Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Truth laces up its Boots

It has been said that a lie can get all around the world while the truth is still lacing up its boots. Let the world be served notice that Truth has laced its boots, and is going to start kicking some tail.
Here is the English traslation of the article from Laura Miranda-Flefil and Guillermo Alberto Bogran Castro, who penned this article in Spanish which i linked to last weekend. If you are more about truth than political correctness, read the article, and let your government officials know that they should not be siding with Hugo Chavez and company.
Informing the Juridical Truth: From Honduras To The World

Laura Miranda-Flefil* and Guillermo Alberto Bogran Castro*

Who Perpetrated a Coup in Honduras?

July 2nd, 2009

What is a Coup?

A coup is the toppling of a legally constituted power by a person invested with authority in an
illegal and utterly brutal fashion. It has two distinct characteristics. The First is the breaking of
the Constitutional and/or legal order of a State of Law. The Second is the continued use of force
to perpetuate oneself in power.

What are the origins of this term?

The history behind the word Coup takes us to XVIII century France. Originally a “Coup d’État”
referred to the illegal, sudden and repressive measures that the King would take against his
enemies. Nowadays we call this autocoup and it is characterized by the flagrant disregard for
law, especially when that illegality is in conflict with the legal mandates of another power. The
violator becomes then the usurper power.

In the XIX century, history introduces the use of the armed forces to head the taking of power to
stay in power. Many of these coups where supported by a sector of civilians, but did not
necessarily need of their presence. The armed forces were the ones to organize these coups.

Curzio Malaparte and Samuel Finer were the ones to finish conceptualizing the term we are
studying. Malaparte comments that the use of surprise and the scarce duration of the operation
to ascend to power are essential. Finer stated that the use of force, violence or the threat of
violence is used to replace or direct the government.

If it walks like a Duck, Looks like a Duck, QUACKS like a Duck, it is a…

The question that emerges is, whether the actions that were to take place on Sunday June 28th of
2009 constitute a Survey or a Consultation of the Populace? To answer it in a legal manner we
have to look back to our juridical roots. We will start by defining both terms. Then we will
analyze what was intended by this “question”, the impact of which some have attempted to

Informing the Juridical Truth: From Honduras To The World

Laura Miranda-Flefil* and Guillermo Alberto Bogran Castro*

Survey, according to Professor Garcia Ferrado, is “an investigation that is done on a sample of
subjects representative of a broader collective, using standardized procedures of interrogation
with the intent of obtaining from the population quantitative measures of a great variety of
subjective and objective characteristics.” Sierra Bravo expresses that there are four fundamental
characteristics that a survey has. These characteristics are: a) a survey is an indirect observation
of the facts by the means of what the interested manifest; b) it is a prepared method with an
investigative end; c) it’s extension is over the whole of the studied population (a classroom,
clients in a store, habitants of a state, etc) as a representative sample, without taking into
consideration nationality or residency of a person; d) subjective aspects of members of a society
are displayed with surveys. A survey can be taken in an oral or written manner. In simple
terms, a survey is the study of any social phenomenon that has generally occurred or is
occurring, to know the reality on certain subjects, such as the quality of educational or
healthcare services, the proliferation of crime, the economical status, habits, how one spends
free time, the liking to a certain climactic temperature, etc. An example of a survey is the one
Gallup recently took of a sample group of the population of the United States of America, where
by phone, they asked what economic problems they faced, answers given freely ranged from
unemployment, high cost of healthcare and high cost of education.

Consultation of the Populace, according to Espasa Calpe, is “to get the populations opinion on a
national transcendental subject.” Cardenas Lopez illustrates us by stating that it is a
“mechanism of citizen participation by which the people are called to decide on a matter of vital
importance.” It is also known as referendum, plebiscite, ballot question or citizen ballot. Its
own nature defines it as a direct vote where only the electoral body of a state has the ability to
participate. It necessarily needs to be written on a legally sanctioned ballot and deposited in a
legally sanctioned ballot box. The questions are answered with a yes or a no. An example of a
Consultation of the Populace is the one held in Ecuador last September 28th of 2008, that asked a
question that read as follows: Do you approve that a National Assembly is called for and
installed, with the full powers according to the Electoral Statutes that are annexed, to transform
the institutional frame of the State and elaborate a new Constitution?

