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Crisis in Honduras, Opportunity for the U.S.

El Diario/La Prensa, Editorial, Staff Posted: Jul 07, 2009

As the crisis in Honduras deepens, the absence of decisive action to promote democracy by the government of President Obama becomes more noticeable. Despite the fact that President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, have called the actions of the opposition in Honduras a coup d'tat, the government has focused its efforts on diplomatic maneuvers rather that applying the sanctions that the law of the United States demands.

Once the U.S. legally defines what happened in Honduras as a coup d'tat, then the sanctions provided in Section 7008 of the Foreign Operations Act become active. Said sanctions call for a halt in all spending or direct financial support to governments of any country whose duly elected head of state was deposed by coup d'etat or by decree.

This is quite clear.

If, as Obama said, "it would be a terrible precedent if we return to an era in which we saw coups as means of political transition rather than democratic elections," and he does not take action, his words are lost in the emptiness of diplomatic rhetoric: All talk and no action.

This lack of action leaves a leadership vacuum that others like Chavez are more than willing to fill.

The day of the coup in Honduras, the Venezuelan leader bombastically threatened a counter-coup to restore Zelaya.

Neither of these two positions--overly cautious or unilaterally aggressive--is an adequate response.

Meanwhile in Honduras, a deeply polarized society is living through a time of deep uncertainty and great danger.

We encourage President Obama to go from words into firm actions that can bring about the peaceful return of President Zelaya. This would be an important break with the dark past in the region of other U.S. governments and lend critical support to democracies of the region.




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