Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Resistance Front presents its Executive Committee

[On the road, so without comment, extracts from the recent post announcing the outcome of the National Assembly in Tocoa; please see the official website www.resistenciahonduras.net for more]:

This Assembly was composed of 56 delegates, men and women, from all the national territory who were present in the heart of the Valle de Aguan to show the unconditional support to the campesino movements that are confronted with the violence of the army and the businessmen, and at the same time to achieve a historic date in the struggle of the Honduran people.

With this Assembly there was installed the Provisional National Coordination as a first step in the consolidation of the FNRP as a political platform toward the refounding of the country. This space of direction is made up of the representatives elected in the distinct Departmental Assemblies that have been carried out in the last weeks across Honduras, creating in this way a new Democracy that is born and is developed from the base.

The Provisional National Coordination named an Executive Committee that will direct the destinies of this struggle against golpismo, the military regime, barbarity and injustice. The first office selected in a unanimous manner was that of Manuel Zelaya Rosales as Coordinator, recognizing in this way his leadership and putting him at the head of this project that seeks to leave behind the old political practices in which small groups were set above the interests of the impoverished majority.

There will accompany Zelaya in this Executive Committee recognized figures of the popular struggle: Juan Barahona and Carlos H. Reyes (Tegucigalpa), Will Paz (Colón), Leonel Amaya (Olancho), Lucía Granados (San Pedro Sula), Lilí Aguilar (Lempira), María Antonia Martínez (of the movement Feministas en Resistencia), Porfirio Amador (Choluteca), Jaime Rodríguez and Edgardo Casaña (of the Federación de Organizaciones Magistrados de Honduras FOMH), Juan Chinchilla (Juventud Bajo Aguan), Víctor Petit (Comayagua), Teresa Reyes (Organización Fraternal Negra de Honduras Ofraneh), José Luis Baquedano (Confederación Unitaria de Trabajadores de Honduras CUTH). There only remains pending the man or woman representing the indigenous Lenca population.


The immediate objectives expressed by the Assembly are the return of Manuel Zelaya to the country together with all the persons obliged to go into exile, the development of the work of organization and political formation in all the country, the strengthening of our means of communication to defeat the lies elaborated by the golpistas and collaborators, and to initiate the collective construction of what will be the National Constituent Assembly that for the first time in our history will be Participatory, Popular, and truly Democratic.


Carina said...

The "immediate objectives" can be met by the simple purchase of airline tickets, as this was easily accomplished by Rasel Tome (back in February or March), Xiomara Zelaya (April and May), and Pichu Zelaya (repeatedly), and Zelaya's former bodyguards (back and forth to Nicaragua all the time). Those who were charged rightly or wrongly has had nothing else happen to them and it isn't clear anything will happen to them, this being Ari Mejia, Rixi Moncada, Rebeca Santos, etc. Self-imposed and defined exile has politicals value so it is maintained until its has less value than being in Honduras and then plane tickets will be bought. No one is preventing nor even threatening anything to these people which is why there is so little coverage of it outside Telesur. Their return and solidarity display would actually be good for the current administration as it would show a degree of freedom people claim doesn't exist, but would also reveal the true size of the Resistence, a group that in terms of numbers cannot control a democratic election. Their real problem is that they do not represent enough people to be a major player and in democracy real or imaginary, you still need numbers.

RAJ said...

As always, it is always wonderful to hear from Carina.

Things are so much simpler in her world. She can ignore the repeated statements by the public prosecutor that Zelaya would be arrested on arrival in Honduras (which of course, get denied, and then said again).

Most important, she can ignore the many things that indicate that there is not "a degree of freedom people claim doesn't exist": the issue has not been "freedom", it has been and continues to be respect for human rights, freedom of speech (without retaliation), effective political enfranchisement (not elections controlled by a few political party bosses), economic equity, recognition of the rights of indigenous people, African-descendant people, women, and members of sexual minorities.

And of course, freedom from being murdered, arbitrarily arrested, beaten, sexually abused, verbally abused, intimidated and threatened for political opinions and actions.

But of course, we know that in Carina's world, none of that exists.

It is not clear to me how large the support is for the Frente. Carina feels she knows, though. What I would agree with her about is that in a democracy, numbers matter. Where we disagree is that in a real democracy, it is no longer acceptable to simply impose the will of a majority (misled by a propagandistic journalism) onto others. In real democracies, smaller numbers of people also get heard from; they also get to express their opinions; they also get to advocate.

