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OAS Members Avoiding the “Honduras Issue”

The Organization of American States (OAS) said it will wait till after Hernandez is sworn in to sign off on the organization’s report on the Honduran presidential elections.

A man shouts while taking part in a protest over Honduran presidential elections in Tegucigalpa, Honduras December 5, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro had been pushing for the 35 American nation organization whose members include Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, the U.S., Guatemala and several Caribbean countries, to discuss and approve the report in a special session last week “given the importance of the topic.”

This idea was shot down by the foreign ministers of Mexico, Colombia and the U.S. who recognize Hernandez as the winner, according to EFE.

Almagro had wanted constituent members to not only review but endorse the report released Dec. 27.

The OAS report denounces the “grave irregularities” of the Nov. 26 elections, among them that ballot boxes arrived to a holding center “opened, incomplete and were missing ballots.” The report, penned by lead OAS electoral observes – Guatemala’s former president, Alvaro Colom and former president to Bolivia Jorge Quiroga – does not “recognize a victor.”

Yet the authors stop short of calling for fresh elections, something that Almagro had been calling for along with runner-up, Salvador Nasralla.

President Juan Orlando Hernandez was announced the official winner on Dec. 17 with 42.95 percent of the votes, just over Nasralla’s 41.42 percent.

Almagro called on Chile’s OAS ambassador, Juan Anibal Barria who is in charge of organizing a Jan. 24 extraordinary OAS meeting, to put the report on the agenda “in order for members states to consider and approve (the document) given its important topic.”

“No country is in a hurry to approve the report” says an OAS delegate to EFE.

According to an unnamed diplomat close to the OAS meetings, the “the official excuse among the missions is that there aren’t enough topics to discuss to call for a regular council meeting” where such reports would typically be reviewed.

“But the truth is that no country – not one, not one – wants to debate the report, least of all approve it,” before the swear in, the diplomat says.

Even the countries that have called the elections “fraudulent” and don’t recognize Hernandez as the new head of state, such as Bolivia and Venezuela, says the EFE information, haven’t stepped forward to recognize Almagro’s request. They prefer to “do things as usual” and merely “take note of the report” without taking a stance either way, says the unnamed functionary.

“No country…wants to set a precedent where these reports are voted on and approved because it could be them later,” says the OAS diplomat.

It’s possible the OAS final report will be discussed at the organization’s first regular session planned for February.

Related, Hernandez reached out directly to Nasralla in a letter asking him for “open and sincere dialogue without conditions,” an invitation he had only previously made via his Twitter account.

Nasralla has said he would engage in talks with the president re-elect and his “representatives” only if there are “impartial… mediators” present aware of the country’s political situation. The Opposition Alliance candidate Since has continually accused the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, TSE, and its director, David Matamoros, of stealing the election from him.

The Opposition Alliance is The Opposition Alliance is calling for major protests and national strikes in the week leading up to Hernandez taking the presidential oath.