Honduras: .hn NIC attacked/intervened by the de-facto government authorities

Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 09/25/2009 - 12:55

I was requested to forward this information to as wide an audience as possible.

Possibly two months ago the legality/legitimacy of the actions carried out by the Hondurean armed forces, which captured a democratically elected president and without a judicial order or trial process forced him out of the country, starting a de-facto government, was something questionable. Each day, however, it becomes clearer and clearer the Hondureans are suffering a represive military-backed system which cannot be expected to fulfill as a trustable entity to conduct fair, credible elections.

I got this message from a Hondurean friend (of course, whose identity I am not divulging) denouncing the government's invasion of the .hn domain name registry, which is handled by the Sustainable Development Network (Red de Desarrollo Sustentable — RDS-HN). The National Telecomunications Comission (Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones, CONATEL) demands all domain name registration under the .hn top-level domain (TLD) to be suspende, and all the lists and databases regarding said TLDs to be handed over, detailing the IP ranges and the responsibles. They did this under the argument that RDS-HN is an Internet Service Provider (which it is not — Being a registrar means they are responsible for the well-keeping of public information and of handling a public good, the .hn TLD, not that they provide any kind of regulated service to individuals or organizations), with military personnel disguised as civilians (and who refused to identify themselves).

If you are interested, please read further on the text I received straight from my Hondurean contacts (Spanish) (or its unaccurate but often helpful automated translation to English, done through Google Translate)

Even though this information is normally accessible via WHOIS and similar services (this only states clearly nobody in CONATEL was able to do what I just did legally and anonymously from my personal workstation), they did it in such a fashion in order to scare the operators and the society.

Honduras is going through a very hard process. Whatever happens there will likely impact on the future reactions to the most retrograd and powerful sectors of society in the rest of Latin America. We do our best (even if as non-Hondureans living outside Honduras it only means raising our voices) to avoid the risk of our region going back to the sad, cruel and bloody 1970s history.

[update] My friend Mave, who works at NIC Chile, sent as a comment to this post LACTLD's official stand on this regard (Spanish. English version also available). LACTLD (Latin American and the Caribbean ccTLD's Organization) clearly backs RDS-HN and condemns the illegal government's actions.

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Detailing the intervention attempt of RDS-HN by the de-facto government agents (Spanish)8.61 KB
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Mauro's picture

It's really sad (but 'sad' is

It's really sad (but 'sad' is not the word/feeling, TBH) that this kind of things *still* happen in Latin America.
For each step forward, we end up doing at least ten steps backwards.

gwolf's picture

There are improvements. They might not be enough, but still...

I do not think I have to explain to an Argentinian what do I mean by the worst cases of Latin America in the 1970s. And although now our continent is still a sea of corruption and authoritarian governments, we are far better than when most of it was -openly- governed by military elites.

Right now, among the whole of the continent, Honduras is the only country where the current government is uncontestedly, without any doubts contrary to the elected government. We have many examples of probable frauds (I live in one of them, to say the least), but only the Hondurean government was clearly installed by force.

Mauro's picture

Actually, yes, we're better

Actually, yes, we're better than 30 years ago, but still, in many cases (leaving a little bit aside the government) as a society I don't really think that we're much better.
But probably I'm being negative today ;-P

M. Grégoire's picture

No judicial order?

gwolf's picture

Depends on what and who...

The whole situation in Honduras was quite nebulous, and many people will push to either side, depending on their beliefs. I cannot say I am a neutral observer (as a human, I just cannot be fully objective). What I understand is:

  • The Hondurean constitution does include some very strange articles, which criminalize anybody trying to propose any changes to it.
  • Zelaya did intend to change the constitution, and proposed a referendum to give him the right to propose the change. Still, the changes were still intended and purely specultative, so even with a braindead constitution that believes their drafters are perfect, he did not actually break the law. He did have the intent to do so, but you cannot presume guilt.
  • He was never put on trial nor formally destituted — The armed forces entered the presidential residence at night, kidnapped him at gunpoint and put him in an airplane to Costa Rica
  • Early next day, a forged resignation letter was given to the Congress. Zelaya promptly said he didn't resign, that the letter was fake.
  • Even if he had committed a crime, a crime should have been tried in his country and according to justice. Ousting a citizen to a foreign country (even if he were not the legal presidetn at that point) is against international law

So whatever you say by now, that move cannot be seen as legal.
But even if it were legal, the imposed de-facto government has kept a tight grip on the society, and there are several documented cases of censorship and aggressions towards the civil society.

Anonymous's picture

Absolutely. Zelaya did not

Absolutely. Zelaya did not comply with the court order, however

mave's picture

LACTLD Position (in spanish)

Hi Gunnar!

FYI, this is LACTLD position about this issue:

http://www.lactld.org/News_Item.2009-09-27.9610720521

Best regards,