Honduras crisis: Critics from both sides slam US
Chief mediator Oscar Arias asked for a 72-hour extension and warned of civil war after talks broke down Sunday.
Conscious of its historical dominance in Latin America – including a track record of supporting brutal right-wing dictatorships – the United States quickly sought a place on the sidelines after military leaders ousted Honduras's leftist President Manuel Zelaya on June 28.Skip to next paragraph
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The US denounced the ouster, joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in its condemnation, and put all its weight behind Costa Rican President Oscar Arias as the lead negotiator in Central America's worst political conflict since the US invasion of Panama in 1989.
Now, with frustration growing on both sides as a resolution seems farther out of reach, that backseat role is being increasingly questioned.
The US position aligns with that of nations around the world, and many say the Obama administration is doing well by not appearing to be a bully as it supports regional mediation efforts to reinstate Mr. Zelaya as president.
But suddenly, regional leftist leaders such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who initially found themselves on the same side as the US, are blaming Washington for not taking a harder stance against the Honduran leaders, while those favoring the interim government in Honduras say that US passivity is for its own political gain.
"The State Department does not want to fight with anyone in the region, especially not Chávez, and especially not for a country as small as Honduras," says Juan Ramon Martinez, a political analyst in Honduras. "That is why there is no resolution in Costa Rica. Because Arias is just reiterating the US stance."
Talks with Mr. Arias broke down Sunday over a key stipulation: that Zelaya be returned to power until his term ends in January.