Patterico's Pontifications


Honduras Election: Good News?

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 9:19 pm

[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.

QUESTION: Ian, on Honduras, the parliament seems to have put off until after the election a decision on whether Zelaya will be restored. What does that do for the possible credibility of these elections?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, let me give you kind of an update of where we are. Craig Kelly, of course, has been in Tegucigalpa. He’s been down there to help support the implementation of the accord. He held a series of meetings down there to support the OAS efforts to have it fully implemented. He’s met with President Zelaya and he met with the de facto leader Mr. Micheletti. He told us that these were very frank and open talks.

Regarding the reports on the Honduran lawmakers will not decide on whether or not to restore Zelaya until after the elections, according to the accord, the – it called for the national congress to issue a pronouncement on the restoration of a democratically elected authority, Mr. Zelaya. As you know, it never stipulated a timetable for the congressional action. All along, we’ve called on the congress to act expeditiously in the spirit of the accord. We believe that steady steps towards the implementation of the accord will enhance the prospects for transparent, free, and open elections that will ultimately resolve this crisis and allow Honduras to rejoin the international community of nations.

Another one of these important steps towards the implementation of the accord and resolving this crisis is the formation of the – of a government of national unity. So that’s also an important component to this.

But since the accord never actually gave any kind of deadline by – to have this vote by the national congress, scheduling the vote on December 2nd doesn’t necessarily – isn’t necessarily inconsistent with the accord.

QUESTION: What – I’m sorry. That’s – you’ve just opened your – this is – they’re going to have a field day with this. So it’s okay with you if five years from now, they go and come back and say, all right, yeah, Zelaya can go – he’s restored, when you can’t – you can’t be restored after you’re voted out of office if you’re not – he’s not even running.

MR. KELLY: That’s right. I mean, he – his term ends the end of January.

QUESTION: Yeah. And so it’s okay – so it’s okay with you, and you’ll – it will be all right and you’ll accept the results of the election, if they – even if they don’t put him back in when you —

MR. KELLY: Well, he’s not running. He’s not running for the election.

QUESTION: Yeah, but he’s going to be out – he’s effectively out of office. I mean, talk about – that’s the lamest of lame ducks. He’s not – he is – I’m confused. You no longer think that he has to be restored before he is voted out of office?

MR. KELLY: Well, it has been a very strong principle of ours that in order for the country to be reconciled, there has to be a restoration of the democratically elected president. That implies that he has to be restored before the end of his term, okay?

QUESTION: So basically —

QUESTION: All right. So 10 minutes – 10 minutes before the end of his term?

QUESTION: December – until the end of January it can be.

MR. KELLY: Look, I mean, clearly, he has to be restored in a timely way. And I don’t think we’ve ever said anything but that.


MR. KELLY: But what we’re focused on is the implementation of the accord. I mean, that’s – and – I think that’s what everybody has to be focused on is. And that’s what Craig Kelly was down there for to make sure that it’s done step by step. And there are a number of steps that have to take place. Now, the national congress has set a date to pronounce on this, to pronounce on this issue of the – what – I mean, the accord calls it a pronouncement on the reversion of the executive branch, a pronouncement on the – whether or not Mr. Zelaya should return.

This is a – this is basically – it’s a – we have a lot of interests, obviously. This is – the Organization of American States have a – has a lot of interest in having a government down there that reflects the will of the people and having reconciliation between the Zelaya camp and the Micheletti camp.

QUESTION: Am I correct in thinking that there’s —

MR. KELLY: And the accord is the best to do this.

QUESTION: Am I correct in thinking that there is no way to guarantee that this pronouncement will even restore him to office?

MR. KELLY: It’s up to the congress.

QUESTION: They could come –

MR. KELLY: The both sides —

QUESTION: — back and say no, he can’t come back and —

MR. KELLY: They could come back. I mean, that is —

QUESTION: Well, what happens then?

MR. KELLY: Well, we’ll – let’s see then.

QUESTION: Then you walk into —

MR. KELLY: It’s now. It’s not then.

QUESTION: Ian, will the election —

MR. KELLY: It’s a Honduran crisis. And we want to make sure that —


— the Hondurans are able to sit down —

QUESTION: — you inserted yourself into it —

MR. KELLY: We have.

QUESTION: — quite – so it’s no longer just a Honduran crisis. You’re involved.

MR. KELLY: Of course, we’re involved. We are involved because we want to be involved, because it’s important for us to be involved. We’re involved because they want us to be involved.

