Saturday, October 31, 2009

Translated Text of Honduras Accord

This is a Google translation of the Honduras Accord, signed on 30 October 2009


We Honduran citizens, men and women convinced of the need to strengthen the rule of law under our Constitution and laws of our Republic, deepen democracy and ensure a climate of peace and tranquility to our people, we had a strong and frank political dialogue process to find a peaceful and negotiated solution to the crisis our country has been plunged in recent months.

As a result of this dialogue that sanity has prevailed, tolerance and the patriotic spirit of all its participants, we drafted a political settlement that will restore the peaceful coexistence of citizens and ensure a climate conducive to democratic governance in our country. This agreement, we are sure, will mark the path to peace, reconciliation and democracy, urgent demands of Honduran society.

The conclusion of this agreement demonstrates once again that the Hondurans are able to successfully practice dialogue and thank him and through it, achieve the lofty goals that society demands and the nation requires of us.

Under this, we have agreed to the following agreements.

To achieve reconciliation and strengthen democracy under a Government of Unity and National Reconciliation, composed of representatives of various political parties and social organizations, recognized for their ability, honesty, competence and willingness to talk, who will occupy the various secretaries and deputy secretaries, and other state agencies in accordance with article 246 and following of the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras.

Given that prior to the June 28, the executive branch had sent to Congress the draft National General Budget of Revenue and Expenditures, in accordance with the provisions of Article 205, paragraph 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras, the government of national unity and reconciliation, respect and operate on the basis of the general budget, recently approved by Congress for fiscal year 2009.

2 - ON THE WAIVER to convene a National Constituent Assembly Amend the Constitution AS unreformable.

Fundamental. To achieve reconciliation and strengthen democracy, we reiterate our respect for the Constitution and laws of our country, refraining from making appeals to the convocation of a Constituent National Assembly, directly or indirectly and also giving to promote or support any referendum with the aim of reforming the constitution to allow presidential reelection, modify the form of government or contravene any of the articles of our Constitution irrevocable.

In particular, we will not make public statements or exert any influence inconsistent with Articles 5, 239; 373 and 373 of the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras, and strongly reject any expression contrary to the spirit of such items and special law regulates the referendum and the plebiscite.


To achieve reconciliation and strengthen democracy, we reiterate that, in accordance with Articles 44 and 51 of the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras, the vote is universal, compulsory, equal, direct, free and secret, and for the Supreme Electoral Tribunal with full autonomy and independence, control and implement all related to the acts and election processes.

Also make an appeal to the Honduran people to participate peacefully in the next general election and avoid all demonstrations to oppose the election or its outcome, or promoting the insurrection, unlawful conduct, civil disobedience or other acts that could produce violent confrontations or breaches of the law.

In order to demonstrate the transparency and legitimacy of the electoral process, we urge the Supreme Electoral Tribunal which authorizes and certifies the presence of international missions from now until the declaration of the result of general elections and the hand over to take place in accordance with Article 237 of the Constitution of the Republic, 27 January 2010.


To achieve reconciliation and strengthen democracy, we reaffirm our willingness to abide in all respects Article 272 of the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras, in accordance with which the Armed Forces, are available to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal from a month before the general elections, in order to guarantee the free exercise of suffrage, custody, transparent and monitoring of election materials and other aspects of process safety. We reaffirm the professional, apolitical, obedient and not deliberating the Honduran Armed Forces. Similarly, we agree that the national police must adhere strictly to what is prescribed special legislation.


To achieve reconciliation and strengthening democracy in the spirit of the themes of the proposed San Jose Accord, both negotiating committees have decided, respectfully, that the National Congress as an institutional expression of popular sovereignty, using its powers, in consultation with relevant bodies to consider as the Supreme Court and in accordance with law, resolve as appropriate in respect of "to roll back the ownership of the executive branch to its status prior to 28 June until the end of the current governmental period on 27 January 2010.

The decision to accept the Congress should provide the basis for achieving social peace, political peace and governance demanded by society and the country needs.


To achieve reconciliation and strengthen democracy, we have the creation of a Credentials Committee of the commitments made in this Agreement, and those derived from it, coordinated by the Organization of American States (OAS).The commission shall consist of two members of the international community and two members of the national community, the latter shall be chosen one by each of the parties.

The Credentials Committee will be responsible for attesting to the strict compliance with all points of this agreement and will receive for it the full cooperation of the Honduran public institutions.

