tv C-SPAN2 Weekend CSPAN July 11, 2009 6:00am-7:00am EDT
followed but to also make the statement that in the future they won't be flown out of the country. >> thank you. your time is expired. mr. meeks? >> thank you. i want to thank all the witnesses for being here. was a very important hearing it gives a lot of food for thought and i don't want to jump ahead of ourselves because i do believe that what president arias is doing and sometimes triune to look at the present whether the glass is half full or half empty some people are saying that democracy throughout the south and central iraq cut is being threatened. well, democracy in the ponder this may be that the reaction of the country's in central and south america who are upset about what has taken place which caused them to sit down and try to work together to resolve this
so that we do not turn back the hands of time shows we still have come a long way, shows that still folks even in the region want to work together to make sure that democracy is ranked and show those democracies would soon meet those who have not had for such a long period of tire because the bottom line are still those poor people in honduras one of the poorest nations on the hemisphere no matter what the system of government has never received anything. so the hope is we'll learn something and move forward, and i think that also what is different here and one of the things the prior administration had been criticized and was looked at the wrong way was acting unilaterally. i think the fact that this current administration acted in a multilateral situation with other nations with concern in the region is a positive step forward to try to make sure the
democracy does remain and prevails throughout this hemisphere but especially throughout the world. now, i do have -- and i would like to ask some questions that i don't know -- just to get your opinion on this scenario because i'm concerned about the poor people and also concerned because you see some human rights groups talk about the individuals out there demonstrating with the interim government and there have been things going on with them but we have this site as far as the united states is concerned to suspend all foreign aid to honduras including the millennium challenge account and other things. i am concerned about the poor getting hurt more. i don't know. i would like to hear your opinion with the or not we should continue the suspension or whether we should do something differently so that we can make sure that boe was who are caught in the middle, the poorest of the war are not hurt.
the and, for me the issue is not right now this the military run the country. the question of a coup is not who is running the question entirely at this moment. the question is, what is the president legally to posen actually the 7,008 language talks about a military coup or decrease so it sees the true concept beyond just the military taking over. so, the other thing is if you are going to talk legality and illegality if you illegally removed the president from the country, then are the people taking over in some ways violating the law as well so that was my point about, seems like there's a lot of things that have questionable legal-- >> i agree, so that is why use the hypothetical in mike earlier statement that have not had the process taking place-- i have
got 30 seconds. you know that someone could have said president nixon was violating the law to take a lot of the country but generally if you violate the law you have the rule to come in and arrest someone, place them under arrest and therefore there's a proceeding that takes place so one could be found guilty or innocent, and that seems to be to meet more of a democratic and fair way to go. it did not take place here so by my estimation a big difference. >> the gentleman's time has expired, mr. mccaul. >> thank you chairman. i think we ever reach some consensus but not entirely. clearly, the president violated the constitution. the supreme court held that he was acting against the established form of government. we have been ordered here to the military to arrest him. he was ordered to be, he was found to be in treason against
his own country, of the 'tis authority and usurp his power. as mr. davis pointed out very eloquently in article ccxxxix self executes once that is violated, which it was in this case, he is out of power. he is no longer the president of honduras. i think that the real dilemma here is how was this order implemented and how did the military response to this order to arrest him? and does the definition of a rest include deporting him to another country? i know there were some concerns certainly when we have the intervention of hugo chavez into the process and the intervention of these balances from venezuela, tremendous concern of the safety and the danger that is posed by keeping him in honduras. we have been throwing up around the word military coup pretty loosely but as mr. meeks points
out, it is actually very important because under the, under this appropriations act that we passed it that is the son of-- defined as military coup than the funding is cut off to honduras by the united states congress. so, i think the definition, and i think again this is then thrown around very loosely, but the idea you know that there was a violation of the constitution. the supreme court held so, called for the arrest, article ccxxxix self executes. he is now a private citizen. the real issue with him lies with the remedy we can provide from this point going forward but he is no longer the president under the rule of law in honduras and under their constitution. so, former supreme court justice guillermo perez-cadalso at want to call upon you and perhaps mr. davis as well to help us and
the administration in terms of whether you define this as a military coup. >> thank you congressmen. back in the '60s and '70s, latin american was full of coup d'etat i, myself, lived through many of them. but, reading any text of political science, one finds that the coup d'etat's have some characteristics. one, the military seized power and they take power or they do a civic military coup d'etat. second, they abolish the other powers or the branches of
government. certainly congress and sometimes even the judiciary. third, the constitution is abolished or is subject to whatever the military regime wants. fourth, usually there is a bloodbath that occurs with the takeover of the military. in this case, we have a very typical situation. one, the military are not in power. there is a civilian ruling the country, the military have returned to the barracks. second, the three branches of government are functioning. the congress that was elected four years ago with president zelaya, the judiciary with its
15 members and the branch of government, executive branch of government that was elected by congress in this case, 124 votes out of 128. the constitution is fully in charge. nobody has questioned the constitution and fortunately for us hondurans there was no bloodshed at the moment that mr. zelaya was arrested. >> the gentleman's time has expired and as you have heard we have just been called for a vote so i am going to try and see if we can finish before the actual vote takes place. i am going to ask my colleagues that they could limit themselves with their questions for about two minutes. let me just say thank you for that testimony as well. mr. green.
