The Obama Administration’s policy refuses to recognize the way out of the Honduran crisis. The door is open and a solution beckons: national elections on November 29. Yet, the Administration remains fixated on restoring former president Manuel Zelaya to power. In fine bureaucratic fashion, it has lost sight of the solution in order to support an uncertain process of negotiations.
Instead of allowing the Honduran people to speak through elections on November 29 and end the crisis, the Administration makes Zelaya’s restoration to presidential office its primary objective and the litmus test for “a restoration of democracy.”
Since his precipitous return to Honduras on September 21 and entry into the Brazilian embassy for asylum, former president Zelaya has not helped his cause. He has made a number of surreal allegations regarding “Israeli mercenaries” and tortures with “high-frequency radiation.”
Anti-Semitic outbursts by a prominent Zelaya supporter have also opened eyes regarding the secretive thoughts of the radical-populist Left.
The Administration, nonetheless, is sticking with Zelaya. It has invested little time in listening to those who acted in defense of the Honduran constitution or working behind the scenes to broker a solution. Historic U.S. leadership in Central America is now considered a passé. Isolating the interim government of Roberto Micheletti and punishing the people of Honduras with aid cut-offs and visa denials will likely have lasting political and economic consequences.
The deny and isolate strategy spilled over into the Senate last week when John Kerry (D-MA), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, attempted to block a congressional fact-finding mission to Honduras by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and three congressmen.
Fortunately, the congressional visit took place on October 2, giving the Micheletti government, the justices of the Supreme Court, the members of the electoral tribunal, and members of civil society a chance to speak out.
A second congressional delegation arrived in Honduras on October 5.
At all levels, people in Honduras know their electoral clock is ticking. They know the economic health and governability of their country is at risk. And, they realize that elections are the only way to put the nightmare of the past three months behind them.
Sadly, so very few in Washington are listening.