Monday, September 28, 2009

Should Zelaya Have Returned to Honduras?

. Monday, September 28, 2009

Over at Two Weeks Notice, Greg Weeks has a thoughtful and interesting post on Mel Zelaya's return to Honduras. Zelaya has been hanging out at the Brazilian embassy for a couple of weeks, fomenting dissent and chaos according to government sources, being "irresponsible and foolish" according to the US Ambassador to the OAS and being tortured by Israeli mercenaries according to himself.

The U.S. Ambassador to the OAS has criticized Mel Zelaya for returning to Honduras before an agreement was reached:

"The return of Zelaya absent an agreement is irresponsible and foolish ... He should cease and desist from making wild allegations and from acting as though he were starring in an old movie," Anselm said.

On the latter part, well, it doesn't help anyone to start talking about how Israeli mercenaries are trying to torture you. Even the Brazilian government told him to stop with that.

But here's the deal. Given the stalemate, odds were high that no agreement would have been reached before the November elections. The economy was/is hurting, but the coup government very clearly believed it could wait it out. The idea that negotiations would even occur seems absurd, since Micheletti said constantly that he would not negotiate. He gambled--reasonably--that when push came to shove the international community would eventually recognize the new government and go about its business. Panama had already indicated it would go that route.

There are, of course, many high-level private discussions going on, so maybe there are facts we don't know about. However, I wouldn't mind hearing an argument for how a negotiation could have successfully proceeded.

So you can call his return a lot of things, but foolish isn't one of them. Not if his goal is to return to the presidency. It was most definitely risky, but it is highlighting the illegitimacy of the coup government. That Micheletti is responding with such rampant disregard for the constitution or human life is tragic.

At least the U.S. did call the suspension of the constitution "deplorable" but I have yet to see whether the administration goes beyond that.
My bet is that the Micheletti "government" holds on until the Presidential election that is scheduled to be held in 62 days. I don't think any agreement will be made that would allow Zelaya to return to power and Micheletti surely doesn't want to negotiate with the OAS, the US or anyone else for that matter.


Christopher Dittmeier said...

I haven't heard anything yet about the constitution being abrogated. Aside from the coup, which could be argued to be a momentary shock to the system, the Micheletti government appears to have more or less acted according to domestic rules. They haven't even treated protesters any rougher than G8 hosts have in recent years.

It's my opinion that the Micheletti government will stay in power until the elections, that they will go off relatively uneventfully, and then they will stand down to whomever wins. What is Zelaya's plan for this? Is he running? Or a pro-Zelaya proxy campaign? These are still possibly complicating factors.

Should Zelaya Have Returned to Honduras?




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