Thursday, July 8, 2010

OAS Commission Named

We mentioned in a previous post that the OAS had not yet formed the commission to report on the evolution of the situation in Honduras since Lobo Sosa took office. Now it has.

The commission will consist of high level representatives from all of the Central American countries (Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama), Peru, Ecuador, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, and Jamaica, according to EFE.

According to Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the OAS, there are two major themes voiced by those who oppose Honduras's readmission to the OAS. The first of these is a desire for Manuel Zelaya Rosales to be able to return to Honduras with all of his rights intact. The other is for an improvement in human rights conditions in Honduras.

Insulza revealed today that he had met privately with Zelaya on Friday, and with Lobo Sosa on Monday to communicate to each of them his ideas for a possible solution to these problems. He indicated that there was no disagreement between Zelaya and Lobo Sosa but "many things still had to be worked out and solidifying them is going to be held up a bit."

The working group of the commission, he emphasized, is not negotiating with either side:
"Our mission is not to achieve an accord between the two parties. There are other political actors in Honduras also and we aren't organizing a kind of national accord...What we have to do is find the conditions under which all the countries are in agreement for the return of Honduras to the OAS."

Insulza noted that no country has rejected the proposals that he presented to Lobo Sosa and Zelaya.

No date has been set for the commission to travel to Honduras. The working group of the commission has already had meetings with representatives of both Zelaya and Lobo Sosa. Wednesday, Insulza met with Arturo Corrales, for Lobo Sosa, and Rodolfo Pastor Fasquelle, representing Zelaya, on the topic of completing all the points of the Tegucigalpa/San Jose accords.

Meanwhile, Lobo Sosa is getting flak within Honduras for even talking to Jose Miguel Insulza.

Today the president of the Consejo Hondureño de la Empresa Privada (COHEP), Santiago Ruiz, asked Lobo Sosa to "stop playing Insulza's game." Ruiz said
"I believe that he is playing Jose Miguel Insulza's game; if there's one thing Hondurans have recovered it's our dignity and we have to maintain it, working with those that already recognize us."

Ruiz had harsh words for Insulza, who he accused of "damaging Honduran interests," and of "not worrying about trampling on millions of Hondurans who are voiceless."

"We should not continue in this game of satisfying the outsiders who have harmed us and made the Honduran people uncertain," Ruiz concluded.

If anyone thought this was going to be easy, Ruiz's comments should be a wake up call. What if Porfirio Lobo Sosa agrees to OAS conditions and cannot find enough support at home to follow through?


Mike Allison said...

It's kind of surprising that there's no Brazilian representative on the commission, no?

RAJ said...

The inclusion of all the Central American countries was the one firm thing agreed to when the proposal was originally floated.

Curiously, Honduran newspapers floated a number of assertions about who would be the other members of the commission; this have always included Peru, Canada, and the US-- three of the countries that recognized the current government early on, and presumably, reliable supporters of readmission.

Ecuador and Mexico have also been on all the lists published. Both countries have reservations, and one could count Ecuador as representing the ALBA group, while Mexico would be more centrist.

Had that been the actual commission, it would have been heavily stacked in favor of readmission.

In some Honduran news reporting, Surinam was supposed to be on the commission. EFE says Jamaica was a late substitute for Guyana. Either way, one could see that as a representative of the Caribbean bloc.

Argentina then can be seen as representing the Mercosur bloc. Argentina represents the same interests as Brazil.

It does seem that the commission is heavily weighted toward approving readmission-- but then, that is what everyone actually wants. It serves no purpose for Honduras to be a permanent pariah. It weakens the OAS not to have Honduras in, where it can be disciplined if need be. Remember, Roberto Micheletti had his de facto regime vote to leave OAS, rather than submit to their discipline after the coup.

The key disagreements seem to have to do with what Honduras needs to do to qualify for readmission.

Tambopaxi said...

The other condition is an improvement in the human rights situation, as you mention.

Honduras is a shooting gallery up on par with El Sal, and I don't have a sense that the Lobo government is doing anything to bring the violence and crime under control. This is not to say that they're fomenting it (although that's possible in some cases; I hope not) but the sense from afar is that the GOH is either uncaring or overwhelmed when it comes to these problems...