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Cablegate: Media Reaction On Immunities, July 16, 2003

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS TEGUCIGALPA 001697

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/PDA (JGREENBLATT); WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP PREL KPAO PGOV IZ HO
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION ON IMMUNITIES, JULY 16, 2003


1. Editorial in Tegucigalpa-based liberal daily "La Tribuna" on
7/16 entitled "No way of winning". "Let's see how things work in
Honduras: if the Honduran politicians don't put the ball through
the basket they lose, and if they do it they lose too. A group of
Congressmen got together after receiving a great deal of
criticism, and in a moment of despair or irritation they decided
to take away immunities from everybody. It's worth to point out
that this has just been an announcement, there's nothing official
yet, but as usual the decision making in Honduras is like a
pendulum, moving back and forth."

"This has been the case on the issue of immunities. The
Constitution includes a broad definition of it, pretending to
embrace everything, but it has resulted on a continuous abuse of
this privilege, until the bubble burst. Once it burst, they
decided to take an extreme measure: eliminate immunities for
everybody."

"We believe it's necessary to limit immunities exclusively to
perform the duties of key public officials. It shouldn't be too
broad to protect civil servants from civil lawsuits or criminal
prosecution."

2. Article in San Pedro Sula-based daily "Tiempo" on 7/16
entitled "The elimination of immunity will only benefit
criminals". "Olban Valladares and Toribio Aguilera, Congressmen
representing the Innovation and Unity Party, declared that the
elimination of immunities will only benefit organized crime,
narco trafficking and a group of 12 untouchable entrepreneurs who
have become rich through illegal activities."

"They insisted that the abolition of immunities will affect many
public officials, such as Congressmen, judicial agents,
prosecutors, judges, members of the Superior Court and other
officials of the Executive branch."

"They believe it's essential to adjust the immunities law, to
protect the officials of the Judicial, Executive and Legislative
branch, and the Public Ministry during their duties as civil
servants."


Palmer

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