November 4, 2009

Shannon clarifies the Accord; Zelaya disputes it

Update: The CNN video did not work so I replaced it with the same video on YouTube.

In this CNN (Español) video from yesterday, November 3, you will hear US Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon clarify that the restoration of Zelaya to the presidency is not guaranteed by the Guaymuras-Tegucigalpa-San José Accord and that it is a decision to be made by the Honduran National Congress. He states that installation of the National Unity Government is a separate matter from the restitution. He also states that the US and the OAS will accompany Honduras to their elections.

Shannon denies both media reports about deals with Zelaya and presidential candidate Pepe Lobo. He qualifies them as "lies".

Shannon confirms that both leaders took a risk in signing the Accord but they must accept the results of the Congressional vote. "At the end of day, the solution .... must be resolved by Hondurans." The interviewer asks, "So, for the US, to terminate the crisis .... the theme is: what happens, happens?" "Yes, exactly," responded Shannon.

The interviewer asks about Zelaya's interpretation of the Accord (that it requires his restoration by November 5). Shannon replies that he understands and respects Zelaya's opinion, but .... it is a decision of the Congress.

Zelaya's reaction

This interview upset Zelaya tremendously and he sent a letter to Hillary Clinton asking for a clarification of the US position. The letter accuses Washington of not respecting the Accord. [google translation]

Zelaya and his supporters have been spreading the disinformation that the Accord requires the restoration of Zelaya to the presidency by November 5.

The Zelayistas have been lied to beginning with Zelaya himself and his close supporters and extending to Zelaya controlled media (Radio Globo, Channel 36, El Tiempo). They have explained the lack of action by saying that the golpistas were doing dirty tricks and violating the Accord.

Most shameful of all, even the Verification Commission press conference was used to spread propaganda by Jorge Arturo Reina who gave a completely inappropriate and divisive speech, to the shock of many. US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solís was sitting next to him and a couple of times appeared very uncomfortable with his vitriolic rhetoric.

Reina told the audience that the agreement was to reverse the coup and that the Accord ordered the National Congress to reinstate Zelaya. His language was harsh and insulting. This was completely inappropriate since the Verification Commission's task is precisely to decide any issues of disagreement of interpretation of the Accord, and after all, the main purpose of the Accord is to promote peace and unity in Honduras.

I think that it is telling that Zelaya chose a representative to the Verification Commission who was not on his original negotiation team, unlike Micheletti. I have not heard any statements by Zelaya's three Guaymuras negotiators disputing the interpretation of Micheletti's negotiators that the National Congress is free to decide the issue.

Recall that while Micheletti insisted that restoration of Zelaya was a legal matter which should be decided by the court, Zelaya claimed that the issue was political and demanded that it be decided by the Congress. Ultimately Micheletti made a concession and agreed to Zelaya's demand. Now Zelaya is trying to renege.

Note: The embedded video doesn't seem to be working for me. If you don't see it, please click the link in the first sentence to view the video at

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