By Emile Schepers
News on Honduras today has to do with yesterday's meeting of Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, the agreed on mediator of the dispute, with five of the six candidates for president in the November 29 elections. The sixth one, who did not attend, was independent leftist candidate Carlos Humberto Reyes.
Four of the five candidates who met with Arias yesterday, namely Elvin Santos (Liberal Party), Pepe Lobo (National Party), Felicito Avila (Christian Democratic Party) and Bernard Martinez (Innovation and Unity Party) signed a document saying they support the Arias process, but do not support the return of Zelaya. Since the return of Zelaya is a sine-qua-non element of the proposals made by Arias, this is tantamount to saying that they support the Arias process, except that they don't. The fifth candidate who met with Arias yesterday, Cesar Ham of the left wing Democratic Unification Party, denounced the whole charade and did not sign anything. President Manuel Zelaya from exile also accused the four musketeers of conspiring to undermine the Arias process. The right wing press in Honduras and beyond is crowing about this, saying that this shows the majority is against the return of Zelaya. Perhaps they forget that majorities are demonstrated by elections, and not only has the election not happened yet, but can not be clean or fair under the current circumstances of repression of press freedom and political participation. Zelaya accused the four candidates of participating in a conspiritorial meeting with former president Carlos Flores Facusse, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez and other right wing elements in order to coordinate sabotage of the Arias negotiations.
Meanwhile, the inaugrual fall meeting of the UN General Assembly looms next week. Various resources state that when president Arias attends, he will have a side meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the Honduras issue. In the General Assembly session itself, the issue of Honduras will be presented by Dominican President Leonel Fernandez, on Wednesday September 23.
An Agence France-Presse article in the online edition of the Costa Rican newspaper la Nacion quotes U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtenin, R-FL, as complaining that President Zelaya is being allowed to go and speak to the UN while the State Department has cancelled the visas of the Micheletti coup government's leaders, who according to what they quote ms. Ros-Lehtenin as saying, are carrying out negotiations with the Republican Party to get the Obama administration to drop support of Zelaya. Ms. Ros-Lehtenin, along with the Diaz-Balart brothers (Lincoln and Mario) is an extreme anti-Castro Cuban exile Republican legislator from South Florida. Support for Micheletti has become a cause celebre for the Cuban exile right.
All for now, tune in again tomorrow.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
By Emile Schepers