July 19, 2009

Well, there you have it!

Mel Zelaya with Oscar Arias

Well, there you have it! This is what Honduras has been dealing with, not for three weeks like the rest of you, but for three and a half years.

Both Mel Zelaya personally and his negotiation team announced agreement with Arias' proposed 7 points. The 7 points include a provision that Zelaya and his government renounce all intentions to place the fourth ballot box in the next election or to make any unauthorized referendum not expressly allowed by the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras.

In an interview with a Brazilian newspaper, he is quoted as saying that he can't betray the public and abandon the process. "The pueblo has sent me 500,000 signatures that say that we want to be consulted. For this, we will establish a process to consult the public.", he is reported to have said by Honduran Proceso Digital. (A spokesperson for his mediation team later said that this interview was given on Friday before the meetings in Costa Rica on Saturday.)

Prior to the ouster of Mel Zelaya, there were numerous reports, many first-hand, of people being paid L.500 for a vote. There were also reports of government employees being threatened with their jobs and patients being denied treatment in public hospitals if they didn't sign on the dotted line. That is where many of these signatures came from.

On public television on at least one occasion, he indicated that these signatures should be added to the votes, since, after all, it wasn't going to be an official election, just an opinion poll.

Zelaya is also quoted as saying that a governor should listen to the public. The only thing he says he is proposing is to listen to the public. While that sounds good, numerous Gallup and other polls over the years indicate that the top priorities for the public were crime (usually the top mentioned concern), corruption, unemployment, education, poverty, and interestingly, lack of moral values, in some order. When asked, the public always indicated strong dissatisfaction with the actions of the government in these areas.

La Prensa has an interesting comparison of polls taken between January 2007 and July 2009. Citizens' priorities have not changed significantly during that time except that 'corruption and cost of the government' almost doubled in the latest July poll.

Zelaya didn't listen to the public for 3 1/2 years. It is odd that he says he wants to listen now.

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