Violation of any of the commitments contained in this Agreement, established and declared by the Credentials Committee, will produce the activation of measures developed by the Commission to the offender or offenders.

To clarify the events before and after 28 June 2009, it will also establish a Truth Commission to identify the actions that led to the current situation and to provide the people of Honduras elements to prevent these acts were repeated in the future.
This Dialogue Commission recommends that the next government, as part of a national consensus, constitutes the Truth Commission in the first half of 2010.


By committing to faithfully fulfill their commitments in this Agreement, we respectfully request the immediate revocation of those measures or sanctions taken bilaterally or multilaterally, that somehow affect reintegration and full participation of the Republic of Honduras in the international community and access to all forms of cooperation. We call upon the international community to relaunch as soon as possible the current projects of cooperation with the Republic of Honduras and continue with the negotiation of future. In particular, we urge that, at the request of the competent authority becomes effective international cooperation that is necessary and timely for the Verification Commission and the Truth Commission in the future to ensure the faithful implementation and monitoring of the commitments made in this Agreement.


Any differences in interpretation or application of this Agreement will be submitted to the Credentials Committee, shall determine, in keeping with the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras and current legislation and by an authentic interpretation of this Agreement, the solution appropriate.
Taking into account this Agreement is the product of understanding and brotherhood among Hondurans, strongly request the international community to respect the sovereignty of the Republic of Honduras, and fully observe the principle enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations not interference in the internal affairs of other States.


Given the entry into force immediately after this agreement after your subscription date, and in order to clarify the time of implementation and monitoring of commitments made to achieve national reconciliation, agree to the following schedule of compliance.

* October 30, 2009
1 .- Subscription and entry into force of the agreement.
2 .- formal delivery of the agreements to Congress for the purpose of Section 5, the "Executive".
November 2, 2009
1 .- Establishment of the Credentials Committee.
* From the signing of this Agreement and no later than November 5.
1 .- Formation and installation of the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation.
* January 27, 2010
1 .- Celebrating hand over of government.
* First half of 2010
1 .- Establishment of a Truth Commission.


In the name of reconciliation and the patriotic spirit that has brought us together at the negotiating table, we undertake to comply in good faith under this Agreement and what you as a result.

The world is witness to this demonstration of unity and peace, which commits us our civic duty, and patriotic devotion. Together, we shall demonstrate our courage and resolve to strengthen the rule of law and build a tolerant, pluralist and democratic.
We signed this Agreement in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on 30 October 2009.

11 .- THANKS

We take this opportunity to thank the support and the good offices of the international community, especially the Organization of American States and its Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, the Missions of Foreign Ministers of the Hemisphere, the president of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias Sanchez, the final government of the United States, its President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

For internal purposes, the agreement takes full effect after its signing.
For purposes of protocol and ceremonial, will be held a public subscription on 2 November 2009.

Tegucigalpa Central District Municipality, 30 October 2009.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Yale University Press and a Book about Cartoons

First published on Blog Critics on 19 October 2009

Refusal to reprint dastardly cartoons offensive to Islam was a giant step forward for free speech.

The Yale University Press is dedicated to principles of independence, academic freedom and scholarship; it adheres steadfastly to those principles without fear or favor; without regard to whether its actions cause anger, adverse comment or praise. Its honorable decision to publish The Cartoons That Shook the World minus a reproduction of the actual cartoons demonstrates YUP's fearless adherence to its principles.

