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.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Verification Commission

The verification commission members have been named. Ricardo Lagos, former President of Chile will be one of the international representatives named by the OAS. Hilda Solis, US Secretary of Labor has also been named as the other OAS representative. Earlier reporting had suggested that Colin Powell would be named, but that appears to be an error.

The Micheletti representative to the verification commission will be Arturo Corrales, previously of his negotiating commission. Manuel Zelaya has named Jorge Arturo Reina Idiáquez, his UN representative.


Doug Zylstra said...

Seems as if Hilda Solis will be the other nominee, not Colin Powell.

Not sure what difference that makes to the composition of the team.

RNS said...

Thanks Doug. I already caught that. It seems that some sources, like Tiempo, had an early leak that suggested Powell and went with it.

To be clear, Insulza named Hilda Solis and Ricardo Lagos. I corrected the post to reflect Insulza's statement.

Doug Zylstra said...


I haven't seen much about how the whole dynamics of the the process that will take place over the next few days, but was wondering about the positions and people who will change in the next few days. Since Micheletti basically replaced all of Zelaya's people with his own back in July, does he have to give half of those back now for Zelaya's team to pick the interim official? And who will decide which team will get to pick which position? And finally, Patricia Rodas' chances to come back as Chanciller? That seems as, if not more, polemical as Zelaya's return as President. All of this seems a lot of work for five days.


RNS said...

I wish I had a good answer for you. That is one of the crucial questions not publically addressed by the accord. It matters who gets which ministry. Further muddying the waters, in the San Jose version of the Accord, it was the political parties that would be represented in proportion to their representation in Congress, not Zelaya and Micheletti.

Micheletti has continued to replace people, including new appointments last thursday(?) when 3 new heads of autonomous institutions were sworn in. His programs to reward coup-supporters were designed to run through the end of December so I would expect he'll make a strong play for the energy/natural resources/banking positions and possibly tourism as well.

I do know that Zelaya has thought about this, and has ideas about who candidates should be for various ministries, but how the actual selection and representation will be apportioned is likely to be part of the work of the verification commission starting Tuesday. How they can apportion and appoint a cabinet in 2 days should make for a very interesting week.

Nell said...

Doug: Not sure what difference [Hilda Solis v. Colin Powell] makes to the composition of the team.

Really? There's a pretty vast gulf between them politically and culturally, with Solis being far more favorable from the Zelaya p.o.v.

Nell said...

OT, but not entirely: Has the military ended the floodlights beamed at the embassy? Is there freedom to come and go for anyone there apart from Zelaya?

I assumed the military pulled back a bit while the U.S. delegation was shuttling back and forth, but the coup regime members are sounding still so delusional that it seems possible almost nothing has changed... Has anyone heard or seen any coverage or commentary on that subject?

RNS said...

Still fully militarized around the Brazilian Embassy as far as I know. They don't want Zelaya to have access to people, nor the ability to leave the embassy. What has eased somewhat are the restrictions on what can go into the embassy. The sound weapons were used throughout the negotiations and were often audible during Zelaya interviews where he phoned to radio stations.

Micheletti pronounced on Saturday that Zelaya had to stay in the embassy until Congress decides.

Doug Zylstra said...


I said at the time that I didn't know what difference it made, not that there was no difference.

I think it does help Zelaya that he has a 3-1 advantage on the team, but then, unless Michelleti had gotten someone like Ileana Ros as a member of the international delegation, it was always going to be that way.

Colin Powell would have helped, at least from the standpoint of having the weight of being an ex-Secretary of State and in the end, he would have coordinated diplomatically with Hilary and the OAS rather than siding ideologically with Demint and the rest.

It's going to be an incredible task this selecting the Unity Government members and their respective posts, and I really don't know how they are really going to overcome all the tensions and hard feelings accumulated over these last months. I hope they can do it.

Global Teach In said...

