OAS Committee to Assess Honduran Democracy

The Organization of American States (OAS) next week is to begin discussions on the assembly of a special committee that will look into ways to re-integrate Honduras into the international community.

The committee will work from Washington. Its tasks and timetable will be determined by OAS Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mario Canahuati said he expected the committee to act with “a neutral spirit so they can really appreciate all that is being done by President Porfirio Lobo”. He added that Honduras has made great strides in the “strengthening and advancement of democracy and national reconciliation”.

Honduras Human Rights Commissioner, Ramon Custodio, however, criticized the OAS decision. “Here we don’t need any witnesses of what’s going on, because all is working normally”, Custodio said. “Sending an OAS committee is a hypocritical attitude of international diplomacy…Honduras has shown the world how a small country can subsist without the OAS”, he emphasized.

Panamanian Vice-President, Juan Carlos Varela (and pro tempore chairman of the Central American Integration System [SICA]) stated that, “We hope Honduras can be present at the June 30th Central American presidential summit to which Italy and South Korea have been invited.”

Insulza said the panel will be named next Monday in Washington and it is expected to have on it, himself, and current ambassadors of the OAS, or special emissaries with a long distinguished diplomatic career.

The agreement on the committee was reached at closed doors in private meetings among ministers during the OAS General Assembly in Peru, following on suggestions that the Honduras suspension was more punishment for the Honduran population than for its political establishment.

The OAS special committee is expected to send a mission to Honduras to assess the state of democracy and produce a report that would be one of several criteria used to decide the possible return of Honduras to the OAS. The full return of Honduras to the OAS must be considered and approved by the plenary of Foreign Affairs Ministers.

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