Carina said...

My point dealt with the stated immediate objective, return to country (not with racism or sexual minorities, etc.). No leader wants Zelaya imprisoned in-country any more now that a year ago. He was, after all, obviously illegally removed from the country to avoid that very thing ans nothing leads them to think differently now. The public prosecutor hasnt the power to act or enforce that independently anyway, and never has. This is unfortunate for Honduras past and present, but it is a fact. Zelaya's status is unclear. Actually, his status is clear but the legal view of his opponents is not perthe fact that as a former head of state he is actually entitled to life pension-salary and security detail which they are not affording. While he likely will not get this until a later administration, he isn't realistically going to end up arrested and/or in jail under Lobo.

RAJ said...

Your "point" was-- as Edmundo Orellana points out in the following post-- counterfactual, if you are now claiming to know that there will be no arrest and no prosecution attempt.

More generally, your comment was, as always, beside the point. Your intent was, as always, to belittle the concerns of those with whom you disagree. You deny that there is any resistance to speak of, yet you seem very, very concerned with this non-existent body. You insinuate as much as possible that there is no reason why Zelaya should not return, even while admitting he was illegally thrown out of the country. Yet you appear to be unwilling to admit this means your present government was elected under illegitimate circumstances, which means it has to come to terms with those who stand in opposition to it. You take comfort in a claim-- which you cannot substantiate-- that the resistance movement is small, but dismiss all the major civil rights interests represented by the Frente.

The saddest thing is you truly believe you are making a point. All you are doing is repeating idiotic talking points generated by the same people who destroyed your country's rule of law.

Carina said...

Well, readers can decide for themselves what I say as opposed to what you claim I say (they never seem to be the same). The Resistence is small, when compared to the two major parties (protesters anti-coup and protesters pro-Resistence are not one and the same). I dont have a number count though neither to you attesting to its mass - but nothing they have ever done displays major party benefactors. Zelaya was illegally thrown out as President; the need to do so again isn't there as he isn't President and is now in the realm of competing politicians. You don't seem to grasp why so many poor people are not members of the resistance nor why Hondurans voted in the last election in such non-record numbers. They are not "talking points" and I dont see other people stating them; they deal with how a developing country really works, which has nothing to do with Academic journal articles and Roberts Rules of Order, etc. For the record, and for the 5th time, I am not Honduran so it is not my country that was ruined. There is no real history nor vidence of rule of law in Honduras to destroy, and anyone familiar with the country is well awares of that.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I treasure these exchanges.

I think one key point was missed. Carina says that Zelaya was illegally removed from the country. Yet no one has been prosecuted and punished for this "illegality," or what is more generally known as a "crime."

The very definition of lawlessness is a state in which sanctions that are applied to some people are not applied to others. Thus Carina would, if she thought about it, be logically be forced to agree that Honduras is not "un estado de derecho".

That's what makes these interchanges so uplifting: seeing the astonishing capacity of a human being to effortlessly hold logically mutually exclusive opinions.


RAJ said...

No, what you say-- which I find in the main unintelligible, to be brutally honest, except for the nastiness and hostility-- and how I reframe it are never the same.

You leave out context.

I call you on that by reminding readers of the context.

Example: you assert, contrary to reality, that José Manuel Zelaya Rosales can buy a plane ticket and come back to Honduras any time he wants.

I remind you-- and readers-- that it isn't so simple. That violence-- and read some of the many human rights reports or stop claiming there has not been violence!-- and lawlessness, and the admitted inability of Porfirio Lobo Sosa to ensure that the public prosecutor and court system that promoted the coup will not pursue frivolous prosecution, all mean Zelaya is not free to come back without fear of retaliation.

A lot of the nuance (if that word can be applied to the crude junk you put together) in your comments is intended to ridicule and diminish the resistance. But you do not have any independent means to assess how strong that resistance is, how numerous the people opposed to the coup and unhappy are today. So you are simply being dismissive to people whose views you dislike.

And curiously, the Liberal Party seems to have a different view of the political importance of the resistance, and of Manuel Zelaya, judging from their attempts to negotiate some way to exploit the latter and some way to coopt the former.

