Commenting on Arturo Valenzuela's recent speech to the OAS (a link to the speech follows Mark's comment), Mark Weisbrot writes:
Yesterday, President Obama's new top State Department official for Latin America, Arturo Valenzuela, delivered a speech about Honduras at the meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States. The speech provides some important information about the State Department's strategy going forward. As before, this strategy is oriented toward legitimizing the coup government.
It appears that the State Department is still clinging to the October 30th "accord," and not just the "elections" to legitimize the government. So perhaps they still have hopes of reaching a deal with Zelaya after the election, or they are just pretending that they have such hopes, but one of these two things is the implication in this speech. When Zelaya refuses to be part of the farce, the implication here is that Washington will blame Zelaya for rejecting the implementation of the "accord." (This of course is despite the fact that Micheletti torpedoed the accord immediately by declaring himself head of the "unity government.") I would think that they Obama administration could also win Republican support for this position, even people like Senator DeMint, thus closing the gap that some of the administration seems to worried about on the domestic front.
Their problem remains that practically no other country in the world is buying their line.
Valenzuela's speech is here.
Mark Weisbrot sent the following letter to José de Cordoba, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, in response to the article which is posted at the end.
Senator Richard Lugar's office has issued a statement supporting recognition of the Honduran elections on November 29. Just Foreign Policy President Mark Weisbrot comments:
This is not surprising, Lugar has been with his party leadership on this all along, including his letter in July that got the State Department to write their response that appeared to blame Zelaya for the coup.
has become a real cause for the Republican party leadership, which sees it as a strategic battle in their long-term fight against the Latin American left (which for them includes Lula). Although Lugar is of course different from them, for some reason he has joined with them in this battle. Honduras
This has to be a disappointment to people who see Lugar as a moderate, since it is tough for a moderate to defend the position that a a group of people can overthrow the elected president, arrest, jail, and beat thousands of people, torture and even kill some people, close down opposition media intermittently throughout the legally designated 3-month electoral campaign period, and then have a valid "election" -- no matter how "clean" it is on election day.
Lugar's statement will give some lobbyists, pundits, editors, etc. some ammunition to say that not only the wingnuts that hold this position.
The State Department effectively has the same position as Lugar in what it is trying to accomplish, but for now is reluctant to state it unambiguously, so as not to further distance itself from
Latin America. So it does help all parties, including the State Department, that want to legitimate the election.