Crisis in Honduras 21

Marking the 20th time I've been too lazy to come up with an original title.

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Abigail Poe over at the Just the Facts Blog continues to write excellent updates on the situation for those who want a broader summary. The entries for Monday and Tuesday of this week should get everyone caught up.

The good news from this week is that Micheletti appear to have been forced to back down from his decree restricting democratic rights, although he still hasn't fully rescinded the decree and its effects (including the shutting down of pro-Zelaya media outlets). There was a broad recognition in Honduran society, even among some Zelaya opponents, that Micheletti overstepped his bounds and violated democracy (again).
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Zelaya addressed the UN via cell phone yesterday. Someone at the OAS last week asked why they couldn't just patch Zelaya in to the meeting to get his views. International organizations like the OAS are livestreaming many of their meetings online now, but they still haven't realized that communications can be a two-way street. How international organizations will integrate new technology beyond simply publishing more is a new challenge not many of them are prepared for.

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Christopher Sabatini at Americas Quarterly makes two interesting and potentially controversial points in the opening paragraphs of his post yesterday. First, he compares Congress's potential rejection of Micheletti's decree to Congress's rejections of Zelaya's actions prior to the coup. I don't think either side appreciates that comparison, but it has some merit.

Second, he asks whether Micheletti is "losing it." It's a fun question because just a few days ago many analysts were asking whether Zelaya was losing it. It shows the remarkable turnaround that has been seen in the punditocracy in the past week with Micheletti's stunning error of judgment in his decree.

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Three months after the coup, still no Venezuelan troops overthrowing the Micheletti regime like Hugo Chavez promised on the very first day.

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Let me add my voice to the mob criticizing Lewis Amselem for his comments on Monday at the OAS. Amselem is representing the US at the OAS while Republicans hold up Obama's nominee for ambassador, Carmen Lomellin. Anselem called Zelaya's return "irresponsible and foolish."

Even if Amselem's comments criticizing Zelaya's reentry into Honduras have some validity, it was inappropriate for the moment (particularly considering Micheletti's decree that weekend) and did nothing to bring consensus to the OAS to help resolve the situation. It was an undiplomatic faux pas at a moment we needed smart diplomacy.

The State Dept released a statement later that day to clarify the situation and put a heavier focus on the abuses of the Micheletti government. I was also glad to see State reiterate its position that the US won't recognize elections in Honduras under the current conditions.

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The general who led the coup says he sees a resolution to the crisis coming very soon and "encouraged" the two sides to talk. You can take that as a positive sign or an ominous warning to the parties involved.

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Everyone domestically and internationally is watching Brazil's role in the crisis. How Brazil acts could reshape how the hemisphere views the rising power and influence of its second largest country.

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By Greg's count, we're at 94 days since the coup and 60 days to the election.