Do you agree that in the general elections of November of 2009 a fourth ballot box be installed
so that a National Constituent Assembly that approves a political Constitution? This was the
question to be answered in the election of Sunday June 28th of 2009. To answer it you had to
credit your citizenship by presenting a means of identification such as the state issued ID Card.

Informing the Juridical Truth: From Honduras To The World

Laura Miranda-Flefil* and Guillermo Alberto Bogran Castro*

The answer was placed on a ballot that had 2 options, one for yes or a no. The ballot was
deposited in a ballot box.

This is not an election. All actions that were to take place this given Sunday constitute a
Consultation of the Populace.

Can the Constitution of Honduras be reformed without the formation of a Constitutional
National Assembly?

The Constitution has a specific mechanism by which it admits reforms to its body. Article 373 of
Title VII: Of the Reformation and the Inviolability of the Constitution of the Republic, states:
“The reformation of this Constitution can be decreed by the National Congress, in ordinary
session, by two thirds of the totality of the votes of its members. The decree will state the article
or articles it will reform and must be ratified by the subsequent ordinary legislature, by the
same number of votes, to be valid.”

And what of the Petrous Articles?

What are the Petrous Articles?

Petrous articles are those that according to the Constitution can’t suffer reforms, be abolished or
changed in any way. These articles are intangible and can’t be reformed. Their characteristics
are given to them by Constitutional Article 374 and it is a limit imposed to the reformatory
ability of Congress by the Constituent Assembly, subtracting the faculty to revise that
Parliament has. In that same line, article 5 of the Primary Law restricts their reform through a
Consultation of the Populace.

Why are Petrous Articles important?

Petrous articles are historical importance to the Honduran nation. The Constitution of
Honduras has been enforced since January 20th of 1982. This is the longest running Constitution
of our country. This Primary Law put an end to a long period of great crisis. It was
characterized by decades of military coups and presidents that perpetrated themselves in
power, one of whom stayed in power for 16 years. Petrous Articles were designed to protect
Honduras from this ill-fated past and guarantee a stable and democratic future.

Informing the Juridical Truth: From Honduras To The World

Laura Miranda-Flefil* and Guillermo Alberto Bogran Castro*

Which are the Petrous Articles?

A lot is said of these Petrous Articles, but very few times are these stated clearly. This analysis
we developed will expose in the language of the Constitution what these articles are. According
to article 374, “under no circumstances can the reformation of the following take place:

the previous article” – the already mentioned 373, that establishes the way the
Constitution can be reformed
the present article” – that establishes the quality of Petrous
articles that refer to…:
o the form of government” – article 4
o the national territory” – articles 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 y 14
o the presidential period” (4 years) – article 237
o to the prohibition of being reelected President of the Republic, to any citizen who
has ever held this office under any title” (prohibition of being reelected) – articles
4 and 239
o the one that refers to who cannot be President of the Republic for the subsequent
period” – article 240
What does the existence of Petrous Articles mean when it comes to the Consultation of the Populace?

The Constitution can be reformed for the exception of Petrous Articles. The Consultation of the
Populace that was intended wanted to change all the Constitution. This turns it into an
Unconstitutional action, in other words contrary to what the Constitution states.

Do the Plebiscite and Referendum exist in Honduran Law?

Article 5 of the Constitution of the Republic, in its second paragraph, institutes the referendum
and plebiscite as mechanisms of Consultation of the Populace for matters of fundamental
importance on a national level. The desired effect of these is the strengthening and functionality
of participative democracy, guaranteed in the first paragraph of the mentioned article.

This article didn’t originally count with these mechanisms. Utilizing the constitutional method
of reform, which we previously stated, paragraphs 2-11 were included. Its modification
happened through decree 242-2003 and its ratification through decree 177-2004.

