6 November, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs
By COHA Research Associate Ethan Katz
After adamantly rejecting all attempted negotiations, the Honduran de facto government signed an agreement on October 29th ostensibly opening space for a potential resolution to the country’s four-month standoff. The agreement called for the formation of a unity government that will assume power and oversee the November 29th presidential elections. But even under the most favorable of circumstances, the terms of the peace agreement would transform Zelaya into little more than a figurehead president, drained of all his authority. The accord left the restoration of executive power in the hands of the Honduran Congress and Supreme Court, the two bodies that authorized and led the way to Zelaya’s removal from the presidency in the first place. Still, the most lethal blow to Zelaya’s return was delivered by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she acknowledged that his restitution would not affect Washington’s recognition of the election results.
Clinton’s Coup de Main
Apparently the U.S. plan under discussion was never meant to be implemented, and de facto leader Roberto Micheletti’s alleged agreement was probably little more than a hoax. While the new deal was feted as ending the conflict, such celebration may have proved to be premature as progress has since reached a standstill, which perhaps was the intended outcome all along. On Tuesday, Honduran Congressional leaders postponed calling the legislative body out of recess in order to verify the accords, and it remains to be seen whether they will even bother to endorse the agreement, especially after the State Department so effectively sabotaged the peace process.