July 21, 2009
Tossing Free Honduras under the BusBy Maggie Petito
Costa Rican President Oscar Arias is promoting a brazen "peace plan" for Honduras that is a betrayal of democracy. Former president Oscar Zelaya of Honduras, removed from office for violating the Honduran Constitution and keep himself in office, rushed to accept the so called arbitrated terms of the deal So too did The New York Times. The "Arias Plan" and its seven points gives Zelaya all that he needs to convert Honduras into another leftist member of the Chavez-backed ALBA alliance, joining Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, , and of course Cuba in solidarity with Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.
ALBA was originally a bloc of nations crudely politically and financially affiliated with Hugo Chavez. It is now a total bloc of four nations with serious designs on adding its latest merged state, Honduras. The ALBA bloc sets out to enshrine alternatives to democracy or what others have called "fake democracy."
ALBA according to Bloomberg News, is seriously making efforts to add new nation members. Some non ALBA nations are partially affiliated through PetroCaribe, Chavez's discounted oil ploy, described here.
Among the ostensible seven terms of the Arias deal, is complete amnesty for all who have brazenly broken laws in Honduras to establish in Tegucigalpa the Banco del Sur, Chavez's planned monetary fund to lend money to "social development" programs. Another item included in the Arias deal is the contention that the Micheletti administration did commit a coup, which goes against the knowledge of the people of Honduras that their own courts, their own objectivity based on facts, and their own congress were wrong and should not have acted under their own constitution to legally remove Zelaya.
Arias insists on Zelaya's restoration in a semi-power sharing, which would craft total chaos, leaving the as yet extant legal Congress, the legitimate courts and the people of Honduras subjugated to the tender mercies of the Castro team, Correa of Ecuador and Chavez, chomping at the bit to muscle their weight around. Indeed, this concurrence-agreement- treaty cum force of law by Arias constitutes double jeopardy against the people of Honduras, a force majeur against Honduran rule of law, leaving democracy's tools for dead, tossed under the oncoming bus.
For its part, the Micheletti government in Honduras late on Sunday rejected the Arias-Zelaya Plan and instead proposed an Independent Truth Commission to review how and what Zelaya and his actors had been doing in Honduras. Clearly, none yet have reviewed all the facts.
Arias insists that all exigencies - all constitutionally endowed legitimate Honduran governmental mandates -- be neutered and controlled by the Honduran Electoral Tribunal this Autumn, including their police, their security details, their military and their communications with the outside world, over-riding all international norms for democracies again. To be sure, this would grease the adoption of the ALBA constitution, already written and already pre rigged as a vote viz Chavez's worst export of pre rigged electioneering machineries. This Arias tactic is also akin to the US Federal Election Commission (FEC) running the White House, all US departments, etc. To Arias this makes sense. To legal scholars it is a ploy -- an unconstitutional ploy that alters Honduran due process and separation of powers by caveat to achieve the main goal- new, pre rigged elections in Honduras to establish a new ALBA constitution and government. Arias tells us that the OAS -- and others -- will oversee and make sure compliance is under control.
The OAS, already overlooking all constitutional norms in Honduras, applauds Arias for selling the original OAS plan, now called the Arias Plan, for increasing the ALBA nation building plan. The current OAS, neither accountable, transparent, nor applying any `wise Latin judicial' or constitutional review, also called fact based analysis, prefers the civil law approach that current president Micheletti and his cabinet are to be deemed guilty with no structural facts -- a unique system of political justice -- applying nothing of functional common law while soothing over the looming threats of violence, loss of economy, and paramilitary plans as if to extort Hondurans.
Indeed, the Arias proposal almost guarantees certain death for Micheletti-constitutional democracy backers whose only choice under Arias is to acquiesce to the Chavez ALBA team. The Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal's Mary Anastasia O'Grady have delivered verifiable background coverage on the many acts of the ALBA constitutional insertion team into Honduras. O'Grady reports:
If there is anything debatable about the crisis it is the question of whether the government can defend the expulsion of the president. In fact it had good reasons for that move and they are worth Mrs. Clinton's attention if she is interested in defending democracy.
Besides eagerly trampling the constitution, Mr. Zelaya had demonstrated that he was ready to employ the violent tactics of chavismo to hang onto power. The decision to pack him off immediately was taken in the interest of protecting both constitutional order and human life. These experiences frightened Hondurans because they strongly suggested that Mr. Zelaya, who had already aligned himself with Mr. Chávez, was now emulating the Venezuelan's power-grab. Other Chávez protégés -- in Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua -- have done the same, refusing to accept checks on their power, making use of mobs and seeking to undermine institutions."
The Arias Plan today -- that it even exists -- is an effrontery to all norms of law. And of course the Arias Plan, which reads like a cut and paste copy from the OAS screed, would restore Zelaya and his ALBA team of communist cartel actors back in to Honduras by this Friday with all rights by the current state to prosecute as gaily abandoned and all state assurances removed by fiat from non state actors.
No sane government of free people would concur with the Arias-OAS-Zelaya fact-free unconstitutional political plan which willfully inserts non-rule of law over rule of law in favor of a political end game. The free world cannot be party to such high jinks, uttered with all the gravitas of a paid propagandist from Havana for any reason- be it expediency or enabling, be it self proclaimed "power diplomacy" or whatever.
Our prayers are with Hondurans today who do not want Zelaya back in any way and our hopes remain that the Obama-OAS team ceases its support for this double jeopardy by caveat. This is not complicated and this is not an acceptable plan for Honduras....it would be the death of Honduran democracy under ALBA and the death of rule of law, democracy's essential. Arias has made a mockery of what is called arbitration and frontally overrides the very compact made by the people of Honduras with its own government, called its constitution, inserting rule by the OAS for ALBA promotion. There was no coup d'etat in Honduras. There was a rather clumsy removal of a president for his illegal acts. Arias and the OAS solutions to the Honduran presidential removal are fact-free and unwarranted. Hondurans know that the Arias-OAS concurrences are not binding unless and until their congress and current president Micheletti, with their courts so approve. If they bow to pressure and sign away their freedom to the Arias plan, they lose.
To date, Hondurans for once in 500 years have stood united, pledging their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor as they have never done before. We hope they heroically hold their extant pledges and not bow to the Arias Plan. Democracy deserves better. In fact, the Arias plan legitimizes a rogue pro Chavez team from the OAS in-country to serve as real time caudillos, not arbiters of constitutional law. Indeed, the "Arias Plan" for these OAS operatives contravenes the OAS's own Democracy Charter itself and must not be adopted or approved.
More to the point, we hope that this Arias-backed treaty cum force majeur to illegally deliver that which should not be delivered in Honduras will soon be reviewed by pan American scholars, legal experts, constitutional analysts and the media. Better yet would be a factual constitutional review plus an independent truth tribunal of these pre-written ALBA constitutions, the actors to perforce the "new alternative democracy" of ALBA and the dominoes they set off in chain reaction, weakening already weakened truth tellers and abruptly ending appropriate law and order, without which democracy ceases to meaningfully exist.
As of late Sunday, the Micheletti administration has rejected the 7 Point Peace Plan. Arias states that talks will resume in 72 hours. No word yet on if Arias will try again to ram down the throats of Hondurans his Plan. Arias says that he is "very worried" that civil war could erupt because....the people of Honduras decided to uphold their own constitution.