October 31, 2009

Highlights of the Honduras Accord

The following are my notes from the Guaymuras Accord, now being called the Tegucigalpa/San José Accord. I've simplified and just included the main requirements, rather than trying to translate it word for word. Just imagine a lot of "to achieve reconciliation" and "to strengthen democracy" and that sort of statement throughout. My personal comments are in brackets [ ].

A copy of the signed Guaymuras Accord in Spanish is here. Each section includes any applicable articles of the constitution, so if you are interested in that, just refer to the original document for the references.

1. Government of Unity and National Reconciliation

This refers to the Secretaries, Sub-secretaries, and heads of other state departments [such as Hondutel and La ENEE]. [This would be similar to the president's cabinet in the US.] It specifically states that these people should be from diverse parties and should be known for their honesty and capabilities. It also requires this new government to respect the 2009 budget approved by congress in July 2009, since Mel Zelaya had never submitted a 2009 budget.

[I hope that they consider leaving some of the same people in key positions (some of whom were appointed by Zelaya) because what a mess the government will be with new people stepping in for only three months − especially if the new appointees decide to find jobs for all their relatives and friends, as has been the custom. What also is not clear to me is exactly who will be doing the appointing.]

2. Renunciation of Constitutional Assembly

This requires abstention from convoking, directly or indirectly, a constitutional assembly, as well as prohibition of promoting or supporting any public poll with the object of reforming the articles of the constitution "set in stone". This includes making public declarations or exercising any type of influence inconsistent with the spirit of articles 5, 239, 373, and 374, and the special law that regulates Referendum and Plebiscite. [Certain Resistance members have already said that they are not giving up on the Constitutional Assembly.]

3. Elections and Transfer of Government

Makes a call to the Honduran public to participate pacifically in the elections and avoid every type of manifestation that opposes elections or promotes insurrection or illegal acts. Also discusses the TSE authority and the transfer of power on January 27, 2009. [Some Resistance members are continuing to say that they will boycott elections.]

4. Armed Forces and National Police

As already required by the constitution, control of the Armed Forces was transferred to the Election Tribunal (TSE) until election results are announced [expected to be November 30]. The military are responsible for the custody, transportation, and vigilance of election materials, as well as election security. The National Police are also reminded to strictly follow the special legislation [I assume this means laws related to elections].

5. Executive Power

Both sides have decided that the National Congress, as an expression of popular sovereignty, in consultation with the Supreme Court and in conformation with the law, resolve the issue of the return of the Executive Power to his status previous to June 28, until January 27, 2010. [Note that there is no timetable or deadline for this action. The congress is in recess right now, but could call a special session next week.]

The decision adopted by the Congress should be based on reaching social peace, political tranquility, and democratic government that the society demands and the country needs. [This could be the catch in which the international community could refuse to accept the Congress' decision or refuse to recognize elections − ALBA members and other countries have already said as much in the October 30 OAS meeting. That would, of course, highlight their hypocrisy.]

6. Verification and Truth Commissions

Verification Commission will monitor the strict compliance with the Accord. The commission will be coordinated by OAS, and consists of two members of the international community and two Honduran members (one selected by each side). [It has been announced that the two international members will be Colin Powell (former US Secretary of State) and Ricardo Lagos (former president and member of the Socialist Party of Chile). How can the OAS be so obvious that they appoint a socialist to this commission?! This could result in a 3 to 1 bias against the true Honduran majority.]

It is recommended that the next government establish the Truth Commission in the first 6 months of 2010. [Why the delay?!]

7. Normalization of Relations

By promising to comply faithfully with this Accord, it is respectfully asked that the immediate revocation of measures and sanctions that affect Honduras and its participation in the international community.

We call on the international community to reactivate cooperative projects as soon as possible and to continue with negotiations of future projects.

8. Final Dispositions

Any difference in interpretation or application of the Accord will be submitted to the Verification Commission to be determined in accordance with the Constitution and laws of Honduras.

Taking into account that this Accord is the product of Hondurans, we vehemently ask that the international community respect the sovereignty of Honduras and observe the UN Charter principal of no intervention in internal matters of other states.

9. Compliance calendar

The Accord goes into effect immediately on the date of signing.

Oct. 30, 2009:
1. Signing of Accord
2. Submission of the Accord to Congress regarding point 5.

Nov. 2, 2009: Formation of the Verification Commission

No later than Nov. 5, 2009: Formation and installation of the Unity and Reconciliation Government.

Jan. 27, 2010: Celebration of the transfer of government.

First 6 months of 2010: Formation of the Truth Commission

10. Final Declaration

A promise in good faith to comply with the terms of the Accord.

11. Appreciation

[Not worth summarizing. The people being thanked have already congratulated themselves and each other ad nauseam.]

12. Effective date

The agreement is effective the date signed. The formal signing ceremony will be on Monday, November 2 [in which I assume that Roberto Micheletti and Manuel Zelaya will sign the agreement].


Note that there are no amnesty provisions, as were in the original San José Accord. Amnesty for political crimes was removed at the request of Mel Zelaya. Additionally, Vilma Morales explained in a press conference that there can be no amnesty for corruption cases based on Honduras signing an Inter-American Anti-Corruption agreement about four years ago.

We hear a lot about the "Resistance", but what we hear nothing about in the international media is the other "Resistance" − The civil society groups and average citizens who don't burn tires, who don't paint graffiti, and who don't want Mel Zelaya back to further divide and promote hate. These people also want change in their government, but what they want is that their constitution is upheld and their laws are enforced. They want corruptos punished under the law. This group makes up about 80% of the population and it is so unfair that the remaining 15-20% who make all 'noise' are the only ones listened to by the international community and the international media.
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