Big Gun: US Labor Secretary Hilda Solis Heads to Honduras Tuesday
With the agreed-upon November 5 deadline for restitution of Honduras President Manuel Zelaya approaching, the White House has just sent in a big gun. US Labor Secretary Hilda Solis - arguably the most progressive member of the Obama cabinet - was appointed today to be one of four members of the "Verification Commission" that is charged with making sure all sides comply with last Friday's agreement signed in Tegucigalpa to end the coup d'etat.
The agreement's timeline is clear as day:
October 30, 2009
1. Signing and entrance of the Accord into effect.
2. Formal delivery of the Accord to Congress for the effects of Point 5, “Regarding the Executive Power.”
November 2, 2009
1. Formation of the Verification Commission.
After the signing of this Accord and no later than November 5
1. Formation and installation of the National Unity and Reconciliation Government.
Other members of the verification committee are former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, President Zelaya's UN Ambassador Jorge Eduardo Reina Idiaquez and coup regime lackey Arturo Corrales Alvarez, who will no doubt be outnumbered by the other three if he tries to join the anti-democracy extremists of the coup regime in stalling implementation of the agreement.
Lagos is a particularly interesting addition to the Verification Commission. In 1972, Chilean President Salvador Allende nominated him as ambassador to the Soviet Union and Congress refused to vote on his nomination. After the 1973 coup d'etat in Chile he was forced into exile to Argentina and then the United States. He returned to Chile to lead the resistance against the coup regime of General Augusto Pinochet, including the successful "vote no" referendum of 1988 that brought down the then fifteen-year-old coup regime.
That the White House chose Secretary Solis - obviously not from the State Department, but a cabinet member on equal footing with Secretary Hillary Clinton - sends a clear message that it means business (and perhaps that the hemming and hawing that characterized State's mixed-message behavior toward the Honduras crisis all summer long has come to its overdue conclusion). Solis is strongly allied with labor union organizations in the US, which have their own alliances with many of the unions that make the backbone of the Honduran Civil Resistance.
In addition to speaking Spanish, both Solis and Lagos know plenty about how civil resistance works and how to combat the stalling tactics of those in power. Solis already bested the stalling tactics of Republicans in the US Congress earlier this year that attempted to block her nomination. Lagos has already dismantled one coup regime. He now gets the chance to dismantle another.