>> i'm going to try to squeeze two questions in two minutes. first of all, the deep concern over executive decree about coming from the authorities in honduras, restricting personal liberty and allowing detention of 24 hours, freedom association and right of assembly as well as freedom to enter and remain in the territory of honduras. is that still in effect? or, does that have any concern like it does i think with a lot of members in a national emergency that was created in continuing? ms. olson? >> my understanding is that the suspension of liberties during certain hours of the day, which was put forward, has been reduced over the past couple of days. i did not check yesterday's so i am not sure. we have been concerned about it in one of the big things we have been concerned about and what of
the things that is affected things is media. pretty much all of the opposition or media were taken off the air and off the air and they weren't showing up in print so you might end up with a real kind of one-sided view of what was going on. >> actually congressman, that is not a correct statement. would have been very briefly while the media is operating as we speak. there is a vociferous protest on both sides. democracy is forcing. i do agree that the curfews are the only thing in place that are nighttime curfews but as to any civil liberties as far as i know from the distance the answer is democracy in some of these are still foresting. >> let maggette my other question in quickly. the changing constitutions in power in the western hemisphere and i know there are other countries, colombia, venezuela, bolivia, ecuador, honduras. it is that fairly common?
it seems like in colombia we hear it from people who are mostly aligned with president chavez and venezuela. is that it generally correct statement? >> extend the terms of office by public referendum. >> mr. green, as i commented in my testimony that pattern of certain elected leaders coming in with the election has shown us did ten years ago as zelaya did four years ago, as morales of bolivia. >> frankly-- president uribe did the same thing i believe in colombia. >> he has not done that. he has presented that. he has not decided yet whether he is going to run. the constitution was changed in colombia, that is correct, to allow a second term. in my personal opinion, i am not a colombian so i did not vote in
that one. i don't think that is good. i don't think it is good for colombia anymore than it is good for honduras or that it has been good for the livia or ecuador and based on 47 years of working in latin america, where some countries for example like mexico have made it a part of the constitution. there is no re-election because they know unfortunately for some reason, cultural reasons are political once people get into power they don't want to give up. >> mr. smith. >> thank you. is the crisis in honduras is heating up i was in belarus meeting with president-- he was the man he was elected, dissolved his parliament in rewrote the constitution to allow him to be president for life. i remember thinking, not again, not again and it almost happened in honduras. my question is, zelaya has been accused of several very serious
mr. zelaya to the country. that of course will be put forth in the mediation table, but the problem will be too, i am awfully sure that that is going to be put forward in for him to return as president. the thing that would worry in the honduran that respects the rule of law would be that if he returns, if things follow the legal trends come and he will be arrested when he gets to honduran soil. he has to be arrested if we respect the rule of law. there is a warrant for his arrest, said that poses a problem, and the other problem would be his governability.
