August 24, 2009

OAS delegation to Honduras, August 24

OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza

The delegation of the Organization of American States (OAS or OEA in Spanish) arrived in Honduras this morning, to meet with different public and private entities with the goal of promoting the signing of the San Jose Accord.

Their caravan passed miles of pro-government taxistas (taxi drivers) lining the sides of the road carrying signs saying "Thanks for listening." In contrast, a group of zelayista taxistas blocked traffic on roads earlier in the day.

Members of the commission include Foreign Ministers of Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic, as well as OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza.

Honduras' government initially stated that it would not accept a delegation led by Jose Miguel Insulza, because of his "lack of objectivity, impartiality and professionalism in carrying out his functions, which has resulted in serious damage to democracy,'' but later agreed to his visit only in the role of "observer".

Note that a representative from Panamá has been added to the original list. Well, that is something, but not much when you consider the tense diplomatic situation with Argentina in which they kicked out Honduras' Ambassador and then arrogantly refused to remove their own Ambassador from Honduras. Not to mention a possible conflict of interests in that President Cristine Kirchner signed $1.1 billion in agreements with Venezuela's Hugo Chávez just two weeks ago.

Jamaica and Dominican Republic are dependent upon Hugo Chávez's Petrocaribe for their oil supply. Costa Rica is obviously going to make the same demand as their president that Zelaya be returned to office.

Dominican Republic's Foreign Relations minister Carlos Morales demonstrated that he is not impartial when he stated, “It’s necessary to respect the OAS resolution, it’s the only thing. We’re going to make them respect us....” Morales said, adding that the Dominican Government supports Zelaya’s return to power.

From the latest OAS press releases (emphasis mine):
The Delegation’s agenda will not be limited to the public sphere. It will include meetings with representatives of the Catholic Church, Evangelical Churches, business people, workers, presidential candidates and different civil society organizations.
That sounds good, but I understand the commission's closing press conference will be given tomorrow at 12:30 p.m.! Barely 24 hours after their arrival, they will already have their decision written, edited, and agreed to by the foreign ministers. That reminds me of the OAS meeting in July, after Insulza made a similar 24-hour trip here, talked to numerous people including ex-presidents and judges who said it was not a coup, but he declared it to be a coup anyway. My guess is that the press release is already written.
"Secretary General Insulza stated: "We are motivated by a spirit of dialogue and the disposition to listen to all relevant actors in a situation that has gone on for too long. We are convinced that all players are inspired by a true desire for institutional restoration that would allow the elections of November 29 to produce authorities that are effectively democratic, legitimate and recognized by the international community."

"We hope to find a positive reception to the San Jose Accord, as the only road to reach, at the same time, the return to full democracy and reconciliation among Honduran people. It is a satisfactory document that would allow a return to the state of affairs before the morning of June 28, reinstate the constitutional President and appease the main fears and meet the legitimate demands that gave rise to the crisis. This will allow Honduras to come out of this difficult test strengthened and offer an example of democratic conviction to the entire hemisphere."
How different would the Honduran situation be right now if Insulza had taken this slightly more reasonable attitude (given that he DID know about what was happening in Honduras prior to June 28 − that Zelaya had violated the constitution and defied the Supreme Court)? Instead, in the weeks after June 28, he made comments like this:
On June 28, he erroneously said the coup had been carried out by a "group within the military", called them rebels, and called for the Honduran people among others to "join forces".

He insisted that the only path open is that of "international isolation.”

In another insulzing statement, Insulta stated, "It will not be Honduras that we will be suspending, but the usurpers of a democratic government, who have embarrassed the public service that they swore to take on with honor."

Probably Insulza's most famous insult was on July 16, “If you want to have democratic rule in the region, if you want people to believe in your democratic institutions, if you want to improve the quality of democracy, and correct all its defects, don’t try to justify the rape of democracy!

And we are supposed to believe that this guy is impartial? Insulza's previous stand and refusal to talk to "the actors", along with false and biased media coverage, are in great part responsible for the internal rifts and violence in Honduras today. For all the talk of 'dialogue', 'negotiation', and 'mediation', both Insulza and Oscar Arias have made it clear from the beginning by using terms like golpistas, de facto government, illegal acts, and golpe de estado, that the San Jose Accord was in no way negotiable, that Honduras had been judged, convicted, and sentenced long before they were ever allowed to present the facts in Costa Rica.

Venezuelan blogger Daniel Duquenal paints a dismal view of Insulza's future directly related to the Honduran crisis in an article titled
When the mediator becomes the problem:
I am betting that this simple Honduras communique is the nail in the Insulza reelection coffin. A few countries must shiver at the idea that one day he might be the mediator of any conflict they might be involved in. Lists are probably drawn for his successor as I type.
Daniel also touches upon the inflammatory and biased prose of the main stream media in this article.

The 10 questions for the OAS asked by UCD, Honduras' united group of civic groups, and, among many others, this articled entitled What's wrong with Insulza and the OAS? published by the Center for Security Policy make it very clear that José Miguel Insulza's motives need to be questioned.
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