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Presidents Chávez, Obama et al Are Meddling Egregiously with Honduras

Over the weekend, Honduras was about to hold a referendum on whether its Constitutional prohibition against a sitting president running for a second term should be modified. The referendum was proposed by President Zelaya, whose term in office expires next year; an election is to be held in November. 

The Constitution expressly states that its provisions concerning the presidential term of office and prohibiting reelection are among the very few provisions not subject to change.

Title VII, with two chapters, outlines the process of amending the constitution and sets forth the principle of constitutional inviolability. The constitution may be amended by the National Congress after a two-thirds vote of all its members in two consecutive regular annual sessions. However, several constitutional provisions may not be amended. These consist of the amendment process itself, as well as provisions covering the form of government, national territory, and several articles covering the presidency, including term of office and prohibition from reelection.

The text, in Spanish, of Article VII is provided in a footnote. Despite a ruling by the Honduran Supreme Court that he could not constitutionally do so, President Zelaya determined to go forward with the referendum.

The news reports on what happened next are often unclear and frequently contradictory; to some extent, the massive media coverage of Michael Jackson's death may have displaced them. Here, however, is my best effort at offering a summary distilled from multiple sources.

Sometime earlier this year, President Zelaya decided that the Constitution should be amended to permit him to run for another term. The Congress, controlled by the party of which President Zelaya is a member, refused to go along. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela provided the necessary ballots, and President Zelaya ordered the military to distribute them for a referendum to be held on 28 June. The Supreme Court determined that the referendum was violative of the Constitution, and ordered the top military commander, Gen. Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, neither to distribute the ballots nor in any other way to carry out the logistics of the vote as the military would normally do in elections. General Vásquez Velásquez so advised President Zelaya, who promptly fired him. The Supreme Court ordered him reinstated, and President Zelaya refused. On 28 June, President Zelaya led a group of his followers to the military installation where the ballots were being stored, took them, and had his followers distribute them. The Congress voted unanimously to appoint a committee to analyze the situation and investigate President Zelaya for his refusal to respect the Constitution and the orders issued by other branches of government. He nevertheless carried on with his preparations, and offered only a cosmetic change to the referendum: on Saturday night (27 June); he verbally stated that the referendum would not be binding, but confirmed that it would go ahead as planned the next day. A few hours before the opening of the polling stations, the Supreme Court ordered the president’s arrest and removal from office. The army carried out the order, arrested Mr. Zelaya and transported him to Costa Rica. A reason for doing so was to avoid a bloodbath in the face of the threat of other governments interfering in Honduras’ internal affairs, among them Venezuela and Nicaragua. The likelihood of substantial popular protests over the ouster of Mr. Zelaya seemed small, since Mr. Zelaya had low support — polls showed around 30 percent before his ouster — "as many Hondurans were uncomfortable with his tilt to the left in a country with a long conservative, pro-Washington position." As indicated below, that bloodbath now seems quite possible, largely due to outside interference from Washington, Caracas and elsewhere. The referendum was not held, and the Legislature, in emergency session, unanimously selected its president as the interim President of Honduras as provided by Honduran law, and stated that a presidential election would be held in November, as scheduled. The interim President is of the same political party as former President Zelaya.

The ouster of President Zelaya has frequently been termed a "coup." That seems, to me at least, to stretch the word well beyond its commonly understood meaning. The Honduran military acted to execute the lawful orders of the Supreme Court and with the blessing of the "democratically elected" legislature; I have seen no indication that the military instigated the ouster. Nor is Honduras under military control; it has an interim civilian president, properly selected by unanimous vote of the legislature in compliance with the laws of presidential succession.

About Dan Miller

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    For some of the ambiguities/unanswered questions in the story, see my #239.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    your comments in the threads are far more often concerned with complaining about the people with whom you disagree criticizing Obama or some other of your favorite shibboleths, and decreasingly with the issues being discussed,

    Nearly every BC political article and its accompanying comments devolve into anti-Obama rants of one sort or another. I respond when I think this goes over the top and beyond the factual/provable.

    Fair criticism [of the president, or anyone or any idea] is one thing. It’s vital, necessary, welcome.

    Nasty caricatures, name-calling, exaggeration, oversimplification, however, get my goat. And especially when they come from apparently intelligent people, I will continue to point them out and refute them. [I try to ignore the commenters who just blast stupid inanities full of ignorance and typos. They provide their own refutation.]

  • http://tolstoyscat.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dan(Miller),

    I realize you are either awaiting my reply OR you don’t give a hoot if I ever reply.

