Jun 28, 2009

OAS countries back Zelaya, Calls for ultimatum on reinstatement, no negotiation with coup leaders

Important Updates:
* Roberto Micheletti has been sworn into office as president by the military coup.
* OAS countries refuse to recognize him or to negotiate in any form with coup leaders.
* OAS countries issue calls for the immediate return and reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya in his legitimate functions.
* SG Insulza reports that Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan ambassadors attempted to accompany Honduran Foreign Minister when she was forcibly abducted by military coup leaders, but were violently pushed away from the vehicle. They are not being held captive. As others discuss diplomatic actions--clearly needed and appropriate--these ambassadors provided a lesson in real solidarity, by putting their own lives on the line.

More from the OAS session:(translated and paraphrased on the spot to the best of my abilities)
"This is a blow not to Honduras but to democracy in all of Latin American and a blow the the Inter-American Charter. This is a reality-- a reality that this body should condemn as unacceptable. This is an emergency, so we appreciate that the Sec. General (SG) is traveling tomorrow to Honduras. We call for the immediate return to democratic institutions, to convoke an extraordinary session of the General Assembly (GA), to defend institutions in Honduras. This is an act of brute force that disrupts democracy in a neighboring country. The Inter-American Charter (does not include force) but it gives us an arsenal of moral arms sufficient to restore democracy in Honduras."

Antigua and Barbuda: "We are a family, the attack on the rule of law in Honduras is antithetical to the OAS... We call for the immediate restitution to power of the legitimate leader of our sister state."

Jamaica: I am pleased to see that within 12 hours of announcement of the coup we have been able to gather here to address this attack on the very principles that brought us together. We call for 1) the repudiation of the coup, restitution of President Manuel Zelaya, third, (reading from Argentine statement) armed forces must abandon the coup and the military must return to its barracks and allow civil rule to be reestablished. There is a difference among members special security session, foreign ministers meeting or General Assembly. The SG will determine if all or one of the three is accepted. We must issue a resolution that includes respect for the diplomatic agreements that Honduras is party to, (the charters, etc.) and includes condemnation of any violations of human rights to its own citizens or diplomatic persons in Honduras. The OAS must unanimously support Sec. General and note that he is empowered to act in his best interest. Agreed he should go to Honduras, but he must assess the security situation to ensure his safety so we don't add another problem.

Peru: Reports that Costa Rica has said President Zelaya is safe and that his presence is temporary. He has met with President Arias who has condemned the coup and called for a return to the rule of law.

Haiti (Sorry, not a language I can blog)

Bolivia: Energetically condemns the military coup. We support the legitimate government of Honduras led by Manuel Zelaya and urge all diplomatic measures for his reinstatement.

Belize: Ready to work with the OAS to undertake any actions necessary including a meeting of foreign ministers to restore President Zelaya to office.

Barbados: Calls for reinstatement of the democratically elected government of President Jose Manuel Zelaya. Will work with all other members of the OAS to right this abhorrent wrong.

Brazil: (Reads proclamation of Brazilian government): Condemns the coup against Pres. Zelaya. Military acts of this type erode democracy and cannot be accepted. Calls for a return to democratic institutionality. We stand with the Honduran people. Lula will contact other heads of state and Minister Amorim will contact foreign ministers. Asks OAS to remain vigilant and active until Pres. Zelaya has returned to office.

Venezuela: Regarding Argentina and issuing an ultimatum: We must say we do not negotiate with coup leaders. The only legitimate leader is President Zelaya so we must be careful... The best response is to stand with Pres. Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales-with his full name-- not the Honduran government, or any other less specific term. Declare ourselves in permanent session until Zelaya is restored to power in Honduran territory.

Nicaragua: Seconds proposal to declare the OAS in permanent session and not authorize talks of any type with coup leaders or supporters. We must take into account where Pres. Zelaya is to discuss with him wherever he is. Nicaragua issues a call to the Honduran Armed Forces: there is a small group that is behind the coup but there are also sectors that remain loyal to the constitution and the president. We call on these sectors to uphold the constitution and the public order, and the right of the Honduran people to express itself freely and participate in the consult.

