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Should Juan Orlando Hernández Resign from Office?

By: Guest Contributor - Jul 22, 2015, 2:55 pm

Hernández Fears UN Scrutiny

By Nelson Tabora

From the moment he became head of the National Congress, the public should have done everything it could to prevent this man from becoming president. With his populist policies and incredulous rhetoric, he has won over a large number of people in our country who previously had a much different vision of what a president’s mandate ought to be.

But after repeated violations of the Constitutions, either by the president himself or his group of servile supporters and strategic partners, the Honduran people have responded like never before in our country’s history.

The social movement of Indignados (Indignant), bringing together people from different social classes in the country and around the world, has had a greater effect than ever before. Our people have finally risen up to fight corruption, which is not exclusive to the ruling party.

The public needs and demands justice, as Juan Orlando Hernández himself has said, no matter who falls. For the thinking and honest Honduran, the solutions begin with President Hernández’s resignation.

The president has corrupted the other branches of government, which now only serve as his private offices, and done all he can to avoid establishing the International Commission against Impunity in Honduras (CICIH).

The entire country knows this must happen, no matter how long it takes. Most honest Hondurans demand the CICIH step in and prevent our comatose institutions from continuing to administer “justice” at the convenience of the corrupt.

The CICIH must ensure due process, prosecute, and punish all those who are corrupt. Of course, President Hernández would be taking an enormous risk in allowing the CICIH to move forward, since the public will likely not forgive the things that come to light.

This is why Hernández’s resignation is necessary. It will give new life and transparency to a country that in the hands of “democratic” governments has been looted and used as a platform to enrich a few families who act with impunity.

Hondurans are not afraid of change. The president must resign and let honest people build a new country worthy of future generations, leaving aside the corrupt political class who have already done us so much harm.

Why don’t you want the CICIH, Juan Orlando Hernández? What are you afraid of? You still have time.

Nelson Tabora holds a degree in international trade is a member of the Anti-Corruption Party of Honduras (PAC). Follow @nelsontabora.

Resignation would Achieve Nothing

By Ilan Flores

EspañolResignation is a unilateral decision that is entirely up to the individual in question. The decision to abandon something or not is a moral judgment that an individual must do himself, and not through violence or coercion.

In a social context, the resignation of a democratically elected public servant when he is called to account for his actions is unacceptable. Constitutionally, it is a citizen’s duty to hold any public office to which he is elected, except when there is a justified reason for resignation.

In the labor market, the term “dismissal” is used when an employee does not meet expectations or is unproductive for an organization. In the penal code, there are “penalties” for those who defraud the state. Certainly, resignation is not a legal penalty, much less a punishment.

Juan Orlando Hernández has faced a sustained onslaught from various political factions since last June. These groups demand his resignation, while others urge him to combat impunity and request that an international committee backed by the United Nations, and with the financial support of the US Congress, investigate and prosecute corruption cases.

What should the man do, resign or correct the country’s course?

If Hernández resigns, would the republic be renewed? What about the millions of squandered lempiras and the lives that have been sacrificed?

Would it better the country’s image internationally or its commercial interests? Would it improve our nation’s political institutions?

There are many questions and few certainties.

Resignation is an act with a high level of moral autonomy. It can also be seen as an act of courage, as in the case of the former head of the Vatican state.

Would the president’s resignation lead to independence in the judiciary? Would it establish a de facto culture of constant evaluation of public officials? Could it avoid distressing episodes of polarization in civil society, and discrediting Honduras as a politically united country?

Elected officials can only be expected to make a decision on resignation based on their own ethics and virtues, not unlike the “moral revolution” a late Honduran president used to talk about. Harmony is woven with the exercise of democracy.

It’s worth noting that the economic aspect in all this is no less important, given the forthcoming elections have an estimated cost of at least 1.8 billion lempiras.

The figure is based on the amount spent on the last election, which took place only 18 months ago. Faced with the possibility of a “Recall Referendum,” it is expected that voters will have to finance the internal elections of political parties, since current legislation stipulates that presidential appointees (vice presidents) are the next in line for head of state.

As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote in The Little Prince:

A baobab is something you will never, never be able to get rid of if you attend to it too late … When you’ve finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend to your planet …  You must see to it that you pull up regularly all the baobabs, at the very first moment when they can be distinguished from the rosebushes which they resemble so closely in their earliest youth. It is very tedious work, but very easy.

The baobabs are huge trees; titans whose roots would collapse such a small planet like ours, causing it to explode and disappear.

Ilan Flores studies law and social sciences, and works as spokesman for the Honduran Young Arbitrators (HYA). He is also an alumnus of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). Follow @YAlberto.