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.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Meet the new kid, same as the old kid: nothing new from Micheletti

Late Thursday news media reported supposed movement by the de facto regime, assisting the spinning of nothing new as if it were something real.

An article in the New York Times provides the better report; the article in the Washington Post is distinguished primarily by the amazing use of Lanny Davis-- a paid lobbyist for the coup regime-- as the source of a quote offered as if it represented an independent judgment-- worse, as if it were the opinion of political insiders in the US government:
"We regard this as a significant change in Mr. Micheletti's policy, and his willingness to immediately resign shows that this is not about his power, but it is about the rule of law," said Lanny Davis, a former White House official in the administration of President Bill Clinton who now represents a group of Honduran businessmen seeking a negotiated solution to the crisis.

This isn't about his power? Micheletti is concerned about the rule of law?? And Lanny Davis is a "former White House official", not just a paid operative???

What is interesting here, if there is anything interesting, is asking whether this is just another attempt to delay sanctions (in which case, perhaps it is an indication that those rumored stronger sanctions are really being floated); or is a hastily constructed Plan B for the coup regime to back off the ledge they put themselves on.

President Zelaya's representative to the OAS, Carlos Sosa, quoted by the Washington Post, thinks it is simply a delaying tactic:

We don't accept this. . . . This is an effort to keep winning time and make it seem like they're talking.

Micheletti's negotiator, Arturo Corrales, pretty much confirmed this view, even if the Post bizarrely treated his statement as if it were not deeply ironic and totally unbelievable, quoting him as saying:
It's the starting point for the conversations
Starting point? wasn't that over a long, long time ago?

The NY Times more accurately describes this as essentially the same as a previously offered, non-starting, proposal from Micheletti. Their reporting does suggest that this time around, Micheletti is more concrete about his proposal. Perhaps those talks noted going on between coup apologists this week included explaining to Micheletti that his position is untenable?

The Times suggests that under Micheletti's proposal, his resignation and that of President Zelaya would leave the way clear for the next person in constitutional succession to be Jorge Rivera, head of the Supreme Court. Not entirely clear if this is specified by the Micheletti regime, or inferred by reporters, but I am not so sure that this conclusion is safe to draw.

If Micheletti resigns from his "presidency" as if it were legal, then he resigns as president, not as president of the National Congress. If his regime is allow to pretend to legitimacy, then the next in line to succeed "president" Micheletti would be the de facto regime's choice for president of the National Congress, Alfredo Saavedra. Perhaps coincidentally, coup newspaper La Tribuna just published an interview with him, at about midnight on the West Coast (early morning Friday in Honduras), characterized as his "breaking the silence" he has maintained since June 28.

Only if Micheletti stepped back to be President of the National Congress would his resignaton create a line down to Jorge Rivera.

But all this is moot, and it is pretty clear the goal here is to draw out the discussion even longer, while appearing, as his lobbyist tells us, to make a significant change in his posture of intransigence.

The version on the AP newswire reveals the cynicism at the heart of this supposed proposal, described as having five points. It notes that the limited amnesty offered would absolve the coup participants entirely but allow them to continue prosecution of President Zelaya for charges they have manufactured while the de facto regime has been in control of the government.

What this is transparently about is attempting to forestall Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from deciding to accept what sources say is the recommendation within the State Department to declare the June 28 removal of President Zelaya formally a military coup. That action, as the Voice of America notes, will trigger significant economic sanctions.

Micheletti has claimed repeatedly his regime doesn't need the world community. But it seems like that bravado only goes so far.


TITO said...

It´s hard for me to understand how this "politicians" ignore the people in the streets in their statements and recycled proposals but it doesn´t surprise me. They have never care for people!

Saavedra is so naive to think that the elections are boicot-free. We will be hitting them hard, at the base, at the voter. They are so blind that they can not see the magnitude of what is coming national and internationally!

RNS said...

It turns out, it wasn't a real offer anyhow. Micheletti said over the weekend that there was no way Zelaya could come back except to face charges as a private citizen. He again disowns the offer of amnesty that some news sources say was offered. The claim in Honduras is that Arturo Corrales "was on his own" when he suggested that was part of the offer in talking to the press in the United States. Corrales is widely seen as representing the interests of Carlos Flores Facusse in the negotiations.

Radio America says the offer consisted of 3 points:

(1) Zelaya can come back, but only after the President elected in the November 29 election assumes office (eg, after Jan 27, 2010). and only as a private citizen to face charges.

(2) That both Micheletti and Zelaya resign in favor of a third person. For some, that third person is the current head of the Supreme Court, Jorge Rivera Avilés; while for others its José Alfredo Saavedra, current head of Congress. To assert Saavedra is to recognize Micheletti's succession to the Presidency. To assert Rivera Avilés is to follow the succession from President Zelaya. Micheletti isn't saying which is his interpretation, but I bet I can guess.....

(3) Finally, the third point Micheletti offered to Arias (and the US State Department) is that the new Congress, which takes office in 2010, can take up whether or not to offer Zelaya amnesty. Micheletti does't seem to understand, perhaps willfully so, that the amnesty in the Arias proposals is as much for him and members of his governement as it is for the trumped up charges his puppets have filed on Zelaya.

So in addition to being a retread of the offer made to Arias during the original negotiations and again to Insulza just last tuesday, its an unrealistic offer, if what you are trying to do is negotiate a settlement.