February 14, 2010

Mel Zelaya never disappoints

Mel Zelaya in Dominican RepublicMel Zelaya, back in the groove
Photo: El Nacional, DR

Manuel Zelaya stayed quiet for a week, but that was as long as he could stand it. In a press conference in Santo Domingo last week, widely covered by the Dominican Republic press but not so much elsewhere, Zelaya (yesterday's news) not only proposed that Honduras' constitution should be changed, but all other regional and subregional organizations' constitutions should, too.

Zelaya proposed that these organizations should change their constitutions so that they can take harsher actions against coup d'etats. He blamed his failed attempt to return to office on the international community. "They have no teeth," he complained. (All links are in Spanish, unless indicated otherwise.)

It took longer than I expected for Zelaya to get back into the groove. I believe that he must have made a solemn promise to someone to not make political speeches or preach against Honduras, in exchange for being allowed to leave the country (again) instead of being charged with crimes. Wash, rinse, repeat. Now that 'someone' knows that Zelaya's word means nothing, no matter who he gives it to. Zelaya has been quiet since that one press conference.

Manuel Zelaya in Sano Domingo Photo: Clave Digital

As if the Tegucigalpa Accord never existed, as if the amnesty decree wasn't signed, and most of all, as if he was still the president of Honduras, Zelaya proposed (or in some cases demanded)....

  • punishment for the coup authors and perpetrators in international courts
  • termination of all actions of judicial persecution
    (read: criminal corruption cases) against himself, his ministers, and all opposition leaders
  • cancellation of visas in general
  • freezing of bank accounts of "coupsters"
  • expulsion from the government of anyone [who he considers to have been] involved, including the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, and the military leadership
  • dissolving the Honduran military, the police forces who were involved directly or indirectly, and the Congress (!)
  • restructure of the judicial system
  • no recognition of the current government
  • expulsion of Lobo's government from all international and multilateral organizations
  • economic and commercial sanctions against Honduras
  • cessation of cooperation agreements and military assistance
  • creation of a truth commission under the direction of international human rights groups
  • the reactivation of the processes of participatory democracy (like Venezuela?)
  • the creation of deliberative spaces (?)
  • the construction of a new political, economic, and social order (?)
  • guarantees for the exercise of democratic freedom
  • the creation of a commissioner for freedom of expression

That last proposal is incredible considering the number of complaints filed (English) during Zelaya's administration, including murders, intimidation, assault, and refusal to provide information. One of his top cohorts, Marcelo Chimirri (who is now in jail awaiting trial for unrelated corruption charges), brought a US $25 million defamation lawsuit against two Honduran newspapers for merely republishing an article from a Mexican newspaper. Seven other journalists were sued (English) individually for criminal defamation by Chimirri.

In the past, Zelaya proposed a law censoring crime news, forced all radio and television stations to broadcast his nightly two hour cadenas (English), refused to provide information about finances, use of aid funds, projects, treaties, and even swine flu statistics, paid millions for favorable media coverage, and he constantly complained (English) that the media was against him.

But wait! There's more. Zelaya also proposed sanctions against the governments who recognized the de facto government.

Ex-president Zelaya said that he will return to Honduras 'pronto' but added that "there are no conditions for justice in Honduras. What I propose is a process of reconciliation and restoration of democratic order in the country, since the effects of the coup are still present in Honduras."

Zelaya also demands immediate cessation of the "repression" that the Honduran pueblo is still suffering (under Pepe Lobo).

He suggest a Great National Debate to Restore Democracy..... as if he didn't know that Lobo's platform was based on a Grand National Dialogue.

He assured the media that he achieved the best economic indicators in the last 30 years, with growth superior to the average of Latin America and a 10% reduction in poverty after stagnation for 30 years -- claims that have been found ridiculous by organizations who track such things, like FOSDEH, who report that poverty actually increased during Zelaya's term and the increase in economic indicators was a result of family remesas sent by Honduran workers in other countries.

"The Spy" column in one newspaper said that he swept into the press conference like a movie star, sans cowboy hat, and greeted almost all of the journalists with a kiss.
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