October 7, 2009

The Honduran talks begin

Honduras Guaymura dialogueView of some of the delegates for the Guaymuras talks

"Diplomats converge on Honduras" read all the headlines this morning. Now, in place of Arias' San José Accord, we have a new Guaymuras Accord. Guymuras is the ancient name for Honduras. Why agendas such as this are called 'accords' before anyone agrees to them, I do not know.

Details of the agenda were not made available to the media, though the advance OAS member John Biehl, Insulza's right-hand man, has expressed much optimism about the dialogue.

The 14-member OAS mission arrived "for the purpose of promoting dialog and the restoration of democracy." The mission includes diplomats from Guatemala, El Salvador, United States, Mexico, Ecuador, Canada, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Brasil, Argentina y Spain. Also included are OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza and Thomas Shannon of the US State Department.

Honduras Foreign Minister Carlos Lopéz Contreras will chair the discussion. President Micheletti's representatives will include former Supreme Court President Vilma Morales and attorney Arturo Corrales, both of whom were representatives to the Arias discussions, and attorney Armando Aguilar, representing, I believe three different political parties.

Former president Mel Zelaya has named eight representatives, of which three have been accepted. The room is stuffed with people. I recognize some as pro-Zelaya leaders and some as representing the Honduran civil society groups.

If many any more decided to come, they would have had to meet in the stadium.

Zelaya, who has been proclaiming his readiness for dialogue, has now expressed his skepticism to the media. He told Canadian radio that he will not talk to Micheletti without an agreement to restore him to office. "To me, the dialogue they have called for has no credibility, it seems to be another game they are playing," Zelaya told Reuters.

In the past week, he has been issuing demands from the Brazilian Embassy. First it was three, then four, then five conditions. When one of his demands was met, he then dismissed it as a meaningless gesture. He also demands immediate signing of the San José Accord, despite the fact that he has widely stated that he will not be subject to various clauses of the Accord.

Insulza made his typical insulting, misinformed, and overbearing opening remarks. This is a man who will never be welcomed in Honduras again. He seemed to be demanding, once again, the signing of the San José Accord. Peter Kent, the Canadian representative, received much more applause. Victor Meza, Zelaya's representative, received very little applause from the audience. I'm watching the show on television right now and will write more later.


I hope at some time in the immediate future to never hear the word 'dialogue' again in my life. You cannot even imagine how many thousands of times per day we hear that word in the Honduras media. Virtually every other sentence uttered includes it.
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