Zelaya returns

Zelaya Holes Up in the Brazilian Embassy: Now What?

September 23, 2009

by Christopher Sabatini

So he’s back in Honduras.  How Zelaya got in is still a mystery and to the de facto President Micheletti a source of some concern, primarily if it may mean that some segments of the armed forces may have been complicit. That concern will increase as the  nervous Micheletti asks the armed forces to enforce his curfew and crack down on pro-Zelaya demonstrators .  The clamp down has already caused a number of injuries and reportedly between one to six deaths, prompting a public statement from Amnesty International condemning the government’s heavy handed tactics.

In any democratic transition, the point of change comes when moderate segments of the armed forces decide that the cost of repressing escalating social unrest is too great and break with the government.  Such a scenario is looking possible in Honduras.  (Remember also the statement of some junior military officers in late July endorsing the San José accord that called for Zelaya to return?) But by no means is it desirable.

Getting to that point implies increased upheaval and turmoil, something that President Zelaya is clearly trying to stoke from his temporary quarters inside the Brazilian embassy The stunt of his sneaking into Honduras (as with his earlier antics of flying over the capital threatening to land and his two-step over the Nicaraguan/Honduran border) are unfortunate efforts to energize his supporters, keep himself in the news and provoke clashes.   And they make it difficult for the diplomatic world to support him—even when they are (as they should be) supporting the institutional and democratic/electoral process that he represents and that was overturned on June 28th.  It’s just that it would be easier if he weren’t so cynically trying to seize media attention, ally himself with unsavory allies who themselves have little interest in institutional integrity and use his supporters as cannon fodder.

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Tags: Honduras, Zelaya returns, Brazil and U.S., Negotiations in Honduras, Clashes in Honduras