Honduras: US and coupsters pull bait-and-switch on Zelaya?

In a letter sent to the US State Department Nov. 4, ousted President Manuel Zelaya asked the Obama administration why, after pressing for his reinstatement, it now says it will recognize upcoming Honduran elections even if he isn’t returned to power first. The letter calls upon Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “to clarify to the Honduran people if the position condemning the coup d’etat has been changed or modified.” The request came after Washington’s top envoy to Latin America, Thomas Shannon, told CNN en Espanol that Washington will recognize the Nov. 29 elections even if the Honduran Congress votes against returning Zelaya to power.

The US-brokered deal leaves Zelaya’s reinstatement in the hands of Congress, but sets no deadline as to when lawmakers must decide. “Both leaders took a risk and put their trust in Congress, but at the end of the day the accord requires that both leaders accept its decision,” Shannon said.

The US has repeatedly pressed for Zelaya’s reinstatement, with President Barack Obama stating in a speech this summer: “America supports now the restoration of the democratically elected President of Honduras.”

In Washington, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said in response to Zelaya’s letter: “We’ve made our position on President Zelaya and his restitution clear. We believe he should be restored to power. Our focus now is on implementing this process and creating an environment wherein Hondurans themselves can address the issue of restitution and resolve for themselves this Honduran problem.” (AP, Nov. 4)

Honduras’ congressional leadership has postponed the vote on Zelaya’s restitution by asking the country’s supreme court, attorney general and human rights ombudsman to give opinions in the matter. Congressman Antonio Rivera said that the entities might need up to two weeks to offer their views. “There’s no timetable in the agreement for when Congress has to vote,” Rivera said by telephone from Tegucigalpa.

Zelaya’s supporters fear the de facto government is stalling as the Nov. 29 elections approach. “We need to restore Zelaya to office now to bring back peace and tranquility to the country,” Victor Meza, an adviser to the ousted president, said by telephone from Tegucigalpa. “These delaying maneuvers by the president of Congress and Micheletti are deeply worrying.”

Some of Zelaya’s opponents continue to be blatant in their intransigence. “The general attitude here: We’re in terrible shape, but it would be worse if Zelaya returns,” said Adolfo Facusse, president of the National Association of Honduran Industry. “People here see dealing with Zelaya as like dealing with the devil.”

The cuation displayed by the 128 members of the unicameral Congress contrasts with the quick 122-6 vote to name Micheletti the country’s new president only hours after the military ousted Zelaya. (McClatchy Newspapers, Nov. 4)

Under the deal, formally known as the Tegucigalpa-San José Agreement, states that all differences of interpretation or implementation are to be submitted to the Commission of Verification, made up of former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos Escobar, US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solís, and Honduran politicians Jorge Arturo Reina and Arturo Corrales. The Agreement sets a date of Nov. 5 for the formation of a Cabinet of National Unity. (Commission of Verification press release via Media Newswire, Nov. 4)

See our last post on Honduras.

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  1. Indigenous organization denounces Honduran accord
    From the Civil Council of Popular and Inidigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), Nov. 4, via Honduras Resists:

    The Trap of the Accords of the Guaymuras-Tegucigalpa-San José Dialogue
    The Civil Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), in the face of the signing of the accords to seek a solution to the crisis generated by the military coup d’etat against the people of Honduras, emits the following communiquĂ©:

    1. We have no trust in the negotiating commission of the coup regime given that they have never demonstrated a willingness to reinstate the constitutional president of the republic and its only purpose is to buy time to consolidate the objectives of the coup d’etat in looting the national treasury and imposing neoliberal projects of privatization of natural resources and state institutions.

    2. We denounce the malicious and intentional attitude of the government of the United States of America, who take on ambiguous positions but behind the scenes have supported the coup-makers—and if not how can they explain that in the kidnapping of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales they used the Palmerola base?

    If the yankees had so much will to contribute to the resolution of this crisis, why so much tolerance, patience and complacency with the coup-makers in lending themselves to a dialogue where they present deceiving agreements as a solution?

    3. We call on our people not to rest until we achieve the convoking of a popular and democratic national constitutional assembly, which should be made up of the different social sectors of the country such as women, feminists, youth, indigenous and black peoples, workers, the LGTB community, community councils, representatives of marginalized neighborhoods, teachers, artists, peasants, honest business people, intellectuals, professionals, the informal economy sector, alternative media, among others.

    4. We urge the National Front of Popular Resistance to raise an initiative of dialogue and negotiation towards more dignified agreements in which the mediation shouldn’t be to the liking and oversight of the yankee government, which has helped drive the coup d’etat against our people, but instead by people like Rigoberta Menchu, Adolfo PĂ©rez Esquivel, democratic countries that make up the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas (ALBA) and UNASUR, foundations like the Carter Foundation, social movements of hte countries of Latin America and the world like the Landless Peoples Movement of Brazil, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo of Argentina, the Scream of the Excluded, Jubilee South, the Convergence of Popular Movements of the Americas, the School of the Americas Watch, the platforms of solidarity with the Honduran people and others. For this the front should name a negotiating commission that understands that the coup-makers are perverse and that the State Department, the Pentagon and the U.S. government in general are driving the coup d’etat and proposing as key points the restitution of the President of the Republic Manuel Zelaya Rosales to govern for the time that the coup-makers robbed of his governing period, the installation of a national constitutional assembly and the dissolution of the coup congress, of the coup supreme court, of the coup public ministry, the reduction and purging of the armed forces, the definitive purging of the national police and the punishment of the people involved in the coup d’etat and the violation of human rights.

    5. We urge once again to the candidates of the Democratic Unification Party, the Popular Independent Candidacy, the PINU party and the Liberals who are in resistance to be consistent and renounce once and for all the participation in the electoral farce set up by the coup-makers, to our people we urge you not to participate in the electoral circus and to boycott that act of the coup-makers.

    6. To the international solidarity we invite you to strengthen the support to the Honduran people not just as a principle of solidarity but for reasons of self-defense since if the coup-makers consolidate in Honduras the democratic spring of the peoples of the world and particularly the peoples of our America will end.

    With the ancestral force of Lempira, Iselaca, Mota and Etempica we raise our voices filled with life, justice, dignity, freedom and peace.

    HERE NOBODY IS GIVING UP!

    Intibucá, November 4, 2009