In a rare moment of candor, Porfirio Lobo Sosa admitted a setback in his program to get Honduras back to its pre-coup place in the international community. That would include reincorporation back into SICA, the Central American Integration System, and the OAS.
For weeks we've heard from the Lobo administration that that the process was proceeding ahead smoothly, and that they were confident that Honduras would be reincorporated back into SICA and the OAS early this summer, if not earlier.
The first evidence that this might all be bravado came when OAS Secretary General Miguel Insulza gave an interview to El Tiempo earlier this month, and revealed that the reincorporation of Honduras was not even on the program to be discussed at the June OAS meeting in Lima, Peru, as we reported at the time. In that interview Insulza revealed that many members of the OAS still had concerns, particularly about human rights in Honduras, and the continued pursuit of the political charges against Manuel Zelaya Rosales that prevent him from returning to Honduras, despite the Congressional amnesty bill. Insulza also mentioned that the verification commission appointed under the ill-fated Guaymuras Accords, made up of Ricardo Lagos and Hilda Solis, would have to return to Honduras and submit a report to the OAS before reincorporation could be discussed.
Now Porfirio Lobo Sosa tells us there's another problem.
Despite the best wishes of Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, it looks like the reincorporation of Honduras back into SICA has hit a roadblock. In comments made to the press yesterday as he left an education event, Lobo Sosa said, "Look, it depends on what Nicaragua decides, but Honduras, with SICA or without SICA will move ahead, you don't have to lose hope about it." Lobo admitted that reincorporation into SICA depends on Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, who ducked the Saturday lunch where Honduras's reincorporation was supposed to be discussed. Nicaragua does not recognize Lobo's government as legitimate and has not re-established normal diplomatic relations with Honduras since Lobo's inauguration.
Ortega also, Tiempo reports, changed the agenda for the Wednesday meeting of the Central American Presidents in Guatemala; they will discuss the proposed economic treaty between Central America and the European Union. "Possibly Wednesday we will go to Guatemala to revise the free trade agreement with Europe," Lobo said, "although there was no opportunity to consult; its not certain if he [Ortega] will attend or that the meeting is confirmed."
Add to the uncertainty about whether this meeting will happen that Honduras's reincorporation into SICA is no longer on the agenda, and this is really bad news for Porfirio Lobo Sosa.
He and his Foreign Minister, Mario Canahuati, have been emphasizing that all of this was on track to happen soon, and that there were no obstacles to returning Honduras's international relations to normal. Looks like reality caught up with them.
Miguel Insulza told Tiempo on May 5 that Honduras would need to be reincorporated into SICA before the OAS could take up reincorporation into the OAS. As long as reintegration in SICA is deferred, so is consideration of returning to the OAS. And while that is a bitter pill for Lobo Sosa to swallow, it may be the medicine Honduras needs to stop ignoring the continued legacy of the coup.