in Honduras, under a U.S.-brokered agreement to end the nation’s 4-month-old political crisis.

Jose Miguel Insulza, the secretary-general of the Organization of American States, said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and ex-President Ricardo Lagos will arrive in the Central American country Tuesday, accompanied by high-level OAS officials.

Representatives from Honduras’ two major political parties will round out the four-member commission, which is also tasked with ensuring that all sides recognize November presidential elections and that the military is put under the command of electoral officials to safeguard the vote’s legitimacy.

As part of the accord struck Friday, the commission will monitor the creation of a truth commission assigned to investigate the coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya, who was rousted from his bed by soldiers and flown to Costa Rica on June 28.

Congressional President Jose Alfredo Saavedra is expected to receive the accord Tuesday. He will then have to call lawmakers back into session to debate the measure.

If lawmakers OK the deal, it would win international recognition for the Nov. 29 vote after many nations warned they would not accept the outcome unless the coup was reversed.

Diplomats have urged lawmakers not to delay, and Zelaya’s supporters said they would rally outside Congress on Monday to pressure lawmakers.

“We will be there until we achieve our goal” of seeing Zelaya restored to power, said Juan Barahona, who has been leading protests against the coup.

Zelaya has been inside the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa since Sept. 21, when he made a surprise return to the Honduran capital.”

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