Not even a special mission of foreign ministers, hand-picked by the Organization of American States (OAS), was able to solve the stalemate in Honduras.
After a two-day visit to the Central American country, representatives from countries spanning the Americas issued a statement Tuesday in which they expressed “regret for not being able to obtain support for the San José Agreement,” referring to an accord drafted during a mediation process in Costa Rica in July. That accord was intended to put an end to the crisis and return Honduras to normalcy.
Since Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was marched from his home at gunpoint two months ago and the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti was installed, international organizations have been working to stitch the country back together.
Their foremost concern has been the return of Zelaya to the presidency, a proposition that the Honduran legislature, the Supreme Court and Micheletti have rejected outright.
More than a month later, and despite the prodding of the foreign ministers, Honduran leaders were still unwilling this week to accept Arias’ proposition.
Most people involved “agree with the fundamentals of the San José Agreement, although many expressed concerns about it,” read the statement from the delegation.
“Authorities and state agencies expressed reservations on two points: the amnesty provision and … the return of Zelaya to the presidency until January 27, 2010.”
The foreign ministers, representing Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic, left Honduras on Tuesday without any concrete recommendations for next steps, except to call “on all sectors of Honduran society to sign the San José Agreement … which includes elements necessary for dialogue and reconciliation, a restoration of constitutional order and … the speedy reintegration of Honduras into the international community.”
The foreign ministers’ visit took place one day after the Honduran Supreme Court ruled against key points in the proposed San José Agreement and affirmed the legitimacy of Micheletti’s presidency.
José Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the OAS, said dialogue and negotiations would continue.
“There is still space for a possible agreement, although it is becoming increasingly narrow,” he said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno, who accompanied the foreign ministers on their mission to Honduras, said the OAS continues to work on “other interpretations to the constitution”, which would provide for Zelaya’s return. But, at this time, he said, countries are being urged to apply increased pressure on the Central American country.
In the latest of a long line of trade embargoes and reduced aid, the United States announced Tuesday that it would suspend tourist visas for Hondurans. Beginning this week, Honduran nationals will not be granted tourist visas to the U.S., except under emergency conditions.