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, November 4, 2009

The Verification Commission speaks

A press conference held by the members of the Verification Commission today, reported by the El Salvadoran website Telecinco, gives some insight into what we can expect of the next phase of the unfolding implementation of the Tegucigalpa Accord.

Headlined, "The differences in Honduras continue hours from the due date for the Government of Unity", the article starts "The differences and unknowns about the application of the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord in Honduras continue today a few hours before the due date established by the pact to comply with the installation of a Government of National Unity."

It then characterizes Hilda Solis, Ricardo Lagos, Jorge Reina and Arturo Corrales as "optimistic".

So what are they optimistic about?

Lagos is quoted as saying "I want to point out that the verification of the distinct stages of this accord is a complex and difficult theme."

According to the article, Lagos and Solis, the representatives of the international community, met with President Zelaya, and "other political actors of the country, among them five of the six presidential candidates... as well as representatives of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal" and unnamed members of Congress.

The report notes that after also meeting with Micheletti, Lagos "indicated that the de facto president was disposed to renounce presiding over the Government of National Unity."

He continued that Micheletti "understands that the constitution and installation of a Government of National Unity probably would be strengthened if he understands that he is in a position to resign the responsibilities that he holds."

The article rehearses the confusing statements made by many parties about whether the restoration of Zelaya is or is not required, is or is not supported. Jorge Reina, President Zelaya's representative on the commission, said that Zelaya does not have to follow through on a threat to withdraw his support from the Accord if not restored by tomorrow's deadline for the new unity government, "because we have perceived the will as well of the international community to support us".

Yet Micheletti is quoted as protesting José Miguel Insulza's statement that "the only exit to peace" is via restoral of President Zelaya.

"We are concerned that these declarations could be considered an interference in a still fragile process of resolution of the crisis that is unfolding in our country", Vilma Morales, the member of the commission representing Micheletti, wrote to Insulza.

Meanwhile, the Mexican Cronica de Hoy reported that the commissioners announced that the National Reconciliation Cabinet would be named tomorrow, "as the Tegucigalpa Accord established". This press report says that the cabinet "was designated both by the side of the overthrown president Manuel Zelaya as well as by the de facto government".

Reportedly, the Verification Commission also met with the general secretary of Congress, Ramón Velasquez, who was quoted as saying "They can not influence the determinations that the Hondurans are going to take, so that we have not spoken of the restitution or not of Zelaya".

A number of news media have interpreted statements by Lagos and Solis that the resolution of the conflict must take place "step by step" and that they are now working on the unity cabinet as a rejection of an interpretation that calls for Congress to reach a decision about the restoral of Zelaya, although when read in context, these statements do not actually respond to questions about that point.

Nonetheless, it is clear that what is occupying the commissioners at the moment is the Cabinet. Even here, though, they are taking a hands-off attitude that sees that decision as the business of the Honduran parties to the conflict. The Spanish El Economista quotes Ricardo Lagos as saying
We point out the need to constitute and install a government of unity and reconciliation, in accord with the terms of the commitment subscribed to the 30th of October...The way to advance in this government of national unity is incumbent on the parties that signed the accord...It is they that are going to work
The pro-coup La Tribuna of Honduras, predictably, departs from the consensus reporting, quoting Hilda Solis at more length in a passage that suggests the formation of the Cabinet might take more time:
everything will take its time, we do not have either the hour nor the date, but we are doing what is possible for those persons that are working on the plan to succeed in this plan, there are various persons that are talking, there are names, but we are still beginning.
Solis is quoted as saying that Micheletti "made it clear that he would be disposed to step aside".

According to this report, after reiterating that there is no specific deadline, Solis acknowledged she was returning to the US and said that when she returned
I would like to find that the National Congress will comply with the accord.
So would we. But we think it might need a bit more than the statements reported today.

1 comment:

Nell said...

Solis and Lagos didn't even try to make it look as if they were working hard. Not impressive even as gestural theater, much less actual accomplishment.

This administration gives the distinct impression of thinking that the rest of us are naive or a little slow.

I'm sorry it had to happen, but Zelaya's declaration today, his refusal to be strung along any further, was the only way to retain any integrity and dignity in the face of the clear signals that the U.S. never had any intention of doing what it took to accomplish his restoration.