    Whatever the case, I won $225 for 1st place playing poker tonight which gives me another $200 for the next worthy cause on my list. Something I can never do when I am arguing with anyone. So, whether you miss me or not, I will be back tomorrow. :-)

  • Clavos

    Hell, Cindy, my wife made more than that without doing anything to earn it; Obama gave her a “stimulus” payment of $250 a few weeks ago.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I do assume that legal advisers at the UN might actually understand such a simple idea as the rule of law….

    There is more understanding of “rule of law” nd “due process” in your cat’s litter box – or mine – that in the entire mechanism of the united nothings. I have a book at home on UN “peacekeeping”. It’s funnier than a comic book.

    The only thing that saves the UN are the organizations that existed prior to it, like the Universal Postal Union. Otherwise the whole shebang could be shut down and the only loss would be to the restauranteurs and whorehouses (I mean “escort services” ) in New York.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Here is a scary article purporting to explain why Presidents Obama and Chavez appear to speak with one voice on Honduras. I very much hope that it is inaccurate.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Here is an article which, I fear, is quite accurate.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Bliffle

    IMO, Dan(Miller) is carrying the day on this matter. He’s presented the best background facts and drawn the best conclusions, IMO.

  • Clavos

    The IBD report you cite in #257 is indeed disturbing, Dan(Miller).

    It was the source for my remarks in my comment #250 about Chávez’ masterminding and manipulating the Honduran crisis.

  • Baronius

    bad news, but some hard political reporting about Obama’s support for Zelaya

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    According to this article, the President of Costa Rica will mediate the crisis in Honduras. Secretary Clinton said that

    Zelaya as well as the politician who took over as defacto Honduran leader, Roberto Micheletti, agreed to the Arias role as mediator. She said Arias would work on the problem from Costa Rica, not in Honduras.

    Although were I an Honduran I might find the somewhat disparaging reference to “the politician who took over as defacto Honduran leader” somewhat offensive, this may ultimately result in a peaceful solution to the crisis — provided that Venezuelan President Chávez keeps his nose out.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Now, an Honduran Supreme Court official has stated that amnesty may be offered to former President Zeyala, but that the “decision would be up to lawmakers and it would only be for political crimes.” Mr. Zelaya is also facing charges of corruption and of profiting from drug trafficking through Honduras, either of which may or may not be “political crimes.” Based on the caveat in the Supreme Court official’s statement, it seems likely that either or both may be so considered.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Not sure if Dan and others saw this NY Times Op-Ed this morning.

    Also this interesting bit from the front-page news coverage in the Times:
    “Up until now, the United States has largely tried to stay behind the scenes while letting the Organization of American States take the lead in pressing for Mr. Zelaya’s reinstatement, as part of an effort by the Obama administration to end American dominance in the hemisphere and to demonstrate greater collaboration with its neighbors.

    “I don’t want to pretend we’re without influence,” said a senior administration official. “But we’re talking about the development of democracy here, and our goal is to help Honduran actors resolve their own problems. Intervention short circuits that goal, and allows the people who created the problems to walk away from them.”

    Many nations in the hemisphere have praised the more cooperative stance that the United States has taken since the Honduran military took Mr. Zelaya from his home on June 28 and put him on a plane to Costa Rica.

    While all of the countries in the European Union and most of the nations in the hemisphere have recalled their ambassadors from Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, the United States has kept its envoy in place, saying it wanted to keep open channels of communication with Honduran civil society.”

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Cute article, handyguy. The Grey Lady is white-washing Obama’s interference in Honduran internal politics by making the Europeans look like arrogant colonialists by comparison.

    That is the same kind of garbage we read by apologists for the States when they say that America is Israel’s only “friend” in the world.

    I’ve been reading bull like this out the NYT for decades coincerning Israel – I still remember the “Jews” there beating the propagand drum for “thoughtful Israelis” to take “risks for peace”.

    “The piano sounds like a carnival
    The microphone smells like a beer….”

    Sing me another tune, handyguy….

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I don’t usually respond to you, Ruvy, because it serves no useful purpose. You are what you are, and a sensible arguer is not it. You write a nasty post without specifically refuting anything in the Times article. Calling it garbage and bull without explanation says more about you than about the article.

    And the Op-Ed I also cited was written by a Honduran journalist and gives a ‘third way’ perspective that may be closer to what the Honduran middle class is feeling.

