Thursday, July 15, 2010

Edmundo Orellana: Return

On July 12, La Tribuna published a commentary by Edmundo Orellana on the topic of the possibility José Manuel Zelaya Rosales could return to Honduras.

Since that has now been framed as the first goal of the Frente de Resistencia, it is worth reviewing what this legal scholar reminds us about: the difficulties that stand in the way of this return.

Contrary to assertions that it is just a matter of buying a plane ticket, the events of the coup and de facto regime are substantial obstacles to resolution: Orellana notes that the Public Prosecutor insists on maintaining a legal case open that should have been covered by the amnesty passed by the National Congress. He notes that the judicial branch and much of the Legislature is still filled with coup participants. He reviews the aggression that Zelaya was personally subjected to, and suggests that without guarantees of security from the government, returning is not feasible.


Edmundo Orellana

The return of ex-President Zelaya Rosales is the news of the moment. But the return to the homeland will not be easy.

He was expelled from his country after his home had been outraged with a raid outside the hours that the Constitution permits, accompanied by machine gun bursts, while his young son listened, hidden in fear of being victim of the bestial action, everything they did to reduce his father to impotence. All this operation, worthy of an episode of a formal war, was designed against a single man that barely three and a half years before had been voted by the Honduran people as their new President.

Later it was made known that the Public Prosecutor had filed an action against the President and that a judge named by the Supreme Court of Justice from among its members, after declaring the secrecy of the process, had issued an order of capture against him and to put it into effect ordered, against the Constitution of the Republic, that the Armed Forces carry it out, alleging that the police could be inclined toward the President, so that they would not be trustworthy. Nonetheless, they, immediately, displayed a persecution against those who protested in favor of the President with a cruelty that the population understood had been in the 80s. The accusations against the police for the violation of human rights of those who protested against the coup d'Etat came from the organizations that make up the inter-American system of Human Rights and surely our country will be newly condemned to the payment of large amounts of money in compensation to the victims, and those truly responsible will enjoy impunity.

The tortures to which President Zelaya, his family and those accompanying him in the Brazilian Embassy were subjected, using high-end technology, putting at risk the life of all those encountered there, stripped before the world the hatred that the conspirators had for Zelaya and the savagery of which the dictatorship and its accomplices was capable.

The National Congress, the system of justice and the organizations responsible for the national defense and public security participated directly in what today is an undeniable fact: a Coup d'Etat. Even the same Chief of State Lobo Sosa has admitted this and more than one functionary of his government has asked pardon for this crime against democracy, the Republic, and history.

The bias of the system is placed in evidence when it leaked out that of the prosecutions launched against the President only one, apparently, is still pending, and, despite the fact that it treats evidently of an act that, in any case, will end up benefited by the amnesty, they insist stubbornly on maintaining it in effect.

Very little has changed institutionally in the country since the President was overthrown. Only the Executive Power and part of the Legislative has been renewed. So that his return in these conditions does not offer any guarantee for his personal security and the tranquility of his family.

Nonetheless, his return is essential to commence national reconciliation. The very political stability of the country depends on the return to the country of Zelaya. It is, then, a question of State. It should guarantee, in consequence, that he will enjoy the protection that his situation so special demands. How to accomplish this, is the responsibility and priority of the first order of the present government.


Carlos Tower said...

Given the author, and the newspaper, do you not think it incredibly likely that there is a self-interested reason why Tribuna printed this particular piece (no one in the know attributes objective journalisym to their work)? That there is an outcome Tribuna wants, and Zelaya not coming back right now is likely part of that outcome (they do not want to deal with him until after party matters are settle, or even longer), and so they are completely willing to promote and print accounts that might support their desired outcome even though they don't actually believe the story they printed (much like the potential Lobo Coup stories)?

RAJ said...

This is an exceptionally odd comment. Speculating about the motivations of the newspaper is of course fine; but this original is an editorial.

One assesses an editorial in terms of the intentions of its author.

I doubt Edmundo Orellana is trying to prevent Zelaya from returning. If you read all his editorial writing from right after the coup to the present day, he has continuously insisted that people not ignore the disruptive role of the legal system.

This editorial makes the same kind of points. Zelaya coming back is not just a matter of Lobo Sosa saying "come home", or of the Liberal Party accepting him back. It is also still the case that the justice system is independent and actively prepared to prosecute (some would say persecute) Zelaya.