US crams Honduras agreement on return of Zelaya down government's throat

Details are sketchy but it appears the months long crisis in Honduras is close to being over thanks to an agreement between the legitimate government headed by President Roberto Micheletti and Chavez wannabe Manuel Zelaya that was dictated by the United States government.

The agreement calls for the return of Zelaya to power. In return, the US promised to recognize the result of the elections scheduled for the end of November.

The Voice of America is reporting:

Mr. Micheletti said late Thursday he has authorized his negotiating team to sign an agreement that "marks the beginning of the end" of the four-month political standoff. Congress must approve the deal.

Mr. Zelaya said he is "optimistic" that the agreement will return him to power.

Speaking in Islamabad, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed the agreement as "historic."

The apparent breakthrough followed pressure from senior U.S. officials who are in Honduras. Earlier Thursday, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Thomas Shannon, said the rival sides had to reach an accord to ensure international support for the upcoming presidential elections in November.

Mr. Zelaya was expelled from Honduras in a June 28 coup, with opponents accusing him of trying to illegally change the constitution to extend his term in office.

The ousted leader secretly returned to the country in mid-September and took refuge at the Brazilian mission.

The Micheletti government has filed a formal complaint against Brazil with the International Court of Justice in The Hague for sheltering Mr. Zelaya.

The Obama administration had preferred to let the Organization of American States and its designated mediator, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, take the lead role in Honduran diplomacy.

But, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to increase U.S. efforts to resolve the crisis and send the delegation to Honduras after Mr. Zelaya said last week the process had broken down.

The Honduran Constitution no longer rules that country. It has been replaced by US bullying, and our backing of someone who has openly sought to emulate the regime of Hugo Chavez in Venezuala.

Since Zelaya is forbidden by the now shredded Honduran constitution from running again, what are the odds that he will go quietly off into retirement? If there is a way for him to maintain power - even with the help of foreign troops - I have no doubt he will take it.

Exit question: The US has a history of intervening in the internal affairs of Latin American countries. We have been rightly excoriated for doing so. Would someone please tell me why this intervention is any different?