Over the past few days in Honduras, I have received a number of emails from various parts of the world notifying me that the coup is over thanks to the San José Accord brokered by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. My attempts to discuss the breakthrough with Hondurans here in Tegucigalpa have largely been met with a wave of the hand and roll of the eyes, behavior that detracts slightly from the optimism of the July 29 New York Times article proclaiming: “Honduran Leader Backs Return of President.”
Further detraction has been supplied by Honduran Leader Roberto Micheletti himself, whose reaction to a recent meeting in Managua between ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and US ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens is described on page 16 of the July 31 edition of La Tribuna. Micheletti is quoted as warning that Llorens is committing a grave error if he is considering a reinstatement of Zelaya as president; several paragraphs later, however, some of the spirit of “Honduran Leader Backs Return of President” is recuperated with the information that Micheletti welcomes Zelaya back to Honduras to be tried for his crimes.
A link to the text of the San José Accord is provided in a July 25 New York Times article entitled “Military in Honduras Backs Plan on Zelaya,” which also provides a link to the military communiqué from which the New York Times deduced said backing. A glance at the communiqué reveals that the backing actually consists of support for whatever results are produced by a process of negotiation conducted within the framework of the San José Accord; an idea of these results is contained in the body of the 12-point accord itself, which is headlined “Acuerdo de San José para la reconciliación nacional y el fortalecimiento de la democracia en Honduras.”
Steps toward national reconciliation and the strengthening of democracy include a pledge to abstain from suggesting any sort of popular consultation with the aim of reforming the Honduran constitution, a rescheduling of elections from November to October, and a reaffirmation of the professional and apolitical character of the Honduran armed forces. The October elections will presumably ease the burden on the United States, which will have to worry one less month about inventing demonstrations of concern for the legitimate government of Honduras such as the revocation of four diplomatic visas. The apolitical nature of the Honduran military meanwhile suggests that the removal from his home of a pajama-clad president was not political, and that the former School of the Americas does not teach politics.
The San José Accord also declares that a general amnesty for relevant political crimes committed before and after June 28 will be requested from the Congress but that, at any rate, legal action will not be pursued with regard to such crimes for a period of six months. Bolivian President Evo Morales has taken offense at the assumption that Zelaya is a criminal but has not addressed the less-than-convincing nature of the amnesty clause; Micheletti’s level of conviction in the San José Accord is meanwhile outlined in a column entitled “Desde Estados Unidos” by Jacobo Goldstein, which appears on page 77 of yesterday’s La Tribuna and, contrary to the implications of the title, does not address the origins of the Honduran coup.
Goldstein reveals in a lengthy sentence that the New York Times has revealed that according to various sources Micheletti communicated with Arias and demonstrated acceptance of the accord while at the same time requesting a visit to Honduras by an international mediator to help convince more recalcitrant sectors of the government and business community. Micheletti suggested Enrique Iglesias as a potential envoy; I became less intrigued by the proposal when it turned out that the Honduran Leader did not mean the Spanish singer but rather the former president of the Inter-American Development Bank.
Arias and Iglesias have scheduled a conversation for tomorrow, the Organization of American States has postponed its meeting on Honduras until next week, and the creation of facts on the ground beaneath a veneer of support for dialogue suggests that the Israeli settlement model has been adapted to the Honduran crisis. Spokesman for the model is Oscar Arias, who—despite the fact that article 6 of his accord stipulates that Zelaya will return to power until January 27, 2010—is nonetheless reported on page 12 of yesterday’s La Tribuna as declaring that requests for the return and reinstallation of the President are “palabras vacías,” empty words.