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President Arias Continues Moonlighting as a Mediator

September 15, 2009

I have been thinking that the vice-president of Costa Rica must be working his tail off trying to hold the fort until Oscar Arias decides to return to his day job.  After the shine of his Nobel Peace Prize medal wore off, Arias must have jumped at Hillary Clinton’s request for him to mediate a situation that never should have been mediated in the first place —  Who has the right to run Honduras, the democratically-elected President or the guy who collaborated in the kidnapping of the president and takeover of the government through a military coup?  Seemed like it was a no-brainer. You’d think that Hillary was throwing Arias a softball.  It didn’t take long for all to realize that Arias job was to prolong the “negotiations” so that even Job would have to say “oh, the hell with this!” And, eat up the clock it did.  The result was that President Zelaya agreed to all conditions of the San Jose accord and Micheletti just stamped his feet and bellowed a lot.  And all the while, the people of Honduras marched, were detained without cause, and killed in politically motivated assassinations.  Nice job, Oscar.

I guess Hillary thought Arias did such a good job with the San Jose accord that he should be given another Honduras-related job.  Tomorrow, Arias is to meet with four of the six presidential candidates running in an election currently scheduled for November 29, 2009 (see article below).  It is a given that the people of Honduras will hold a massive boycott of the election.  Keeping this in mind, Arias’  “official” job description is to convince the presidential candidates that the world will not recognize the results of ANY election under the golpista regime and it would behoove them to postpone the election.  So the question is this, is Arias meeting with the candidates to convince them to overthrow the golpistas so they can have their shot at the highest office in the land?  After all, the golpistas have pretty much completed their job — they have kept Zelaya at bay for nearly 80 days and counting.

Stay tuned!

Honduran presidential hopefuls to meet mediator

By MARIANELA JIMENEZ (AP) – 17 hours ago

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — The international community’s chief mediator in the Honduran political crisis said Monday he will meet with the country’s presidential candidates to emphasize that upcoming elections will not be recognized if held under the government installed by a coup.

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias said he will meet Wednesday with at least four of the six candidates, including the top two contenders, in an effort to gain their support for restoring ousted President Manuel Zelaya before the Nov. 29 ballot.

Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who has been leading U.S.-backed efforts to restore Zelaya, said he will make clear that the world will not recognize the outcome of the election unless Zelaya is reinstated before then.

“The idea is to speak with them frankly,” Arias said at a news conference in Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, where the meeting will take place. “What good is there for a presidential hopeful in Honduras to win the elections if his future government will not be recognized by the international community and the sanctions will continue or even increase?”

Arias said he hoped to persuade the candidates to back a compromise that he proposed weeks ago, which would return Zelaya to the presidency with limited powers until his constitutional term ends in January.

Interim President Roberto Micheletti has rejected the plan despite mounting international pressure since soldiers forced Zelaya into exile June 28 in a dispute over the ousted leader’s efforts to change Honduras’ constitution.

The United States and many Latin American countries have warned they will not recognize the November election unless Zelaya is put back in office. Last week, Washington increased the pressure by revoking the U.S. visas of Micheletti and 17 other Honduran officials.

Arias spoke after meeting with Craig Kelly, the No. 2 official at the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. Kelly said he supported the meeting with the presidential candidates and reiterated the U.S. view that the “best way to achieve international recognition for the elections” is for Honduras to accept Arias’ proposed compromise.

On Monday, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico refused to accept the participation of the Honduran ambassador at a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva because he is not from Zelaya’s government.

Belgium Ambassador Alex Van Meeuwen, who presides at the U.N. rights council, said he would seek to clarify whether Urbizo is allowed to represent Honduras in the council. Council spokesman Rolando Gomez said that “no decision has been taken.”

Micheletti insists the November presidential election, which had been scheduled before the coup, will show the world that democracy remains intact in Honduras.

The two main candidates, including Elvin Santos of Zelaya’s Liberal Party, have so far publicly opposed returning the deposed president to power.

Zelaya angered the country’s military leadership, Congress and his own party by ignoring court orders to cancel a referendum that would have asked voters if they favored calling a special assembly to change the constitution.

Zelaya’s opponents say he hoped to extend his rule by abolishing a constitutional ban on presidential re-election. Zelaya denies that was his goal.

  1. Roger Milbrandt permalink
    September 16, 2009 12:11 AM

    A generally perceptive comment, but I think you exaggerate a bit when you refer to the Presidency of Honduras as the “highest office in the land.” A recent Honduran President (I do not remember his name) remarked that he was not sure whether the Presidency of Honduras was the fourth or fifth highest office in the land, behind US Ambassador to Honduras, US Undersecretary for Latin America, the US military officer in charge of the Southern Command and, possibly, the head of the Honduran Armed Forces. The events immediately preceding the 28 June coup (Zelayas’s unsuccessful attempt to fire Vasquez) made it clear to the entire world that the President of Honduras is not fourth in line, (s)he is fifth. Still, I agree with your fundamental assumption: Arias and Clinton are very wary of having so dangerous a figure as Zelayas fifth in line.

    • September 16, 2009 11:00 AM

      With the US serving as the viceroy of Honduras, I suppose you are right.

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