Informing the Juridical Truth: From Honduras To The World

Laura Miranda-Flefil* and Guillermo Alberto Bogran Castro*

Reformed article 5 includes two specifications that are of vital importance when it comes to the
Consultation of the Populace that was intended. First and already stipulated, it forbids the
reformation of the petrous articles. Second, it establishes that only the Supreme Electoral
Tribunal can summon, organize and direct the Consultation of the Populace. Both of these were
violated with the illegal Consultation that the Executive Branch intended on Sunday June 28th of
this year.

How did the Constitutionally Instituted Authorities Defend the Country against these

The Battle for Democracy Begins

The State Prosecutor’s office started an action before the Administrative Law Tribunal to have
the intended Consultation of the Populace declared illegal and null. By law, the Attorney
General of the Republic had to answer the action, who in doing so stated that the Consultation
of the Populace was Unconstitutional and Illegal. The Tribunal declared that the actions to take
place were illegal and that any activities done to execute said action are by their nature illegal.
Not content the Executive Branch put a team of lawyers to work and appealed the ruling and
tried to render the Attorney General unfit to represent the State, publicly accusing her of being a
traitor. The Court of Appeals confirmed the ruling. Former President Jose Manuel Zelaya
Rosales, his aides and members of his state cabinet did not respect the mandate and keep up
their rhetoric of insults to the legal institutions and their officials.

The Next Chapter

Studying the case, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal united in the legal opposition of the
Consultation of the Populace. First it ordered that all publicity in favor of the commonly known
“Fourth Ballot Box” be suspended, as it found that in all the written, televised and transmitted
publicity contained the stamp and approval of the Tribunal, something that was never
petitioned, approved or authorized. Then the Tribunal declared the Consultation to be illegal,
because it considered that it violated article 5 of the Constitution of the Republic, 15 of the
Electoral Law and of the Political Organizations and other legislation applicable to the case. On
this last resolution, it asked the State Prosecutor’s office to impound any and all material that
was being used for the Consultation of the Populace, as it was deemed illegal. With the
Prosecutors present, the Tribunal impounded the materials and deposited them to be in custody
in the Air Base located in Toncontin. Again, Former President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales, his

Informing the Juridical Truth: From Honduras To The World

Laura Miranda-Flefil* and Guillermo Alberto Bogran Castro*

aides and members of his state cabinet ignored both resolutions, infringing them and
proceeding with the activities leading to the Consultation of the Populace.

How did the Executive Branch react?

The response of the Executive Branch was to engage in a series of irregular, not mention
unlawful, actions. First, it started by saying that the decree that gave life to the Consultation of
the Populace had not been published, stating that nobody could start any legal action against
the “Fourth Ballot Box” or declare it illegal, despite the fact that activities were being done to see
it through. These activities included but were not limited to: continuous publicity in favor of the
illegal act, design and printing of ballots and ballot boxes and declarations made in official radio
and televised national announcements given by Former President Zelaya to concentrate all
activities of his state cabinet and their resources to the intended end, to ensure that the illegal
election took place. As we’ve said before, he didn’t abide by the judicial rulings and he then
begun personal attacks against the constitutional institutions.

Enter the Armed Forces

The Executive Branch said that the Armed Forces would distribute and protect the ballot boxes
for the Consultation of the Populace. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff started giving
declarations expressing his desire to follow through with the orders of his Commander in Chief
but that there are constitutional dispositions that did not allow him to. The Mass Media
reported on Wednesday June 24th of 2009, just 4 days before the illegal Consultation of the
Populace, that General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez was called to attend to the Presidential
Palace. After a long wait, in an official radio and televised national announcement, Former
President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales announced the dismissal of the Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff General Vasquez for rejecting the illegal order to distribute the illegal material
and guard the illegal ballot boxes. This national hero acted in accordance with the rule of law,
due to the fact that constitutional article 278 stated that orders given by the President must be
based on the principles of legality, discipline and military professionalism.

Enter the National Congress and the Constitutional Room of the Supreme Court of Justice

The illegal dismissal of this man of honor, the State Prosecutor’s office and a private defender
separately interposed writs before the Constitutional Room. In admitting it, the Constitutional
Room also suspended the act in question. In simple terms this means that they provisionally
restituted General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez to his post while investigations are pending,

Informing the Juridical Truth: From Honduras To The World

Laura Miranda-Flefil* and Guillermo Alberto Bogran Castro*

warning Former President Zelaya that if he didn’t abide by this resolution he would incur in
civil, administrative and criminal responsibilities. The National Congress disapproved the acts
of the Executive Branch and reinstated the Chairman to his post utilizing numeral 20 of article
205 of the Primary Law.

