The Way Forward in Honduras
The U.S. should recognize the coming election, whether Manuel Zelaya does or not.
LANNY J. DAVIS
For months Honduras has faced a political crisis. In June, its president, Manuel Zelaya, attempted to subvert the country's constitution [Would be interesting to see what Mr. Davis had in mind here, the proposed opinion poll was allowed for under the Citizen Participation Act that was enacted in 2005] and was removed from office [Might it be useful to tell the readers how we was removed? As in kidnapped and exiled by the Honduran military]. He has since pushed to return to power [Did the constitutional president push to return to his rightful place? What a power-hungry dictator!], called the current president--Robert Micheletti--illegitimate [Is this criticism? Not a single country in the World sees Micheletti as legitimate], and has cast a shadow over presidential elections to be held at the end of this month [The gross violations of human rights, as documented by groups both in Honduras and internationally are casting shadows over elections. That and the dictatorship running the country].
On Oct. 30, it appeared the crisis might come to a close when representatives of Mr. Zelaya signed an agreement with representatives of Mr. Micheletti to create a reconciliation government to oversee the country until the next president is seated (among other provisions)[Among other provisions?? You know, like that little provision about Congress voting on Zelaya's return to the presidency. It is hard to imagine the agreement called for a "reconciliation government" headed by the coup president without even the congressional vote on Zelaya's return having taken place. Point five of the agreement refers to returning the executive power back to its position prior to June 28th, was Micheletti the president then?]. But in recent days, that agreement--known as the Tegucigalpa/San Jose Accord--fell apart [What do you know, something true].
It's more accurate to say Mr. Zelaya moved to destroy the accord [This is ridiculous even for a paid lobbyist]. It called for him to propose members of the reconciliation government by Nov. 5, and it also gave Honduras's Congress the right to vote whether to reinstate him as president. But Mr. Zelaya refused to make his appointments, even while Mr. Micheletti proposed his appointments on time [Zelaya refused to make appointments because Congress was delaying the vote on his return to power, a clear prerequisite to naming a reconciliation government. Congress was meant to vote on the issue prior to the November 5 naming of a reconciliation government. Rather, Micheletti moved to install a government with himself at the head, unilaterally. It is important to note that not even the Liberal or National parties submitted candidates to the reconciliation government]. On Friday, Mr. Zelaya declared the accord null and void before Congress could vote on whether to restore him to power [He declared it null and void BECAUSE Congress did not, and did not even plan on, voting on his restoration before the naming of a reconciliation government and perhaps not even before elections on November 29]. Interestingly, he had insisted on adding the congressional vote to the agreement, so his decision to blow up the process before the vote is an indication that even he realizes he would lose a vote in a Congress controlled by his liberal party [This is absurd, if Congress, as they have stated, did not plan on ruling on Zelaya's reinstatement before elections the accord would be null and void].
If there is to be a resolution to this crisis, it will likely only come if the Obama administration (which helped both sides hammer out the accord), leaders in the U.S. Congress, and the Organization of American States (OAS) make sure that Mr. Zelaya does not get away with breaking his word [Who has broken their word? First, the Obama administration, who for months qualified their support for elections on Zelaya's return, only to change positions and say they would except the results no matter what. Secondly, the coup government, who clearly subverted the accord to push back the congressional vote and unilaterally install a reconciliation government. Not Zelaya, who signed an accord with a virtual gun to his head, and maintains his rightful and constitutional claim to the presidency].
