July 27, 2009

Zelaya predicts: I would be taken out of the country "as is the custom"

(the video is in Spanish)

This Telesur video was taken on Thursday, June 25, at the military base where President Mel Zelaya had taken a mob to take control of and distribute the election materials which had been determined illegal and ordered confiscated by the Supreme Court.

He rants on and on to justify his actions to the reporter, but it seems primarily to reassure the very uncomfortable looking General Luís Prince that what he is doing is correct because the Supreme Court has erred.

Starting at minute 3:35, you'll hear Mel Zelaya discuss what should happen if he committed a crime (which he did by taking control of the ballots). He indicates that the other powers of government would act against him and that one of the options would be to take him out of the country, "as is the custom."

Too many people compare what has happened in Honduras to their own "first world" country, their own constitution, and their own laws and customs. This is Honduras, a third-world country with a very young democracy and a constitution that unfortunately does not include an impeachment clause.

On July 25, President Zelaya gathered a mob and transported them in buses to defy a Supreme Court ruling and to intimidate the military from enforcing their duty. To justify his actions, he describes what would have happened if he had committed a crime:
"If I committed a crime as the commander in chief of the Armed Forces then what the prosecution would have done would be to proceed against me, right? Because I am the commander in chief and they should discipline their commander in chief, rather that is another state power. Then they would have proceeded against me. They would have put me in prison, okay! They would have taken me out of the country, as is the custom, or would have sent someone to kill me, that's it!"*
The prosecutor did proceed against him and the other powers of the state did what they had to do under the law. Zelaya was given every opportunity to comply with the law. Instead he choose to violate the court order in the most blatant way and the result was that his prediction came true. He was taken out of the country.

Referring to this same video, Aaron of Pensieve also asks:
Can the president break the law with impunity? Perhaps the most important statement Zelaya made was a casual comment that next year the country would be ruled by a constitutional assembly. What about the elections?

In this video he says that the the opposition of the Congress and the Supreme Court to his desires were “arbitrary and illegal” and constitute a “de facto coup”, and that a constituent assembly is “badly needed”. The Supreme Court and Congress are meant to be a check and balance on the Executive branch. Are they coupsters for upholding separation of the powers of the state?

My guess (only! I have no inside information) is that on the morning of June 28, Mel Zelaya was given the choice of humiliatingly facing charges of treason, abuse of authority, and other crimes, or of resigning and leaving the country. I believe that he made the choice to leave the country, but all along had the intention of playing the victim, which he has continually done during his presidency. "They are all against me!", he was wont to say. See this May 2007 Blogicito article for an example of Mel playing the victim, which also touches on his attempts to repress the media.

As far as the pajamas go, I have never from the beginning believed that Zelaya was not given the opportunity to dress. Humberto Fontova of Babalú wrote: "Military thugs Booted Zelaya–while still in his pajamas!–from his office and nation!” (a complete CROCK!). I also have a hard time believing that on the one of the most important days of his life, with the polls about to be open in 45 minutes, that Zelaya was sound asleep in his bed when the military arrived. That makes no sense at all.

*My translation has been verified by three Hondurans
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