how would he be able to govern in a country that has a majority of the institution melody that is opposing him. everybody on this panel has talked about not only the judiciary, congress, the human rights commission, the attorney general, the catholic church. everybody has expressed that he was, that he was in contempt of law, that he was beside the law, and that he should be prosecuted , especially because he was rebellious with all the orders that were issued by other instances of the judiciary power. >> thank you. i think we will have to let that be the last question. >> let me ask very quickly, i hear the catholic church, everyone else had condemned this. i understand the minimum wage was raised in a lot of indigenous people were
supportive of the afro honduras, can anybody speak, i have not heard that mentioned. they were supportive of this coup. they wanted him out percolate person to raise the minimum wage, a man who came to new york to swear in a organization called the central american black organization made up of people of african descent throughout central america to show their respect. in other words does anybody have any indigenous or minority peoples physician, quickly? >> four of the five critical part is including parties representing many of the unions, many of the poor people simply upheld the law congressman and found that he violated the law but if i may say, i would hope he would not support a cut-off of eight which will hurt the poorest people in honduras, and to have the united states government cut off aid, where the people who will suffer are the people's-- list able to cope
with the cut-off of that aid. i hope democrats and republicans would not support a cut-off of a. >> one thing we do have to discourage, military coups and much of the aid goes around the government so i certainly could not see as continuing giving support to someone who is taken out of office by the army. eyes want to conclude because my time is about up, that i am outraged by the representation of the new government, which our foreign minister-- >> he has been forced out congressman. >> okay, but perhaps some kind of reflection of the group because when he says three times about this new little black man who is the president of the united states and then talked about as mr. dalan, negotiating with prostitutes, left this, blacks and whites, that is my job. however, i like this little
black sugar plantation worker who is president of the united states. i don't want to sound like i am prejudiced, but a statement like that certainly offends me. >> congressman, he is not a reflection of anybody. he is a far out extremist they get in there is nobody in the honduran government that did not support him being sack. >> who appointed him, the same guys the took out the former president? >> he got sack. >> he got in. >> may i add, may i add mr. paine that hugo chavez use the same term to describe president obama. >> i am talking about this country, he should have raised it then. i didn't hear it from chavez. >> it is reprehensible no matter who says it. >> i agree. >> the foreign minister was fired.
>> he is not going to have many times so i am going to yield. >> i think that was a very good point that ambassador reich was about to make. let's have one standard and one standard is when hugo chavez says something that you condemn him as much as you are condemning some guy that this group sacked because they didn't want to have anything to do with that type of language. mr. wright or mr. ambassador reich i should say, did mr. chavez himself lead a coup d'etat in 1992? >> yes sir, that was the coup d'etat. >> was his plan to put in power himself, who was a military man or was his idea was to put another democratically elected person into power? >> it was to put the military in power to replace an elected president who had not broken alaa burkas. >> so mr. chavez, the greatest ally of this would be cadillo in
honduras himself conducted a military coup against epidemically-- democratically elected person. >> i'm glad that mr. shifter referred to the double standard but as we have been hearing for the last several years, overlooking the violations of civil rights by governments of the left, the very weekend we were discussing here in the city what to do with the government of honduras which has been described here as having trampled on civil rights. hugo chavez announced he was closing down 240 racy of-- radio stations. i did not even see that reported. >> that is exactly what we could have expected from this would be cadillo who was also implicated in the drug trade in corruption. that is what we could expect from him. that is why his people who understood him and his fellow
political people on all sides of the spectrum, down there in honduras, think that was the right thing to remove him from power because he had violated the constitution. >> the gentleman's time has expired. dr. arnson, 30 seconds. >> i reference the two attended by president chavez. he was jailed for that attempt and subsequently was elected. this was not in defense of the venezuelan government but i think all of the people that have so passionately spoken on behalf of the rule of law have not mention the fundamental role of due process as a key aspect of the rule of law and they think if we can agree that it is not right to arrest someone in the middle of the night in his pajamas and put him outside, that there would have been, there would have been legal remedies for the resolution. >> mr. smith, i want to give--
ms. lee. >> let me just associate myself with the remarks of congressman payne and now i am learning also, while it is clear the honduran business community supported the coup, i am learning that president zelaya had raised the minimum wage because it has been said here how the business community has supported the coup and the church has supported the coup and know i am learning that the church did not of course like is the dough in the legislation to ban the morning after pill so more and more as you dig into this you can understand why some of what has been said is the case. about the inter-american commission report on human rights on july 3rd, they issued a statement expressing the concern over the human rights violations and said the commission said, fundamental rights have been restricted such as personal liberty and incommunicado detention for more
than 24 hours, the right of assembly as well its freedom of movement to enter and remain in the territory of honduras of given the reports about humans' rights abuses coming from this the fact the government, what is inappropriate response to that from those who support this, whatever it is that has been placed into power? mr. reich, maybe you could answer that. >> i'm not sure i understand the question. >> the human rights commission report that i just read in terms of the fundamental rights being restricted as a result of a coup. what is your position on how do we address that? >> i will not justify the restrictionist of civil rights by any government, however we need to also look at what led to the events of june 28 in honduras. there had been violations of the honduran people's civil rights by the zelaya government.
