Sunday, June 28, 2015

Re-post from Luciano Joshua Gonzalez

6 years ago today, June 28th in the early hours of the morning Manuel Zelaya was thrown out of Honduras for trying to invalidate the constitution, either by outright ignoring the Constitution, or by attempting to create a new one. His desire was a plebiscite in which the people voted on what they would think of if a president announced a new constitutional convention. The plebiscite would take place at the next election, after which Zelaya would be stepping down anyway. He was thrown out for this, which was titled the "Forth Ballet Box Referendum", and was largely the justification for the coup.
When Hernandez was defeated in an attempt to modify the constitution to declare the PMOP (Honduras's military police) a part of the Constitutional Armed Forces, in a way to strengthen their right to exist, he declared a plebiscite in which the people would vote. Part of the justification for Zelaya's removal from power is that in the constitution it says that only the Supreme Court can declare Plebiscites. Yet no one (to my knowledge [Luciano Joshua Gonzalez ] anyway) has said how weird that is. This is related to a law in 2012 which passed concerning plebiscites, which enabled the president to order one if he has the backing of the secretaries of state. However, we can and should call him out on it, because this is occurring in direct defiance of the National Congress, who did a vote and decided that the PMOP didn't deserve constitutional protection.
Additionally this year the other main justification for Zelaya's removal was thrown out the window with the defeat of the 239th article of the constitution, the article which prohibits discussion of, and reelection of former presidents. In April when the Constitution was thrown out the window, the primary reason Zelaya was removed, was thrown out too. Many have speculated that Zelaya wanted to remain in power and that that was why he proposed the FBBR. But now that article of the constitution is gone. Admittedly it wasn't JOH who did it, it was Callejas (another former president) who was the primary actor in favor of reelection, but when he proposed it and joined the small group of Nationalists who were fighting against the Constitution they weren't thrown out of the country, or banned from participating in politics because of it, like the Constitution said they should be.
So where does Honduras go from here? Well, the recent tidal wave of activism in Honduras is showing that Honduras's best is yet to come. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, thousands of Hondurans who make up every demographic have come together to march miles across the cities, chanting, and shouting for justice. The IHSS scandal has awakened the people of Honduras, and brought them together. From here, anything could happen. However today represents an extremely important event, an event which has left scars in Honduras, and divisions. When Zelaya left, and Micheletti took over it signaled the ending of what little human rights remained in Honduras. Since then the Nationalists have had control of the country and things have changed. For the better, or for the worse is largely an opinion issue. But things have changed.
The IHSS scandal is but one of the burning issues running through Honduras at this time. More and more violence is impacting LGTBQ people and their straight allies. More sources in English, and in Spanish, are talking about the violence women face in the country. The Honduran government is teaming up with the Foundation for a Drug Free World. Some individuals are discussing an elderly woman who murdered a man who was going to rape her daughter. Outraged Hondurans (the movement who organizes the marches with torches) have given up their hunger strike. Last week there was a minor arson attempt on the Supreme Court building, which Ebal Diaz, a government official, blamed on the Outraged Hondurans.
But this is a time to remember, a time to dream, and a time to think. This day, at least until this year with the decision in April to begin to ignore Article 239 of the Constitution, was/is the most significant in modern Honduran history. But the country is waking up. Change is coming. Let's hope that it is peaceful change, and not violent change.

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