Nov 4, 2009
Zelaya Asks Clinton for Clarification: Complete Translation
Every day that goes by since the Oct. 29 peace accord in Honduras, raises the possibility of more bloodshed, chaos and conflict. With consequences this dire, there is no room for further delays or maneuvers to subvert the agreement.
It was supposed to be relatively simple: The de facto regime implicitly recognized that it's position was unsustainable when high-level U.S. government officials and other international leaders told them so last week. Cornered, it signed the agreement that includes reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya.
Reinstatement passes through what was meant to be a face-saving process of giving a symbolic role to each of the three branches of government. The Supreme Court, a body in tight alliance with the de facto regime and its preferred arbitrator, would offer a non-binding opinion. The Congress would then retract its decree calling for Zelaya's restitution, which was largely symbolic since the president was kidnapped and forced out of the country by the military. The forged letter of resignation also presented in Congress has already been proven false so does not need to be formally rescinded.
But as the days go by without a Congressional decision, the press in Honduras, the United States and around the world is reporting the same situation with wildly divided interpretations. The last straw was Assistant Secretary of State Tom Shannon's appearance on CNN saying that "Both leaders took a risk and put their trust in congress but, at the end of the day, the accord requires that both leaders accept its decision," and indicating that the U.S. would endorse elections staged by the coup. Shannon's statement led many to believe that the U.S. government would support an outcome that did not involve reinstating the elected President.
President Manuel Zelaya, from his refuge in the Brazilian Embassy wrote the following letter to Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, asking for clarification of the current situation:
Tegucigalpa, November 3, 2009
To the Honorable Secretary Clinton,
Given the surprising declarations today by Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon on CNN, where he speaks about the agreement ignoring the fact that it is still in the process of being complied with, the government of the Republic of Honduras respectfully requests clarification from the Government of the United States.
We recognize the right of the U.S. government to express itself freely, but on this occasion we are obliged to publicly present this respectful request to the Secretary of State of the United States, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, to clarify to the Honduran people if her country's position has been modified or changed regarding its condemnation of the coup d'etat in Honduras, its commitment to comply with the resolutions of the OAS and the United Nations, and its support and respect for the democratic spirit of the Arias Plan, now ratified in the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Agreement; or whether, rather than maintaining the positions listed above, it now seeks to recognize the elections in any case, without waiting for compliance with the accords, without reverting the coup d'etat, and without resolving the profound crisis in our country.
Congressman Cesar Ham, presidential candidate for the Democratic Unification Party; Carlos H. Reyes, independent presidential candidate; 50 mayors and 20 congressional representatives of the Liberal Party and the list of congress members of the Innovation and Unity Party (PINU) have reaffirmed their intention to withdraw from the electoral process if President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales is not reinstated in the Presidency of the Republic prior to the elections. The National Front Against the Coup D'etat, made up of 42 grassroots organizations, labor federations and indigenous and farmer organizations, along with myself and my government, will also not recognize the results of elections held under a military dictatorship regime and proven violations of human rights.
Today the Commission of Verification was installed as established in the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord, in which one of the members is the Secretary of Labor of the Government of the United States. This is the only commission authorized to interpret the agreement. Therefore, the announcement today by Asst. Secretary of State Thomas Shannon conflicts with the Commission of Verification.
Democracy is a universal value and a right of the peoples. We are confident that the United States, as it has done up to now, will continue alongside the Honduran people and the Latin American community in this peaceful process of rebuilding democracy and the rule of law in Honduras, by refusing to recognize the use of military force to resolve political conflicts through coups d'etat.
In expectation of your response, I reiterate to you my highest consideration.
Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales
President of the Republic of Honduras