US policy toward Honduras

Honduras' Holding Pattern

July 6, 2009

by Christopher Sabatini

Things aren’t going well in Honduras. Lines have been drawn on both sides now, pitting the ousted president Manuel (“Mel”) Zelaya Rosales (backed by the international community, including the U.S.) against the de facto government, led by Roberto Micheletti (backed by the Honduran Congress—where he came from—a majority of the Honduran people and a handful of conservatives.) The question is, now that the Organization of American States (with the support of the U.S.) has declared the June 28th removal of Zelaya an “unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime," denounced the military’s actions of June 28th, and called for his return, what’s going to happen?

The international community is squarely in favor of declaring this a coup and having Zelaya returned to power. The Honduran Congress, armed forces, Supreme Court, and many of its people refuse to allow it. Just yesterday when Zelaya (unwisely) chose to try to return on (again, unwisely) a Venezuelan jet, he was turned back by the military blocking the airport.

Meanwhile, the OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza is engaging in shuttle diplomacy, going between the different actors in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, and trying to foster some compromise.

Before laying out my position on this, to avoid any confusion at a time (and in a region) where people like to ideologically pigeonhole others and claim that one or the other is not on the “side of freedom,” let me say the following in as direct a fashion as possible:

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Tags: President Zelaya, Honduras coup, the OAS negotiations in Honduras, US policy toward Honduras