OAS’s secretary sabotages diplomacy

Update 20:05 ET – Insulza just folded. They met half way, meaning that he will come along but only as an observer. A new date for the visit will be set in the next two days, according to a new press release from the Honduran foreign department, dated 2009-08-09.

Original text 18:16 ET – In a press release today, the government of Micheletti announces that the delegation that was to visit Honduras on Tuesday must change their plans. The reason is that the secretary of OAS, José Miguel Insulza, insists on participating and he is not welcome.

The initiative to the visit came from the new government themselves. The background is that no foreign diplomats have been briefed, still, by the democratic institutions of Honduras about the events of June 28, when Micheletti replaced Zelaya as president. The international community delegated to OAS (the Organization of American States) to do this, and their secretary, Insulza, went to Tegucigalpa.

However, during the visit he refused to meet with people who had come to inform him. He declared that he was not there on a fact-finding mission, but to leave an ultimatum: If Zelaya was not restored as president within 72 hours Honduras would be suspended from OAS.

After his departure Honduras itself left OAS, since they considered the organization compromised. OAS did not accept the resignation since they did not accept its government. Insulza’s report was the basis for suspending Honduras instead.

Oscar Arias later disqualified Insulza’s report, why Honduras has good grounds for accusing him for lack of objectivity, impartiality, and professionalism, as they do in the press release.

After the talks in Costa Rica under Oscar Arias stalled, Honduras suggested that Arias should send a delegation of foreign ministers to the country, so they could receive the briefing that Insulza had refused. It seemed clear the other day that the participants would come from Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico.

Insulza is, however, insisting that he himself also should participate, which now has led Honduras to announce that the delegation is not welcome as long as he is part of it. If he is replaced by someone else from the OAS, a new date can be planned.

Since the visit is a strong desire on the part of Honduras, the behavior of Insulza cannot be interpreted as anything else than a deliberate attempt at sabotaging the country’s desire to mend its broken diplomatic relations. The fact that this undermines the peace in Latin America seems to be of no concern to Insulza, who may have a good chance at getting re-elected next year with the support of Hugo Chávez and his coalition of countries with doubtful democracy.

The European Union, and its presidency country Sweden, does not seem concerned over these authoritarian tendencies, but appears to continue to have complete faith in OAS and Insulza. According to a source at the Swedish foreign department this policy is set by Spain, a country that allegedly has a large and sensitive oil-related contract with Venezuela.