Comment by Jose Falck Zepeda
I need to clarify some of the incomplete and erroneous statements made by the author in this article. Seems to me that the author needs to delve more on the nuances of what really happened in Honduras in order to make such broad statements as presented in this article. Certainly I agree that this is a time to break many paradigms in my country Honduras, but these have to be to support the Constitution, law and order. We as a nation cannot and should not allow external pressures to allow some of our citizens to break the law and not present them in front of the judicial system for judgment. Yes, we need to mature politically and economically and that certainly means having Honduras first and foremost, and stop paying attention or having unconditional obedience to any foreign country that goes against our interests.
1) There is no formal impeachment process described in the Honduran constitution
2) What happened in Honduras was a completely different phenomenon that a conventional coup d’état simply because two main characteristics of such an event did not happen. First, a complete military takeover of government and its functions, and second the breaking of the rule of law. At no point military took over government and its functions, and the rule of law continued with the known limitations of those turbulent times. Congress, Supreme Court, Lower Courts, The executive; all continued functioning without any military in command. Furthermore, the military did not intervene in naming positions that involved decision making. Roberto Micheletti, as Head of Congress, was the next in line to take over the presidency, as the Vice-President Elvin Santos had resigned because he wanted to be the liberal party candidate.
3) The author ignores all events that lead to the removal of Zelaya. Including several rulings by the Supreme Court and the Lower courts, declaring unconstitutional the proposed referendum that Zelaya and his advisors proposed, the importation of voting booths and paper votes from Venezuela, the illegal removal of more than 2 million dollars in black suitcases from the Central Bank of Honduras safe a couple of days before the election, Zelaya’s refusal to submit the 2009 budget as mandated by the Constitution, his refusal to endorse the rulings of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. Here the important issue to understand is the sequence of events that can only conclude that Zelaya indeed tried to modify the constitution.
4) The Honduran constitution can and has been modified multiple times; through a process described in the Constitution itself. The only articles in the constitution that cannot be changed are those called “petreos” which describe the sovereignty of our national territory, the mode of government being representative and a republic, and the re-election prohibition. Obviously, since the Honduran constitution allows change, we have to dig deeper in understanding why the call for a drafting body to change the constitution, which in essence implies dissolving the current constitution and the rule of law as well as all the organizations and political bodies whose existence is derived from the Constitution. In essence, leaving the country at the mercy of whoever controls the “constituyente”.
5) Vote in Congress to remove Zelaya was roughly 121 for removal and 5 (or 7 depending on alternate versions) against his removal.
6) Micheletti although a catholic (as are 90% of Honduras) in his public speeches did not claim a God given right or command to pursue the removal of Zelaya.
7) President Porfirio Lobo Sosa was elected in elections legal under Honduran law. Furthermore, most of 2009 general elections organization and formal steps had been mostly completed under the Zelaya’s administration. Primary party elections had been completed, candidates were already formally inscribed, voting registration lists had been completed and accepted, mandatory electoral steps have been done by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, and the call for general elections had been made already. The only thing missing in the electoral process were the general elections themselves.
8) Even if the event of June 29, 2009 were to be classified as coup d’état, The best alternative for any country is to hold general elections and to elect a new president. That lesson has been learned around the world and in many countries that now condemn the elections in Honduras