One vital part of the accord calls for international monitors to go to Honduras to prepare for the presidential elections, which are scheduled for Nov. 29 [Interesting that Mr. Davis considers this a vital point of the accord but not congress voting on Zelaya's return]. Under the accord the monitors will work with the Honduran Supreme Electoral Tribunal, a four-member body [Actually a three member body, but hey, who's counting?] appointed by Honduras's Congress when Mr. Zelaya was in power, and which is independent of the executive branch [and which is now in control of the military, you know, the military that overthrew the president and killed innocent civilians, yeah, that military]. The White House and the U.S. Congress need to call for this step to be taken immediately [Apparently Mr. Davis believes that signing the accord is all that it takes to recognize elections, no matter if the accord is actually carried out. Further, nothing has been done to curb the violations of human rights and freedom of expression that is the biggest barrier to recognizing and participating in elections. Forget Zelaya for a minute, there is no way the legal election period, most of which occurred under a state of siege, has allowed free and fair elections to take place in less than 3 weeks].
Mr. Zelaya's modus operandi is clear. In 2005, he got elected president while vowing to uphold the constitution. He then violated the country's constitution by pushing for a vote that would have allowed him to extend his time in office [I wonder how Mr. Davis might prove this? The proposed opinion poll did not mention term limits, Zelaya clearly stated he did not want to stay in office, in other words Mr. Davis is peddling a lie for money]. Honduras's Constitution specifically states that a president who does that is to be automatically removed, which is why the country's Supreme Court and Congress supported his removal [If that is why the Supreme Court and Congress removed him they did a great job hiding it in the 86 pages that were released by the Supreme Court justifying his ouster. The document never once mentioned term limits or article 239 of the Constitution, which is what Mr. Davis is referring to. And I wonder if the fake "resignation letter" that was presented to Congress had anything to do with term limits?]. Mr. Zelaya's response was to turn to OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza and the OAS to support him in ignoring his constitutional and legal commitments--and they did so [Yes and no, Zelaya and the international community did turn to the OAS, and the OAS did support him. Not to ignore Zelaya's constitutional commitments, but to uphold the Inter-American Democratic Charter which had clearly been violated by the usurpation of democratic institutions by the coup leaders. A little international body called the United Nations also supported Zelaya, oh and the EU, Rio Group, UNASUR and Non-Aligned Movement].
Mr. Zelaya's agenda is to reinstall himself to power before the presidential elections [How silly of the Constitutional President to be restored to power before an election takes place. This is also the "agenda" of the entire international community, except of course the United States]. If he succeeds, he might be able to disrupt those elections and create a constitutional crisis by ensuring that no one is credibly elected president [The constitutional crisis began on June 28, when the CONSITUTIONAL president was illegally OVERTHROWN. The constitutional crisis would continue if the coup was allowed to stand and elections took place under a repressive coup government who's only goal is to consolidate their power and crush the popular movement that has courageously taken to the streets for over 130 days]. If that occurs, he would likely declare himself president ad infinitum--just what he was trying to do when he was ousted in June [Mr. Davis must have been paid a little extra for that statement; "ad infinitum", really?].
The bottom line is that a deal is a deal [and a lobbyist is a lobbyist]. The U.S. government needs to insist on the implementation of the accord and endorse the results of the Nov. 29 presidential elections as verified by international monitors [The implementation of the accord, which calls for a congressional vote on Zelaya's return and a reconciliation government with representatives from all sectors of society. Not a unilaterally installed government with coup president Micheletti continuing to lead]. Once that happens, Mr. Zelaya will be irrelevant, a footnote as a president who thought he was above the constitution [I think the majority of Hondurans, who continue to support their elected president, and who have been fighting in the streets for his return, might not just up and forget everything. Come November 29 it will just be like "that whole coup thing, so last month."].
And then, on Jan. 27, a new president will be sworn into office in Honduras. That will restore to normalcy the proud little constitutional republic that has always been a loyal and reliable ["proud little...", "loyal and reliable", are you talking about your dog? Or a sovereign nation?] friend of the United States [For instance a training ground and launching pad for the U.S. war against Nicaragua, or the loyal client state for U.S. multinationals like United Fruit].
Mr. Davis, an attorney at the Washington D.C. office of McDermott, Will & Emery, is a former special counsel to President Bill Clinton and represents [is paid to spread lies by] the Honduran Latin American Business Council.