The Answer of the Executive Branch

To these new determinations the manner in which the Executive Branch acted was astonishing
to say the least. Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales gave a speech in which he incited the population to
rebel and he called them to gather in the Presidential Palace, the Mayan Temple. In this speech
he went so far as to call the Supreme Court of Justice the Supreme Court of Injustice and said he
had never signed the order of dismissal, even though as we mentioned he made it public in a
official radio and televised national announcement and had said it verbally to General Vasquez
Velasquez. Having some 250 followers, he provided buses to them and with them and some
members of his cabinet, Former President Zelaya Rosales headed towards the Air Base in
Toncontin. All of them stormed the Base and extracted all the illegal material of the
Consultation of the Populace.

What should the Executive Branch have been doing?

All of this was being done while the country had terribly pressing issues that the Executive
Branch didn’t recognize or tend to. One of them consisted of the effects left in Honduras by an
earthquake off its Atlantic Coast, which had a magnitude of 7.3 in the Richter Scale and
aftershocks of a magnitude of more than 4 on the same scale, leaving 7 fatalities and losses in
the millions of public and private infrastructure. Another problem Honduras faces was the lack
of identification, detention and prevention of the more than 180 confirmed cases of the N1H1

The Honduran Society Unites

While all this was happening, political, religious and civil movements where joining forces and
protesting against the commonly known “Fourth Ballot Box.” Exercising the constitutional
rights and guarantees of freedom of association and freedom of expression, they started to
publicize communiqués, make radio and televised announcements, and protested and marched
against the lack of respect demonstrated by the Executive Branch to the Constitution. New
movements were created, like the Generation 4 Change (Generacion X Cambio), Democratic
Civic Union (Union Civica Democratica) and the Honduran Allegiance for Peace and

Informing the Juridical Truth: From Honduras To The World

Laura Miranda-Flefil* and Guillermo Alberto Bogran Castro*

Democracy (Alianza Hondureña por la Paz y la Democracia). Prestigious institutions joined in
the protest, like the Human Rights Commission, the Catholic Church and different Evangelical

Never before in the history of this nation had people from different social status, educational
levels, color of skin, political thoughts, religious followings and even hereditary roots joined
together for one cause. Movements based on common ideals, character, democracy and peace
where the characteristics of those of us who joined the noble and exemplary cause. The finality
it had: to respect the Constitution and the laws of Honduras.

The way these manifestations for democracy took and take place stand out. Some used humor,
with protesters dressing with a cowboy hat and using mustaches like the one Former President
Zelaya uses. Others using a white shirt as they proudly held the Honduran Flag in their hands.
Incredibly no acts of vandalism, something seen on a daily basis in the country, have been
registered within the movements and their manifestations; there is no violence, there are no
weapons, public and private buildings are not defaced and even green areas are respected.

Measures taken to Counter these Unconstitutional and Illegal Actions

The answer came in 2 different ways. The National Congress and the State Prosecutor’s Office
acted. Both based their actions within the Honduran Constitution and Honduran Laws.

The National Congress of the Republic disapproved the illegal conduct and separated Jose
Manuel Zelaya Rosales from his office of Constitutional President of the Republic of Honduras,
and named Roberto Micheletti Bain to the post of Constitutional President. The decision was
based on various constitutional and legal mandates. Applying article 321, that expresses that
servers of the State don’t have faculties other than those legally conferred to them, that acts
done outside of law are null and that those acts carry liability, responsibility was deduced for
the illegalities Zelaya Rosales committed. They took into consideration the reiterated violations
of the Constitution of the Republic and the laws of Honduras and the non observation of
resolutions and rulings of the courts and tribunals. They also considered the fact that Zelaya
rendered the legal promise according to article 322 of the Primary Law when he took office and
that according to article 245 of the Constitution the President has the attribution of abiding by
and making others abide by the Constitution, treaties and conventions, laws and other legal

Informing the Juridical Truth: From Honduras To The World

Laura Miranda-Flefil* and Guillermo Alberto Bogran Castro*

dispositions. Following constitutional article 242, that prescribes order of succession, and taking
into account that the Vice President of Honduras quit his office a few months ago, the office of
Constitutional President belonged to the President of the National Congress. In summation, the
Constitutional President of the Republic of Honduras is Roberto Micheletti Bain, until the
constitutional period ends on January 27th of 2010.