this didn't just happen, the honduran supreme court did not just wake up friday morning and decide, what we just write an opinion unanimously to get rid of the president. it was a succession of violations of their own law. >> let me just say we have at present, many of us have violated our own of the constitution and none of us have suggested any coup d'etat's. we'll by suggested a democratic process. >> right, because our system works and the institution works and what we are failing to see here is the institutions of honduras also work. i think this is a dialogue on the question of the coup. you have heard members of the supreme court tell you that by their law the actions of the president constituted a self activating rule by which you cease to be the president. i am not a lawyer.
as i said in my testimony i am not qualified to judge but i think that dr. perez-cadalso certainly is and he is saying to what as another president of the supreme court who i quote my testimony said that that action was legal mrs. lee, congresswoman lee. don't think the congress of the united states should sit in judgment of the supreme court of another country. >> let me tell you cuba has the constitution and there are those who are talking of both sides of the melds. >> there were also the norma-- nuremburg laws in germany. >> we have a member of the committee who is with us of another member of the subcommittee and that would like to give for an opportunity to westgate quick question. >> mr. chairman you are a very kind and i will be very brief. this is a crucially important hearing and i beg to differ with my dear friend mr. wright. it is important for constitutional government to comment on the process of
government. i would offer this. i think it is good news that the president of costa rican and secretary clinton are in process and i thank you for that. here's my offer. one that would like to ask ms. olson very quickly you think the pause we have on aid is positive? secondary i would like to hear from anyone who wants to answer on whether or not there would be an acceptance of the return of this president to finish out his stated constitutional term, because that is the crunch of what i believe is the fall. this was a director resorption of government. this was using tools that let them believe are written in the honduran constitution. is a coup written a constitution? i will end on that note and ask missiles and about the paws a date. it is not a complete elimination and anyone else who would like to answer whether they will accept in negotiations of secretary clinton and the president of costa rica and i
thank you very much mr. chairman and i yield back, the president of costa rica. thank you. >> just to respond to the question, i don't have the number in front of me but it is not a huge number of the suspended rate because so much evade this not go to the government. d.w.i think it is appropriate to suspend aid after coos? s i do because there has to be some kind of mechanisms that countries can use to show their disagreement in a sense so yes i do think it is appropriate and know we have not cut off all aid to 100. >> it is not an indictment of what we are trying to do? anyone want to answer about the negotiations? >> first of all, nice to see you and secondly i did want to correct the record by congresswoman lee, the business community did not support violating any constitutional or legal procedures regarding
shipping mr. zelaya out of the country. i said when you were not here congresswoman lee that it could've been done differently, but understanding the context of the fear at the time that he needed to be arrested and he needed to be prosecuted and that is the rule of law and i will let the parties themselves decide if and when he returns of the rule of law is going to be upheld and still as president obama always tells us and as secretary clinton always tells us let's come together in dialogue and find a solution where there is no blood shed where we can restore the rule of law. that is why secretary clinton has done such a great job. >> i agree. i yield back to say that i repeat a coup is not in the constitution. we have it here to the rule of law and the yield back to the chairman. >> thank you.
unless there is anyone who would like to add anything, may be a panelist like to add something. mr. mack and i have agreed to stay but i think we have covered it pretty thoroughly and we have had a whole different points of view but from my colleagues here and also from the palace so unless anyone has anything they really must say i want to attend-- thank each and every one of you for a very important testimony for what i consider this very, very important hearing. this subcommittee will continue to monitor the effects of the honduras and we will continue to act accordingly, so i thank the panels, i thank my colleagues in the subcommittee hearing is now closed. >> thank you.[w