Mérida, June 2nd 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – On Wednesday the Venezuelan government voted “with reservations” for the return of Honduras to the Organization of American States (OAS). Insisting on the need for “justice” in cases of human rights violations tied to the 2009 coup d’état against democratically-elected president Manuel Zelaya – which resulted in Honduras’ expulsion from the OAS – Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro welcomed the country’s return to the OAS as well as “reconciliation” efforts underway in the Central American nation.
Speaking to colleagues in Washington during an OAS meeting held specifically to vote on returning Honduras to the organization, Maduro reiterated the Venezuelan government’s demands that “the inter-American community work to ensure, sooner rather than later, that justice be done in Honduras.”
“We [Venezuela] tried to propose, within the resolution, a few elements that would have provided more of a guarantee, more strength to this specific point – the point of the struggle against impunity, the need for justice to prevail in the case of those who perpetrated the coup de ‘état,” said Maduro.
Of the 33 OAS member states, 32 voted in favor of readmitting Honduras to the inter-American institution. Only one (1) OAS member, Ecuador, voted against Honduras’ return to the OAS, arguing that impunity still reigns in Honduras and that the country still lacks democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights.
The vote comes just weeks after joint Venezuela-Colombia mediation efforts helped secure an agreement between Zelaya and current Honduran President Porfirio Lobo.
As part of the agreement, Zelaya returned to Honduras on Saturday, almost two years after his 28 June 2009 forced removal form the Honduran presidency, paving the way for the OAS vote on Wednesday.
On Thursday, United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recognized the efforts of both Venezuela and Colombia in helping to secure Honduras’ return to the OAS.
In a statement released to the press, the Secretary General said he welcomed “efforts of the member states that helped find a solution, in particular the governments of Colombia and Venezuela which facilitated the Cartagena Agreement on national reconciliation and consolidation of the democratic system in Honduras.”
On 22 May 2011, Zelaya and Lobo signed the so-called Cartagena Agreement in Cartagena, Colombia, with Colombian President Juan Santos and Venezuela’s Maduro acting as witnesses. According to Alexander Main, the agreement included the following conditions:
The secure return of Zelaya and other officials exiled during and after the 2009 coup; an end to the persecution of members of the anti-coup National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP, by its Spanish initials); human rights guarantees and the investigation of human rights violations since the coup; guarantees for the holding of a future constituent assembly; and the recognition of the FNRP as a political organization.