Honduras: US Washes its Hands and Blesses Coup
The supposed agreement to reinstate President Zelaya of Honduras is officially dead. The coup government of Micheletti has forsaken the text of the signed agreement, which called for a "unity government" and instead put together a new cabinet of his cronies - with no anti-coup representation.
On the same day, the best indication of the real Obama Administration policy on Honduras was revealed by Republican Senator Jim DeMint. In a overjoyed press release he claimed that the Administration will recognize the elections even if the Honduran Congress refuses to make a decision before the November 29 election. This goes against everything that had been said in the past and against everything every other country in the world has said on this issue.
So it appears the US has tacitly endorsed the coup plotters hopes of dupe and delay. Zelaya will not be restored and elections are to be held on November 29th. Already 2/3 of the Constitutionally required election campaign has been held under repressive conditions (martial law, media closures, thousands of arrests of grass roots leaders, etc) and an illegal Administration. The US position is to bless these elections and pretend that the (boyocotted) November 29th election will wash their hands of this whole mess. They ought to think again.
I've officially had it with this Administration, at least as it related to Latin America. This whole Honduras story has been very instructive of how "soft power" can be even more devious and destructive than hard. The US always professed (against evidence to the contrary) that it needed to have Zelaya instituted. Now we know that was a fallacy. All the US really wanted was for this to all go away, without alienating the region too bad.
The State Department was praised by all official quarters when the initial deal was breached. They are probably thinking they are in the clear even still, with the situation unraveling quickly (and two bombs having gone off in the capital). That is ok. We (the US) won't have to be there to try to solve the lasting problem being created.
Since th pretension of regional cooperation has passed, it is time to pick sides folks. Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua said today that Zelaya's reinstatement is not negotiable. That elections will not be legitimate unless the repression ends and Michelletti gives way to Zelaya. This is the position of every major human rights group in Honduras and the world. The US has regrettably staked out another position. One that would legitimize a coup and set a horrible precedent for the entire world, but the region in particular. US talk about democracy is just that, if we can not get a tin pat country that depends wholly on the US to reinstate a legitimately elected President for just a few more weeks, before his term ends.
Even Time magazine sees trouble brewing.
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.