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, September 21, 2009

An Interview with President Zelaya

La Jornada de Mexico has the first published coverage available on the internet from the recent interview with Zelaya at the Brazilian embassy.

Possibly the biggest news item in the press interview is Zelaya's statement that OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza will travel to Honduras to mediate face-to-face talks.
Yo he regresado con el fin de buscar un arreglo pacífico de frente, para que el diálogo sea en mi propia tierra y en mi propio pueblo.

I have returned with the purpose of seeking a peaceful arrangement face to face, so that the dialogue will be in my own country and among my own people

Las fuerzas armadas deben apuntar sus rifles a los enemigos del pueblo y no contra el pueblo

The Armed Forces should point their rifles at the enemies of the people and not against the people
While the US State Department may have preferred him to stay out of Honduras and wait for non-existent progress in the moribund Arias mediated "negotiations", Zelaya makes an important claim here: even the worst coup apologists have had to admit his expulsion from the country was a constitutional violation.

The Supreme Court order for his detention June 28 actually was based on a claim he was a flight risk. Pro-coup apologists delight in claiming that President Zelaya cannot return because he would be arrested on both this order and a trumped-up list of 18 "charges" since the de facto regime was installed. But this ignores his actual desire to return to the country, where he would have the right to due legal process and to fight the charges against him, which many constitutional law professors have argued are procedurally and factually flawed. As noted here, the Supreme Court had not yet arrived at the point of trying, much less convicting, Zelaya, and while there were administrative charges that could be argued to have some basis, representing these administrative issues as the basis of charges of "treason" was overwrought.

The amnesty provision in the San Jose Accord is as much, or more, about protecting the coup architects from prosecution.

With Zelaya back in the country, negotiations could proceed without the baggage of that proposal, which gave away so much to the coup regime that it hardly made sense for Zelaya to agree to it. His presence in national territory allows for the participation of civil society in ensuring that there are negotiations; it raises the pressure on the Armed Forces, which desperately wants not to be smeared by their participation in the coup; and it may open a way for the factions within the coup and de facto regime that have tried to open up some breathing room to move more decisively away from Micheletti.

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