YUP is to be commended for its willingness to court popular criticism. Few publishers of significance would be willing to risk outrage of the sort engendered by publication of only a bowdlerized version of The cartoons book. In an August 14, 2009 press release announcing its decision, YUP modestly declined to acknowledge that its courageous goal was to stimulate such criticism and thereby to encourage the sort of freedom of expression it well knew would be directed against it. Instead, it took the much disputed position that its decision was made to promote public safety.
After careful consideration, the Press has declined to reproduce the September 30, 2005, Jyllands-Posten newspaper page that included the cartoons, as well as other depictions of the Prophet Muhammad that the author proposed to include.
The original publication in 2005 of the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad led to a series of violent incidents, and repeated violent acts have followed republication as recently as June 2008, when a car bomb exploded outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing eight people and injuring at least thirty. The next day Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the bombing, calling it revenge for the "insulting drawings."
Republication of the cartoons—not just the original printing of them in Denmark—has repeatedly resulted in violence around the world. More than two hundred lives have been lost, and hundreds more have been injured. It is noteworthy that, at the time of the initial crisis over the cartoons in 2005–2006, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Boston Globe declined to print them, as did every major newspaper in the United Kingdom.
Despite this self-effacing explanation, it should be obvious that YUP's motivation had nothing to do with public safety; the chances of violent attacks against YUP or even Yale University as a whole resulting from publication of the already widely seen three year old cartoons in a scholarly volume, likely to be read by few, are laughably remote. Any suggestion that the copious free publicity for YUP certain to result from its decision was a motivating factor must also be rejected. YUP does not need publicity, good or bad. It is already one of the top thousand or so academic book publishing companies in the United States and would be shocked at the prospect of massive demand for one of its learned books. YUP fears the publication of a best seller as the gods fear Sarah Palin. Even more ludicrous is the mean-spirited charge that Yale University was motivated by a desire for financial assistance from such Moslem countries as Saudi Arabia. YUP doubtless has plenty of money, and the thought that Yale University might stoop to such mercenary thoughts is unthinkable.

These nonsensical theses must be put aside. YUP was merely following cherished Yale University Guidelines, known to and respected by all members of the university community.
[T]he history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable.
YUP courageously desired to subject itself to violent criticism from the proponents of free speech precisely to encourage such attacks. And vehement attacks there have been. Here is an article reporting and elaborating upon some of them.
Cary Nelson, the President of American Association of University Professors (AAUP), quickly responded on August 13 with a biting letter, "We do not negotiate with terrorists. We just accede to their anticipated demands." Yale's action struck the AAUP as creating much more harm. Yale violated "an author's academic freedom and [damaged] the reputation of the press and the university." These actions would impact "other university presses and publication venues" and "[had] the potential to encourage broader censorship of speech by faculty members or other authors."
It goes on and on, as do many other such articles; indeed, they continue to this day, more than two months after the initial announcement.

How better to encourage "unfettered freedom," thoughts of the "unthinkable", mention of the "unmentionable," and challenges to the "unchallengeable?" Indeed, how better to boldly go where no man had dared to boldly go before? By actively promoting a heretofore unthinkable freedom to suggest that YUP may have had some ulterior motive or, indeed, even that it was strangely misguided, was a truly courageous and brilliant exercise in generous self sacrifice of a type, magnitude and generosity rarely seen. Sadly, "the Yale faculty has mostly yawned."

It is, nevertheless regrettable that some even within the enlightened Yale Community were taken in by YUP's heroic hoax decision, and blamed it on cowardice. One undergraduate commendably proclaimed in the Yalie Daily that there are legitimate limits to freedom of speech.
While most of us would defend the free-speech rights of "birthers" or Klansmen or fraternity misogynists, we defend those rights in a manner that makes clear we don’t want to see those rights exercised in violation of our sensibilities and beliefs. Some ideas are not welcome at Yale, nor should they be.(emphasis added)
I cannot agree with that too much! Indeed, it warms the very cockles of my heart and sole (sic) to learn that Yale is a far better and more liberal place than when I floundered around intellectually there as an undergraduate more than forty years ago, and that only the right to exercise freedoms which do not offend is now desired.

Despite this entirely reasonable statement of principle, doubtless taught by the illustrious academics at Yale, the author attributed the YUP decision to fear, and expressed the odd view that
I would be prouder to belong to a university whose officials censored a book because of what they believed in, and not because of what they feared.
But, as demonstrated above, fear had nothing to do with YUP's selfless and productive decision. Voluntarily going into harm's way, by encouraging attacks on one's adherence to noble principle is not inspired by fear. It is inspired by courage and willingness to suffer the adverse consequences of one's actions. Lux et Vomitus Lux et Veritas! -- a motto now engraved on the hearts of all Yalies in Latin, Arabic, and also for the moment in Hebrew.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Robert E. Lee -- A Remembrance

There are and have been few like him.

General Robert E. Lee died one hundred and thirty-nine years ago on October 12, 1870 (now celebrated as Columbus Day) at the age of sixty-three. We, as a nation, have done with heroes and few remember him. The anniversary of his death will likely go generally unnoticed and unremarked upon. Yet he inspired a nation, or at least a fledgling nation, the Confederate States of America. Those who reminisce about him do so because of his devotion to honor, duty, integrity, for his compassion and for his wisdom. He had those now sadly rare qualities in rare abundance; although I (obviously) never knew him, I miss the likes of him today. When I read a news story dealing with our congresscritters, our president, or His administration, I scratch my balding head and wonder what happened.

