29 September 2009

Honduras : Micheletti Suspends Constitution

Cartoon D.R. 2009 Latuff / The Narco News Bulletin.

The second Honduran coup came today
Because the first one failed

By Al Giordano / September 28, 2009
See 'Honduras coup leader Micheletti decrees 45-day suspension of constitution,' Below.
On the morning of June 28, coup regime soldiers stomped into the offices of Radio Globo and Channel 36 in Tegucigalpa and silenced their transmitters. The two networks filed court orders to be able to get back on the air. And for the past three months they’ve each been subject to written orders from the Honduras regime to cease broadcasting (the journalists, in turn, refused to be censored) and to paramilitary attacks that poured acid on their transmitters, and yet they and their journalists heroically got themselves back on the air rapidly.

On this morning, three months later, it was déjà vu all over again, as those same military troops reenacted the battle of June 28, busting down the doors of both broadcasters and this time removing their transmitters and equipment. And soldiers have surrounded both houses of media to prevent the people from retaking them.

This time, due to yesterday’s coup decree [see below], there is no legal recourse for the journalists. Under the decree, if a judge even looks at a motion from those media, he, too, can be rounded up, arrested and detained. And if another media reports what happened, it, too, can be invaded and silenced by force.

Today’s “do over” of the June 28 Honduras coup proves two big truths.

First: that the original coup failed to establish control over the country and its people. More than 90 days of nonviolent resistance have demolished what little support the coup regime had inside and outside of Honduras, and left them only with their small core of oligarchs and security forces to defend their putsch against the majority.

And second: That despite all the regime’s Orwellian talk of how it was a “legal” coup, how it was executed to defend the Constitution, and how the continued broadcasting of critical media proved it was not a dictatorship, its intention all along was far more sinister: to erase democracy and its most basic freedoms in order to establish autocratic control by a few over 7.5 million Honduran citizens and the lush natural and human resources in that land.

A significant portion of the Honduran population has gone underground overnight. Tipped off that last night their homes would be raided and they would be hauled off to the soccer stadium in Tegucigalpa where the regime already holds at least 75 citizens incommunicado -- reports of the use of torture are all the more credible because the regime won’t allow any attorney, doctor or human rights observer inside the stadium to inspect -- other rank-and-file Hondurans opened their homes to resistance organizers throughout the country. They are hiding from the regime, but they are in constant contact with each other, and with our reporters.

Another part of last night’s wave of state terror came in the form of this provocation: Key human rights leaders and attorneys were notified anonymously of an alleged roundup of dissidents at a particular police station in the capital. They rushed down to look for the detainees, only to be greeted by the very nervous and heavily armed station police who had, simultaneously, received an anonymous phone call telling them that a mob was on its way there to burn down the station. Fortunately, cooler minds prevailed and once the human rights attorneys explained to the police the message they had received, both sides figured out it was an attempt trick them into a violent confrontation.

That the regime has to try and fool and manipulate its own police forces provides an indication that not all of them are thrilled with the latest decree and events.

This is what the coup plotters always wanted: the prohibition of constitutional rights and total authoritarian power in their hands. They tried to have it both ways for three months – defending themselves to the world with their absurd “the coup is not a coup” doublespeak – but that failed. Now they’ve gone to Plan B, which unmasks them for what they are: terrorists, and enemies of democracy and freedom.

Their first coup failed in only three months. That’s why the date of September 28 now enters the history books as the second coup attempt in Honduras of 2009. The second resistance is out there, regrouping, figuring out its next moves, and when those moves come, probably soon, we’ll be reporting their words and deeds, despite the fact that the coup regime has also just made that reporting illegal, too.

Similarly, our longtime friend and colleague, the Brazilian cartoonist Latuff, author of the image above, doesn't take orders from golpistas either. Today he makes public his email address -- carlos.latuff@gmail.com -- and offers support and his talents at image-making to all members of the Honduran resistance as the next phase of the struggle begins.

The second coup -- today's -- came because the first one failed miserably, as this one will, too.

Update 11:26 a.m. in Tegucigalpa (1:26 p.m. ET): And another few rings fall away from the coup regime "onion" of support. The daily Tiempo reports that National Party presidential candidate Pepe Lobo -- who leads in all polls for the November 29 "election" -- has now spoken out against yesterday's coup decree and its 45-day suspension of constitutional rights and liberties:
The National Party presidential candidate, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, lamented what has happened in the political crisis and after calling upon Manuel Zelaya Rosales and Roberto Micheletti to sit down and dialogue, he criticized the Executive Decree published in the Gaceta that restricts various freedoms inherent to human beings.

