Victor Meza, Zelaya spokesperson and Guaymuras delegate
Photo: El Heraldo
Photo: El Heraldo
At noon today, Zelaya spokesman Victor Meza announced that the delegates have a textual consensus on 95% of the points of the San José Accord, but he stressed that this is not an agreement. He says that the dialogue will continue, despite the fact that earlier today Victor Meza told reporters that if a peaceful solution is not reached by noon today, Honduras will become "ungovernable". (Bring on the UN blue hats! It is 11:56 a.m. as I write this.)
The delegates met for 10 hours yesterday and the dialogue continues today. Micheletti representative Vilma Morales said that they might reach a definitive accord between today and Saturday.
Last week, Zelaya issued an artificially imposed drop dead deadline of October 15, but changed it to noon today. This is less because he is becoming more reasonable than it is that the large protests the resistencia planned for yesterday would have been lost among the country-wide World Cup qualification celebrations. Besides, the protesters only protest on work days and Micheletti declared Thursday a national day of celebration.
Other than the restitution of Zelaya, most of the points of the San José Accord were agreed to relatively quickly by the delegates with the exception of moving up the elections by one month and the amnesty clause.
The elections on November 28 were set long before June 28, and for different reasons, neither side is interested in moving the date up. The turning over of control of the military to the Tribunal Supremo Electoral a month before the election is required by the Honduran constitution so that was a non-issue.
Amazingly Mel Zelaya believes that he doesn't need amnesty. He and Patty Rodas have been plotting revenge for months on the golpistas (coup plotters), so it was agreed that no one would have amnesty. In his mind, that golpista list is a long one. He has even classified Catholic Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez as one of the coup plotters. Basically anyone who approved of the constitutional succession after the fact is accused of being a golpista and must be punished.
Despite what appears by all accounts to be genuine efforts to reach a compromise which can be accepted by all sides, resistance leader Juan Barahona announced massive protests for noon today based on Zelaya's arbitrary ultimatum.
Barahona is a former Zelaya delegate to the negotiations and was a member of the Communist Party of Honduras until it was dissolved. He quit the other day because he says the resistance will not give up the right to demand a constitutional assembly. I predicted that he would resign as soon as his name was first mentioned. The International Journal of Socialism Renewal reports that Barahona has been protesting for 34 years.
The Zelayistas are divided with some seeing the return of Zelaya and reversal of the "coup" as the major issue, while others are focused on the constitutional assembly and care less about Zelaya, except as a tool to achieve a new socialist constitution. Since delegates from both sides have already agreed to drop the constitutional assembly issue, the fact is that the same protesters will continue striking and protesting in Honduras no matter what agreement is reached. Some of them have been protesting for 20-35 years. No agreement will ever change that.
Currently, some insiders believe that an agreement for a third party to assume the presidency will be announced by Monday. Others don't believe that an agreement can ever be reached because of Chávez, or that even if Mel signs an agreement, he will not abide by it. If that betrayal should come to pass, Zelaya's actions would become an internal matter like Chávez's democratic abuses in Venezuela, and the OAS presidents' club would shrug their shoulders and say "not our problem".
Next, what you don't read in the international media:
Dirty tricks behind the Honduran scenes