The State Department is doing the wrong thing, particularly when you consider the bigger picture in the region,
U.S. To Reduce Visa Services In Honduras (emphasis added)
The United States said on Tuesday it will temporarily stop issuing many visas in Honduras, a step that may be designed to pressure the de facto government that took power after a June 28 coup to step down.
The State Department, which has repeatedly condemned the coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya, said it would only provide visa services to potential immigrants and emergency cases at its embassy in Tegucigalpa.
The Obama administration has urged Honduran authorities to accept proposals put forward by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, whose efforts to end the crisis have stalled over the de facto government’s refusal to allow Zelaya to return to power.
“As a consequence of the de facto regime’s reluctance to sign the San Jose Accord, the U.S. Department of State is conducting a full review of our visa policy in Honduras,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said in a written statement.
The San Jose pact, brokered last month by Nobel Peace Prize winner Arias, would have allowed Zelaya to return to office until elections are held by the end of November.
“As part of that review, we are suspending non-emergency, non-immigrant visa services in the consular section of our embassy in Honduras, effective August 26,” Kelly added. “We firmly believe a negotiated solution is the appropriate way forward and the San Jose Accord is the best solution.”
Yesterday I posted about the Honduran Supreme Court’s insistence that any agreements be subject to the country’s laws and Constitution.
Aria‘s proposal directly contradicts the Honduran Constitution:
[My translation: if you use this, please credit me and link to this post]:
1. Zelaya’s legitimate reinstatement until the end of his period ending January 27 next year, when he will give up his office and allow an election overseen by the international community.
2. Forming a government of unity and national reconciliation composed by representatives of the main political parties.
3. A general amnesty on all political crimes incurred during this conflict before and after last July [sic, should be June] 28.
4. President Zelaya’s expressed resignation, and of his goverment, from attempting to place a fourth ballot box in the next elections, or to bring about any popular consultation not directly authorized by the Honduran Constitution.
5. Moving up the national election from November 29th to the last Sunday in October, and moving up the electoral campaign from early September to late August.
6. Transfer the command of the armed forces from the executive power to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal a month prior to the elections in order to guarantee transparency and normalcy of the vote, in accordance to the terms of the Honduran Constitution.
7. The formation of a Verification Commission, composed of notable Hondurans and members of international organs, especially representatives of the Organization of American States, that would watch over the compliance of these agreements and supervise the correct return to constitutional order.
The Supreme Court’s Friday ruling lays out nine items that directly address Arias’s proposal, and asserts that any political agreement derived from the San José Accord should be in compliance with Honduras’s laws and Constitution and the country’s rule of law. Arias’s seven point proposal would have a deposed president reinstated even as he has been charged with “crimes against the form of government, treason, abuse of authority, against the public and the State of Honduras” and providing him amnesty; forming a government of unelected officials; transferring power unconstitutionally among the branches of government; and the formation of an extra-constitutional Commission composed of foreign officials which would be in charge of “compliance of these agreements”, as if Hondurans themselves could not.
In the meantime, OAS representatives are busy going to meetings in Honduras,
The chancellors yesterday met with the former first lady, Xiomara Castro, with the former cabinet of Manuel Zelaya, with deputies who did not support the Zelaya’s ouster, and members of the national resistance.
In the evening the delegates listened to leaders of business organizations, nongovernmental organizations, anti-corruption advocates, the Democratic Civic Union and the National Congress. Later at night they met with authorities of the Judicial Power, Public Ministry, Electoral Supreme Court, and the office of the judge advocate general, then had dinner with ambassadors of cooperative countries.
The State Department’s decision completely ignores Honduras’s highest court’s specific reasons. By exerting this kind of pressure on the country, the US basically has told the Honduran Supreme Court that whatever they rule does not count at all.
The US’s State Department insistence that a country contravene its own laws and Constitution makes no sense.