Lobo made those statements after leaving a meeting that four presidential candidates, a former president of the nation and various businessmen had with US Ambassador Hugo Llorens.

The presidential frontrunner confirmed that, in addition to him, candidates Elvin Santos, Bernard Martínez and Felicito Avila of the Liberal, the Innovation and Unity, and the Christian Democratic parties, respectively, were also present in the meeting.

Lobo Sosa questioned the military curfews and the emission of the Executive Decree against individual rights and news organizations because "they damage the image of the country abroad and directly harm the population."
The meeting with the US Ambassador from which Lobo emerged to make his first-ever public criticism of the coup d'etat and its repressive maneuvers was also attended by former Honduran President Carlos Flores Facussé, and business magnate Adolfo Facussé -- both whom had been original backers of the June 28 coup attempt. If either of them follow Lobo into denouncing the coup and its decree, the "coup onion" would lose one or more of its most inner and powerful layers of support.

12:12 p.m.: Meanwhile, the anonymous pro-coup blogger who calls herself La Gringa and personally approves each and every comment she allows to be published, has just gone to the illegal extreme of publishing an open call to assassinate both President Zelaya and U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens. The violent call is also revealing in its racist and misogynist language directed at U.S. President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, as well as homophobic fantasies about Zelaya and the Ambassador. I'll post that comment here because at some point "La Gringa" may realize that she has just made herself a party to a crime and may attempt to erase the evidence:
How long will it take the Constitutional Government to finally expel Llorens? And tell the monkey and she-dog in Washington to go to Hell. If Honduras must go down, then for History the patriots must kill Zelaya and his long-time LOVER Llorens.
May the U.S.Secret Service take notice at what that supposedly American citizen has just involved herself in: an open call to assassinate the U.S. Ambassador and a foreign elected head of state. We strongly denounce and reject her complicity in such illegal plots.

3:08 p.m.: Steve Benen at Washington Monthly makes note of another layer of the coup onion that seems to have gone silent today: U.S. Congressional Republicans:
WHERE'S THE CONGRESSIONAL COUP CAUCUS NOW?... In July, a variety of conservative Republican lawmakers were outraged by the official U.S. government opposition to the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Honduras. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) officially endorsed the military-backed coup, and a variety of House Republicans organized a "congressional coup caucus" in support of the new, unelected government.

Oddly enough, we're not hearing much from this GOP crowd anymore. I wonder why that is...

When DeMint endorsed the coup, her heralded those responsible for ousting Zelaya as "guarantee[ing] freedom." House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) hosted a private meeting for her Republican colleagues to "discuss how the U.S. can now work to support the democratic institutions and rule of law in Honduras."

All of a sudden, these GOP lawmakers don't seem to be bashing the Obama administration's position anymore. Interesting.

4:46 p.m.: Radio Globo is now broadcasting over the Internet from a clandestine location, at this link (click "listen").

There are also reports that the coup regime, unable to sell this 45-day suspension of the Constitution to the National Congress, is talking about withdrawing the decree. However, unless that includes returning the equipment to Radio Globo and Channel 36, and releasing political prisoners, any reporter who reports it as such would be a fool. Coup dictator Micheletti reportedly asks "forgiveness" for having executed the decree. No se olvide, ni perdón.

5:44 p.m.: Micheletti really seems to be losing it, mentally speaking. Today he handed out another ultimatum, this time to the governments of Spain, Argentina, Venezuela and Mexico (Mexico?!!):
"In the case of those countries that unilaterally decided to break diplomatic relations with Honduras... the situation of Argentina, Spain, Mexico and Venezuela, I'll let them know that the government will not receive diplomatic agents from those countries."
He gave them "ten days" to obey. I'm sure they're quaking in their shoes, crying and contemplating suicide because that silly little petty tyrant Micheletti threatened them. Not.

6:25 p.m.: Radio Globo -- via its Internet broadcast -- is calling on its listeners to go to its seized studios on Bulevar Morazan tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 8 a.m.

11:05 p.m.: Regarding the aforementioned threats -- already having the attention of the U.S. Secret Service... and Blogspot, as well -- on the Gringa blog cheering political assassination and magnicide... They were (as we predicted they would be) removed late tonight, but reflecting the cowardice of the person who approved them for posting, no explanation nor denouncement was offered. It's that those people really believe in those things. You just can't get any lower than that.