    But you go right ahead writing slimy, unpleasant posts and I will go back to ignoring them.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    And the Op-Ed I also cited was written by a Honduran journalist and gives a ‘third way’ perspective that may be closer to what the Honduran middle class is feeling.

    It seems that I picked up (without even knowing I was) the tenor of the Grey Lady hustling what amounts to kissing foreign ass by a Honduran – just like the “Jews” at the NYT kiss American ass and push Israelis to do the same. They’ve pushed Israelis to be the same bent-back ghetto kikes that they are.

    And here you show me that they can pick up on Hondurans willing to be the Honduran equivalent of the same thing – sellouts to foreign interests. I didn’t even realize that I knew the editorial game of the NYT that well! I guess that comes from reading a newspaper since fourth grade, handyguy, and knowing in my gut what is in it.

    You didn’t mean to compliment me – but you managed to anyway. LOL!!!

    Thank you!

    And now you can go back to ignoring what I have to say.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    [I try to ignore the commenters who just blast stupid inanities full of ignorance and typos....]

    I figured that this was handyguy’s way of referring to me…. I’m a proficient speller – but a miserale typist. I never got more than a 75 in Mrs. Joseph’s typing class in 7th grade. I probably deserved less.

    I used to use Mozilla Firfox, which highlights spelling errors in the comments box (thanks, Clavos!). But after finding Firefox to be more and more of a problem, I stopped using it and now use Opera. Well, the “fat lady” sings, but she does’t point out my typing errors – which is why you’ve seen so many more of them in the last couple of weeks.

    As for “inanities” they, like all else, are in the eyes of the “beviewer”.

  • Clavos

    And the Op-Ed I also cited was written by a Honduran journalist and gives a ‘third way’ perspective that may be closer to what the Honduran middle class is feeling.

    Or not.

    You have a uniquely American perspective, handy, which in this case ignores the reality that in Honduras, as in nearly all Latin American countries, the “middle class” is so tiny and powerless as to be effectively insignificant. This is especially true in the most impoverished countries, and Honduras is ranked third from the bottom in that regard.

    When discord erupts in LatAm, it is invariably between the ruling oligopolists (also a tiny group in numbers, but holding all the power) and the peasant class, or campesinos, who often are as much as 90% of the population, and usually totally powerless, until they awake (or, more frequently, are awakened) to the fact that there is power inherent in numbers.

    Honduran society is still stratified in the traditional manner, and it is this stratification that Chávez is attempting to exploit by his meddling.

    If Chávez were Honduran, his legitimacy would be far more difficult to question, but he’s not, and his motivation has nothing to do with justice in Honduras and everything to do with spreading the power and influence of Hugo Chávez Frias and his “Bolivarian Revolution.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Handy,

    A very sensible op-ed piece in the Times, Handy – very well written and down to earth. Glad you brought it to our attention. I really fail to understand Ruvy’s all so negative reaction.

    As I’ve stated in the beginning of this thread, this entire article was conceived on false premises – of comparing Honduras “constitutional crisis” to what would obtain if it were to happen in the good ole US of A. Well, no such comparison would fly. Furthermore, the real concerns of the author haven’t really been spelled out: they had to be fleshed out through a number of incisive comments, indicating to say the least that “fear of socialism” and “antipathy towards Obama and the party in power” were some of the hidden, ulterior motives which were instrumental as well, masquerading at the hands of a somewhat skillful writer under the guise objectivity (or quest for objectivity). I say “somewhat skillful” because the biases and prejudices which fired up this article were rather glaring. And indeed, it was the author himself who for a great while kept on posting to his own post, trying to keep it going, making an issue out of a “non-issue,” really – as if trying to vindicate his own point of view, because he didn’t really find that many adherents and avid supporters (except for the usual BC suspects, of course, who can be rightly ignored). And apparently, he succeeded to a point because the thread is still alive. Talking of self-promotion.

