Saturday, June 26, 2010

What's all this talk of "Injerencia"?

The Instituto de Defensa de Democracia (a small group of self-described intellectuals) is worried about the injerencia of the G-16 countries in Honduran internal affairs. The Unión Civica Democratica is concerned with the injerencia of the executive branch in the judicial branch. Roberto Micheletti is concerned about the injerencia of foreign ambassadors in Honduras. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

What is injerencia? The Collins dictionary definition is interference or meddling. Despite all the concern by the far right in Honduras about foreign interference, or injerencia, nothing could be further from the truth. What they call injerencia is having an opinion about events in Honduras that is different from their opinion. Thus, the G-16 raising concerns about the Honduran Supreme Court's firing of some judges, or Porfirio Lobo Sosa stating that that the decision to fire the judges complicated the international relations of Honduras is not injerencia, it is having an opinion contrary to what those raising the concern about injerencia believe.

Canadian Ambassador, Neil Reeder, noted that the G-16 stated its position in a press release and that they have the right of freedom of expression; that isn't interference in the internal affairs of Honduras. "We are not a pressure group," Reeder said.

But no one made it clearer that the Spanish Ambassador, Ignacio Ruprez Rubio, who called it a stupidity of some Honduran sectors to criticize the international community for expressing an opinion about Honduran national affairs.
"This is stupid. All the world's problems are ours, the problems of Honduras, the problems of Israel, the problems of any country. There are no internal affairs or external affairs, this is something that has been amply revised for many years in international law and in international relations. Human rights are the rights of everyone; we are talking about questions that are of all humanity and this talk of interference and all this, I repeat, is stupid."


Carina said...

The first La Tribuna article you cite with link covers it all. It states quite clearly what they think and why. It is actually a good summary, even though the idea itself might not be good. What they state there is not stupid. Their critics need to use a silly insult and not an argument becuase they cannot admit there is a separation of powers that matters in a democracy. Whethers IDD are right is anothers matter but there is no mystery in what they say or why they say it. A dictionary should not be needed by anyone to grasp this. It is intervention as everyone knows. "Opinion" is "wouldn't it be nice if....". When it comes via "The representatives of G-16 insisted yesterday before the President Porfino Lobo Sosa, who must return the judges..." is not opinion, it is an instruction, an order, opinion with an "or else" attached. Interestingly, once again you source of information regarding the coup legacy is a pro-coup newspapers that is publishing the very articles that belittle pro-coup supporters. Better yet, in your other recent blog post you criticize the inclusion of a qualified Canadian on a Lobo Truth Commission due to recent Canadian actions yet heres ignore all the alleged reasons for Canadian ties to Honduras and treat Neil Reader as some authority on democratic rights and beacon of the truth of what is going on. But, it is clear what matters isn't the country (Canada) but if the person says something you favor. You would have a great blog and not just a good one if you were not so quick to use what is at hand regardless of source and consistency.

RAJ said...

Carina actually illustrates our point: pro-coup Hondurans are unwilling to accept that in the contemporary world, human rights are global concerns.

Since the coup, the refrain has been: stay out of our internal affairs. But the international community today is based on a powerful body of international conventions, treaties, and agreements, including those insisting on respect for human rights. Honduras is a signatory to these conventions, but the political conservatives there (like political conservatives in the US, to be fair) are isolationists who react with fear to the idea of having to change traditional practices to meet the standards of the international community.

The fact that the word injerencia is used as if it were a potent political weapon is what the Spanish ambassador called estupidez. And so it is.

If Honduras is demanding to be re-admitted to the OAS, and accepted by the world community, it has to accept the standards of the OAS, and the world community. It is stupidity to ask for inclusion and then object to requests to conform to community standards.

The ambassadors of Canada and Spain, notice, are from countries that have taken visible steps in trying to advocate for reintegration of Honduras to the international community. So it is their efforts that these constant cries of injerencia undermine. Far from simply being "critics" using a "silly insult", these are diplomats who are working to advance the interests of Honduras' current government, and their use of strong terms is a warning that people like Carina are incapable of hearing.

In Canadian ambassador Reeder's comment that the G-16 has freedom of expression, we see a rebuke to Honduras where freedom of expression is fragile at best.

Carina, finally, shows how problematic the reliance of Hondurans on their print media is, when she somehow comes to the conclusion that the fact that we cite articles from pro-coup papers like La Tribuna means the pro-coup media are reliable news media.

Her interpretation of the stories we cite as in any way critical of those who rail against injerencia is simply false. Note that the first article linked here simply reprinted a press release from a conservative group; the others presented the comments of the Spanish and Canadian ambassadors in ways intended to weaken them, countering them with assurances from US Ambassador Llorens, for example.

We use the pro-coup press not because it is good reporting about the issues; but because it is what people like Carina are relying on for their information. And that, frankly, is a continued part of the problem that leads her, and others like her, to so deeply miss the point that she cannot tell the difference between our criticizing someone with ties to the Canadian mining industry and citing the reaction of the ambassador from Canada-- a strong supporter of the Lobo Sosa administration-- to reactionary Honduran opinion.

Carina is as ever reliably incoherent (although we thank her for her compliment: we think she is way too concerned about the quality of our blog, but we had no idea she thought it has promise of greatness!). And she and others like her are part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

One must add that the statement "human rights are global concerns" is actually an understatement of the situation. Honduras is a signatory of treaties with the UN and the OAS which supersede national law and which the appropriate bodies have concluded Honduras has violated through the coup. The golpistas have not only broken ourlaw--the law of civilized nations, they have broken Honduranlaw, which through treaties they pledged would obey civilized norms.


RNS said...

Charles is very much on-point. Honduras, though suspended, is obligated by its OAS membership to continue to observe all its obligations to the OAS under the Inter-American Democratic Charter. In particular, the Charter calls out the continued observance of its human rights obligations.

Because of its membership in the OAS and affirmation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and treaty obligations, Honduras cannot claim "injerencia" when the G-16 express a concern about the violation of the rights of the judges fired by the Supreme Court.

To be part of the world community is to accept the basic principles outlined in the organizational charters, and the treaties which were voluntarily signed by previous Honduran governments. Those treaties and charters reaffirm principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states, but they also in addition to benefits, come with obligations. It is the call to comply with those obligations which the far right in Honduras calls "injerencia". It wants the benefits of membership without those icky obligations.

However, isolation is not a possibility. Almost 65% of the government's budget is made up of outright international aid. Withdraw that, and the country collapses, which is the economic legacy of the coup.