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.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Brazil and US: "Small Differences"

Marco Aurelio Garcia, advisor to Brazilian President Lula, said that there were "small" differences between the US and Brazil on Honduras. Garcia spoke after meeting with Arturo Valenzuela, Assistant Secretary for Western Hemispheric Affairs. When asked what those differences were, he explained that the differences were over the effects of the November 29 election, but that both countries agreed the elections were not a sufficient condition for the return to normalization of democracy.

Garcia said:
"We believe, there is an accord, that the de facto president Micheletti needs to leave; and it would be fundamental, also, that they concede a safe conduct or other instrument that would permit President Zelaya to move forward."

Valenzuela, in contrast, spoke in generalities about Brazil-US relations when asked about the differences between the US and Brazil on Honduras:
"Really, we agree on some fundamental aspects of our relations and have similar points of view on many of the hemispheric affairs."
Valenzuela met with Garcia instead of Brazil's Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim, in part because of resentment over Clinton's Friday warning to "nations that flirt with Iran". Garcia said "that wasn't a warning for Brazil; if that was a message, it was mistaken."

Some of the press coverage is spinning this as a change of position by Brazil, but I don't see it. What's interesting is that it is Garcia who is reporting to the press on what their points of unity are. Valenzuela is silent in nearly all of the press coverage, and when he is quoted, says next to nothing of substance.

If Garcia's statements are representative of the agreement between Brazil and the US, wouldn't it be a stronger message if Valenzuela at least echoed it? If Valenzuela, or Clinton, were the ones calling for Micheletti to leave power, for the issuance of a safe conduct, would it not be more effectively received in Honduras? But we, as a country, remain mute, and let our "partners" do the heavy lifting. What are we actually saying to Micheletti? Not surprisingly, the State Department remains mute on that subject as well, but I'm willing to bet that its not this.

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