QUESTION: Ian, the election will enjoy international support, including that of the United States, even if at the time they vote the Congress hasn’t decided?

MR. KELLY: It all depends on how the vote is conducted. It depends on how the campaign is conducted. We will decide how to pronounce on the election when we see how it is conducted.

21 Responses to “Honduras Election: Good News?”

  1. We knew they were fools. This is only confirmation. Vanquished by mouse-that-roared Honduras. This will not end well with Iran but, fortunately, I’m old.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  2. Isn’t Brazil the pathetically squalid and impoverished little country what our little president man is giving billions of dollars of oil drilling welfare?

    happyfeet (b919e7)

  3. Ah, the old no date in the accord trick. Brilliant, Chief. I guess we won’t be needing these Zapata mustache disguise after all, Agent 99.

    political agnostic (354d6c)

  4. “QUESTION: Ian, the election will enjoy international support, including that of the United States, even if at the time they vote the Congress hasn’t decided?

    MR. KELLY: Of course the United States will recognize the election you twit. This isn’t the Bush Administration, in case you haven’t noticed; talking tough then backing down is back in vogue around here these days. It’s just easier to back down with a straight face when our original position was so obviously wrong.”

    Fixed for accuracy.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  5. chaos – Good joke. You should write more comedy.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  6. They are showing so much strength. It’s inspiring, and we should take a lesson. There’s more to fear from backing down than from standing tall.

    Dustin (bb61e3)

  7. America’s elite and Palin-haters worldwide should not be so quick to dismiss or disregard the future of Sarah Palin. No other national political figure so completely fills Middle America’s vacuum of frustration and hate for the Left and Right as Sarah Palin.

    Middle America has been abandoned by the Left and Right, who have saddled it with a $700 billion taxpayer bailout, an unnecessary and costly war, a soaring deficit, and an overall neglect of the pocketbook issues that impact Middle America every day. Where are job creation, quality public education, affordable healthcare, and fiscal responsibility, to name a few?

    Middle America is mad as hell at the Left and Right and they just might be willing to roll the dice on someone like Palin, who lacks an Ivy League education, is a working class hockey-mom with a disabled child, and who has blue-collar roots like many of the folks in Middle America. The status quo on the Left and Right have produced nothing material for Middle America, which may toss conventional wisdom into the toilet and throw the lever for Palin, figuring it has nothing to lose, and it may be right.

    The Ivy League educated on the Left and Right have delivered little to nothing for Middle America, perhaps precisely because they are out of touch with the issues that someone like Palin understands personally.

    However, to say that Palin is a salmon swimming upstream is an understatement. The results of a CBS News survey released Monday indicate that 66 percent of respondents do not want her to run for the White House in 2012. Seventy percent of respondents to a CNN/Opinion Research poll said she is not qualified to be president.

    More difficult for Palin is the fact that the trend is not her friend—public opinion is moving in the wrong direction right now.

    In the CBS survey, 43 percent of GOP respondents said Palin would have the ability to be an effective president. Only 11 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of independents agreed.

    However, there is an opportunity for Palin among independents, where Palin’s rating is 41 percent favorable, and 48 percent unfavorable, according to Gallup.

    These numbers are not great, but there is plenty of time if she can move the needle by appealing to Middle America and independents, which is where elections are won or lost.

    Clearly, Palin has put the monkey on her back, especially with her resignation from Alaska’s governorship in July, a self-inflicted wound that will be difficult to explain away. However, don’t put it past Palin to put lipstick on this pig and paint herself as a victim of politically motivated and baseless ethics charges that prevented her from successfully serving the people of Alaska, forcing her to do the noble thing and take the bullet by resigning.

    We can say what we want about Palin, but no Republican in recent history has created such frenzied excitement across the country as she has. Just take a look at the fervor she stirs as she wheels across Middle America on her book tour.

    Perhaps this is a misreading of the tea leaves, but one could argue that she creates a wee bit more excitement than Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee, the two Republican front-runners for president in 2012. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed woman just may be queen.

    A. Muser

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    AmericanMuser (c728a1)

  8. I feel sorry for this spokes-douchenozzle. It has to be hard to spin for Barcky and his desire to assbang the Hondurans.

    Weasel Anti-Defamation League (d606fc)

  9. Hah, Max Smart “..I guess we won’t need the Zatata disquise after all, agent 99..” Too true, we are being led by idiots who trully believe leftee propaganda, so cocooned they have no clue. Tip o’the hat to our Hondoran allies, better at democracy then our clowns in the beltway.

