By: Emile Schepers
1. U.S. PRESS TAKES MICHELETTI “OFFER” SERIOUSLY. Yesterday I told you that the coup de-facto president Micheletti, made an offer to step down if Zelaya also would. The problem with this is that the Supreme Court chief justice would then become the president, and he was one of the chief coup plotters. While the New York Times treated this “generous offer” with the derision it deserved, a lot of other press in the U.S., including the Washington Post, took it seriously and pretend not to understand why such a gimmick would not be acceptable. Also, much of the press said that the deal Micheletti offered would also include amnesty for Zelaya, but this turns out not to be the case –either Micheletti was misunderstood by reporters, or he changed his mind yet again. Letters to the editors are in order.
2. MICHELETTI INSISTS ON ELECTIONS. On September 1, the official electoral campaigning season in Honduras begins. The election for president, the unicameral national Congress and local offices is set for November 29—a three month campaign season. Since the coup crowd are still in control, the opposition is repressed (though fighting back) and the opposition press interfered with (by sabotage and repression), an especially since the illegitimate coup government can not be allowed to run the elections, most of the world sees the results as not being valid unless there is a quick breakthrough on a compromise solution of some kind, or unless the Micheletti regime quickly collapses, which does not seem likely. It is not even clear whether pro-Zelaya candidates will be able to campaign and if they will be certified if they win. Patricia Rodas, Zelaya’s foreign minister, joined most of Latin America in stating that the results of an election carried out under such circumstances can not be recognized as valid. However, the U.S. State Department has not yet stated whether it will or will not recognize the election results. Many feel that a clear statement from the Obama administration that the results will not be recognized (with the implication that normal U.S. aid to Honduras will not resume) would be of great help in turning the situation around. One gets the impression that Micheletti is relying, above all, on being able to manipulate U.S. politics, working through the Republican Party and lobbyist Lanny Davis on Capitol Hill, to pull a rabbit out of a hat, carry off the Nov. 29 elections without a return of Zelaya and constitutional normalcy, and then eventually get recognition for whoever wins the election. This fantasy would be cut short if the U.S. government would say, along with UNASUR, the Organization of American States and others, “no, we will absolutely not recognize the results of such a joke of an election”. Messages to the State Department, White House and Congress should start picking up this theme.
3. OAS DEMANDS RESTORATION OF ZELAYA. The Organization of American States’ Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza, has repeated that the election results on November 29 will not be recognized by that body unless Zelaya and constitutional normalcy are restored.
4. THE CENTRAL AMERICA DEVELOPMENT BANK FREEZES HONDURAS CREDIT. The Central American Bank of Economic Integration announced Wednesday a provisional freeze of loans to Honduras, while the Bank studies whether to suspend such loans entirely. They have been averaging about $200 million a year, mostly for infrastructural development. The European Union is preparing a similar move.
5. NO NEWS ON HILLARY CLINTON VIS A VIS MILLENIUM CHALLENGE MONEY FOR HONDURAS. Yesterday I told you that State Department staff had recommended to Secretary of State Clinton that Honduras be suspended from the Millennium Challenge program; there is no response yet.
All for now—more tomorrow, no doubt.
Friday, August 28, 2009
By: Emile Schepers