Never let it be said that the Obama administration took a defeat graciously. When the Honduran Supreme Court rejected the deal that Costa Rica offered, called the San Jose Accord, that would have reinstated Manuel Zelaya as president, the Obama administration had a choice: allow Honduras to make its own decisions and accept them, or try to pressure Hondurans to bend to American will. Guess which path they chose?
The OAS Foreign Ministers mission is in Honduras seeking support for the San Jose Accord, which would restore the democratic and constitutional order and resolve the political crisis in Honduras. In support of this mission and 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. 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. We firmly believe a negotiated solution is the appropriate way forward and the San Jose Accord is the best solution.
The White House firmly believes in negotiation rather than law enforcement so much that they will suspend visa services with an American ally in order to enforce a policy cheered by Cuba and Venezuela. That makes as much sense as getting involved in the dispute in the first place. Zelaya broke the law and abused his power, both with his constitutional plebiscite and with his attempt to sack the military commander, which required parliamentary approval. The matter is entirely internal, and should be left to the Honduran parliament and courts.
This looks suspiciously like a petulant retaliation to Tegucigalpa for having the temerity to act on their own accord to enforce their own laws. I suspect it comes because Zelaya’s movement has lost steam and Hondurans have largely shrugged at his removal. Barack Obama should have done the same.