Did Obama throw Zelaya under the bus?

posted at 2:25 pm on November 5, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

If you thought the White House response to the crisis in Honduras was confused before yesterday, you’ll need a scorecard to figure it out now.  After successfully imposing American will on Honduras to return Manuel Zelaya to the presidency, the Obama administration apparently reversed course and told the Hondurans that we would recognize their elections this month whether Zelaya was back in office or not.  Zelaya sent a plaintive request for clarification from underneath the bus:

Ousted President Manuel Zelaya is asking the Obama Administration why, after pressing for his reinstatement, it now says it will recognize upcoming Honduran elections even if he isn’t returned to power first.

In a letter sent to the U.S. State Department on Wednesday, Zelaya asked Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton “to clarify to the Honduran people if the position condemning the coup d’etat has been changed or modified.”

His request came after Washington’s top envoy to Latin America, Thomas Shannon, told CNN en Espanol that Washington will recognize the Nov. 29 elections even if the Honduran Congress decides against returning Zelaya to power.

A U.S.-brokered deal reached last week leaves Zelaya’s reinstatement in the hands of Congress, but sets no deadline as to when lawmakers must decide. Delays in the expected vote have generated fears in the Zelaya camp.

The threat from Obama to Honduras was entirely predicated on recognition of their national elections.  Even though all of the political parties had agreed to proceed with the regular election — even Zelaya’s party — the White House warned that sanctions would continue indefinitely, even after the country picked Zelaya’s successor.  Without that threat, Honduras would have ignored attempts to mediate the crisis and agree to returning Zelaya to the country at all, let alone to the presidency for the few weeks left in his term.

Now, the Honduran Parliament that unanimously authorized Zelaya’s removal has no particular reason to reinstate him.  Zelaya knows that, which is why he’s demanding an answer from Hillary Clinton over his abandonment by the US.  Thus far, he seems to be the only one who doesn’t realize that the entire affair has embarrassed the US, particularly since the Law Library of Congress report that concluded that Honduras acted legally to remove Zelaya and didn’t conduct a “coup”.

State Department Ian Kelly says the US is now focused on having the Honduran people resolve the issue themselves:

In Washington, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Wednesday that the United States considers what happened in Honduras a coup and that Zelaya should be reinstated, but he said the focus now should be on implementing last week’s deal between the ousted president’s representatives and the interim government of Roberto Micheletti.

“We’ve made our position on President Zelaya and his restitution clear. We believe he should be restored to power,” Kelly said. “Our focus now is on implementing this process and creating an environment wherein Hondurans themselves can address the issue of restitution and resolve for themselves this Honduran problem.”

Which is exactly what the US position should have been all along.


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Comments

No nation will worry, once Barry says “I’ve got your back”.

GarandFan on November 5, 2009 at 5:34 PM

“That it took Obama and Hillary so long to arrive at such an obviously simple conclusion proves how INEPT this administration really is, for shame.”

Inept maybe, but do not overlook the fact that this could well have been a deliberate strategy, based upon the advice of not only State Department experts and others in the administration. Senator Kerry’s position on Honduras mirrored his much earlier positions against US policy in the Americas.

Honduras was also badly served by its diplomatic staff in the USA. I know its ambassador to the US was a Zelaya supporter, and it is possible that the diplomats at the UN and the Organization of American States were also Zelaya supporters.

davod on November 5, 2009 at 5:54 PM

Looks like neither BO and Hil are qualified to answer that phone at 3:00 a.m. Oh that’s right, Biden was put on the ticket because of his vast experience in foreign policy. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

chickasaw42 on November 5, 2009 at 5:57 PM

Of course he did.

The whole purpose of the agreement was to allow Obama to declare victory and withdraw from the field of battle.

BD57 on November 5, 2009 at 6:08 PM

The librarian wins.

ExpressoBold on November 5, 2009 at 6:10 PM

Did Obama throw Zelaya under the bus?

I sure hope he did.

Achilles on November 5, 2009 at 6:11 PM

More Amateur Hour at the Apollo.
This ‘president’ is good for some laffs, I’ll give him that.

leftnomore on November 5, 2009 at 6:30 PM

The thing is this guys…Barry just got played like a fool.

So what happens now then? Barry’s goons lift the embargoes on Honduras and the Hondurans dont even have to put Zalya back in office…BUT…even if they do put the moron back in office he is out on his arse at the end of the month!

So, Honduras won and the won big. Not only did they remove a thug who just tried to install himself as dictator for life BUT they protected their constitution, upheld the rule of law, most likely get civil and military aid restored and got to play Barry like a fool.

Well played Honduras…well played indeed! :)

Mailman

mailman on November 5, 2009 at 6:55 PM

Thus far, he seems to be the only one who doesn’t realize that the entire affair has embarrassed the US, particularly since the Law Library of Congress report that concluded that Honduras acted legally to remove Zelaya and didn’t conduct a “coup”.

Anyone who can read a little Spanish, even if only with the help of Google Translate, and who took the trouble actually to look at the Constitution of Honduras, could tell that the only thing unconstitutional about what the Hondurans did is that they waited any time to do it. According to the laws, Zelaya ousted himself from office in the act of advocating relaxation of his own term limit. One didn’t need the staff of “the Law Library of Congress” to explain this, and if they had said otherwise, everyone with even the rudimentary understanding I’ve described would have known they were stupid or lying. If they were going to put their names on their report, they had to state the obvious; otherwise, it seems they would thereafter have had a reputation as legal hacks. Come to think of it, they would have been lying to Congress, and Congressmen with even a little knowledge of Spanish would have known they were lying.

Kralizec on November 5, 2009 at 7:39 PM

And yet another Obambi administration position reaches its expiration date.

What a trainwreck.

2ipa on November 5, 2009 at 10:43 PM

Did Obama throw Zelaya under the bus?

I sure hope so. I think the administration is tired of all the mess and just wants to put yet another diplomatic blunder behind them. I listened to an interview of Tom Shannon on CNN Espanol on La Gringa’s site and he basically said as much.

inmypajamas on November 6, 2009 at 1:04 AM

Oops –

Did Obama throw Zelaya under the bus?

I sure hope so. I think the administration is tired of all the mess and just wants to put yet another diplomatic blunder behind them. I listened to an interview of Tom Shannon on CNN Espanol on La Gringa’s site and he basically said as much.

inmypajamas on November 6, 2009 at 1:05 AM

Ya know, this made me think of way back when I was a teenager, hanging out on the corner with the other kids, drinking beer and smokin’ something or other… and that we made more coherent decisions with a buzz on than this bunch of elitist morons is making.

n0doz on November 6, 2009 at 2:00 AM

and Constitutional governing wins again. Maybe this lousy administration needs to follow OUR Constitution more and guess less on what it really says. 2012 can’t come soon enough.

elclynn on November 6, 2009 at 6:53 AM

Maybe Obama needs to throw Koh under the bus.

elclynn on November 6, 2009 at 6:55 AM

The Benny Hill approach to international diplomacy.

Pavel on November 6, 2009 at 9:04 AM

Where are the adults in this High School Regime!?

geotopia on November 6, 2009 at 12:39 PM