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.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Why Promote Constitutional Reform? A Zelaya Government Text

The Honduran Armed Forces posted a 156 page long document including everything from a timeline to an FAQ that reached almost unequalled levels of the absurd: in response to the question, Was this novel in political history?, the Armed Forces replied with the to-them obvious parallel: the Supreme Court decision in the US Presidential election in 2000 designating George W. Bush as winner over Al Gore (p. 10).

You all remember when the Chief of Staff at the time kidnapped Gore and took him off to Costa Rica, right?

Nestled in this treasure trove, which overall reinforces my sense that the Armed Forces are very defensive, is a document (p. 7) described as

Propaganda material distributed by the Executive Power, called "Cuarta Urna, Peaceful Route to the Citizen's Revolution, a New Constitution!" A document that now establishes some aspects that were intended to be eliminated from the Constitution of the Republic.

The actual handout itself appears almost at the end of the 156 pages of reproduced legal cases and orders sent to the military, the basis on which they acted.

But this document is different: it is the one, actual, solid piece of evidence the military can offer showing what the Zelaya government was intending to promote, in the event that the public opinion poll on June 28 produced a majority in favor of a fourth ballot box in November.

Here's what it promotes; notice the entire absence of any discussion of term limits, continuing in office longer than his elected term, dissolving Congress, the Supreme Court, or the command of the Armed Forces, which elsewhere (p. 15) in the Armed Forces document they claim was the real goal of the exercise; instead, what the Zelaya government proposed was ensuring the rights of women, of the multiple ethnic groups now recognized in Honduras, and the expansion of human rights to include "third and fourth generation" rights-- in other words, bringing the Honduran constitution into conformity with international treaties, just as Minister of Culture Rodolfo Pastor Fasquelle previously noted:

Cuarta Urna
Peaceful Route to the Citizen's Revolution!
A New Constitution

The fourth ballot box is the democratic road to make it legally possible to convene a Constitutional Assembly that could write a new Constitution, to give Honduras a superior democracy, in which the people will not only freely elect their rulers and representatives at all levels of Government, but as well will participate actively in the fundamental decisions that affect their lives and exercise actual control over those who are in power in their name.

Among the momentous topics that should be included in the new Constitution we single out the following:

a) Social Control: establishment of recall referenda, so that the people will have the possibility of denying their confidence in the middle of their term, to those that have been elected and have betrayed them-- and of the Death Crusade! Censure and veto, for mayors, representatives, and the President.

b) Actual freedom of the press, which means equitable access to the media for all the social and political organizations and all the citizens, and that will impede the use of the ownership of the means of communication as an instrument of accumulation of economic and political power.

c) Economic liberty with social responsibility, that will guarantee private property with a social use and the social economy of the market, placing the human being at the center of the economy and rescuing public services for the people.

d) Authentic political liberty that will impede the monopoly of representation on the part of the current party members, who slow the actual participation of the citizens, whether party activists or not, in national politics. Election of representatives by electoral districts and separation of the dates of elections for Presidents, Representatives, and Mayors.

e) Renewal of confidence in those officials who have dignified their office, fulfilling it adequately for the citizens.

f) Popular consultation to guarantee that no ruler could snatch from the People their economic and social takings, because any decisions that menaced these takings only could be legalized by means of a Popular Consultation.

g) Constitutional obligation to aid the progress of Woman as central actor in the development of the country.

h) To grant priority to the individual rights, social, economic, and the rest that will be established, as well as the guarantees of a multicultural and pluri-ethnic society.

i) To incorporate the rights known constitutionally as "third and fourth generation rights" as constitutional rights.

j) To institute the Constitutional Tribunal.

1 comment:

Nell said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for an English version of the primary document that shows what supporters of constitutional reform are after.

Of course, in the event of an actual constitutional assembly, proposals could easily go beyond these points, but that doesn't change the fact that these are goals and demands of a significant section of the population; they are what made the Cuarta Urna popular with its supporters (and frightening to its opponents).