The General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) decided today to lift the suspension of the right of participation of Honduras in the Organization during its Forty-first Special Session.
The resolution titled, “Participation of Honduras in the Organization of American States,” was approved by a vote of 32 in favor, one against, Ecuador being the only country that opposed the Central American country’s reentry.
The text of the approved Resolution makes reference to Article 22 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which establishes that, once the situation behind a Member State’s suspension has been overcome, the suspension may be lifted. Furthermore, it highlights the conviction of the member countries that “democracy is one of our region’s most valued accomplishments and that the peaceful transfer of power through constitutional means and in strict compliance with the constitutional rules of each of our states is the product of a continuous and irreversible process.”
The Resolution cites the Agreement for National Reconciliation and the Consolidation of the Democratic System in the Republic of Honduras signed in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, last May 22, and it resolves to “lift the suspension, with immediate effect, of the right of the State of Honduras to participate in the Organization of American States.”
The complete text of the Declaration is available here.
The Session, held at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, began with the election of Colombia’s Foreign Minister, María Ángela Holguín Cuellar, as Chair of the Assembly. The Colombian Minister presented the text of the resolution proposed by 26 countries for the consideration of the full session, before the Permanent Representative of Ecuador, Ambassador María Isabel Salvador, asserted that “in principle, we cannot agree with the other members of the Organization. Ecuador considers that the right and sufficient conditions are not present yet for the return of the sister Republic of Honduras to this Organization, since the full restoration of democracy and the Rule of Law in that country is necessary for its return and has not been met yet.”
Once the Resolution was approved to reintegrate Honduras to the bosom of the Organization, the Assembly was joined by the delegation of Honduras, integrated by the country’s Foreign Minister, Mario Canahuati; the Republic’s Vice President, María Antonieta Guillén de Bográn; the Minister of Planning and Development, Arturo Corrales; and the Ambassador of Honduras to the United States, Jorge Ramón Hernández Alcerro. Afterwards, the representatives of the member countries and foreign ministers who participated in the session offered welcoming words to Honduras.
The Vice President of Honduras, María Antonieta Guillén de Bográn, addressed the General Assembly on behalf of the Government of President Porfirio Lobo and asserted that “the moment for the healing of wounds has arrived,” emphasizing that this chapter has left her country stronger than before. “As a people and as a nation the difficulties have not discouraged us, and little by little we have overcome the setbacks. Our commitment and firm determination to move forward has been greater than any adversity.”
The Honduran Vice President took the opportunity to thank the support of the governments and people who accompanied the recent electoral process in that country and “who showed their solidarity with the new Honduran government, at a time in which we faced political challenges and an internal economic crisis.” She also expressed her government’s wish “that no country in the Americas go through a similar ordeal, that no sister country may suffer the moral, political and economic costs of a situation like the one we lived through,” and she concluded her speech by asserting that “today we close this ill-fated chapter of our history to open a new, promissory one. We turn the page and see our future with faith and optimism.”
At the end of the Assembly, Secretary General José Miguel Insulza delivered a speech in which he highlighted the good will of the countries in reaching this agreement. “All of this has been possible thanks to the unity and perseverance we have shown through these 23 months in which we never gave up,” he said, and asserted that in the decision-making process regarding Honduras “very important principles were at risk and those principles are the ones that have directed our activity throughout all these months.” In this sense, he recalled the significance of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and its application.
The head of the hemispheric Organization also said that as an institution “everything we have done makes us proud” and cited the principles of non-intervention. “In a continent of sovereign States, any rupture in that sovereignty causes irreparable damage that lasts for a long time.” He further recalled and insisted that “we ought to be proud because we have followed our own principles, and we have done what we needed to do, knowing that we could cause pain and problems but respecting the principles upon which this organization was founded.”
At the end of his speech, the Secretary General said that in his opinion the Inter-American Democratic Charter “as a democratic program of the Americas is complete, it does not need to be modified, but I believe we can apply it much better and that is what we hope to devote ourselves to in the next months,” and he concluded by expressing satisfaction with the results of the meeting.
The State of Honduras had been suspended from participating in the OAS since July 5, 2009, as a consequence of the coup d’état that ousted then-President of the Republic José Manuel Zelaya.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.