Responses to the Coup d'etat in Honduras on Sunday June 28, with special emphasis on producing English-language versions of commentaries by Honduran scholars and editorial writers and addressing the confusion encouraged by lack of basic knowledge about Honduras.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Who Really Rejected the Arias Plan

Here in the real world of Costa Rica, I watched, live, as the Micheletti negotiating team in Tegucigalpa obfuscated what the final proposed "San Jose Accord" was, and misrepresented what parts of it meant.

How do I know they were lying? because earlier, I had watched the Zelaya team's statement as well as that of Arias.

What I heard the Micheletti team say was that President Zelaya could not return to office under any proposal, clearly a rejection of a non-negotiable element of the plan.

So why does the LA Times headline their article "Zelaya rejects mediator's new Honduras proposal"?

This is the position the Micheletti team wanted to place President Zelaya in. It is what their press conference claimed had happened, and the LA Times article is datelined Tegucigalpa. So, effectively, the LA Times is doing propaganda work for the de facto regime.

In a discussion among a group of Central American scholars, the consensus was that the Arias mediation was flawed from the outset. First, they note that Arias was compromised by being tapped by Hillary Clinton, thus was not an independent agent. Second, as also noted in editorials by Rodolfo Pastor Fasquelle, treating Micheletti as if he had an equal right to bargain gave him a degree of legitimacy he did not merit. Tonight, in the press conference by the Micheletti group, that decision came home to roost as they cited various proposed points in Arias' plan, and argued that these points proved that Oscar Arias agreed with their views of Zelaya's actions before the coup.

Meanwhile, the Micheletti negotiators at the last moment stated that they had no authority to agree to anything, and while not giving a clear yes or no, stated they would go back to Honduras and consult virtually every branch of the de facto government about individual points. This is a transparent delaying tactic, especially since they simultaneously reiterated that there was no way they could agree to Zelaya's returning as president, because, they claim, he left the country already as a private citizen. So to let him return as president would, the Micheletti crowd argued, be installing a president who was not elected.

These are not the positions of anyone who actually was negotiating anything. What these negotiations have been about, transparently, is holding on in the belief that eventually the world community would lose interest and perhaps, if the de facto regime makes it to election day, they can pass off a president elected in a country where basic civil liberties have been suspended as legitimate.

The scholars I spent the evening with noted that Arias also made the mistake of getting involved in "negotiating" issues that are strictly internal-- such as including a requirement that the budget passed by the de facto regime would be left stand for the remainder of Zelaya's presidency. This was a red herring thrown in by the Micheletti crowd, and adding it to the plan simply showed them that Arias would include anything they wanted. And then they held a press conference and used him rhetorically as a prop.

As Rixi Moncada, spokesperson for the Zelaya government, actually said: the Arias mediation has failed. It was, she said, a fracaso-- which can politely be translated as failure.

But I prefer the more colorful "flop".

And so was the LA Times coverage.


Nell said...

With the military now backing the "San Jose Accord" (not an accord but a proposal), it would be extremely helpful to have an English translation of the document and some analysis.

It would also be instructive to compare the content with the U.S.-govt-desired outcomes telegraphed early on by Sec. Clinton and in more detail by her advisor Kevin Casas-Zamora on July 9, as the Arias "negotiations" began.

Nell said...

You are the only person reporting or analyzing in English, as far as I know, who has recorded the existence of the fax from coup mover Carlos Flores to Arias ('Cracks in the Micheletti Faction'). The relationship of that document to the San Jose "Accord" is apparent and of great interest.

RAJ said...

See my post of Sunday July 26 for a translation of Communique 7 and discussion of how it fits in the series of Press Releases from the Armed Forces.

RAJ said...

And now, my posted translation of the "San Jose Accord", with comments on how it changed from the initial version. Nell's note that this bears comparison to the goals of US foreign policy described by Kevin Casa-Zamora is precisely right; and note that Central Americans involved in politics believe Arias was simply conveying ideas from the US.

Nell said...

Thank you so much for your translation and analysis -- invaluable contributions not duplicated by any other commentator, at least in English.