The best parts of this latest comment are the attempts-- as is typical-- to somehow diminish my authority. Honey, I know so much more about Honduras than you do that I cannot begin to explain to you why your attempt to patronize me falls short. I love the dig at Academic (capitalized) journal articles. Hey, I even agree with you. Far too many of them-- surely they have nothing to do with reality. All those nasty data points cannot possibly outweigh your personal opinions. The Roberts Rules of Order thing though, really is completely insane. Do you know what Roberts Rules are? Am I (unbeknownst to me) running a meeting here?

Finally: sorry not to have dug out of your weird writing the claim not to be a Honduran. Fine with me. That means I no longer have to entertain your comments. Sorry for readers who will miss you. I won't.

RAJ said...

@Charles: I know, same guilty pleasure has encouraged me far too long to put up with these wild and incoherent comments. Plus the distinct impression-- didn't you get it as well?-- that she speaks as a Honduran.

Turns out among my many sins I was supposed to know she is not a Honduran. Great relief. No more Carina comments :(

Still, as you will note, her position is that Honduras has never enjoyed the rule of law. So there.

Which enrages me. The country struggled mightily against enormous odds to try to move toward a real functional democracy. It was making progress. That is what Zelaya was thrown out of office for accomplishing.

Carlos Tower said...

Before I prepared to leave Honduras some of my last investigative-related jobs were basic security details or bodyguard positions. I was in Singuatepeque. This was before Zelaya was likely president and long before anyone considered a coup a realistic upcoming event. It was a quasi National Party getogether of elderly players of days gone by, though Lobo was later there, too. Perennial candidates are always around somewhere. I thought of this meeting the other day, yet again, and yet again when I read these exchanges. As a few men were debating the future and putting away the Flor de Cana there was talk of Ortega (then thought to have little chance at returning as President) and the ideal future, not for Honduras mind you, but for the National Party. The best home outcome was considered someone doing something drastic that might divide the Liberal Party. The next best outcome would be the creation of a true Liberal Party in the North American sense. If there was an accurate vote count with even more options, then they the Nationalists would come out on top. This would be a dream come true as they say in that it would split the opposition and force many Hondurans, who Nationalists view as fundamentally conservative people (and, I must admit, often they are right - but perhaps only to a limit), to chose real left and real right. As they saw it, the Nationals would collect more people as the hardliners abandon the Liberal Party. The socialists-communists (their words, not mine) would leave for the new Liberal Party. The Liberal Party would be a weak link in a former 2-party battle. While there might never again be a mandate at the Presidential level, this result would be gift to the Nationalists, they thought. The only question that day, and it was all "just talk", a "what if" seemingly pointless conversation, but it was still: how could it ever happen? The problem for Honduras (Hondurans) is that these old guys in particular did nothing as far as I know and got what they wanted: someone did do something drastic, there was ample time for left-right reflection, and now the Liberal Party is, at best, merely in turmoil. I dont know any Honduran political player who believes the Resistance is a party that could supplant the Liberals, let alone the Nationals. What is being reported as "good news" in many circles, all these inner battles and a the birth of this and that, and the return or leadership of Zelaya is all mostly bad new for my country - I think. It will not be possible to have this needed reconciliation or unite a country based mostly on the presence of one of the most divisive politicians. I suspect the octogenarian Nationals I saw 5 years ago are pleased by most of what happened and are hoping the Resistance is a new party by the numbers and Zelaya its leader. The reason I recall this aside form the fact that I then never thought nor hoped it would happen is that when you belittle these things she says on your blog replies you are belittling the real politik of Honduras - which is like trying to belittle reality, which usually looks bad or irrelevant (do you actually believe Zelaya would be arrested and imprisoned in Honduras if he returned? If so, that is his best political move, not an obstacle). I am not so sure Journal articles mentions are a jab at you as opposed to a factual account offered in an odd way. Footnotes and blogs and all they entail cannot save Honduras; the future will be dirtier and uglier than the past and that is saying something. The best thing Honduras has going for it is Lobo, certainly not because he is a National but because he is a pragmatist - in the American philosophical sense. Ideology does not determine his answer to an honest question. So, in that sense, he is unlike Maduro and most of Zelaya's cabinet - but perhaps a little like Zelaya.

RAJ said...

Sorry to continue to disagree with you and with Carina. But that is my prerogative. My tone is my choice.

In contrast to Carina, your posts, like this one, are usually quite coherent. Thus, although I never am convinced or in agreement, I have no problem posting them; no problem understanding what you are saying; and no problem expressing why I disagree with you, as I do with this one.

