[Marxism] Deal Reached in Honduras to Restore Ousted President

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Fri Oct 30 07:27:03 MDT 2009

O bam a ! O bam a ! O bam a !

October 31, 2009
Deal Reached in Honduras to Restore Ousted President


MEXICO CITY — A lingering political crisis in Honduras seemed to be
nearing an end on Friday after the de facto government agreed to a
deal that would allow Manuel Zelaya, the deposed president, to return
to office.

The government of Roberto Micheletti, which had refused to let Mr.
Zelaya return, signed an agreement with Mr. Zelaya’s negotiators late
Thursday that would pave the way for the Honduran Congress to restore
the ousted president and allow him to serve out the remaining three
months of his term.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed on Friday
that Mr. Zelaya and Mr. Micheletti had approved what she called “an
historic agreement.”

“I cannot think of another example of a country in Latin America that,
having suffered a rupture of its democratic and constitutional order,
overcame such a crisis through negotiation and dialogue,” Mrs. Clinton
said Friday in Islamabad, where she has been meeting with Pakistani

The accord came after a team of senior American diplomats flew from
Washington to the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, on Wednesday to press
for an agreement. On Thursday, the assistant secretary of state for
Western Hemisphere affairs, Thomas A. Shannon Jr., warned that time
was running out for an agreement.

Mr. Micheletti’s government had argued that a presidential election
scheduled for Nov. 29 would put an end to the crisis. But the United
States, the Organization of American States and the United Nations
suggested they would not recognize the results of the elections
without a pre-existing agreement.

“We were very clearly on the side of the restoration of the
constitutional order, and that includes the elections,” Mrs. Clinton
said in Islamabad.

Mr. Micheletti appeared to have been persuaded that the warnings were serious.

“The accord allows a vote in Congress on Zelaya’s possible restitution
with the prior approval of the Supreme Court,” Mr. Micheletti said in
televised comments late Thursday. “This is a significant concession on
the part of our government.”

“We are satisfied,” Mr. Zelaya said, according to Reuters. “We are
optimistic that my reinstatement is imminent.”

Negotiators for both men were expected to meet Friday to work out the
final details of the accord.

Mr. Zelaya was ousted in a military coup on June 28 and flown to Costa Rica.

Some Honduran political and business leaders have argued that the
takeover was a legal response to Mr. Zelaya’s attempts to rewrite the
Constitution and seek re-election. But they were also concerned by his
deepening alliance with Venezuela’s leftist president, Hugo Chávez.

Mr. Zelaya has denied any plan to seek re-election, which is forbidden
under the Honduran Constitution.

He sneaked back into the country on Sept. 21 and has been living at
the Brazilian Embassy since then.

It was unclear when Mr. Zelaya would be able to leave the embassy,
which has had Honduran soldiers posted outside. The de facto
government had said it would arrest him if he came out.

According to Mr. Micheletti, the accord reached late Thursday would
establish a unity government and a verification commission to ensure
that its conditions are carried out. It would also create a truth
commission to investigate the events of the past few months.

The agreement also reportedly asks the international community to
recognize the results of the elections and to lift any sanctions that
were imposed after the coup.

The political crisis has created turmoil inside Honduras, where
regular marches by Mr. Zelaya’s supporters and curfews have paralyzed
the capital. The suspension of international aid has stalled badly
needed projects in one of the region’s poorest countries.

Latin American governments had pressed the Obama administration to
take a forceful approach to ending the political impasse, but
Washington had let the Organization of American States take the lead
and endorsed negotiations that were brokered by the Costa Rican
president, Óscar Arias. But those talks stalled in July.

New negotiations began earlier this month but broke down two weeks
ago. With the Honduran elections approaching, the United States chose
to step up pressure and dispatched Mr. Shannon, along with Dan
Restrepo, the senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs at the
National Security Council.

Mark Landler contributed reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan.

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