Last week former President Zelaya of Honduras signed an agreement with the interim government of Roberto Micheletti that cleared the way for ending the constitutional crisis in that Central American country. Key to the agreement was a provision leaving it up to the Congress to vote on Mr. Zelaya’s possible restoration to office.
Yesterday, the State Department’s official spokesman reiterated, ‘This is a Honduran problem that will have a Honduran solution.”
The Administration must continue to adhere to this position and not backtrack. It needs to move swiftly to restore normal relations, release funding for electoral observers, and unblock foreign assistance so a degree of normality can return to Honduras.
Members of the Congress of Honduras met this week and called for opinions from the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, and the Human Rights Ombudsman before convening a special session. This is a reasonable step given the gravity of the constitutional and legal issues. They will meet at an unspecified date to vote.
National elections are set for November 29. The campaign is in full swing with candidates selected in primaries before June 28. A government of national unity is being formed, although Zelaya declined to participate. A verification commission has also been created. The military now answers to the electoral tribunal not to the interim government.
Less than a week after the October 30 agreement, Zelaya is saying the deal is off because he is not back ‘in power.”. .
Last week, many questioned Zelaya’s commitment to the agreement if Congress did not quickly restore him to office.
And Zelaya clearly appears to have miscalculated his backing in the Honduran congress.
Now, Mr. Zelaya wants to tear up the agreement and walk away. He demands the U.S. not recognize the outcome of the November 29 elections unless he is restored to office immediately. He also wants the U.S. to punish his fellow Honduran with an array of irksome sanctions unless he is returned.
This should not happen. The Obama Administration cannot let Mr. Zelaya continue to unravel the political and economic fabric of this fragile nation..