The Honduran crisis has all but disappeared from the news these days, as the Obama administration struggled to explain why they intervened at all in the dispute. The White House breathed a sigh of relief when Costa Rica offered to broker a deal to resolve the standoff between the Honduran legislature and Supreme Court on one side and deposed president Manuel Zelaya on the other. Unfortunately for Obama, the court has rejected the proposed deal that would return Zelaya to Honduras by restating that they would order his arrest for crimes committed in office:
Honduras’s supreme court has rejected a Costa Rica-brokered deal to restore ousted President Manuel Zelaya to power and ordered his arrest if he returns.
The ruling also affirmed the legitimacy of the government of interim leader Roberto Micheletti. …
The court reminded Mr Zelaya that he faces several charges – including crimes against the government, treason, and abuse of power – and would be subject to trial if he re-entered the country.
It said Mr Micheletti’s government had been installed as part of a lawful “constitutional succession”.
Correspondents say Mr Micheletti is increasingly confident that he will be able to remain in power until elections at the end of November.
Costa Rica had proposed that Zelaya return as president until the November elections, with his power curtailed considerably, while Micheletti returned to his previous position as speaker of the Honduran parliament. The court’s statement flatly rejects this compromise and any other. As long as they stick with the position that Zelaya will get arrested on his return, the Costa Ricans have nothing much to offer Zelaya, who also demanded an unconditional return to power.
Where does that leave the OAS? Their delegation was supposed to visit Honduras this week. The rejection of the compromise will probably lead the OAS to abort that mission. They don’t have much left to try, either. They have already isolated Honduras in the organization and cut off economic assistance. The only option they have left would be a military invasion to reinstate Zelaya — and for what? Honduras will hold elections in three months for which Zelaya’s not eligible anyway.
As long as Honduras holds its elections, the movement to impose Zelaya back on Honduras is going to flop. After the elections, expect the OAS and especially the US to quietly reinstate Honduras to the OAS and restore aid, with a salute to the democratic process. Zelaya will live out his life as a guest of either Daniel Ortega or Hugo Chavez, while leftism in Honduras suffers a body blow. The American states should have stayed out of Honduran affairs from the beginning; they would have wound up with much less egg on their collective face.