"I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself." ~Philippians 3:10

Nov 1, 2009

The Honduras Accord.... and a few thoughts.

I have read a ton of articles stating that the Honduran agreement will reinstate Zelaya to the presidency and this is just not true. The agreement (in point #5) simply says that Congress will decide the issue of Zelaya's restitution. More on this below.

Here is a very basic summary of the Guaymuras Accord, now being called the Tegucigalpa/San Jose Accord. To read the full accord in Spanish, click here. My comments will be in italics. I copied these summary translations from La Gringa's Blogcito. Her comments are in brackets [].

1. Government of Unity and National Reconciliation

This refers to the Secretaries, Sub-secretaries, and heads of other state departments [such as Hondutel and La ENEE]. [This would be similar to the president's cabinet in the US.] It specifically states that these people should be from diverse parties and should be known for their honesty and capabilities. It also requires this new government to respect the 2009 budget approved by congress in July 2009, since Mel Zelaya had never submitted a 2009 budget.

The biggest issue here is that I wonder who it is that is "appointing" these individuals. I must be missing something as it doesn't appear to tell us how or who will decide who is in this Unity Government.

2. Renunciation of Constitutional Assembly

This requires abstention from convoking, directly or indirectly, a constitutional assembly, as well as prohibition of promoting or supporting any public poll with the object of reforming the articles of the constitution "set in stone". This includes making public declarations or exercising any type of influence inconsistent with the spirit of articles 5, 239, 373, and 374, and the special law that regulates Referendum and Plebiscite.

While it is true that no one in any official government position can now call for a Constitutional Assembly, the "resistence" has vowed to continue to call for it and has vowed to continue to upset the status quo in an effort to accomplish that.

3. Elections and Transfer of Government

Makes a call to the Honduran public to participate pacifically in the elections and avoid every type of manifestation that opposes elections or promotes insurrection or illegal acts. Also discusses the TSE authority and the transfer of power on January 27, 2009.

Again, the "resistence" has vowed to boycott and disrupt the election process in their eforts to convene a Constitutional Assembly and upset the status quo.

4. Armed Forces and National Police

As already required by the constitution, control of the Armed Forces was transferred to the Election Tribunal (TSE) until election results are announced [expected to be November 30]. The military are responsible for the custody, transportation, and vigilance of election materials, as well as election security. The National Police are also reminded to strictly follow the special legislation [I assume this means laws related to elections].

5. Executive Power

Both sides have decided that the National Congress, as an expression of popular sovereignty, in consultation with the Supreme Court and in conformation with the law, resolve the issue of the return of the Executive Power to his status previous to June 28, until January 27, 2010. [Note that there is no timetable or deadline for this action. The congress is in recess right now, but could call a special session next week.]

The decision adopted by the Congress should be based on reaching social peace, political tranquility, and democratic government that the society demands and the country needs. [This could be the catch in which the international community could refuse to accept the Congress' decision or refuse to recognize elections − ALBA members and other countries have already said as much in the October 30 OAS meeting. That would, of course, highlight their hypocrisy.]

This is what all the fuss has been about. The reinstatement of Manuel Zelaya. There is a lot going on with this and it certainly is not a decided issue. There is no way to determine what may happen. Congress is officially in recess right now and had no plan to return until the new government was officially in office in January. My understanding is that they can convene a special session and that is what may happen so they can deal with this. I am sure there will be problems with this as many of them are in re-election campaigns and will be busy with those things. The next week should be interesting.

6. Verification and Truth Commissions

Verification Commission will monitor the strict compliance with the Accord. The commission will be coordinated by OAS, and consists of two members of the international community and two Honduran members (one selected by each side).

It has been rumored that the two international members will be Colin Powell (former US Secretary of State) and Ricardo Lagos (former president and member of the Socialist Party of Chile).

It is recommended that the next government establish the Truth Commission in the first 6 months of 2010.

I wonder why they need to delay this? A lot can happen in six months as we have already seen.

7. Normalization of Relations

By promising to comply faithfully with this Accord, it is respectfully asked that the immediate revocation of measures and sanctions that affect Honduras and its participation in the international community.

We call on the international community to reactivate cooperative projects as soon as possible and to continue with negotiations of future projects.

This is exciting as many programs requiring international aid should be back in full operation immediately. The US has already announced they will begin normal relations as far as recognition of Consulates and beginning to issue Visas, etc.

8. Final Dispositions

Any difference in interpretation or application of the Accord will be submitted to the Verification Commission to be determined in accordance with the Constitution and laws of Honduras.

Taking into account that this Accord is the product of Hondurans, we vehemently ask that the international community respect the sovereignty of Honduras and observe the UN Charter principal of no intervention in internal matters of other states.

9. Compliance calendar

The Accord goes into effect immediately on the date of signing.

Oct. 30, 2009:
1. Signing of Accord
2. Submission of the Accord to Congress regarding point 5.

Nov. 2, 2009: Formation of the Verification Commission

No later than Nov. 5, 2009: Formation and installation of the Unity and Reconciliation Government.

Jan. 27, 2010: Celebration of the transfer of government.

First 6 months of 2010: Formation of the Truth Commission

10. Final Declaration

A promise in good faith to comply with the terms of the Accord.

11. Appreciation

[Not worth summarizing. The people being thanked have already congratulated themselves and each other ad nauseam.]

12. Effective date

The agreement is effective the date signed. The formal signing ceremony will be on Monday, November 2 [in which I assume that Roberto Micheletti and Manuel Zelaya will sign the agreement].

Even though there is now an agreement there is still the implementation of it and the willingness of everyone to abide by it. Let's just say I'm not real confident it will go smoothly. There is much that needs to happen and I have the feeling that both sides are still looking to have it turn out the way they want it. The next few weeks leading up to the election will really be interesting. I am quite sure that Micheletti's team was counting on the fact that Congress is in recess and that nothing would happen in regards to Zelaya until after the elections and in a radio interview, Zelaya has already issued threats and ultimatums(google translation) if he is not reinstated by the end of next week.


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