Honduras' Coup Congress Cancels Five Basic Liberties

By Al Giordano

Despite the best efforts of what I call "the Oligarch Diaspora" to flood the Internet with near identical messages that the Honduran coup "is not a coup" and that was a "constitutional succession" (cough, cough) dressed in the blue-and-white flag of Honduran democracy, the coup regime bared its fangs today. And like any vampire, it's coming out at nightfall.

The same Congress that, after the military had kidnapped, beaten and dumped President Manuel Zelaya in Costa Rica had declared one of its own, Roberto Micheletti as the coup "president" today passed an emergency law stripping Hondurans of the following rights from the country's constitution:

1. The right to protest.

2. Freedom in one's home from unwarranted search, seizure and arrest.

3. Freedom of association.

4. Guarantees of rights of due process while under arrest.

5. Freedom of transit in the country.

Tomorrow morning's papers are already out across the ocean in Europe, and correspondent Pablo Ordaz of the Madrid daily El Pais has reported from Tegucigalpa about the Coup Congress' decree:

"Minute by minute, step by step, Honduras moves farther from its freedoms..."

Read the defenders of the coup and they are united by one powerful feeling: fear. They're afraid of the growing demonstrations in the streets, like the in the capital city this afternoon captured in the video above, where despite the brutal repressions against the people, each day the opposition crowds grow larger, more emboldened, and better organized. In the defiant but smiling faces of the Hondurans opposing the coup you can see the palpable difference between their passion and the lack of it from the passive bumps on a log that attended yesterday's pro coup rally.

The Congressional decree specified that only at night may those five freedoms be disappeared. And so tonight, a new reign of terror begins.

The coup defenders are afraid, they say, of Honduras becoming another another Cuba, or Venezuela, or Nicaragua, of losing their "freedoms" and their "democracy." But today, in one fell swoop their leaders erased those very freedoms, atop all the other ones they've already burned alive - freedom of the press, freedom to elect their own president, among them - and buried democracy with it.

For democracy is not possible unless a people has freedom to protest, freedom from unwarranted invasion of their homes, freedom of association, rights of due process under law, and freedom of travel in its own country.

That's over now, and will be as long as the coup regime remains in power.

The Oligarch Diaspora will not likely blink, comforting themselves with the Kool-Aid that this attack on civil rights and freedoms is not (well, not yet) aimed at them, but, rather, at "those people," the workers, the poor, the farmers, the indigenous, the rebel students and youth, their social organizations, organizer priests, defense attorneys, human rights observers and authentic journalists, the ones that want their democracy back so much that they risk life and limb now each time they say it.

The Oligarch Diaspora will continue spamming the Internet with their hysterical claims that the rest of the world "just doesn't understand," that the coup was "legal" (attorney Alberto Valiente Thorensen made mincemeat of that claim today), that they represent a majority (unsaid is that they are afraid to let that majority vote on a non-binding referendum, revealing that even they know they are not), that "Honduras wants the coup." But if the opposition were so small would the Coup Congress really have needed to enact the State of Siege and its repeal of those five basic freedoms?

The Oligarch Diaspora - and hey, Larry Birns (yes, you to whom I sent that memo on Sunday) didn't you and your organization COHA find out the hard way this week how they swarm and leech upon NGOs and media organizations to spread their falsehoods, causing your organization to have to issue another embarrassed "clarification"? - will continue to deceive the gullible into thinking they're really of democratic and freedom-loving tendencies.

But what they don't tell you is that they don't want those freedoms for all Hondurans, just for the ones with money and property and political power and privilege: themselves. The rest must be subordinated to them and controlled, by force if necessary.

And so today, Honduras said goodbye to the following articles of its Constitution:

Article 69: "A persons liberty is inviolable and can only be restricted or suspended temporarily through process of law."

Article 71: "No person can be arrested nor kept incommunicado for more than 24 hours without being placed before a competent authority to be judged. Judicial detention during an investigation must not exceed six consecutive days from the moment that the same is ordered."

Article 78: "Freedoms of association and meeting are always guaranteed when they are not contrary to public order and good customs.

Article 79: "All persons have the right to meet with others, peacefully and without weapons, in public demonstration or transitory assembly, in relation to their common interests of any type, without necessity of notice or special permission."

Article 81: "All persons have the right to circulate freely, leave, enter, and remain in national territory. No one can be obligated to change home or residence except in special cases and with those requirements that the Law establishes."

The Oligarch Diaspora says that the democratically elected president was removed by force because he supposedly "violated the Constitution" by proposing a nonbinding referendum to ask all Hondurans if they wanted the chance to vote about whether they wanted to rewrite it through a Constitutional Convention.

But the coup leaders the Oligarch Diaspora defends just rewrote that same constitution today without any formal process of consulting the people at all.

They claim they're fighting for their constitution, but they just ripped it apart.

Gone. All gone. Everything they claim to be defending is gone now, destroyed and in tatters at the hands of the very political class that claimed it was protecting them.

And now, with the Congress' invitation to enter the people's door, the vampires begin to come out... tonight.

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About Al Giordano


Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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