    EdGi (a3aa12)

  10. Will somebody tell Barry that he won the election already.

    He still seems to be in the “pinch me – I’m dreaming” mode.
    Only in his mobbed up, 20 years of not listening to Rev. Wright sermons about ‘evil whitie’ nightmare, he keeps expecting the people to rise up and pull a “Zapata” on him.

    President Biden?

    As if any American would do that to the country on purpose.

    papertiger (1afea2)

  11. Honduras to Obama – Stay out of our internal affairs, socialist slimeball Chavez fellator.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  12. In 2013, one of the first tasks of the new president will be to go to Honduras and apologize.

    And who said irony was dead?

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  13. I think my favorite part of that interview is where the reporter gets all sputtery.

    Question: What – I’m sorry. That’s – you’ve just opened your – this is – they’re going to have a field day with this.

    David Mamet’s “Press Briefing”

    Hadlowe (060b5d)

  14. Can a recall election be done on the President?

    We’ll make a deal, all states that still vote for Obama will be made into a new country, Obamastan, where they can set up a golden image if they want. The rest will be renamed the USSA- the United Sane States of America. Don’t worry Patterico, we’ll let you in.

    So far this has been an exercise in “well, if you don’t laugh, you would cry”. I wonder when it will turn into “doesn’t it make you want to cry”.

    MD in Philly (227f9c)

  15. Hillary is throwing an ashtray at Kelly yelling “where did that reset button for Honduras go? I need my reset button!!!!!”

    Smart diplomacy indeed!

    MU789 (4e85ea)

  16. I’m actually encouraged by this. It looks to me like the State Dept. folks, probably career folks, realized how fundamentally Pres. Obama screwed up with his initial handling of this, and have found a way to back down without losing too much face.

    I predict that 3 days after the election, the Honduran Congress votes to restore Zelaya to the Presidency… effective at 11:59pm on Jan. 26.

    I’m tremendously impressed with the Hondurans. In the face of incredible pressure, they’ve held firm. The vagueness in the deal they allowed to be brokered is absolutely brilliant. The complaints about delay will gain little traction, because the deal had no deadline. Once the election happens, the OAS and the U.S. will have little choice but to accept the results of the election publicly, because Honduras will not then be in breach of the deal. And once the results of the election are announced, the deal is functionally moot anyway. Will the U.S. publicly declare that even though it recognized the results of election on Nov. 30, but since its Congress didn’t follow through and restore lame-duck Zelaya to power after that, the U.S. will now refuse to accept the election results? Even Obama won’t be able to pull that off.

    Many kudos to the Honduran leadership.

    PatHMV (103ba0)

  17. Ian got his gig at State by finishing second to Gibbs in the Bozo Sweepstakes.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e03258)

  18. You know what keeps getting shoved under the rug is that Zelaya’s opposition is lead by his own party members [which makes it ill-defined as a coup, since the party of the first part is the party of the second part, yes?]. It’s no wonder he quickly took it international under those circumstances. It appears the Hondurans mostly get the difference between democratic leaders and socialistic authoritarians, not that Honduras is any hotbed of Ayn Randians. Regardless, small wonder the international interlopers are bonerfide who’s who of socialistic authoritarians…including the Obama community organizing team.

    political agnostic (230235)

  19. In 2013, one of the first tasks of the new president will be to go to Honduras and apologize.

    In 2013 the new president’s first six months – at least – will be dominated with apologies for the world for the election of Barack Obama. The only question is will the new president be doing of his (or her) own volition, or if the world will refuse to even speak with him (or her) before the apologies for Obama are made.

    This president is so incompetent and so arrogant and so dismissive of proper diplomatic protocol and respect for other governments that European governments are saying not to subtly and not so quietly either that they wish Bush was still president.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  20. Right now there appear to be two schools of thought in the international community on how to deal with President Obama.

    The Hondurans and the Iranians are at least giving him a towel to wipe the jizz off his chin; he can claim a nice press release or two from them. The Chinese and the Russians just let him drip.

    JEM (a0f32a)

  21. […] reinstating former President Manuel Zelaya. In a bold move, the President of the Honduran Congress scheduled its vote after the November 29, 2009, presidential […]

    Patterico's Pontifications » Honduran Congress Rejects Zelaya Bid (e4ab32)

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