Saturday, November 07, 2009

Why the Guaymuras Accord is a lost cause, and other Saturday morning musings

Even if the parties were to go back to the negotiating table, it is quite clear that the Honduran Congress will not agree to reverse their June 28 acceptance of Zelaya's resignation letter (that's right - that would be the letter with the fake Zelaya signature) anytime soon. As I argued yesterday, that's a clear precondition for moving forward with the unity government.

Lucia Newman, Aljazeera International's Latin America editor (and a respected former CNN correspondent and past winner of Maria Cabot Moors prize) noted Thursday:
"There is a lot that has not been worked out; the most important point is whether or not [Zelaya] the deposed president will be returned to power [before elections scheduled for November 29]. I can tell you that the way the numbers look, it does not look good for Zelaya."
And Tim Padgett has a quote from Pepe Lobo in the piece he filed yesterday for Time that demonstrates how hard it will be to push this back:
"Micheletti and Zelaya made a pact, and as long as that pact is carried out the world has to recognize the elections as valid," he says. "So at this point, what does it matter which of them is in office when the election is held?" Lobo also knows that as long as the vote is sanctioned by the U.S., from whom Honduras gets the lion's share of its trade and aid, he needn't lose too much sleep over the fact that the rest of the world will probably still refuse to recognize his election if Zelaya is not restored.
Other random readings this morning include the New York Times editorial , which has so many errors of fact and misinterpretation it's almost not worth reading. Rosemary Joyce laughs and cries at the State Department spokesperson's attempt to explain the inexplicable and defend the indefensible. For my money, the best editorials are always to be found in the Los Angeles Times, as in this Thursday editorial.

In addition to OAS Secretary General Insulza's strong comments yesterday about the need to restore Zelaya, only Bloomberg (also consistently reliable source of information) appears to report on the call by the foreign ministers of the Rio Group (a group of 23 Latin American and some Caribbean countries that notably does not include the U.S. or Canada, but does include key US allies such as Colombia, Mexico and Peru) that Zelaya's restitution is "imperative" and an "indispensable requirement."

Will Stibbens, Al Jazeera International's Washington Bureau Chief (and former Latin America regional editor of the the Associated Press Television Network) has a worthwhile editorial proclaiming the Honduran "oligarchy" to be the clear winners of this process so far. As for Zelaya:

After a bold and deft campaign to regain power, and with the prize within his grasp, he committed a critical, strategic blunder.

Zelaya believed that it would be enough to sacrifice his social project, and the mass movement that backed it, to convince his political enemies to restore him to the presidency.

His representatives signed an agreement that categorically forbids the convening of a national constituent assembly, or any other form of popular referendum on the constitution, but without a written guarantee of a return to power for Zelaya.

That was left up to the congress, who appear poised, in the face of US indifference, to deny him even this hollow victory.

As for other winners and losers, Stibbens continues:

What could have been a diplomatic victory for Washington, is now looking like another example of its clumsiness, which will end up exacerbating ideological divisions. If the agreement does collapse there will be repercussions, and collateral damage, throughout the region.

Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president who from the start condemned the negotiating track led by Costa Rican president Oscar Arias as a trap, will be vindicated.

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