    Clavos appears to have the best handle on things when he speaks of the usual demographic distribution in Latin American societies, and of the distribution of wealth and economic and political power that goes with it. Naturally, the role of the military in such societies is hardly comparable with what we’re familiar with, and the thoughtful reader would do well to read some of Isabele Alliende’s novels to get a better feel. It’s only natural that most of Latin Americans would tend to view the use of the military in such societies with a great deal of suspicion. Indeed, even the party line divisions (if one goes by Alliende’s novels, for one) between the Liberal and Conservative parties are not really translatable into any familiar terms. None of those parties are really “of the people,” although the Liberal party is recognized as speaking “for the people.” Add to this a certain ethnic bond that’s characteristic of the South Americans (which the Anglos don’t share), and it’s rather easy to see not only that the majority (the peons, that is) really have no voice in the government, and that the constitution in these countries is not really representative of the majority (or intended to promote the majority’s interests). Indeed, everything seems to suggest that the one-term limit placed on the presidency is designed for no other purpose than to prevent the spread of populism (or a version of socialism); and it’s orchestrated by the parties in power (Liberals and Conservatives) – not the people.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Roger, I see that you fail to comprehend th basic point of the article itself – that a constitutional procedure in another country forced the ousting of a man who wanted to violate that constitution. This is a point that most all of you fail to comprehend. The actions of Honduran Supreme Court, Congress and of its military in support of both, were in defense of the constitution of the country against a man who wanted to violate it. And more to the point, they were not only not illegal but legal and necessary. I guess you have to go to law school to learn how to rezd the small print, Roger.

    You read “coup d’etat”, and that settles it for you. You, like most folks, think conventionally, and conventional thinking says that if military officers force an elected official from office, it must be illegitimate. In this instance, conventional thinking ignores the facts – which require the military in Honduras according to its constitution to support other branches of government when the constitution appears to be in danger of violation by a different branch.

    But that is not really the issue raised by the author here. The issue raised by the author is that outside powers are intervening in the affairs of Honduras for their own reasons. The officials of the United States government, which is so loaded with lawyers as to stink from them (one grafitto I read in law school said there were heterosexuals, homosexuals and lawyers), can certainly read the constitution of Honduras, as Dan did here. But for reasons of policy, reasons that are not clear to us at all, the United States government has decided to interpret legal defense of a constitution as a coup d’etat. Following its lead, like so many sheep, so have the rest of the “civilized” countries of the world.

    Added to this is the saber rattling of the Venezuaelan dictator, Chavez, and his running buddy, Ortega, and you have the possibility of a real war.

    Central America, like the Middle East, is a small place, and a war in one country of Central America can easily upset events in another. Dan Miller and his bride live in Panama. And this is a developing story. Dan has not been guilty of self-promotion, he has been keeping you up-dated. Nice of you to show your gratitude. But he has not been doing it to be nice to you, he is doing it because wars are scary things. War, and the possibility of war, is what is underneath all the flapping of jaws about “negotiations”.

    As for the NYT guest editorial, having read Jew after Jew sell out Israel using the argument that the United States was Izrael’s “best friend” – even when it was obvious that American policy is screwing this country over – it was no surprise to see an Honduran do the same thing in the NYT, which encourages just such behavior. If you had read the NYT for a half-century, like I have, you would know the patterns and the signs of sellout-itis. That is the source of my contempt.

    The Honduran constitutional regime is being subjected to the same campaign of lying, villification, and de-legitimization that we Jews in Israel have suffered under for decades.

    I wouldn’t expect you to see that. Why should you? But I sure as heck do.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Your contempt for NYT editorials on other matters is no reflection on the article that Handy highlighted. You fail to address the points raised by my comment; consequently, I have no response, except to reiterate the failure by such as Miller and company to appreciate the differences between Latin America and the Anglo-Saxon tradition as regards constitutional issues. That is the crux of the matter: viewing the Honduras situation through the prism of ethnocentrism and what’s regarded as America’s best interests.

  • Baronius

    Dan, I may be no more than a BC usual suspect, but I’m glad that you’ve been self-aggrandizingly updating us on the events in Honduras. Still, if you really want to understand Central America, you should move back to the US and start reading South American fiction.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    A singular view by a solitary settler in Panama is hardly a qualification for relevant updates from Honduras. Allende’s fiction is far more convincing and realistic than deliberations of an arm-chair philosopher committed to Anglo-Saxon ideology and view of the world whilst sitting on his veranda, sipping rum, and overlooking his plantation.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Roger,

    Let’s see if I can summarize what I see here rather quickly. Bottom line of #271. The mere fact that the Honduran constitution says “x”, “y”, or “Z” does not count at all when weighed aginst how you view the aspirations of what you call “the people”.

    Summary from comment #273: facts related by a mere American “settler” in Panaoma (we’re bsack to those “damned settlers” again, aren’t we?) have no weighty against the fiction of an iffy Chilean author.

    One heck of a way to view the world there, Roger!