The anniversary of General Lee's death having been called to my attention by an article in the Canada Free Press, I read again Rod Cragg's Robert E. Lee, General, A commitment to Valor. I could not find a link to the book on Amazon or even on Google, but somehow I had bought a copy at a used book store in rural Panamá. This article is largely based on it. This song is about General Lee's life.

General Lee's father, "Light-Horse Harry Lee," distinguished himself as a cavalry commander in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1829, Robert E. Lee eventually rose to the rank of Colonel as commander of the U.S. Army's Texas Department in 1860. Although he considered slavery a "moral and political evil," he declined command of U.S. forces when Virginia seceded and resigned from the U.S. Army to take command of Virginia's military forces. He felt that it was his duty to do so; his sense of honor compelled him. "I did only what my duty demanded; I could have taken no other course without dishonor." He valued honor highly, and because of it chose to fight on behalf of his home, Virginia, rather than for the Union. On April 20, 1861, he wrote to the Secretary of War:
Sir, I have the honor to tender my resignation of my command as colonel of the First Regiment of Cavalry.
Very respectfully your obedient servant,
R.E. Lee, Colonel First Cavalry
In a letter to General Winfield Scott, Commanding, United States Army, Lee wrote on 20 April 1861,
General: Since my interview with you on the 18th instant, I have felt that I ought not longer retain my commission in the army. I therefore tender my resignation, which I request you will recommend for acceptance. It would have been presented at once but for the struggle it has caused me to separate myself from a service to which I have devoted the best years of my life, and all the ability I possessed.
During the whole of that time -- more than a quarter of a century-- I have experienced nothing but kindness from my superiors, and the most cordial friendship from my comrades. To no one, General, have I been as much indebted as to yourself, for uniform kindness and consideration, and it has always been my ardent desire to merit your approbation. I shall carry to the grave the most grateful recollections of your kind consideration, and your name and fame will always be dear to me.
Save in defence of my native state, I never desire again to draw my sword. Be pleased to accept my most earnest wishes for the continuance of your happiness and prosperity, and believe me, most truly yours,
R.E. Lee.
When a substantial number of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy left to join the Confederate Army at the outbreak of the war, a special retreat ceremony was held at West Point, and Dixie is said to have been played in their honor.

Following many military successes and some defeats, Lee was promoted to General-in-Chief of all Confederate armies in 1865. Colonel Ives, an officer who served on General Lee's staff, wrote "His name might be audacity. He will take more desperate chances, and take them quicker than any other general in this country, North or South." Another wrote, "His soldiers reverenced him and had unbounded confidence in him, for he shared all their privations."

General Lee was compelled to surrender to General Grant at Appomattox Virginia on April 9, 1865. A Northern officer who observed him at Appomattox wrote, "In manner, [Lee was] grave and dignified. . . which gave him the air of a man who kept his pride to the last." A private soldier who had served with General Lee throughout the war wrote,
As Lee came riding alone into Richmond [after his surrender], his old followers immediately recognized him and followed him to his home where, with uncovered heads, they saw him to his door. Then they silently dispersed.
Later that year, he wrote to an English correspondent who had offered a place to escape the destruction of Virginia following the war. He said, "I cannot desert my native state in the hour of her adversity. I must abide by her fortunes, and share her fate."

There are many quotations from General Lee. Here is one of my favorites: "Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or to keep one; the man who requires you to do is dearly purchased at a sacrifice."

Here is the text of General Orders No. 9, HQ, Army of Northern Virginia, Appomattox Courthouse, April 10, 1865:
After four years' arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.
I need not tell the survivors of so many hard fought battles who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them, but feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss which would have attended the continuation of the contest, I have determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God may extend to you His blessing and protection. With an increasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration of myself, I bid you an affectionate farewell.
Robert E. Lee, General
To compare General Lee with any living person of note would be an exercise in futility. He was a man perhaps unique to his time, no politician, and the world in which General Lee lived was vastly different from the world in which we now live. Any comparison would be as pointless as it would be futile. Still, General Lee's sense of honor and its necessary adjunct, integrity, stand out as remarkable, and both qualities are sadly missing from many of those who now strut on the world stage. We should perhaps spend a moment to reflect on the character of General Lee in evaluating those who now have become our leaders; I am afraid that nearly all of them would suffer from the comparison.