Friday, November 06, 2009

New definition of "unity"

Apparently now a "unity government" is synonymous with "pro-coup only government," as Roberto Micheletti is putting one together alone. The problem, of course, is that the agreement had a deadline for a unity government, but not for a congressional vote. Mel Zelaya wants a congressional vote first. Congress, meanwhile, may not vote at all or wait until after the election.

Tim Padgett at Time has a good analysis of Zelaya's miscalculations, and concludes:

The Obama Administration is technically correct when it argues that last week's pact allows it to recognize the Nov. 29 election even without Zelaya's restoration — a result that would let Obama wipe his hands of the Honduras mess while getting U.S. conservatives off his back. But analysts like Diaz warn that to Latin America and the rest of the world, "That would just return us to the same situation as before, leaving Honduras to face the international community with little credibility." Solis herself said this week after arriving in Honduras that "what happens here has implications regionally." And it could certainly have negative implications for Obama's credibility in the region if he is perceived to have brokered a deal that allowed a military coup to succeed. Then again, the U.S. President could always shift the blame by pointing out that it was Zelaya that signed the deal.

Days since the coup: 131
Days until the scheduled presidential election: 23

5 comments:

Anonymous,  8:24 AM  

Well, did the US have any contact with the Nationalist party? The candidates for president? It seems that Micheletti and the other Honduran politicians are allowed to avoid responsibility to the pact-- trying to obtain all the benefits without any of the costs. This is a shitty deal if that is what Shannon negotiated. The US govt. really can't believe it is going to just recognize the outcome of the election and that this problem will just go away. The international community, our friends in the region and our credibility are at stake. Back to square one, the status quo ante, President Obama.

RAJ 8:45 AM  

Events have moved forward with Roberto Micheletti single-handedly appointing the "unity government", without participation not only by Zelaya (who quite rightly declined to submit names for this unilateral exercise), but, reportedly, also without participation by either the Nacionalista or Liberal parties (whose leadership Micheletti had identified as the presidential candidates, so that any names submitted would have been interpretable as binding Elvin Santos and Pepe Lobo).

This raises a different question than the one posed by not moving to consider Zelaya's restoral: does complying with the "letter of the accord" fulfill Micheletti's obligations-- so that meeting yesterday's deadline is all he needed to do-- or is there a "spirit" of the accord that resides in the words "unity and national reconciliation"?

And if the latter: who is going to enforce it, and how?

Nell 6:27 PM  

Zelaya's miscalculation was to believe that the U.S. had any real commitment to his restoration.

That makes the U.S. government look bad, not Zelaya.

And he's unlikely to believe anything coming from the State Department in the foreseeable future. The agreement is dead, the State Department is clearly not willing to do anything that would revive it (see RAJ's post for today's disgusting details), and the crisis deepens.

The military are in the driver's seat, and the Obama administration's behavior is going to embolden the worst elements everywhere in the region.

The performance of the "Verification Commission" was sinngularly unimpressive: Solis and Lagos arrived, took Micheletti assurances at face value (despite the many similar instances over the last four months when he reversed himself to delay and stonewall), and left after 48 hours.

Anonymous,  9:04 PM  

Zelaya has few options. The US has made clear they want to move on and see the elections as the way out. He miscalculated his support in Congress. If he's unwilling to provide names for the new government he quickly becomes irrelevant.
We are now in the final countdown. Elections are due in a few weeks and by January both Zelaya and Micheletti will be history.

Lindsay Beyerstein 6:20 PM  

Did Zelaya miscalculate, or was he simply negotiating from a position of weakness? He didn't really have a lot of options.

He snuck back into the country in the hopes of focusing pressure on the Micheletti regime. Basically, his only hope was to make enough of a scene that the U.S. would step in and broker a fair compromise. Unfortunately the State Department is cowed by conservative Republicans like senators Jim DeMint who are holding up Tom Shannon's nomination.

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