November 23, 2009

Let me count the ways

Mel Zelaya − not gonna do it!

Let me count the ways that the Guaymuras-Tegucigalpa-San José Accord has already been violated.

1. In the first paragraph of the preamble, the Accord states that "We are convinced of the necessity to .... assure a climate of peace and tranquility for our country." Zelaya and his followers have promoted hate, division, and violence before, during, and especially after the Accord, showing no respect for the spirit of the agreement.

2. The second paragraph speaks of restoring civic harmony. There can be no civic harmony when the zelayistas can only speak in terms of hate and division of the rich and the poor, the "golpistas" and the "resistencia", or when anyone who expresses a different opinion is condemned as being a golpista.

3. Item 1 of the Accord defines the National Reconciliation and Unity government which was to be established by November 5. Zelaya refused to provide any nominations for the Ministerial Cabinet, insisting that he had to be restored to office first.

4. The second paragraph of Item 1 states, "In light of the fact that before the 28th of June, the Executive Power had not submitted a General Budget .... in conformity with that established in article 205, number 32 of the Constitution...." that this government will respect and function "on the basis of the general budget recently approved by the National Congress for fiscal year 2009." In Zelaya's upside-down logic, he has used his own violation of the constitution (in not providing a budget) to declare that the current government is illegally spending government funds because he himself has not approved the 2009 budget. Follow that?

5. Item 2 agrees to renounce the convocation of a constitutional assembly in any direct or indirect way. Most of Zelaya's followers, especially Patty Rodas, have not even given lip service to this clause, calling for a constitutional assembly in virtually every speech.

6. Item 3 calls for the Honduran people to peacefully participate in the elections and to avoid all kinds of acts which would produce violence or transgressions of the law. Zelaya, of course, along with his followers continually promote boycotting of the elections as well as trying to intimidate and instill fear in the people in the hopes of sabotaging them. Andrés Pavón and Patricia Rodas have even gone so far as to claim that the military have planned a massacre of Democratic Civic Union members which they will blame on the resistance. Zelaya has officially denounced the elections saying that if they occur, they will have to be repeated under his regime.

7. The third paragraph of Item 3 urges the Electoral Tribunal (TSE) to authorize international missions of election observers with the goal of demonstrating transparency and legitimacy of the electoral process. Zelaya and his followers have traveled to and communicated with many countries and organizations such as the OAS and UN to insist that they NOT send election observers.

8. In accordance with Honduras' constitution, Item 4 requires the transfer of control of the military to the TSE one month before elections. The government of Micheletti did so, on schedule, with much fanfare on October 29. Zelaya has since used the military involvement with election logistics and security (as is done every election year including the year in which Zelaya was elected) as "evidence" that the country is under a military dictatorship.

9. Item 5 required the Congress to decide whether or not to restore Zelaya to the presidency. Congress was chosen over the Supreme Court at Zelaya's insistence. We can only guess that at the time, for whatever reason, he thought he had the support of the majority of the congressmen. He has now declared the entire Accord dead because the Congress did not decide prior to November 5, even though this paragraph obviously gives no deadline to the Congress.

10. Item 6 refers to the Verification Commission. I would argue that by selecting the representative that he did, Jorge Arturo Reina, he selected someone who he knew would not have any interest in peace, tranquility, reconciliation, democracy, or unity, thus dooming the commission from the beginning. From what I have read, and seen for myself in press interviews, Reina is a belligerent man who preaches hate and division. He reportedly has a decades-long history of communist leanings and in fact had his visa revoked by the US several years ago.

11. Item 7 refers to the normalization of international relations. Based on promises/threats from the US and OAS, Micheletti's negotiators signed the agreement. OAS Secretary-General José Insulza personally promised that the OAS would recognize elections. Last week, Insulza, based on Zelaya and Chávez's insistence and despite all of the above, indicated that because of the Micheletti government's failure to comply with the accord, he did not see any way the OAS could send observers or recognize the elections. The OAS was meeting in secret today and I have not read any announcement of results yet.

12. Item 8, states that any differences in interpretation or application of the Accord should be submitted to the Verification Commission. Zelaya has unilaterally interpreted the agreement to mean something other than it says. He will not agree to a review of these differences by the Verification Commission because he has unilaterally declared the Accord dead. Notably absent from publicly defending Zelaya's personal interpretation of the Accord are his three negotiators.

13. Item 8 also asks that the international community respect the sovereignty of the Republic of Honduras and not interfere in internal matters. The US has violated this request by insisting on the "vacation" for Micheletti. The OAS, ALBA, Mercosur and other individual countries continue to demand full and immediate restoration of Zelaya even though the Accord does not require that. Brazil continues to violate international law by allowing their Embassy to be used as a command center for destabilizing Honduras.

14. Item 9 is the calendar of events which Zelaya violated by not submitting nominations by November 5.

15. Item 10 refers to the agreement being completed in good faith "in the name of reconciliation and patriotic spirit". Given the long list above, nothing more needs to be said about this.

When I began this article, I had no idea it would be so long. It wasn't until I read through the Accord again that I realized that Zelaya has violated both the spirit and the letter of just about every paragraph of the Accord! He is now saying that the Tegucigalpa Accord is "absurd" and that he wants to go back to the original San José Accord.

Many people ask him in interviews, "Why did you sign the Accord?" to which, while he talks and talks and talks, he does not give an answer. Those of us who are familiar with Zelaya's administration for the past 3 1/2 years know that this type of backtracking has been common. There are countless failed, unconstitutional and/or half-thought-out projects in which you can only wonder whether he had bad advisors, whether he just does not listen to his advisors, or whether he just changes his mind on a whim. Hopefully, the international community and particularly the US will hold him accountable to his agreement this time.

Meanwhile, at least publicly, the US continues to issue statements that "both sides" must continue to work through and implement the Accord, yet when Micheletti tried and failed to get nominations from Zelaya, he was condemned as unilaterally trying to form a unity government. The US ignores the fact that Zelaya officially rejected the Accord in a letter to US President Obama.

I would really like to know specifically just how the US envisions that the Honduran government can move ahead with the Accord because I don't see how they can force Zelaya to cooperate. I think it is time that the US clearly state that Manuel Zelaya is following neither the spirit or the letter of the agreement.

Related articles:

The incredible Zelaya wastes no time (10/31/09)
Thomas Shannon, the US State Department "Cleaner" (11/1/09)
Good faith ... or not? (11/2/09)
Honduran dialogues were a fraud (11/3/09)

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