Midnight announcement by Roberto Micheletti
Photo: El Heraldo, Honduras
Photo: El Heraldo, Honduras
Just barely meeting the November 5 deadline, Honduran President Roberto Micheletti reported to the country in a national broadcast by television and radio that the cabinet of unity and reconciliation had been formed, despite the fact that Manuel Zelaya refused to provide any nominations for the new cabinet. Surrounded by dozens of smiling members of political parties and civic groups, Micheletti appeared pleased and concluded his speech with 'Viva Honduras!' three minutes before midnight.
During his speech, Micheletti explained that at the beginning of the week, nominations were requested from the principal political parties, the presidential candidates, sectors of the civil society, and Manuel Zelaya. He said that all nominations were carefully considered and that the final list represents the broad range of ideological and political interests, strictly in compliance with the Tegucigalpa-San José Accord.
Micheletti did not announce the individual names as they must be approved by the Verification Commission, although the proposed cabinet already "enjoys the most ample participation and approval of the different sectors of society and political parties". Additionally, he left it open as to whether the 'zelayistas' could send their nominations after the deadline.
Earlier in the day, Micheletti's ministers all offered their resignations to make way for the newly selected cabinet, though it is expected that some individuals may continue. Micheletti's existing cabinet includes members of both major parties as well as several cabinet members who had been named by and served under Zelaya previously. The two largest political parties expressed their confidence in Micheletti by suggesting that he was at liberty to name the persons that he considered suitable to continue with his responsibilities.
Rafael Pineda Ponce, Minister of the Presidency, personally delivered a letter to Zelaya earlier this week respectfully asking for his nominations for the Unity Government. Zelaya proclaimed that action to be "an aggression, an offense" and refused to reply with any nominations, insisting that he must be restored to office before the unity government could be formed.
Yesterday, an OAS representative stated that "there is no climate for ultimatums". Previously, former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos (official OAS representative to the commission) confirmed that the formation of the unity government was the first step to reconciliation and separate from the question of the restoration of Zelaya. Lagos also suggested that this is the time to put aside differences and look to the future of Honduras for Hondurans.
The commission continued to wait for Zelaya's nominations throughout the deadline day well into the night. During the 9 p.m. channel 5 news, it was announced that US Ambassador Llorens and OAS representatives left the meetings to go the Brazilian Embassy in an attempt to obtain nominations from Zelaya. They were not successful.
Today, international headlines everywhere read that the pact "failed", "fell apart", or "collapsed". I don't agree with that conclusion at all. The media seems to be relying almost exclusively upon statements of Zelaya and his followers.
Not even the terribly biased and ineffective OAS can allow Zelaya to single-handedly sabotage the Accord while everyone else is making heroic efforts to comply with it. Zelaya could have participated and worked toward reconciliation of Honduras. Instead he and his followers chose to issue demands and deadlines not provided for in the agreement using offensive and divisive language.
Can the future of a country be held hostage by one man who obviously only has his own personal interests in mind? I don't think so.
However − though I am loathe to quote these unreliable sources − Zelayista-funded CholusatSur TV and Radio Globo report that today US Ambassador Hugo Llorens has said that the parties must return to the dialogue table regarding the restoration of Zelaya. CholusatSur TV and Radio Globo have been issuing false information for four months, and particularly since the Accord was signed, including even blatantly mistranslating a US State Department press briefing for their audience.
If true, this is a very, very strange and contradictory comment coming from a high level official of the US government which has already stated its support for the signed Accord. Since it has already been agreed − at Mel Zelaya's request! − that the Congress is responsible for that decision, to imply that renegotiation is needed indicates that the US does not respect the Honduran solution after all.
If the OAS and US do continue to support the celebrated Accord for which which they issued lavish congratulations to each other, it is time for them to issue clear and concise statements to the zelayista media and to make a call for a stop to the disinformation campaign.
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, issued a statement today indicating that he "deplored the disruption to the process of implementation of the Agreement reached in Tegucigalpa on October 30. “The measures approved in the Agreement are clear and were signed by the parties of their own free will. I hope they will be met without further subterfuges to reestablish democracy, institutional legitimacy and peace among Hondurans,” Insulza stated."
That is NOT a clear statement and has already been used by these unethical media sources as official OAS condemnation of Micheletti. Insulza has never hesitated to direct his condemnations to the "de facto government". It is now time to make it clear that Zelaya is the person who is disrupting the process of reconciliation. To do otherwise is irresponsible and the OAS should be held responsible for any further destabilization of the country.
Failure of the OAS and US to issue clear statements is causing severe discord and discontent in Honduras. Previously Ambassador Llorens found it completely acceptable to publicly chastise Radio Globo for antisemitic comments. Surely the current situation and potential for violence merits the same attention.
More on the Zelayista position later...