A month after the coup in Honduras, there’s now a clear sign of progress in bringing it to an end. The head of the coup government has indicated that he personally supports a compromise proposal put forward by Costa Rican mediator President Arias that would allow for President Zelaya’s restoration. The New York Times reports:
The head of Honduras’s de facto government, Roberto Micheletti, has expressed support for a compromise that would allow the ousted president of his country to return to power, according to officials in the de facto government and diplomats from the region.
Previously, Micheletti had repeatedly said that the restoration of President Zelaya was off the table, causing the talks to break down. Now, he says he needs international help in getting the real powers behind the coup – the Honduran business elite – to stand down.
Can any doubt remain about the key role of the United States government in this situation? The Times notes
The call from Mr. Micheletti came one day after the United States increased pressure on the de facto Honduran government by withdrawing diplomatic visas from four high-level officials
One day after the U.S. canceled four visas. One day.
Of course the U.S. is not just any country in this situation. As the Washington Post reported yesterday,
cancellation of a U.S. visa carries a particular sting for many prominent Latin Americans. "To those far away, it might seem very symbolic, with little importance. But to the Honduran oligarchy, the focal point of their pilgrimage throughout the world is Miami," said Carlos Sosa, Honduras’s ambassador to the Organization of American States.
When U.S. supporters of the coup say that the U.S. shouldn’t "intervene," I just have to laugh. The Honduran military and elite are clients of the United States. You might as well say that "we shouldn’t intervene" when the family dog attacks a child in the neighborhood.
When the U.S. withdraws all U.S. troops from Honduras and closes its military base there and ends all financing and training of the Honduran military, let’s have a conversation about the U.S. not intervening in Honduras.
In the meantime, Democrats in Congress should keep up the pressure on the State Department to fully support the restoration of democracy in Honduras. Rep. Raul Grijalva is circulating a letter to President Obama, calling on him to freeze U.S. assets and suspend U.S. visas of coup leaders. Signers of the letter include Reps. McGovern, Conyers, Serrano, Fattah, Honda, and Barbara Lee. Urge your Representative to join them.