HONDURAS: What Deal? The Fat Lady has Many Sisters
HONDURAS: What deal? The Fat Lady has Many Sisters
Throughout the Honduran crisis the media have reported agreements between the two sides as if Micheletti was really capable of making concessions and President Zelaya was certain nothing would happen to him if he walked out of the Brazilian embassy. Things happening now must be analyzed based on what happened before. But, most media accounts are devoid of such context. The three factors that must be considered when analyzing developments in Honduras are: everything that has taken place in the last four months, a Fat Lady about to sing and several of her sisters waiting in the wings. If you will, the past, the present, and betting on what is likely to take place in the future.
When I awoke this morning I heard Andres Conteris on Democracy Now being interviewed from the Brazilian embassy where he has been since Zelaya’s arrival on September 22. With each question posed to him, it became more and more apparent to me that wherever Zelaya land’s in this whole thing, the people of Honduras will have to continue fighting this thing on their own. Later, in the broadcast, Rep. Grajalva was interviewed later about health care reform, Amy Goodman asked him what he thought of the agreement in Honduras. After swallowing hard, he said, “I have more questions about it than praise.” Tom Shannon and his entourage were not in Tegucigalpa to tame a feisty Micheletti into a handover of power, rather they were there to collaborate with the golpistas to ensure that Zelaya did not come to power in any true sense of the word. Even bringing him back boxed in heavily by a “unity government”in order to make the elections look credible is a risk for the golpistas. And, this is why the Fat Lady has not sung yet.
Before a closer look at the latest “agreement,” a review of some past chapters in this saga should help to interpret what is (or isn’t) going on now.
While there have been some ridiculous twists and turns in the aftermath of this coup, only one aspect has remained constant and that is the art of delay. The best time eaters are Roberto Micheletti, Oscar Arias, and Hillary Clinton.. Micheletti ate up time by insulting one international delegation after another and then welcoming them back a few weeks later. Oscar Arias, getting his instructions from the US State Department, conducted a charade of a negotiation that just wouldn’t go away. But, it certainly gobbled up an immense amount of time. And then there is Hillary Clinton, queen of cool, who ate up the clock by remaining aloof and unavailable, yet manipulating the overall game from the sidelines. If you recall, on at least two occasions, Zelaya, went to Washington to meet Clinton but was forced to hang around a while until she decided to grant him an appointment. This blatant disrespect of a head of state was the first and best signal that the US was not going to help Zelaya back to the presidential palace.
Running out the clock was/is the primary tactic in this tug-of-war because it never was the intention of those operating the levers to reinstate Zelaya . In fact, it appears that the US was one of the primary reasons Zelaya was taken out in the first place.
Below is an excerpt from an article by Barry Grey that may shed more light on this, “US Seeks Deal between Honduran Coup Leaders and Deposed President” – July 2, 2009
“There is ample evidence that the Obama administration was deeply involved in plans by Zelaya’s opponents within the Honduran ruling elite—sections of business, the military, the political establishment and the Church—to destabilize or topple his government. The New York Times on Tuesday cited an unnamed US official as saying that US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon and US Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens spoke to “military officials and opposition leaders” in the days before the coup. He said, “There was talk of how they might remove the president from office, how he could be arrested, on whose authority they could do that.”
Both Shannon and Llorens served under the Bush administration as top advisers on Andean affairs—covering Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Their stints on the National Security Council and at the State Department coincided with the US-backed coup that briefly toppled Venezuela’s Chávez in 2002.
It appears that the Obama administration was seeking to effect a de facto coup, but without a direct use of the military and under the cover of constitutional legality. That would, it hoped, reverse Washington’s declining influence in Latin America and pave the way for an offensive against Chávez and his left nationalist allies in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador and other countries aligned with Venezuela in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.”
Before going further, I want to put this military coup thing to bed. The Honduran military kidnapped the president and forcibly exiled him.to Costa Rica. Then, it put a wall of armor between the golpistas and the people of Honduras. The military defended its coup through gross human rights abuses, including murders and disappearances and maintains a massive presence throughout the entire country four months after the coup. If the military, at any point, had laid down their guns, this coup would have fallen in three days.
With this, let’s examine how many songs the fat ladies might have to sing before this thing is really over.
The agreement produced late Thursday nite, appears to have five basic components: formation of a “unity” government, recognition of the November 29 election, no amnesty, verification committee to make sure the agreement is implemented, and a truth commission.
The agreement calls for a “unity” government and one can expect Zelaya to be boxed in very tightly. The only unity in this government will be among the golpistas on how best to keep Zelaya’s hands tied.
As for recognizing the November 29 election, you could not put a bigger dagger in the heart of the people of Honduras. For all intents and purposes, this will be a golpista election. And, as was the case in Haiti, the people of Honduras will boycott it massively. In the agreement, the international community is being asked to guarantee that it will recognize the result of the election before it even takes place. Regardless of who wins in the election, the winner will carry the banner for the golpistas and the de facto regime’s power grab will be legitimized.
Regarding no amnesty, the de facto regime is holding an outstanding warrant for Zelaya’s arrest and there is nothing I have seen to suggest that they won’t execute the warrant if it benefits their political strategy. After all, just yesterday, the de facto regime petitioned the ICC regarding Brazil harboring Zelaya in its embassy based on the warrant issued by the regime
God forbid, but the verification of implementation of the steps in the agreement could be handed to the moonlighting mediator, Oscar Arias. The possibility is so immediately ludicrous that I can’t ponder it further.
Wow, a truth commission. With the help of the media, the Michelettis, Clinton and her spokesmen, P J. Crowley and Ian Kelly along with her ambassador in Honduras, Hugo Llorens, and Oscar Arias, etc., the truth has been perverted or buried to such an extent that the worth of holding such a commission should be re-considered. Now, if you could have a Rwanda type truth commission where victims question and berate the accused publicly followed by a vote of the community to see if the accused should go to prison – well, that kind of truth commission I could get into.
Finally, for the agreement to be ratified, the Honduran Congress is required to vote on Zelaya’s return AFTER the Supreme Court gives its approval first. We are back to square one. Could it be that the Honduran institution most hostile to Zelaya and responsible for his arrest and expulsion may well decide the fate of millions of Hondurans? There can be no doubt that the Honduran Supreme Court is the biggest Fat Lady in the Honduran opera.