Sunday, April 25, 2010

"It Should Be Automatic"

Mario Canahuati, Honduras's Foreign Minister, says Honduras's readmission to the OAS should be automatic when the OAS next convenes in Peru on June. He currently is in the US to meet with Miguel Insulza to lobby for Honduras's reinsertion in the OAS. In a La Tribuna article, he's quoted as saying "the seventh point of the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord says Honduras should be reintegrated into the different forums, and nothing remains but for the OAS to fulfill its promise under the document." In Canahuati's vision, it's automatic because they've fulfilled the letter, if not the intention, of the clauses of the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord, so they should be allowed back in to play with other countries.

The OAS has a slightly different view. Albert R. Ramdin, the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, said that the OAS “continues to seek solutions”, and “supports the efforts started by the governments of Central America to create the necessary conditions for the readmission of Honduras to the Organization”.

The OAS determined last July, under Article 21 of the Democratic Charter, that there had been an "unconstitutional interruption of the democratic order of a member state", and that diplomatic initiatives to correct the situation had failed. More than two-thirds of the member countries voted to suspend Honduras. Although suspended, Article 21 still required that Honduras uphold all its OAS obligations, including human rights obligations.

Under Article 22, restoration may be proposed, once the situation is resolved, by the Secretary General of the OAS (Miguel Insulza) or any member state, and will require that two-thirds of the member countries vote in favor of restoration.

You see the problem. While the United States, and several Central American countries are working for Honduras's readmission as a member in good standing in the OAS, there are other countries that have expressed concerns. These countries, including most of South America and Mexico, remain uncertain about whether Honduras should be readmitted at this time.

Honduras hasn't exactly complied with its human rights obligations as required under Article 21. It was added to the OAS Human Rights organization's "black list" in April. It also is not clear that even if the will was there to uphold human rights on the part of the government, that the judicial system has the required independence. Human rights violations aren't grounds for suspension, but they certainly will be taken into account in discussing reincorporation. While the US would like to say the situation is resolved and that Porfirio Lobo Sosa was democratically elected, as Hillary Clinton said in Costa Rica last month, there are other governments that have a different view.

Why is all of this important? What's at stake is the unlocking of aid from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Both have stated in the past that Honduras being reincorporated into the OAS would be required before funding could actually be restored. That funding, along with money from the BCIE and BID is critical to staving off a complete collapse of the Honduran economy.

The OAS discussions in June in Lima, Peru should be interesting.

No comments: