[Guest post by DRJ]
For months, the Obama Administration claimed the Honduran government illegally removed President Manuel Zelaya and insisted he be reinstated. Honduran leaders resisted, stating they followed the law when they ousted Zelaya. Following the U.S. imposition of economic sanctions, Honduras accepted a U.S. brokered deal in late October that required the Honduran Supreme Court and Congress vote on reinstating Zelaya and that all parties recognize the results of the November 29 presidential election.
However, in a bold move, the President of the Honduran Congress has set the date for the vote after the November 29 Presidential election — rendering Zelaya’s reinstatement moot or, at most, making him a lame duck since he is not eligible for another Presidential term. Brazil and Argentina announced today they will not recognize the Honduran election results if Zelaya is not first restored to power, but the United States may be relenting:
“Under the October 30 deal, both sides agreed that Congress would vote on whether to return Zelaya.
But the agreement set no timetable for the 128-member body to vote, and the president of Congress said Tuesday that it would to decide on whether to reinstate Zelaya three days after the November 29 elections.
The US State Department insisted Wednesday that the Congress decision did not undermine the accord.
“Since the accord never actually gave any kind of deadline… scheduling the vote on December 2nd… isn’t necessarily inconsistent,” spokesman Ian Kelly told journalists.
Kelly said that the democratically-elected president “has to be restored before the end of his term.” Zelaya’s term expires on January 27.
“We will decide how to — how to pronounce on the election when we see how it is conducted,” Kelly added.
This is a good result for democracy and the Honduran leaders seem like modern-day Profiles in Courage. U.S. leaders, however, are not as steadfast. Even the very disappointed Manuel Zelaya “criticized the ‘contradiction’ of the US stance in comments from his embassy refuge.”
NOTE: Today’s Department of State briefing regarding Honduras is below the fold. It’s quite humorous.