Did Honduras deal weaken Zelaya?
What first seemed like a victory for ousted President Manuel Zelaya could become a setback for him depending on what – and when – the Honduran Congress decides.
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Mr. Rivera says Congress could wait until after elections to make a decision. "If they do delay, there will be problems," says Rivera, who adds that Zelaya will not recognize a national unity government to be set up this week if a decision on his return is not first reached.Skip to next paragraph
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• Congress could reject Zelaya's return to office.
Many observers are wondering how the US, which has hailed the deal as an "historic agreement," will react if Zelaya is not voted back into power or if Honduran lawmakers stall.
For now, they have put their support behind the electoral process. Victor Rico, political affairs secretary of the Organization of American States (OAS), told the Associated Press that "the United States and the OAS will accompany Honduras in the elections."
Recognition of elections is a relief to many Hondurans, and for many observers it's the key to moving past the political crisis.
"[The deal] provides a path forward so that preparations for the election can get underway in a very serious way," says Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, a consultant group based in New York. "What this does is it legitimizes the election. … I think that continues to be the key."
But focusing on the election as the way out of the political crisis is not a solution in the eyes of Zelaya supporters, who will likely intensify their street protests if Zelaya is not restored to office. Many say that the US gains by being able to recognize the vote. "But we feel cheated by the US," says Rivera. "They do not care about the reinstatement of Zelaya, they just care about the elections."
While Honduras is dependent on the US more than many other nations, it still remains unclear how the world community will react if Congress does not vote to reinstate Zelaya.
If Zelaya is not reinstated, says Kevin Casas-Zamora, the former vice president of Costa Rica and now at the Brookings Institution, "you have no reversal of a coup d'etat," he says. He says that the world community would likely reject that scenario. "The issue will become all the more complicated," he says. "The champagne corks popped out too early."