October 18, 2009

Can Zelaya be trusted?

Patricia Rodas and Mel Zelaya

The big question is, whatever Mel agrees to in the Guaymuras Accord, can we trust Manuel Zelaya not to try to sabotage elections?

Apparently not, because while his Guaymuras team was agreeing to elections, Zelaya was giving declarations to Channel 11 saying that the elections could be a fraud and that the international community will not recognize the results. On Saturday, the ALBA states agreed to not recognize elections. Various of his followers are also calling for boycott of the elections, despite the fact that they have two candidates on the ballot.

Zelaya and Patty Rodas continue to issue almost daily statements that elections will not be valid unless he is restored to power, echoed by Insulza of the OAS in a CNN interview, offering weak complaints about violence and oppression of the media. This makes it very hard to believe that he would not try to stop the November elections on some pretext.

Last year, Zelaya postponed the primary elections on the pretext that a tropical storm had hit Honduras. He similarly delayed Supreme Court appointments in January 2009. A constitutional crisis was narrowly averted when the new court was sworn in just minutes before midnight on the date that the prior court justices' terms ended.

Even before the Guaymuras talks adjourned on Friday, Patricia Rodas read a statement from Zelaya at Chavez's ALBA Summit that "the de facto government was planning election fraud". The Telesur article includes a crazy charge that Zelaya's return is in the hands of the military, something that makes no sense at all and has never been suggested. [Google translation]

On Friday, Zelaya's lead negotiator to the Guaymuras talks declared that Honduras would be ungovernable if Zelaya was not reinstated. 'Ungovernable' is a key word which would give the world reason to not recognize elections.

Rodas also issued
a statement to Telesur around noon declaring that "the dialogue had been broken by the intransigence of the dictator" − a statement which was picked up by many online media sources even though the parties to the dialogue were all saying that the dialogue would continue.

Interestingly, despite the fact that the negotiators and supposedly Zelaya have already agreed to drop the constitutional assembly issue, Patty is quoted as saying "We will march toward our Constitutional Assembly....". Oscar Arias, José Insulza, and the US State Department have frequently mentioned that Zelaya already agreed to San José Accord, which obviously he has not. Both Accords have statements that the Constitutional Assembly issue will not be pursued. This is a clear sign that the Guaymuras Accord means nothing to Rodas or Zelaya and that elections are similarly in danger.

Zelaya's supporters continually threaten to disrupt the election campaign, not allow distribution of election materials, and block voting if their leader is not reinstated in the next few days.

In this Telesur video, Juan Barahona, resistencia leader and former Guaymuras delegate, says that they will do whatever it takes to hinder elections. [click 'mas videos' at Telesur under the current video and scroll down to find 'Dirigente del Frente Resistencia, Juan Barahona']

Political analyst Jorge Illescas says that Zelaya's personal attitude is to put obstacles to the dialogue. He doesn't believe that Zelaya ever intended to hold elections and thinks that Zelaya still intends to convoke the Constitutional Assembly if he should be reinstated.

And just today, Telesur reports that Zelaya has said that neither he nor the resistencia are going to recognize the November 29 elections. In the same article he states that he is a democrat and he supports elections. [Google translation] This guy makes my head hurt.

Ironically, Mel also blames Vice Chancellor Martha Lorena Alvarado for declaring the talks dead, when in fact, the only people who have suggested that the talks are dead are Rodas, Victor Meza, and Zelaya himself.

Does any of this make it clear why Hondurans do not trust Zelaya to keep his word? And don't forget, anything that would happen in Honduras after Zelaya returns to office (if he does) would be an 'internal matter' and not subject to oversight of the OAS. Insulza has said as much.
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