Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Congress say no to the amnesty and the ALBA least for now

Honduras Congress has declined discussing further any amnesty for the actors involved with the events leading to and during June 28 (La Prensa (click here for article). Congress has ratified the decree that will formally request the withdrawal of Honduras from the ALBA treaty (La Prensa - Click here for article) . The decree was approved by overwhelming majority, just the usual five suspects from the UD party and one person from the PINU party voted against this decree.

I have been opposed to the ALBA treaty since Honduras started thinking about joining the treaty. I am still opposed to this treaty because of the way it was passed through Congress - little discussion about benefits and costs from the treaty- and because it put us in a position where we had to surrender our independent opinion and positions with regard to international issues. In essence ALBA is not solely a trade or cooperation agreement, rather includes a political component which seems to impose quite a cost to the country without much benefits.

Well, if we think about this issue a bit, we were financing short term expenditures (on fuel) with long term debt...that is not a wise fiancial or economic decision. If we add the 100 tractors, who by the way are crappy tractors, believe me I'm an agronomist, which basically came with barely any implements that would make them usable, then we in the end did not get what we bargained for... But this is a topic for longer post...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Impunity must be erradicated from our country Honduras

The first step is to disallowe the current amnesty decree being discussed in the Honduras because it is too broad and will likely provide a cover for common crimes allegedly committed by Mr. Zelaya and his Cabinet. As written in the editorial of Diario La Prensa (click here to see article) in my free translation "Hondurans are waiting for impunity not to persist in the country as the struggle for more transparency and accountability would not have made any sense if decrees are approved that instead of strengthening democracy, weaken it".

Mr. Gaspar Vallecillo in a much stronger and to the point article in Diario El Heraldo (click here to see article) has the firm opinion is that we should not lower our heads in submission to international pressure trying to force us to make Micheletti resign from his post before his Constitutional time or grant an amnesty to anybody. Mr. Gaspar Vallecillo concludes his article by making the following statement: "if we live in rights based state or nation, lets respect it, so that we are respected by everybody else."

I cannot but agree with La Prensa and Mr. Vallecillo on these positions. Respecting the rule of the law starts somewhere. We have a great start with the Constitutional removal of a person who tried to destroy the Republic, now let's follow up this example by continuing enforcing the law. When this principle has been firmly established, then we talk about reunification and country building plans....

Monday, January 11, 2010

Article on "Diaspora, remittances and immigration" posted in La Gringa's Blogicito

And my article on the "Diaspora, remittances and immigration" has been posted in La Gringas Blogicito. Thanks LG for the honor!!!.

Just say no to an un-restricted amnesty and yes to the Truth Commission and restricted amnesty

As the Honduran Congress starts its deliberations of a potential amnesty law project for the people involved with all the events leading to June 28 2009, let us raise our voice and unequivocally say NO to a an un-restricted amnesty. Reports from different newspapers seem to indicate that Congress is discussing three types of crimes that may be covered under the amnesty law project including political (or constitutional), connected and common crimes.

The definition of political and common seem to be apparent, yet the definition of connected crimes can be made so broad that an amnesty law project could in principle cover all crimes committed during the upheaval leading to June 28 2009.

The newspaper  La Prensa (click here to view article) reports the opinion of known penalist lawyer Dagoberto Mejia Pineda, that Mr. Zelaya has been accused of 1) crimes against our government structure, 2) treason, 3) falsification of public documents, 4) abuse of authority,  5) fraud while declaring emergency decrees and making illegal purchases and withdrawing money for publicity for the "Cuarta Urna", illegal implementation of position functions not described in the Presidency's job description.

Mr. Mejia Pineda in fact indicates that of the crimes charged by the Attorney General of Honduras to Mr. Zelaya, all of them may be considered political or connected to the political crimes, and thus with a generalized amnesty Mr. Zelaya will just be absolved of all the crimes he committed during his government. If you want to see a green light for corruption in years to come this is it...a full strike to governance and respect of the law.

What we need to do is to push for the Truth Commission to be implemented based on the San Jose/Tegucigalpa/Guaymuras pact/accord but force all the actors to go to public hearing and confess their crimes as a pre-condition of receiving a restricted amnesty. The restricted amnesty will cover only political crimes. Forget about this nonsense of connected crimes being covered under the amnesty. Much less common crimes. Those should never be forgotten nor forgiven unless those who committed these crimes pay for what they did, stating with the Truth Commission process. If we do not do this, in effect we are saying that we want things to remain the same as before Zelaya. There is a lot of scope for unification and building a country together, but let us not kid ourselves, this process should be based on a clean slate, one that builds upon accepting that we have committed crimes of action or omission. Then, and only then, we move on.