If the Honduran Congress approves the agreement in short order, that still leaves the little problem of the fact that the successors to Zelaya (who now gain legitimacy that they would not otherwise have had) might not change the basic structures of Honduran society, although as this blog points out, the resistance movement and the agreement itself creates opportunities. Yet, really the issue is not the "coup" anymore because the coup itself was a proxy on the degree to which the Honduran society could be reconstructed. So, by focusing on the coup one really gets lost a bit.

RAJ said...

We couldn't agree more that the issues will continue and the coup now (or, once a new government is formed) becomes an event, not the focus.

We have discussed this since the summer. Once there is a successful transfer of government, we are committed to continuing coverage of Honduran culture and politics. But in our view, until a new government is inaugurated, the state of constitutional irregularity persists. The Accord is a solution that is pragmatic; but it does not restore civil society (and hence things like the continued attack on the Brazilian embassy go on).

The successor government to Zelaya never was going to be as progressive in attempting to enlist popular participation. So while having Pepe Lobo as the new President is not a sign of hope, it is not worse than before.

What in fact is better than might have been hoped is popular mobilization; some international attention, if it keeps up; and even people like Pepe Lobo commenting that maybe constitutional reform is not so unthinkable after all.

Doug Zylstra said...

Just a thought -

Has anyone, OAS, State, put forward a benchmark for what could be called a successful implementation of the Accords?

Obviously the Honduran actors have widely divergent opinions on this.

RNS said...

We might see a benchmark from the verification commission, but otherwise, I doubt it. Benchmarks require accountability, and that's lacking here.

Doug Zylstra said...

Even in Zelaya's camp there seem to be discrepancy. Rasel Tomé, on Saturday, as you noted, simply said that "We are not asking them to pronounce for A or B, just to pronounce." But Zelaya himself said yesterday that the agreement would be a failure if there were not a positive vote produced in Congress.

I realize alot of this is simply jostling to get a better position ahead of the verification teram's work, but does his side even have a solid metric?


RNS said...

The only metrics are the dates for things to happen. Other than that, no metrics have been made public, if they exist.

Doug Zylstra said...

A lot of the vagueness seems purposeful, and likely to serve either side. The "sentar las bases" from Point 5 escpecially seems incredibly open to interpretation.

RAJ said...

The wording of point 5 is clearly much weaker than the corresponding point of the original San Jose Accord.

The quoted language in the Tegucigalpa Accord actually does not quite quote the San Jose Accord, which called explicitly for the return of the "constituted powers" of State-- enumerated as Executive, Legislative, and Judicial-- to the state prior to June 28. The Tegucigalpa Accord only calls for the return of the Executive Power to its former state.

More important, the section enclosed in quotes leaves out the first half of the following from the San Jose Accord:

The preceding implies the return of Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales to the Presidency of the Republic until the conclusion of the present governmental period, the 27th of January, 2010.

So, in the Tegucigalpa Accord, there is no longer the explicit statement that returning the executive branch to its state prior to June 28 "implies the return" of President Zelaya.

But that "sentar los bases" is, I think, meant to strongly imply that not restoring Zelaya should not be the outcome of what is now figured as a decision by the Congress, informed by (but not bound by) the Supreme Court's opinion. Since that would not "lay the foundations" for peace; quite the opposite.

The Congress would be insane to vote against restoral. They can do so by rescinding their own decree of June 28; or issuing a new one saying they now have a different opinion. They can do so knowing that the Supreme Court proceedings against Zelaya can continue, and even hoping that there will be a swift decision against him that might remove him from the exercise of his office. But to refuse to restore him, when that has clearly been the unambiguous international demand all along, and risks having continued protest disrupt the election and thus lead international observers to question its legitimacy-- that would be political suicide.

And for what? to sustain Micheletti's pride? The political careers of the congress and especially the main party candidates for president must now be their focus.

Doug Zylstra said...

Raj -

Thanks for the input.

I had forgotten that the Original San Jose document also asked the Congress to carry out Zelaya's restitution, but also took it as a given.

I do think it will be a close vote (70-75 for restitution), even if political logic says that it should definitely go through. A no vote also has a a constituency (UCD, etc) and a good amount of Diputados will want to play to it.