    Way to go!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Damn right! That Chilean “iffy author” has far greater credibility about Latin America and Latin American politics than an American expatriate with watching the world unfold from his Panamanian hacienda. And it doesn’t matter whether Allende’s work is fiction or a fart in the dark. You ought to know better. But since you play as though you didn’t – “an iffy Chilean author,” is all I need to hear – count me out.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The fact that Sec. Clinton seems to have helped broker a mediation by Costa Rica’s Arias seems somewhat promising. And it certainly doesn’t seem to promote Chavez’s influence much.

    The Op-Ed in the Times, which has been unreasonably attacked and misrepresented here [possibly by people who didn't bother to read it] is actually fairly close to Dan’s point of view, minus the ideological distaste for Chavez and the gratuitous slams at Obama.

    The ‘middle-class’ interpretation was my own; I meant politically active, literate people like the journalist who wrote it.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    I spoke an hour or so ago with a “middle class” Panamanian. He has a gut feeling — and seems to hope — that the United States Government, well behind the scenes, is doing what it can to resist Zelaya and Chavez, without appearing to do so. I hope that he is right.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Clavos

    I meant politically active, literate people like the journalist who wrote it.

    Still only a minuscule group in the overall population.

    The majority of Hondurans lead far too hardscrabble an existence to concern themselves with much beyond acquiring the basics necessary to sustain life.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    That’s why I put “middle class” in quotation marks, and that’s how I used it. I sense that there is a larger “middle class” here in Panama than in Honduras, but have nothing to support that feeling.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Bliffle

    Michael Krasny (as usual) had an interesting discussion on KQED the other morning about the Honduras situation. Here’s a link to the audio for those who didn’t hear it:

    FORUM

    Interesting, as always.

  • Héctor

    I am a Honduran and my opinion is that Mr. Dan´s article is strong and well founded, in Honduras there was no coup, only the removal of a want to be dictator, who thought he was above the Law.

    What is highly concerning is Mr. Obama support of Zelaya, a pseudo neo-communist and Chavez´s puppet (a highly well paid puppet). That is meddling into Honduras’ internal affairs.

    And the point is correct, why Honduras is being sanctioned by the US? And why the restitution of a loony is strongly pushed by Mr. Obama and Mrs. Hillary Clinton?
    I have not heard or read about the US calling for sanctions against Chavez or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. No doubt about it, there is a clear double standard.
    Worst yet, Honduras has been an allied of the US in Central America, but clearly Chavez an enemy of the US daily is calling Americans: “Yankees de mierda, vayanse a la mierda”.

    Even worst, Chavez has not hiden his intentions about establishing strong relations with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a very dangerous combination for the US security.

  • http://lagringasps.blogspot.com Cynthia in San Pedro Sula

    I live in San Pedro Sula, Cortes, Honduras. I am an American ex pat. So I would like to weigh in here. It is correct that Zelaya ignored a Supreme Court ruling and was removed as a consequence of this. Can you imagine the dangerous precidence of a US president ignoring Supreme Court rulings he doesn´t like? Bush with Roe v Wade, Obama with the Second ammendment, ect..what if horrors, Buchanan ever did win the presidency and decided to disregard presendence of the 14th ammendment and Brown v Board of Education…and reinstitute the pattern of discrimination that occurred in the 50´s with segregation..

    There are very good reasons for the seperation of powers…especially in countries like Honduras. Allowing a president to ignore his Supreme Courts ruling because he doesn´t thing them correct is laughable and scary at the same time.
    Who is the Supreme law the president or the Supreme Court? In both the US and Honduras the Supreme court has the final say on all constitutional issues.

    If he wanted to get around constitutionality he could have hired Gallup to do a poll…it wasn´t a poll though it was a referendum which he didn´t have the power to do and changing the constitution was even further out of his power. These powers rested in the hands of Congress. The Supreme Court ruled him constitutionally out of order and he said clearly he didn´t care…he suffered the consequences.
    Sure one could argue about the scary big guns, but they are a fact of life here. The military and the police and security detail for private businesses all carry assault weapons on a regular basis…we are used to them and they don´t frighten us or signal a repression of any sort…they are equalizers to criminals who have Uzis and Ak-47´s. This is commonplace to say the least..you could argue taking him out of the country is wrong opposed to arresting him and trying him but there are many factors you must concider…
    1. Given the situation now do you really think it would have been prudent to keep him in the country? Further with the stance of Alba members it is likely they would have sent guerilla fighters in to release him.
    2. Article 42 of the constitution says that the acts he committed including the violation of 239 would remove his citizenship.
    3. The possibility of had they waited that he had press releases already in possession that would have disolved congress and the supreme court immediately taking us into a Constitutional assembly that would have also extended his rule for two years. His press release also announcing the cancelation of elections until after the two year period of the constitutional assembly…can you imagine the blood letting over that one?