Source / Narco News / The Field

Honduras coup leader Micheletti decrees
45-day suspension of constitution

By Al Giordano / September 27, 2009

Now they've really done it. On the same day that the Honduran coup regime detained six foreign diplomats from the Organization of American States (OAS) -- two US officials, two Canadian, one Colombian and Chilean OAS chief Jose Miguel Insulza -- for six hours in the Toncontin International Airport, barring their entrance into Honduras, it has made public the following decree, which bans freedom of assembly, transit, the press and orders National Police and the Armed Forces to arrest and detain any person suspected of exercising those rights.

There really really isn't much editorial comment necessary to explain what this means. Read the decree yourself, which we have just translated into English:

Article 1. For a period of 45 days beginning with this decree’s publication, the Constitutional rights of Articles 69, 72, 81 and 84, are suspended.

Article 2. The Armed Forces will support, together or separately with the National Police, when the situation requires, to execute the necessary plans to maintain the order and security of the Republic.

Article 3. The following is prohibited:

First: Freedom of transit, which will be restricted according to the parameters established by press releases broadcast on all radio and TV stations by the President of the Republic, which will be in effect in all national territory and during curfews, with the exception of cargo transport, ambulances, and urban traffic in the cities excluded in said communiqués, and medical personell and nurses that in those cities work during curfew hours.

Second: All public meetings not authorized by police or military authorities.

Third: Publication in any media, spoken, written or televised, of information that offends human dignity, public officials, or criticizes the law and the government resolutions, or any style of attack against the public order and peace. CONATEL (the Honduran communications commission), through the National Police and the Armed Forces, is authorized to suspend any radio station, television channel or cable system that does not adjust its programming to the present decree.

Article 4. It is ordered:

First: Detain all persons who are found outside of the established orders of circulation, or that in any manner are suspected by police and military authorities of damaging people or property, those that associate with the goal of committing criminal acts or that place their own lives in danger. All detainees will be read their rights, and at the same time must be brought to be booked in a police station of the country, identifying all persons detained, their motives, the hour of arrest and release from the police station, recording the physical condition of the detainee, to avoid future accusations of supposed crimes of torture.

Second: All persons detained must remain c onfined in the legally established detention centers.

Third: All public offices, national, state and municipal, that have been occupied by demonstrators or have persons inside of them engaging in illegal activities will be cleared.

Fourth: All Secretaries of State, decentralized institutions, municipalities and other state organisms must place themselves at the orders of the National Police and Armed Forces without any equivocation, along with all means at their disposal, for the development of these operations.

Article 5. The present Decree becomes law immediately, being duly published in the Official Daily “La Gaceta” and will be sent to the National Congress to be made law.

Ordered from the Presidential Palace in the City of Tegucigalpa, municipality of the Central District, on the 22nd of September of 2009.


The four articles of the Honduran Constitution that have been declared suspended for the next 45 days by this decree are:
Article 69: Personal liberty is inviolable and only through law can it be restricted or suspended temporarily.

Article 72: The expression of thought by any media, without censorship, is free. Those who interfere with this right or through direct or indirect means restrict or impede the communication and circulation of ideas and opinions will held responsible by the law.

Article 81: Every person has the right to circulate freely, leave, enter and remain in national territory.

No one can be obligated to move from his home or residence except in special cases in accord with the law.

Article 84: No one can be arrested or detained except through written order by competent authorities, executed through legal formalities and for motives established by law.

Notwithstanding, open delinquency can be apprehended by any person only to deliver the delinquent to the authorities.

The arrested or detained person must be informed clearly of his rights and the facts of the accusations against him, and, additionally, authorities must permit him to communicate his detention to a family member or person of his choice
In other words, out of 375 articles in the Honduran Constitution, it is revealing that those most basic liberties are the four that Micheletti and his coup regime have chosen to suspend for the next 45 days.

Those 45 days happen to coincide with more than half of the remaining period until the November 29 "election" that it insists will be carried out fairly and freely. I guess one can theoretically campaign for his or her candidate, but only with a written permission note, according to this decree, from police or military authorities...

Source / Narco News / The Field

Also see 'Honduras Alert: Call the State Department Today... / CISPES / Sept. 29, 2009

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