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Honduras: Does the Country Need a New Constitution?

Honduras President Manuel Zelaya announced a decree calling for a referendum in which Hondurans will decide whether or not a National Constituent Assembly is convened to write and approve a new Constitution. The reasons provided by the President that such a referendum is needed are that there have been significant societal changes during the last few years and that democracy needs to be strengthened. This new consultation called a “fourth ballot box” will take place next November during the general elections.

These developments have resulted in a political hurricane within the country. On one hand there are those who say that it will be the people who approve or disapprove the President's proposal. There are also those in the opposition that believe that the president wants to remain in power indefinitely, and is following in the steps of other leaders in the region.

Mystery Honduras [es] writes:

En el ambiente político Hondureño se destila la hipocresía y cinismo, de aquellos que ahora se hacen llamar defensores de la CONSTITUCIÓN DE LA REPÚBLICA, son los mismos que la han violado cuantas veces han querido, con que moral me pregunto se hacen llamar defensores, utilizan los medios de comunicación que informan lo que les conviene, porque ahora hay que defender los INTERESES de los famosos “GRUPOS DE PODER” los mismos que están en contra de reformar la constitución, será por que perderán el poder político que han gozado durante años?

In the Honduran political environment, hypocracy and cynicism is revealed by those who call themselves defenders of the COUNTRY'S CONSTITUTION, and they are the same ones that have violated it as much as they wanted to, I ask myself with what morals do they call themselves defenders, using the media to inform what is convenient to them, because now they want to defend the INTERESTS of the infamous “GROUPS IN POWER” the same ones that are against reforming the Constitution, could it be because they will lose the political power that they have enjoyed for years?

Blog Lectores [es] adds that Zelaya is taking a cue from some of his fellow Latin American leaders:

El tema está de nuevo en el debate público y el presidente Zelaya no ha escondido sus pretenciones de continuar gobernando. La clase política de Honduras, incluido el mismo Partido Liberal, sostiene que Zelaya pretende reformar la Constitución de la República, por medio de la consulta al pueblo (la cuarta urna), como lo hicieron Hugo Chávez en Venezuela y Evo Morales en Bolivia, para luego perpetuarse en el poder.

The issue is once again in the public debate and President Zelaya has not hidden his aspirations to continue governing. The political class in Honduras, including the same Liberal Party, maintains that Zelaya would like to reform the Constitution through a referendum by the people (the fourth ballot box) just like Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia, in order to remain in power.

Angelus of Honduras en el Mundo [es] writes about standing in the way of the consultation:

Muchos se jactan de ser democráticos, pero cuando dicen que se le consulte al pueblo, saltan con las excusas para oponerse, y es que es tan poca la voluntad de escuchar al pueblo, que increíblemente ni han reglamentado el plesbicito y el referendum en el Congreso Nacional.

Many boast about being democrats, but when they say that the people should be consulted, then they jump in with excuses against it, and that they have so little desire to listen to the people, that incredibly they have not even established the rules for the vote and the referendum in the National Congress.

Finally, Fortalecimiento Democratico [es] thinks that there should be other priorities in the country and asks:

La cuarta urna, ¿para que? Acaso no sabemos que nuestro pueblo de hambre muere y donde están el dinero que ayudaría aliviar la pobreza, donde esta la Justicia, la igualdad, el derecho de expresión de Pensamiento, nuestro derecho a la Seguridad, DONDE ESTA, si el pueblo los eligió cuatro años, respetemos esa voluntad, que estos meses que quedan esa de trabajo en conjunto porque al entrar en una crisis nuestro país todos perdemos, nadie le conviene un caos institucional, POR ESO DEFENDAMOS NUESTRA DEMOCRACIA PORQUE SOMOS GENTE DE PAZ Y ENTONCES PARA QUE LA CUARTA URNA.

The fourth ballot box, for what reason? Don't we know that our country dies of hunger and where is the money that will help alleviate poverty, where is the justice, equality, the right to free speech, our right to security, WHERE IS IT? If the people elected him for four years, we should respect that decision, with the months that are left let us work together because when our country enters into crisis, we all lose, no one benefits from institutional chaos, THAT IS WHY WE DEFEND OUR DEMOCRACY BECAUSE WE ARE PEACEFUL PEOPLE AND SO, WHY A FOURTH BALLOT BOX?
Translation by Eduardo Avila

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