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Friday, November 6, 2009

The Honduran Farce courtesy Obama.

This is truly farcical. All along the precondition of any deal was that Zelaya return as president albeit with reduced powers to serve out his term. Now the Honduran congress has not even voted on the agreement while going ahead and forming a new government all on its own. A total insult to Zelaya, the OAS, and the US. The US response is to recognise the coming elections and claim that Zelaya re-instatement was not part of the agreement. In other words according to the US interpretation it was OK for Micheletti not to put the agreement to the Honduran congress and to go ahead without Zelaya. There is not a word in this article about what those who were to verify the carrying out of the accord had to say. What could they say when the accord has not even been ratified! How on earth can Micheletti carry out the terms when the Honduran congress has yet to ratify the agreement and Zelaya has refused to be involved because indeed it is a farce.

Power-sharing deal in Honduras collapses as Zelaya demands to lead• De facto regime sought to form 'unity' government
• Ousted president refuses to continue 'charade'

Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent guardian.co.uk


A power-sharing deal between the de facto government of Honduras and the ousted president, Manuel Zelaya, has collapsed, reigniting the country's political crisis. Zelaya refused to join a new "unity" government on Friday after it became clear he would not be heading it. "The accord is dead," he told Radio Globo. "There is no sense in deceiving Hondurans."

The leftist leader, toppled and exiled in a coup four months ago, signed up to a US-brokered pact last week thinking it would be his ticket back to power. But opponents in the Honduran congress delayed a decision on Zelaya's reinstatement and the de facto president, Roberto Micheletti, went ahead with forming a new administration without his rival.

The accord had set a Thursday midnight deadline for the new government and left the decision over Zelaya's return to power in the hands of congress. "It's absurd what they are doing, trying to mock all of us, the people who elected me and the international community that supports me. We've decided not to continue this theatre with Mr Micheletti," Zelaya said.

He urged Hondurans to boycott a presidential election slated for 29 November in which neither he nor Micheletti are candidates – raising the spectre of a discredited poll and continued crisis.

The de facto regime appeared to be bracing for fresh street demonstrations in the capital, Tegucigalpa. Local television showed soldiers, tanks and military vehicles reinforcing positions around the Brazilian embassy where Zelaya has holed up since slipping back into the country last month.

In a televised speech Micheletti said the new caretaker administration would rule until the January swearing-in of the election winner. "We've completed the process of forming a unity government. It represents a wide spectrum despite the fact that Mr Zelaya did not send a list of representatives."

The de facto authorities have the support of many middle class and conservative Hondurans as well as the supreme court, congress and military. They mistrusted Zelaya's leftward tilt and alliance with Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez. Curfews, media curbs, teargas and mass arrests have been used to suppress protests by Zelaya's mostly poor supporters. Several have died. Foreign condemnation of the coup has been near universal, leaving the impoverished coffee exporter isolated but defiant.

European and Latin American governments said they would not recognise the looming election unless Zelaya was first reinstated. US negotiators clinched last week's agreement by apparently reinforcing that message. The Obama administration appeared to have scored a significant diplomatic victory. But since congress stymied Zelaya's reinstatement the US has said it will recognise the election regardless, which could deepen Latin American frustration that Washington has not done more to pressure the Honduran regime.

A state department spokesman said the pact did not demand Zelaya's return. "The only deadline was to form a government of national unity, which was done."

Washington's decision to recognise the new government gave the Honduran congress little incentive to bring back the ousted leader, said Michael Shifter, an analyst with the Inter-American Dialogue thinktank. He suggested there was still hope for a negotiated settlement.

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