Responses to the Coup d'etat in Honduras on Sunday June 28, with special emphasis on producing English-language versions of commentaries by Honduran scholars and editorial writers and addressing the confusion encouraged by lack of basic knowledge about Honduras.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

When did "Support for the Plan" come to mean rejection?

As I previously noted, singling out the LA Times, a number of English-language media sources have claimed that the Zelaya delegation to Costa Rica rejected the latest plan. Some of the same media pair this claim with disingenuous coverage of the Micheletti delegation's statement that they would take the plan back to Honduras for consideration by the separate branches of the government, giving unearned credit to the latter group for supposedly being willing to consider this.

So here, cited verbatim from today's edition of Costa Rica's La Nacion, is what Rixi Moncada, spokesperson for the Zelaya team actually said, which I saw televised last evening and can testify is not taken out of context:
reiteró su apoyo al plan, igual que la crítica contra la posición de sus adversarios. “El diálogo de San José ha fracasado por la intransigencia del régimen del golpe”, dijo.

What that means in English:
she reiterated support for the plan, as well as the critique against the position of her adversaries. "The dialogue of San Jose has failed because of the intransigence of the coup regime", she said.

On the other hand, the remarks by Micheletti's spokesperson, Mauricio Villeda, is described (not quoted directly as follows:

recalcó la dificultad de aceptar el retorno de Zelaya al poder, pero igual que el fin de semana, prometió que llevarían el plan a consulta de poderes hondureños

In the actual interview, he emphasized that the Micheletti delegation had no authority to make an agreement, and said he would take it back home to Honduras. As the summary above notes, he

stressed the difficulty of accepting the return of Zelaya to power, but as with the weekend, promised to bring the plan to the Honduran [governmental] powers for consultation

So far, so good, as long as we don't recall what happened with the previous plan ("the weekend" above), which is that Micheletti rejected any proposal that acknowledged Zelaya as legitimate president and restored him to office, which is a necessary condition to restore legitimate constitutional succession.

What happened next: from Tegucigalpa, a televised press conference by the Micheletti faction. Honduras Tiempo today cites the statements of Carlos Lopez of the de facto regime as reiterating that while they have yet to formally respond to the Arias' proposal, the return of President Zelaya is "non-negotiable", basing himself in the live interview on the argument that when he "left the country" (e.g. was forcibly expatriated against the Honduran Constitution) President Zelaya was "already a private citizen" (a claim made originally based on a supposed resignation letter, backdated to June 25, denied by President Zelaya; and later bolstered by a supposed Supreme Court order, which Honduran colleagues also believe was created post-facto).

Thus Lopez claims to restore Zelaya would be to allow a foreign force (Arias? the OAS?) to install an illegal government, a perspective encapsulated in the following, otherwise hard to parse quote:

En el otro caso (Zelaya Rosales) lo que tenemos es un gobernante destituido que no tiene poderes ni tiene controles legales dentro del territorio nacional

In the other instance (Zelaya Rosales), what we have is a fired governor that does not have any power nor legal control within the national territory
What is not cited in Tiempo is the rest of the "press conference" (propaganda conference would be a better name for it) in Tegucigalpa which I watched live on CNN En Español last evening. During that press conference, members of the de facto regime read point-by-point, if selectively, the latest Arias' proposal, emphasizing the points that accepted their demands, and arguing that Arias' acceptance of the demands meant he agreed with the conclusions behind them.

Thus, for example, the point in the Arias' plan asking President Zelaya to publicly state he would not work for constitutional reform while he was in office was used to argue that this proved Arias agreed that Zelaya should not have been working for such reforms.

The point inserted into the plan calling for the budget recently passed by the de facto regime (which among other things cuts the budgets of all government institutes by 20%; and limits the ability to hire new doctors, nurses, teachers; thus imposing policy limitations on any government restored under the plan) should be maintained, was presented at this "press conference" as an expression of support for the supposed efficiency and effectiveness of the coup regime.

And where the Micheletti regime couldn't spin the latest Arias proposal in its favor, it engaged in deep sarcasm about Arias himself.

Unfortunately, CNN did not post this press conference on its website. While Carlos Lopez was more statesmanlike in his CNN interview, it also definitively shuts the door on any agreement to the Arias plan, arguing that Arias wasn't actually a mediator so much as someone getting some ideas out on the table. The delaying tactic is clear here.


leftside said...

Thank you for your great work on this issue. I wrote a letter to my LA Times this morning. Their headline blaming Zelaya was inexcusable. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

You're surprised our media are lying? I'm more surprised when they tell the truth.

Thanks for parsing all this. When I read it last night, my BS meter rang long and loud, but I was too tired to figure out who was saying what. The Zelaya side did say that talks had broken down ("fracasado"), but of course that doesn't mean that they had rejected them.

--Charles of MercuryRising

John (Juancito) Donaghy said...

Thanks. It's hard, especially here in western Honduras to read through all the propaganda.