Saturday, July 25, 2009

Zelaya's second semi-return to Honduras

It makes sense that a political crisis with so many unpredictable turns should have another, but I am still trying to figure this one out. Mel Zelaya came to the border, stepped over briefly for show, asked to talk to the military leadership, was told he could not come into the country, and then...left.

He has also said he will give negotiations another shot. According to the AP:

He stopped a few steps into Honduran territory, speaking to nearby military officials on his mobile phone.

''I've spoken to the colonel and he told me I could not cross the border,'' Zelaya said. ''I told him I could cross.''

But he soon went back to Nicaragua and said he was ready to return to the negotiating table.

''The best thing is to reach an understanding that respects the will of the people,'' Zelaya said.

Zelaya likely held out hope (or truly believed) that the police and/or army would back down when he arrived. Obviously that did not happen, though fortunately the entire episode appeared to be civil.

This gives the coup government a bargaining advantage. Zelaya has now twice threatened to enter the country without doing so, while also giving various ultimatums. He will be taken much less seriously in that regard now, which greatly reduces the urgency of negotiations that were already going nowhere in particular. Micheletti will now likely make them drag out even longer. Zelaya was even mocked:

Interim Deputy Security Minister Mario Perdomo told The Associated Press that authorities didn't bother to arrest Zeyala because he barely entered Honduras.

''Zelaya made a show of entering Honduras, he put one foot in, and left,'' Perdomo said. ''And he did this in a dead zone of the frontier, which we tolerated.''

I am not sure where Zelaya goes from here.


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