Spain:(observer) Energetically condemns the coup and informs that Spain and 27 countries of European Union in Corfu where they are meeting, in the words of the presiding Minister of the Czech Republic the coup is an unacceptable violation of the rule of law in Honduras.

Honduras: The mayor of San Pedro Sula has also been kidnapped by masked delinquents. The wife (of the president) is in her native city in Honduras and is worried about her children. We thank you for your solidarity. We cannot fall in the trap of negotiated with persons who are not valid interlocutors due to their actions.

The coup leaders plan to conspire with Roberto Michelletti so I think we must call for 1) immediate restoration of President Zelaya in Honduras as an ultimatum as the Argentine representative said. It must have sanctions, not just words. 2) After restoration, ask for the restoration of water and electricity which have been suspended by the coup leaders, restoration of international communications due to the takeover of Hondutel by the coup. This is censorship or self-censorship--for example, I cannot speak over the major channels, I don't know if it is a decision of the media owners or the coup pressures but probably both. 3) Then, withdrawal of the army to its barracks. It is now in the streets, supposedly to keep order. But in Honduras there is no order to keep except the "order" imposed by the coup... The people are demonstrating peacefully and the police can maintain that order. The army has no business being in the streets.

When the above conditions are met, call on sectors of society to dialogue but not to discuss replacing the president because there is no justification for that. Then and only then the commission we named on Friday can begin work. These prerequisites will be a catalyst for all the factions to converse. The only subject of an attack--against all order and ethics--is the executive.

SG Insulza: The situation is changing. I have talked to Pres. Funes of El Salvador but there is no communication with the country (Honduras)... Air space is closed, it is impossible to travel. Micheletti was sworn in as president, or an oath was taken in some way. The best we can do is issue the condemnation and endorse Pres. Zelaya and say we will not recognize any other presdient. Condemn the kidnapping members of the cabinet, the mayor of San Pedro Sula.

When the Foreign Minister of Honduras was abducted the ambassadors tried to accompany her but were violently prevented from getting in the vehicle so they are not currently being held captive.

We will call for a session of General Assembly for Thursday, for example.

Consensus on pronouncement and actions, and session is suspended for committee meeting.

Here is the complete statement from Sec. of State Clinton:

The action taken against Honduran President Mel Zelaya violates the precepts of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and thus should be condemned by all. We call on all parties in Honduras to respect the constitutional order and the rule of law, to reaffirm their democratic vocation, and to commit themselves to resolve political disputes peacefully and through dialogue. Honduras must embrace the very principles of democracy we reaffirmed at the OAS meeting it hosted less than one month ago.

The School of Americas Watch has sent out this action alert:
Call the State Department and the White House
Demand that they call for the immediate reinstatement of Honduran President Zelaya.

State Department: 202-647-4000 or 1-800-877-8339
White House: Comments: 202-456-1111, Switchboard: 202-456-1414


  1. not that simple, check out my latest blog post at http://www.kontain.com/rulloa where i try to exokain my country's situation

  2. Thanks for the link, Rafael.
    I certainly don't think it is simple. But I disagree that Honduras as a whole rejects Zelaya. I think the street demonstrations and the declarations from grassroots organizations that we are receiving attest to a deeply divided country and broad support for Zelaya among the poor, who for too long have not had a voice. We will continue to follow events with much concern, checking your blog and others. Take care, Laura

  3. It is nice to see the OAS stand up for democracy in Honduras. Especially since the organization completely failed to stand up for democracy in Haiti after the coup of February 29, 2004.

    The circumstances of that coup were very familiar, and the Inter-American Democratic Charter was in force. The CARICOM countries and Venezuela, which make almost half of the OAS, denounced the coup and refused to recognize the putchist government. The rest of the OAS pretended that nothing was amiss: no denunciations, not even a hearing on the Charter violations.

    The optimist in me makes me believe the differential treatment is the result of electoral shifts in the Americas since 2004. But the Haiti activist sees one more double standard for Haiti....