Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Not Automatic Afterall

Mario Canahuati, Honduras's Foreign Minister, said April 25 that the reincorporation of Honduras into the OAS was all but a done deal, that it should be automatic, and will happen this June at the OAS assembly in Lima, Peru. Miguel Insulza, the OAS Secretary General, just threw a bucket of cold water on Honduras's hopes for that meeting.

In an interview with the Honduran daily, El Tiempo, Insulza said
"It won't be resolved in the OAS assembly in Lima, but I also don't think it will take until December to resolve it. Most of the Foreign Ministers of the countries I've talked to don't want this general assembly in Lima, which will discuss important themes, to end up an assembly about Honduras ."

Insulza added, Tiempo reports, that setting up the Truth Commission is not the last thing Honduras needs to do before being readmitted to the community of nations.

"Tiempo Reporter: Is the installation of the Truth Commission a ticket whereby Honduras automatically is reincorporated in the OAS?

Insulza: Its one of the topics. At this point the issues raised mainly are: the clarification of issues of public interest such as the human rights issue, not necessarily the investigation of each case, but a better understanding of what the real situation of human rights and persecutions occurring in Honduras, and the issue of regularizing the situation of President José Manuel Zelaya."

Insulza also noted that the members of the Verification (not the Truth) Commission, Ricardo Lagos, and Hilda Solis, need to return to Honduras to evaluate all that has occurred, write a report, and present it to the Permanent Council of the OAS. This bucket of cold water on Canahuati's pronouncement that reincorporation into the OAS was automatic and would happen in June, is political reality, not the PR message Canahuati has been advancing.

Insulza's comments are no doubt tempered by the results of the UNASUR meeting just a few days ago. UNASUR is composed of the governments of the 12 countries of South America. Honduras was one of their topics of discussion. Only two of their member governments, Columbia and Peru, have recognized Porfirio Lobo Sosa as President of Honduras. The rest consider him an illegitimate President.

In that meeting, UNASUR appointed Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa, its spokesperson to communicate to President Zapatero of Spain their unhappiness with his invitation of Porfirio Lobo Sosa to the May 18 meetings between the European Union and Latin America. In a letter addressed to Zapatero, UNASUR communicated that if Porfirio Lobo Sosa was invited, several of the member governments would boycott the meeting.

La Jornada, a Mexican newspaper, reports that President Lula of Brazil, wrote in a letter to Zapatero, that Lobo is moving forward with "reconciliation" via a "truth commission" to "establish the fiction of democracy, based on forgetting the crimes and pardoning the criminals", all the while putting down the popular Resistance by "selectively assassinating the leaders, independent journalists, and the violent eviction of struggling communities."
"The coup in Honduras is a threat to Latin America, it favors the re-articulation of the conservative right and militarism on the continent, strengthening policy of invasions, wars, interfering, criminalization and prosecution of social struggles, promoted by the government and sectors of American and world power.

Asked specifically about UNASUR and Lula by the Tiempo reporter, José Miguel Insulza said
"This has all the impact that the opinion of a member country has. We make decisions by consensus and naturally the opinion of Brazil is fundamental. Now President Lula spoke of not rushing, and that may mean some delay in reexamining the issue, but it does not mean a veto of the return of Honduras to the OAS."

No, its not a veto, but it does mean Insulza's job is much harder, since a consensus will be difficult if most of the UNASUR countries continue to oppose reincorporation under Article 22 of the OAS charter. Consensus according to Article 22, requires a two-thirds vote to approve readmission of a suspended government.

This is why Insulza said its not automatic, and its not on the agenda for the June OAS meeting.

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