Saturday, September 25, 2010

The OAS Made Us Do It

News from Honduras: the Lobo Sosa government is moving rapidly to create a Secretariat of Human Rights and Justice.

Which is not going down well in Honduras with a group of people who continually criticize Lobo Sosa.

No, we don't mean the resistance (although we expect no one in resistance will believe such a move will lead to improved enforcement of human rights legislation or treaties). The criticism coming for Lobo is from members of congress and the government.

They are outraged that this new position has been imposed from outside, as a requirement for the OAS to reconsider Honduras as a member. Except that is kind of not true.

The allegation is made repeatedly by those opposed to the new cabinet post, like Nationalist Party and Choluteca Congressional Representative Francisco Argeña.

According to La Tribuna, when the Nationalist Party caucused on Thursday, they were told by their leadership that the establishment of this Secretariat was a condition for Honduras's return to the OAS. The Nationalists came out of the caucus affirming they would support the creation of the Secretariat, assuring its passage. But that doesn't mean they are happy about it.

Nora de Melgar, Vice President of Congress, told La Prensa
"We have already started the debate; it's one of the conditions of the Organization of American States for re-entry in the Organization; it's not something invented by the President of the country, nor the National Party, it's a mandate from them [the OAS] and as a poor country we have to do it to get the aid."

While the Nationalists agreed to support this for pragmatic reasons, without any notable dedication to the supposed goals of the new cabinet post, other voices were particularly critical of Lobo Sosa for agreeing to what they see as more outside interference.

Ramon Custodio, Honduras' disfunctional Human Rights Commissioner, accuses the Lobo government of taking away his independence, and of violating his constitutional mandate with the law to create the new Secretariat.

Elvin Santos Lozano, head of the Liberal Party Central Committee, feels that Honduras is the victim
"of a gang of so-called Latin American leaders who want us under their fascist boot; and this is bringing a horrible anarchy, but unfortunately we are a country that has not jumped the Third World barrier and we will continue under their control."

Roberto Micheletti called it unconstitutional and said that it represents an abuse of power by Lobo Sosa. He reiterated that it is the ALBA countries causing the OAS to impose this on Honduras.
"Chavez will never stop insisting in the possibility to attract this country to his criteria, to his services."

But the claims that the Human Rights cabinet post is being developed because of foreign pressure are counterfactual.

It was the suggestion of Ana Pineda, Lobo Sosa's Minister/Advisor on Human Rights, who in a letter to the OAS High Commission on Honduras this summer, suggested that Honduras would consider founding a Secretariat of Human Rights and Justice. Her letter, dated the 23 of July, was included in the OAS report as annex 7.

She wrote
"The President, in the framework of the transformation of the State, has taken the decision to seek a better institutional development and not an interim space for response, in this regard, he will create a Minister of Justice and Human Rights, with the legal mandate and budget necessary so that in especially it can plan, coordinate, facilitate and implement all the actions that will be required on the national and international level in regard to Human Rights."

So the outrage about international fascist imposition on Honduras is, in the end, more posturing. But it brings out in the open what should be self-evident: there is no real commitment in the Honduran government to the mission defined for this new cabinet minister. This is just going through the motions as far as Lobo Sosa's own party is concerned. For the main opposing party, it provides a way to make some political gains against him at home, playing off the jingoistic nationalism that has been assiduously cultivated since the coup d'etat.

Only Ramon Custodio thinks this new ministry will have any real effect. And his worry is that someone else will notice that he is not doing his job.

1 comment:

Xabier said...

Haha, Micheletti saying that ''Chavez has all the power in the OAS'', when even Chávez has said that this organization is controled by the United States, and the other guy saying that the rest of Latin America is fascist, haha, we are all the same, what was he thinking about, almost nobody in Latin America is purely ''white'', to be discriminating its neighbors, I am sure that this persons are just trying to move the public opinion to other fields, they don't want to talk about Human Rights, the same as here in Mexico, but well, what can we do with this politicians.