Sunday, June 6, 2010

Honduras is the new Cuba: Mario Canahuati

Mario Canahuati, Porfirio Lobo Sosa's Foreign Minister, is perhaps not very good at his job. His response to the fact that the reintegration of Honduras is not on the agenda of the OAS meeting in Lima, Peru, starting tomorrow, was to send a report to each of the 32 member countries demonstrating that Honduras has complied with all the international demands since June 28, 2009!

Canahauti's report lays out everything that has happened since the beginning of internal elections in 2008:
"It gives an account of where we've come to, everything we've done to get the international community to recognize us."

The report will be shared with the 32 current members of the OAS on Monday.

Canahuati told La Tribuna that the attitude of the UNASUR and ALBA countries was unacceptable, and he hoped that this report would change their mind.

Canahauti said that "today, after the document we sent, we expect a positive reaction."

If that doesn't result in what is hoped for,
"we will have to initiate a different attitude with respect to initiatives which are remote from the fundamentals and oriented towards damaging the country. We have to revise a little, our position and our strategy to continue."

Remarkably, his model is apparently that paragon of continued economic success: Cuba.

Cuba has been excluded from the OAS for 50 years, and its economy is still expanding, Canahauti told La Tribuna, and because of this the Honduran population should have confidence in the diplomatic gestures of the Chancellery.

Really? Cuba is the model? I don't think that's going to give the business community in Honduras more confidence in the government.

Canahuati is ignoring the uncomfortable truths that the international community has been telling him all along: that a coup is an interruption of democracy that requires corrective action.

He is selectively listening to the Lobo Sosa government's partners like Arturo Valenzuela, US Undersecretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, who says the return of Zelaya to Honduras is not important, instead of OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, who is telling him that for many of the OAS member nations, it is important.

Canahauti isn't listening to the public statements of the UNASUR governments, who are being very clear that this is their main condition for considering the reincorporation of Honduras in the OAS.

Mr. Canahauti should know it takes a positive vote from two-thirds of the 32 member countries for Honduras to be reincorporated into the OAS. By the Lobo Sosa government's own vote count in May, Honduras only has about half the votes it needs to be restored. UNASUR, with 12 countries, represents more than half of the remaining votes necessary to restore Honduras.

"There exist a few important obstacles for the return of Honduras" said Insulza, the biggest of which is the impossibility of the return of Zelaya:
"The construction of the present Honduran government is based on the idea of national reconcilliation. The truth is I don't see how you can produce this reconcilliation when the principal protagonist of the crisis is prevented from returning to his country."

Insulza noted that there are many countries that see restoring Honduras to the OAS without Zelaya's return as "legitimating the coup that continues to administer justice."

This is the official position of UNASUR.

The other obstacle that Insulza mentioned is the firing of the judges by the Supreme Court:
"Those judges were fired from the Judicial branch for having the opinion that in their country there had been a coup d'etat, and that is unacceptable."

It is Insulza, as Secretary General of the OAS, who will guide the OAS to restoring Honduras when the political will is there, not Arturo Valenzuela, who appears to be as out of touch as Mario Canahauti in this process. Restoring Honduras is a political process. To get the necessary consensus, and achieve his goal, Canahauti should listen to Insulza, not Valenzuela.

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