  • Rubicon

    Zeyala was arrested & exiled. Exile was NOT what the military was told to do. They were to detain him. Those officers now face Honduran courts for allowing Zeyala to go into exile. The military guys were afraid Chavez planned to send in troops to free Zeyala so they sent him to Costa Rico. Not a good idea, but not a bad one either. It was understandable if they feared Venezuelan troops coming in. After all, those nightly plane landings from Venezuela transporting illegal drugs to America left the military w/ the feeling that Chavez may try almost anything. The military figured, no Zeyala, no reason to send in troops.
    Zeyala openly & notoriously violated the Honduran Constitution, which also calls for the ouster of the President if he attempts to change the constitutionally mandated term limit of the presidency.
    Are we against constitutions, or are we against ouster of elected officials who represent policy ideals we support or like, such as socialism? An election does not a democracy make. Hamas proved that. Honduras has a functioning constitutional republic. Why would we tell them to violate their own constitution? And why would we stipulate now that we will not recognize a future election? What’s w/ Zeyala saying he wants his days out of office to be credited to his current term?
    A thug got pushed out by a people who believe in freedom & the law of their land. Let em alone & stop punishing them by pushing them around by refusing aid we already promised to that nation… NOT that specific president that apparently Obama likes.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Here is an article I wrote a few days ago and which, I hope, puts the recent United States Government action against Honduras in perspective.

    Here is another which adds additional perspective.

    Dan(Miler)

  • Mark

    Hi ya, Parenthetical Dan. How goes your struggle over your land?

    Hope you’re enjoying life over at PM. A bit ‘child-mild’ and one sided for my tastes, but ‘to each his own’ as They say.

    ps – as has been pointed out in the comments section to your article over there – Obama is Lenin.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Mark,

    Our land struggle continues. The gate was locked by Citricos on 16 July. The mayor authorized us to remove it and we did. The next day, Citricos came with some earth moving equipment and dug a ditch about 6 feet deep, 7 feet wide and the width of the road. Then, the community got together and filled in the ditch. That evening, Citricos came with its equipment and dug three ditches of the same dimension.

    Now, President Martinelli has taken an interest and the new Governor is on the case. We hope for a favorable resolution soon, or at least by ???.

    We’ve pretty much worked out the logistics, and with help from a bunch of friends, local and Gringo, it isn’t too bad. During a brief period just after the first ditch had been filled in, Jeanie managed to get out to do a major grocery shopping. By the time she got back, the three new ditches were in place making the road impassable again. So, we got the car unloaded, took the provisions to our house by wheelbarrow, and our car is now at the home of some friends only about 1 KM away. It’s a bit of a bother, but that’s life.

    And, it gives me a bit more time to write.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Mark

    I don’t understand what Citricos hopes to gain from this confrontation. Is there much of a chance that the government will deny the traditional right of way setting some kind of precedent for the Co?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Mark,

    We’ve been trying to figure out Citricos’ motivations for a long time and haven’t been successful. Personally, I think that the Colombian owner of the company has long had his way and personally resents any challenge. We are challenging his power.

    No, I don’t think the current Panamanian Government will “deny the traditional right of way.” The former government might have tried to do so, but it’s gone and President Martinelli (who won the election 61:36 and now has a popularity rating in the 70s) is going after corruption big time. Things tend to move slowly here, but resolution of our problem is on the fast track due, to some extent, to the interest he has taken in the matter.

    SO, we are keeping our fingers, legs, eyes and toes crossed and hoping for the best.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Mark

    Sounds like you’re paying the price for the election results and the change in the ‘weather’ down there.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dan(Miller),

    Best wishes for your defeat of the the corporate usurper, comrade. Did you get a tape player yet?

    (just wondering how your sense of humor compares)

    :-)

  • Mark

    guffaw out loud

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Cindy,

    Thanks. The tape player is on our list, but getting the essentials (food for us, food for our dogs, food for our horses and that sort of thing) takes priority right now. Soon, I hope.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Citricos SA Panama is holding people hostage in rural Panama

    Citricos SA a Panama corporation is holding two retired americans, Dan a Jeanie Miller and at least three Panamanian citizens hostage on their farm. Citricos in violation of both a judicial and political order has cut three large trenches across the right of way used by these people to access the rest of the world.

    A picture of the trench is featured.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That’s news, the Paranthetical Dan against the corporate usurper. What is this world coming to? Can we dare hope?