The State Prosecutor’s Office has presented and will continue to present Prosecutor’s Demands
before the competent legal authorities against the violators of the laws. In the specific case of
Former President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales, the actions have already started taking their due
course and warrants for his arrest exist for 18 criminal acts. The crimes he is accused of are
Treason, Corruption, Abuse of Authority and Violations of the Duties of Officials. One can find
these crimes detailed in articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution and 302-311 and 349-357 of the Penal
Code, among others. The criminal acts for which he is being processed include: extending the
period of service of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by 3 years, note sanctioning or
vetoing 80 laws approved by the National Congress, blocking the transfer of funds to the Office
of the Municipal Mayor of the Central District, only transferring 5 million Lempiras of the 700
million owed to Mayor Offices on a national level, not transferring funds to the National
Congress, not presenting the annual budget to the National Congress for its approval – which
by the final days of June 2009 he hadn’t done and he had to have rendered it by September of
2008, extraordinary annual postings of certain executive offices, qualifying the decisions of the
Supreme Court of Justice and the State Prosecutor’s Office as political, alluding that the
National Congress acted immorally when they emitted the Law of Plebiscite and Referendum,
declaring that the Law of Plebiscite and Referendum was a lie, trying to install illegal ballot
boxes, not suspending publicity of the “Fourth Ballot Box”, destine state funds for the “Fourth
Ballot Box”, publicly exposing a minor that was infected with the N1H1 virus and the dismissal
of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

June 28th of 2009

A lot is speculated and very few can be legally stated, with the merited evidence, of what really
happened on the early hours of June 28th of 2009. What we can establish is the facts that both
sides have accepted. First of all, Former President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales is alive. His
detention was due to a court order that emanated from the corresponding Penal Court on June
26th of 2006, executed by the Armed Forces and who in consideration of the investiture of

Informing the Juridical Truth: From Honduras To The World

Laura Miranda-Flefil* and Guillermo Alberto Bogran Castro*

President he once had, and to safeguard his safety, he was transported to a different country. It
has been established that Former President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales left the country on the
Presidential Plane. It is known that he landed in an airport in Costa Rica and he went to stay in
a hotel in San Jose. Former President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales enjoys personal freedom, as
evidenced by his statements given to international press, his various trips around the continent,
his public appearances and participations before the Organization of American States, the
General Assembly of the United Nations, with regional presidents and world officials.


In Honduras a consolidated democracy exists. We want to add that all of the institutions we
spoke of remain intact. None of these institutions suffered an illegal change of its officials
before, during and after the presidential succession, with no military personnel taking any of
these institutions. No law has been changed, reformed or repealed. There are no special laws in
place. Most importantly the Constitutional Order has not been broken.

Having analyzed the facts of the situation that is being lived in Honduras, from the legal
standpoint, we can categorically state that the usurper government was the one presided by
Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales. We base this assessment on the flagrant disregard for the
Constitution and the Laws of Honduras, creating precarious economical, political and social
situations. The way in which the Republics Institutions have acted are based on the rule of law
and look to respect and safeguard democracy, maintain order and social peace. The question is
left to the reader… WHO PERPETRATED THE COUP?

* Laura Miranda-Flefil is a Lawyer, Candidate for a Masters Degree in Corporate Law and Candidate for a Masters in
International Relations and Foreign Commerce
* Guillermo Alberto Bogran Castro is a Lawyer and a Candidate for a Masters in Economy and Law of Corporations (Italy)
**This document was translated by Laura Miranda-Flefil, Original Document: Spanish

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