Three months after being removed from power by the Supreme Court and the Congress, Honduras' ousted President Manuel Zelaya sneaked across the border and is now seeking refuge at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. Despite the United States (and Venezuela's) support of Zelaya and his return to Honduras, interim President Roberto Micheletti has argued Zelaya should face trial and has assured voters that the former president's presence would not disrupt plans for elections in November.
In the wake of Zelaya's return, commentators weigh in on what the recent developments mean for the country.
- Give Elections a Chance, wrote Honduras' interim President Roberto Micheletti in a column in the Washington Post. Micheletti expressed his disappointment toward the American and European support for Zelaya and argued that what many refer to as the coup was in fact a congressional succession. He challenged the world to witness firsthand the upcoming elections in November, to which he refers to as "great exercise of self-determination and democracy" and assured that he would handover the presidency to whoever wins the elections.
- America Messed Up, argues Jennifer Rubin in the Commentary magazine. Criticizing the U.S. administration for pushing for Zelaya's return, Rubin writes, "Now that he has returned, will the Obama administration give up its bizarrely stubborn position that no new election can be recognized because that same unpopular figure isn’t back in power?" Rubin calls the American approach "Alice-in-Wonderland diplomacy" and argues that the new developments would make things worse for the United States while "bolstering Hugo Chavez's ally."
- U.S. Should Lead the Effort for a quick resolution, according to the Chicago Tribune editorial board. The editors argue that the United States cannot afford to let the world get an impression that it supports democracy in Honduras, but wishes the Honduran people had elected someone else. "Zelaya's return demands a quick resolution to the standoff," the editorial concludes. "The U.S. should be leading that effort, not watching from the sidelines."
- Stop Meddling, wrote Mary Anastasia O'Grady in her Wall Street Journal column yesterday. O'Grady harshly criticizes Washington's pressure on Honduras' interim government to reinstall Zelaya in power and writes, "The upshot is that the U.S. is trying to force Honduras to violate its own constitution and is also using its international political heft to try to interfere with the country's independent judiciary." Because Zelaya was ousted by the country's Supreme Court and the Congress, O'Grady argues that the U.S. has no legal basis to call his removal a "coup d'état." Given these actions towards Honduras, "the Obama administration is demonstrating contempt for the fundamentals of democracy," she writes.
- Honduras Sets a Bad Precedent if Zelaya is allowed to return to power, says Sergio Sarmiento in El Diario. Sarmiento argues that no outer nations should have a say in Honduras' constitutional decisions, and takes a swipe at the Mexican government for supporting Zelaya. "If the Mexican government can’t accept that Honduran
institutions determine who should govern Honduran territory, shouldn’t Mexico
then allow the international community and Hugo Chavez decide who the
legitimate president of Mexico is?" he asks.
- The Theory of Stupid Communities According to Alvaro Albornoz in La Tribuna, some believe that "communities and their institutions should behave stupidly, like people with no capacity to analyze and act." Such a misguided belief, he argues, is what convinces supporters of Zelaya to believe that "The election of a president...implies he has a license to break the law, and authorization to destroy a country with impunity.”