I object to your justifying your disillusioned view of the possibilities of Honduras (which I do understand is based in your experience) as realpolitik. Traditional political parties that are bought and sold by corporate interests, whether in the US or Honduras, thrive on the kind of acceptance of the inevitability of corruption and exploitation that this label represents today.

I also must note-- being a professor, and thus pedantic, and thus believing that what is written in journals actually makes a difference-- that realpolitik doesn't mean what you think it does. It was a pragmatics intended to avoid outbreaks of conflict, to avoid arms races, to leave aside moral and ethical considerations.

Realpolitik is wildly inappropriate as the label for what happened in the stubborn insistence of Micheletti to run Honduras into bankruptcy-- for what? a principle, and one that is entirely about insisting on a specific ideology. If Micheletti and other coup authors actually practiced realpolitik, the initial attempts to buy them off would have worked.

I also will say, with the greatest respect for someone who appropriately labels Lobo Sosa as a pragmatist-- although in a longer dialogue, I would want to consider carefully what kind of pragmatist he is-- that a pragmatist, and a pragmatic philosophy (like realpolitik), is not necessarily a good thing for the people, even it is good for an abstract thing we might call the nation-state of Honduras.

Far too many pragmatic arguments today are historically short-sighted. They argue that nations and political pragmatism will persist because they have been successful-- while ignoring that the era of the modern nation state is a very short one, and that the evidence would suggest these political systems are very unstable, very unsuccessful.

If the persistence of a system of gross disregard for human rights in the name of power is not, in fact, destined, then I would argue that we are all morally, ethically obliged to work for change, to work for human rights, equity, and all those other non-pragmatic purposes.

And history is in fact on my side. The rights of women, racial and religious minorities, and sexual minorities everywhere that they have been secured-- and they continue to advance on a global scale today-- came about because a small group of people were insistent in the face of pragmatists who dismissed the activists because they were too few to form a party.

So, in the long term, I care more about the organization and activism than you because my scope of vision is longer. What makes me angry is that so many otherwise well-intentioned people who could make a difference accept the erroneous argument that only power wins. Martin Luther King was assassinated; but his cause won.

Anonymous said...

RAJ, not only have you deprived me of a pleasure (not a guilty one, I assure you). I think that a great public service is achieved by exposing the hypocrisy of those who, whether knowingly or not, recite the propaganda of the regime (in this case, that Zelaya can come and go as he pleases).

I'm not sure that Carina is actually in favor of the coup. She simply (and plainly) doesn't quite understand what is going on around her.

There are apparently lot of people with limited moral scruples for whom the coup is simply an inconvenience. If one believes, as Carina does, that Honduras has "no real history nor [e]vidence of rule of law ...to destroy", then what's the fuss about? I especially liked the line that "nothing they [the Resistance] have ever done displays major party benefactors". This in a country in which the "major party benefactors" are running death squads to suppress the Frente. It's brilliantly clueless.

I am reminded of that person Adrienne quoted. [Talking to a particularly obtuse UN employee who claimed that Zelaya had been corrupt, but Micheletti and Lobo are not]:

“It’s true, I said, when there are accusations of corruption, one shouldn’t worry about things like democracy and legal process, right?” “EXACTO,” he said, apparently glad I got it.

Exposing the mindset behind this sort of militant know-nothingism is a public service.

Of course, the amount of time one devotes to it is a matter of personal choice. I let trolls post as long as they serve as an example to the many readers who don't post, don't drift too deep into insults or threats, and don't consume too much time. But, as the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

Anonymous said...

I have shorter explanation for Carlos Tower: academics (or anyone who genuinely knows history) have a longer view of things. That longer view changes one's understanding of what is going on.

Short-term, a little corruption or a little strong-arm politics may not seem like a bad thing, and people may come to accept it as a necessary evil. But over the longer term, those who know history know what happens: a little corruption turns into the looting of a country. A little violence turns into a massacre or a civil war. There are two alternatives: either honorable people come forward and stop the decay in its early stages or it continues until the nation is exhausted and incapable of doing anything other than recover its former lawfulness and peacefulness.

Academics, if they do their jobs, serve a priestly function: to uphold truth. The clever people may enjoy their ill-gotten gains, but ultimately they will vanish. What will remain will be the memory of those who, in humility, did what was right.