I suppose it was in the works a week or so before Zelaya “rescued” the ballots amigo Hugo flew to him. The media talk those days was that Zelaya was becoming mentally incompetent to govern, and that Congress was considering asking him to resign on those grounds. The letter above focuses on his creating national conflict and his eroding of his political base before mentioning his health.
Zelaya had already violated article 239 in private by saying that in 2010 Honduras would be governed by a Constitutional assembly with the intent on changing the protected reelection clauses, and on Thursday June 25, the date of this letter, publicly. That day, while confiscating the poll material, he said to Telesur reporters that in 2010 a Constitutional Assembly would govern Honduras, but did not mention reelection. Everyone knew his true ideas, the media complained loudly, but didn’t have Zelaya on the record admitting reelection was his intent.
But months before, he had published retroactively dated articles in the national Gazette calling for the a “referendum” to call for a National Constitutional Assembly. All Hugo Chavez’s ALBA nations had tried, and some succeeded, in creating those assemblies and rewriting their constitutions. When the Honduran Supreme Court pointed out to him that only Congress could call for a referendum, and ruled it unconstitutional, he changed the word to “survey” and published it again. That was the first public proof of his intent, but only lawyers read the Gazette. The Supreme Court again ruled the survey unconstitutional. Some time after his article was published, the Supreme Court drafted a secret document, dated June 2, accusing Zelaya of treason, abuse of authority, usurpation of functions among other things.
After the ballot revolt on Thursday June 25, Zelaya fired the chief of the armed forces, and when Congress reinstated him on Friday, defied Congress and the Supreme Court. He called their opposition a coup, with a loud Hugo Chavez seeding the international media with the word “coup”. That night, June 26, there were already dozens of YouTube videos of Telesur coverage of a coup that did not exist. Zelaya hadn’t been deposed yet.
It seems the Congress and the Supreme Court thought they could convince Zelaya to relent, but when he plowed on, they changed strategy. Saturday, when Zelaya publicly stated that only God and the Virgin of Suyapa could stop the referendum, Congress and the Supreme Court declared the survey illegal again, and asked the people not to vote.
When Sunday June 28, the day of the survey/referendum, dawned, they arrested Zelaya based on Article 239. But since Congress had to rush to action, and already had that letter handy, I think they gave that letter for Zelaya to sign before he was flown out of the country. He had no choice but to sign it. Coercion is the only thing that could make it invalid
On the way to out though, looking for a country to grant him asylum, he must have talked to Hugo Chávez, who probably saw that Zelaya in Venezuela or Nicaragua wouldn’t garner public support, and sent him to Costa Rica instead, because he could count on Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias, a closet supporter of constitutional reform, to harbor him. He had a sympathetic CNN team waiting for him in San Jose, baited to make him the victim in the eyes of the world. Especially jarring was the line, much parroted later on, that he was only conducting a non-binding survey.
With the image of Zelaya in pajamas beside Arias, Chávez even succeeded in fooling Obama to give a shoot-from-the-hip condemnation of the removal of Zelaya, which plagued everyone until last week. His ambassador, and advisers knew better. Thomas Shannon had been in Honduras during that final week. Obama must reign his tongue…he has gotten into trouble several times already by trusting his own opinion before he is briefed. Or maybe he was briefed…years ago he had written a strong condemnation about the US involvement in Grenada.
On Tuesday June 30th, the Court made the secret document public, a description of it can now be read on their website in their press release, (Google translation) explaining their legal grounds for removing him. Could this document have been drafted later and dated retroactively? Maybe, but given all the legal process the press release describes, I find it very unnecessary and unlikely.
In short, I think the letter was not fake, but might be legally void because of coercion.