Friday, November 27, 2009

"an election consistent with the constitutional mandate"

Latin American nations, so fearful of coups that they didn't stop to consider the facts, blundered in trying to bring the de facto government to its knees by kicking it out of the Organization of American States. When the Hondurans refused to bow to OAS pressure, the hemispheric body, led by its ham-handed secretary-general, José Miguel Insulza, was left with no negotiating leverage.

Only the United States responded with a calibrated approach, siding with the Latin American countries over how Zelaya was removed but being understanding enough to seek a mediated solution. For once, bipartisanship thrives. A group of Senate Republicans backed off from their blind thrashing at Chávez ghosts, and now the democracy institutes of both parties are sending election observers.

The elections were scheduled, the candidates were chosen and the electoral commission was appointed while Zelaya was still in office. As Assistant Secretary of State Arturo Valenzuela told an OAS commission this week, "this is an election consistent with the constitutional mandate to elect the president and Congress."

- Edward Schumacher-Matos, Washington Post

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