President Lobo this week made two serious accusations: one against the Supreme Court itself, the other against media magnate Jorge Canahuati, owner of two influential newspapers in Honduras, La Prensa, published in San Pedro Sula and El Heraldo, which is published in Tegucigalpa.
It seems that President Lobo is either trying to distract the attention from the fact that his government has been the most corrupt, inept and inefficient in History or that he has forgotten that there is a constitution that must be the framework for all laws in the country. It is also clear that Lobo does not like the press, as he has continuously blamed them for all the problems that the country has!
In Honduras, as in other modern democracies, there are three independent powers, the executive, the legislative and the judicial. The Honduran society has taken big steps at creating an independent judicial branch that is not influenced by politicians. Twenty years ago, one of the leaders of the Liberal Party used to negotiate his support in the party elections in exchange for control of the Supreme Court, and would then be able to do questionable businesses and not have to worry about being prosecuted! In Honduras Today, this is no longer possible, and the Supreme Court has become much more independent of political leaders.
In his effort to pursue development alternatives for the county, President Lobo and Congress, under the leadership of Juan Orlando Hernandez, the president of Congress and virtual National Party candidate for the 2013 presidential elections, created a law to allow charter cities in Honduras. The law contemplated leasing out a territory to a corporation or foreign state that could operate under their own laws and police force within that territory. The idea was to attract investment and create many jobs, basically by creating a mini state within the state of Honduras, much in the way that Hong Kong was a mini state within China and operating as a British Colony under British law. Although the idea seems plausible, it has one big problem: it goes against the Honduran constitution, giving up Honduran sovereignty in part of the country’s territorial limits, where access to the area by Hondurans would be restricted and require obtaining a “visa” like permit to enter the territory; contradicting several articles in the Honduran Constitution.
When the Supreme Court sat down to analyze the proposal, they did so not under the concept of whether it will generate employment and economic growth, but rather as if it is a legal proposal and within constitutional precepts. The same can be said regarding the police cleanup process. Under the constitution, all Hondurans have a right to a due process, and the current police cleanup law eliminates this possibility for members of the police force. When the Supreme Court is seeking to guarantee the rights of Hondurans, it is not being an enemy of the state; it is doing its job! This is why there is a Supreme Court, to make sure that the state acts within the guidelines established in the constitution!
Congress and President Lobo have been so disorganized, inefficient and inept that they can not even propose a law that is consistent with the Honduran Constitution. The function of the legislative branch in the government is to create the laws needed to keep order and promote development in the country, but they must be in compliance with the constitution. In our perspective, the true enemy of the state here is the executive and legislative powers, and we should be thankful that the judicial branch has done their job.
The so called fourth power, the media; has played an important role in this game. By denouncing the illegal, unethical proposals made by the legislative and executive branches of government, the press has helped keep a balance and maintain the state of law within the country. People like Jorge Canahuati Larach owner of La Prensa Newspaper as well as El Heraldo two leading newspapers in Honduras have been brave defenders of the state of law in the country, and have acted as a counterweight to the power of the executive and legislative branches of government.
We hope that the Supreme Court and the media hold their forts, and do not allow themselves to be intimidated. This 2013 will be an interesting year, and Juan Orlando Hernandez will wield whatever influence he can to insure that he is elected the next president of Honduras.
Whatever the results, of the coming elections, the Supreme Court of Honduras will be renewed during the regime of the next president of Honduras, and if Hernandez is elected president, there is a great risk that he will use his extensive experience to manipulate to insure that he has control of the Honduran Supreme Court. Let us hope that the Honduran society does not let this happen. Last time the court was renewed was during the Zelaya Regime, and he personally led a big effort to manipulate the selection of the different magistrates. On that occasion, congress did not allow that to happen. Only time will tell…
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