Exploring Constitutional Issues Behind Coup and Referendum for Constituent Assembly
The NLG and its allied legal organizations, the AAJ (Association of American Jurists), NCBL (National Congress of Black Lawyers) and IADL (International Association of Democratic Lawyers) have sent a delegation of 13 attorneys to Honduras to investigate the international law and Honduran constitutional law issues relating to the coup and subsequent events. Arrived in Tegucigalpa August 26 The delegation arrived in Tegucigalpa on Wednesday August 26th and will stay through Sunday August 30th, meeting with officials and jurists from the coup government, the Zelaya government, and represents of civil society and lawyers and human rights groups leading the resistance to the coup.
Check out the blog of the IC website for up to date info from the delegation.
Delegation members, most of whom come from Central America, are familiar with the situation in Honduras and the legal issues relating to the Honduran Constitution.
Early in the morning of June 28, 2009, the Honduran military rousted its pajama-clad President Manuel Zelaya from his home and spirited him off to Costa Rica. June 28 was the date scheduled for a national popular poll in which the people of Honduras would be asked to state whether they were in favor of electing a Constitutional Convention to reform the 1982 Honduran Constitution — a Constitution that was drafted as the military dictatorship was leaving power, and the US government, under the Reagan administration, was using Honduras as its base for attacks on the Sandinista government and the people of Nicaragua.)
The national poll was cancelled a defacto government was appointed, and President Zelaya has not been allowed back into the country. Supporters of Zelaya and constitutional reform have been engaged in daily peaceful demonstrations and have been subject to assassination, beatings and other repressive measures.
AP Article from 8/6/09 NY Times on Honduran Business Elite
— Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a military coup after betraying his own kind: a small clique of families that dominates the economy. Now those same families stand as the greatest obstacle to the U.S.-backed drive to return him to power.
Elites across Latin America are watching the standoff closely, as they plot their own strategies to combat democratically elected presidents such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez who have demonized the wealthy as they push for a more even distribution of income.
Washington has shunned the interim government so as not to legitimize it, while lobbying Honduras’ business leaders in an effort to resolve the crisis. It’s an acknowledgment of the tremendous sway those elites hold on the country.
The cadre of bankers, industrialists, hoteliers and media barons has responded with a mix of bafflement and infuriation, many of them unable to understand how the United States — where they attend universities, forge business ties and shop at malls — could support a president they see as an agent of Chavez.
Adolfo Facusse, whose family is in publishing and textiles, recalled that Zelaya grew up in the same rarified air as he did, and as president invited him on trips to Taiwan and the United States. But Facusse said the government’s refusal to give his company leeway amid the economic downturn forced him to close a textile factory last year.
In an interview at his heavily guarded home — a Jaguar and two SUVs parked inside the gates — Facusse still described Zelaya as a friend.
”We don’t see it as a fight against Mel Zelaya,” said Facusse, a cheerful man wearing jeans and a scraggy beard. ”Mel Zelaya is one of us and — well — it just got out of his control. But the people think that he is an instrument of Chavez and that the fight is with Chavez.”
Facusse, the MIT-educated president of the National Association of Industries, is used to having the president’s ear. His cousin, newspaper publisher Carlos Flores Facusse, was Honduras’ president from 1998-2002.
Facusse shrugs off the suspension of millions of dollars of U.S. development aid and doubts the United States would impose trade sanctions.
”The attitude here is, ‘So what?”’ Facusse said. ”At any rate there will be elections in November.”