February 1, 2010

Oh No! Not The International Community Again

The following is a guest blog by Jorge Gallardo Rius. The US Foreign Relations Committee report to which he refers, "Multilateralism in the Americas, Let's start by fixing the OAS", can be found here.

Oh No! Not The International Community Again
by Jorge Gallardo Rius

The new President of Honduras has shown that he is willing to go a long way to please the Governments of the International Community, but the current demands by the Secretary General of the OAS that they take part in conforming the Truth Commission are downright obscene. Not only has the OAS not been an impartial observer in the crisis, but more than that, the OAS has been a key player in the Honduran crisis.

That the OAS played an active role in the Honduran Crisis is most notorious in the airport incident. Members of the OAS, including its Secretary General, rallied out of a meeting in which they hastily condemned Honduras, boarded two Venezuelan jets, violated Honduran airspace and attempted a forcible landing in the Honduran capital, with Manuel Zelaya on board to forcibly restore him to power. Don’t forget that several members of the OAS warned them that they shouldn’t attempt this adventure. And let's not forget that a youth died in the events surrounding said adventure and that this case is still under investigation.

The OAS’s punitive stance against Honduras, in which “Speed trumped deliberation” according to one Senior OAS official in a recent report to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, could become even more critical if the results of the Truth Commission showed that the Hondurans acted in defense of their democratic institutions, as they have repeatedly argued, against a rogue president attempting to destroy the peoples’ constitutional right to a free and democratic society.

The Report to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee points out that “Because military coups have been relatively rare since the democratic wave of the 1980s and 90s, the greatest danger to democracy lies with elected officials who abuse their constitutional powers.” Thus, the arguments that the Interim Government acted legally in defense of its Democracy are credible and would set a damper in the OAS’s management of the Honduran Crisis.

The Report further points out that: “the OAS has demonstrated decisive responses to traditional coups but relative passivity towards the gradual erosion of democracy, despite the relationship between these two threats, as illustrated by recent crises. In both Venezuela and Honduras, executive defiance of other government institutions provoked the breakdown of democratic rule.”

Yet, evidence shows that on June 17, the day after Zelaya lost his legal appeal to the Supreme Court, thus confirming that his actions were illegal, the OAS sent a special envoy to Honduras, Raul Arconada. And according to the Report to the US Senate, “the Permanent Council issued a resolution on June 26 calling on all actors to ‘‘avoid a disruption of the constitutional order’’ and directing a Special Commission to visit Honduras” AFTER the illegal action would have taken place.

The content of the envoy’s reports and communications to the OAS have not been made public, but according to sources in Honduras, this envoy and that mission’s objective was to whitewash the illegal actions by Zelaya and give his actions an appearance of legality. If that is true, then the OAS wasn’t passive in the events that for so long have affected Honduras’ reputation and economy, but on the contrary, the OAS would have been actively supporting the erosion of Honduran democracy.

Remember that many nations condemned Honduras because they followed suit to the OAS’s decision. Thus, the intention to obscure these facts may explain why the OAS hurried to condemn the events in Honduras, why they refused even to listen to a presentation of facts and evidence supporting Zelaya’s removal and why they are so anxious to be a part of the Truth Commission.

In all countries, including the US (remember Kennedy’s assassination?), Truth Commissions have always been formed with nationals, not foreigners, and there will always be people who don’t accept the conclusions, as there are still many conspiracy theories about Kennedy’s assassination. But the participation of organizations and individuals who have been a part of the problem must be avoided to maintain a small modicum of faith in the results. What truth can come of an organization with a vested interest in the outcome?


Jorge Gallardo Rius is a Honduran citizen who was born in La Ceiba and currently lives in Tegucigalpa. He studied in Louisiana, Houston, and Romania and is currently an Information Systems Analyst. He offers English/Spanish and Spanish/English translations. Sr. Gallardo can be contacted at jgallardo515 at yahoo.com


Another quote from the report (emphasis mine):

"....in response to military overthrows in Venezuela in 2002 and Honduras in 2009. These crises revealed the shortcomings of the OAS's defense of democracy. In both cases, the OAS reacted forcefully to the democratic interruption, yet it had demonstrably failed to respond to the erosion of democratic institutions by elected presidents that preceded the coups."

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