Honduran Coup Decree Shows Coup "Justification" Was After the Fact

Supporters in the U.S. of the coup in Honduras have frequently made two claims to justify it which are demonstrably false, which have nonetheless been widely accepted in the U.S., because they have been largely unchallenged in the U.S. media: the Honduran Congress authorized Zelaya's removal, and the basis for that removal was Article 239 of the Honduran Constitution, which forbids someone from being President if he has already been President, and says that anyone who advocates changing this provision will cease to be President.

The actual decree of the Honduran Congress is attached. Note the following.

1) the document never mentions Article 239.

2) the document is dated "MIERCOLES 1 DE JULIO DEL 2009," i.e. Wednesday, July 1, 2009, three days after the coup on Sunday, June 28.

So: 1) the decree of the Honduran Congress, which is being cited as justification for it, was produced when the coup was already three days old, and 2) this decree never mentioned Article 239.

Note that President Zelaya didn't advocate any change to term limits. He proposed a nonbinding referendum on whether there should be a constitutional convention. Even had the nonbinding referendum been successful, there is no plausible scenario in which it would have led to a change in this provision of the constitution prior to the scheduled November election in which Zelaya was to be replaced and in which he was not a candidate. At most it would have resulted in a binding referendum for a constitutional referendum on the same November ballot on which Zelaya would have been replaced. So the claim that President Zelaya was "trying to extend his term" is not only false, but logically impossible.

As much as I support Zelaya and desire the golpista's demise, I must point out that the date you give: MIERCOLES 1 DE JULIO DEL 2009, is the publication date of the "Gaceta" in which the decree was published.

At the very end of the decree is the date of its submission:

"Dado en la ciudad de Tegucigalpa, municipal del Distrito Central, en el Salón de Sesiones del Congresso Nacional, a los veintiocho dias del mes de junio del año mil nueve."

That translates (roughly) as:

“Given in the city of Tegucigalpa, …of the Central District, in the Assembly hall the of the National Congress, [on] the twenty-eight[h] day of the month of June of year thousands nine.”

One can question whether or not the decree is a back-dated forgery (not unlikely) but saying that the dateline of publication is the actual date of the event is misleading. It's akin to saying the dateline of a story in the NYT reporting a congressional vote three days earlier is the actual day of the vote.

Further, once the misleading statement is 'outed' it tends to discredit anything further from the authors.

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