Photo: El Heraldo
The Honduran congress voted for amnesty this morning (more on that later), Porfirio (Pepe) Lobo was inaugurated (without incident), and Mel Zelaya is gone (without incident), but I wanted to finish up this article:
It's ironic (or hypocritical if you prefer) that so many outside of Honduras say that "even if Zelaya was a bad president, the ends don't justify the means", but those same people seemed to believe that any law could be broken to restore Zelaya to power. Foreign presidents and international organizations have been trying for seven months to force illegal, undemocratic, and unconstitutional actions on Honduras in the name of "restoring democracy".
Unfortunately, this interference in Honduras' internal affairs is not going to end with Pepe Lobo's inauguration.
Guatemalan President Colom's (photo) suggestion that Pepe allow Mel Zelaya to be president for a few minutes takes the prize as the most idiotic. It's frightening to think that people like this are running countries!
Just how can a president-elect make someone President? After Pepe Lobo is inaugurated and actually has any legal powers, the only way Zelaya could be president, even if illegally and even if for a few minutes, is if Lobo steps aside. According to Honduras' constitution, anyone who has served as President (no matter how short the time) can never serve as president again, thus Lobo would be out and the new president of the congress would replace him, according to the order of succession set out in the constitution. Hah!
Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernández (photo), the US's front man for the latest "accord", hopes that Honduras will return to "civilized coexistence" with the international community. Hmmm, I know Honduras needs reconciliation but I did not realize that we had left civilization.
I had a terrible fear that Fernández and Colom and/or the US State Department would try to force Lobo to allow Zelaya to attend the inauguration. I can't even imagine how the Honduran audience would have reacted to that.
Zelaya will try to steal the limelight today and probably more international journalists are focused on him today than on Honduras' new president. Apparently he was denied the opportunity for grand farewell (I'll be back!) speech at the airport. Depending upon his timing, Zelaya may be up against US President Obama's state of the union address. The score on that one will be Honduras - 0, US - 1.
Brazil, who hypocritically prides itself on its "nonintervention diplomacy", comes right out and says that they are pressuring Honduras to ignore Zelaya's crimes and are pushing for (undefined) changes to Honduras' constitution:
"But the key will be gaining Brazil’s support. That will require an amnesty for Mr Zelaya, a unity government including some of his supporters and a willingness to discuss constitutional reform, says a Brazilian diplomat."Hopefully the only change to the constitution that Brazil is pushing is the reincorporation of the impeachment clause, because any other suggestions are unwanted interference in the government of another country.
Costa Rica President Oscar Arias (photo) was just as bad and should be accused of promoting a coup in Honduras. Arias seems to think that a president-elect should have the power to force a sitting president out of power and replace him with a previous one.
Arias publicly insulted Pepe Lobo, calling him too weak because he couldn't accomplish this, and saying that the Honduran people deserved better (forgetting that Honduras has had a strong president for seven months and Arias did not like that at all!). To ponder the idiocy, just think about this: It's December 2008. Picture president elect Obama trying to force out George Bush and replace him with Bill Clinton! Is that an idiotic thing for a president of another country to propose?
I certainly hope that the next president of Costa Rica gives Honduras a well deserved apology for all of the tasteless remarks and insults from its former president.
Insulza is promoting division in Honduras, not reconciliation, by suggesting that Lobo disassociate himself from 80% of the population. Reconciliation doesn't mean appeasing the resistance. Reconciliation involves inclusion of both sides.
Hondurans are angry
So what is the result all of this outside intervention in Honduras in the name of the Honduran people? Angry comments from Hondurans about amnesty and Lobo's deal to allow Zelaya to leave Honduras abound on newspaper articles, Facebook and Twitter. The email chain letters are afire again, this time with a tone of indignation. Some are even using the word "traitor". This "accord" was an unexpected shock to many.
Lobo's remarks that he was elected by the people and will now make the decisions that he thinks best (regardless of the opinions of the people or other powers of state or the laws) are frighteningly reminiscent of Zelaya who acted as if he had been made king of Honduras. Those comments are also in direct opposition to what he told voters during the campaign. Pepe Lobo promised that his decisions would be based on national dialogues with the people after the election.
Honduran blogger Aaron of Pensieve is angered by the US's violation of Honduras' sovereignty. Forcing the Constitutional President of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, to symbolically "retire" from the presidential palace in the days before the election is just another example of the US putting the boot to the neck of Honduras, just because they can. It serves no real purpose except to humiliate Honduras and show "who is boss". The resistance is now protesting dictator Lobo instead of dictator Micheletti.
Honduran blogger Dennis of Universal Honduras expressed his displeasure in De Puño de Hierro a Blandengue (From Iron Fist to Softie). Daniel of Cascabel Team of Destruction voices his opinion in Una Discutible Decisión de Lobo (A controversial decision of Lobo). Ardegas at Born in Honduras gives his analysis at Pepe Lobo, new Honduran President. Marco Cáceres sees it a different way.
Some spontaneous reactions were noted by Ulf Erlingsson during the inauguration:
The inauguration continued after posting this, and the people in the stadium loudly booed president Oscar Arias from Costa Rica, president Fernandez from Dominica, ambassador Llorens from USA, and OAS with Insulza… but applauded president Martinelli from Panama.
There was a not so loud booing of the amnesty – but no applauds. Now he is signing it. Louder boos.
Lobo the coward has still not in his speech acknowledged the work of Micheletti, even though without him, he would not be president now. If he doesn’t, he will do himself a tremendous disfavor, and ruin the political consensus that existed since June 28.
Who wrote this new accord?
I had a hunch about this new agreement with DR president Leonel Fernández. I clicked Google's translate button and sure enough, the agreement translated almost perfectly to English - a sign that it may have been written in English and translated to Spanish for publication. Generally the Spanish sentence structure varies a lot causing translation problems with Google. Since both the DR and Honduras are Spanish speaking countries, what English-language country do you suppose might have written this document?
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