Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Deadline for Honduras

The clock is ticking in Honduras. 72 hours to restore the president ... or risk possible suspension from the OAS. Given the U.S. stance on Cuba and its position that the OAS is a league of democracies, it is not surprising that this was the decision.

Of course, I don't see Jose Manuel Zelaya just walking back into power. The interim president, Roberto Micheletti, has said as much--and the arrest warrants (charging Zelaya with a whole host of crimes including drug trafficking) are waiting.

So this isn't going to be a crisis that "just goes away" and allows Washington to go back to focusing on other parts of the world. Given the expectations raised when President Obama spoke at the summit of the Americas in Trinidad, the rest of the hemisphere may use Honduras as a test for how committed Washington is to rebuilding its ties to the Americas.

The Honduran crisis also did not come out of nowhere. It's another reminder why the U.S. needs to pay sustained attention to the hemisphere--and have consistent and sustainable policies in place.

I have no good answers as to what to do if Zelaya is not restored. Working through the OAS is a good plan, though, as is giving other regional actors greater prominence and supporting their decisions.

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