Honduras' dismissal is OAS summit's hot topic

The Miami HeraldJune 8, 2010 

At the annual meeting of the Organization of American States, the one item not on the agenda seemed to be the one item on everyone's mind: Honduras.

As representatives of 32 nations gathered in Lima for the 40th general assembly of the OAS, the subject kept coming back to the Central American nation that was kicked out of the organization last year in the wake of a coup.

Nicaragua's last-minute attempt to shoehorn the issue onto the schedule Monday was voted down by members who said it should be dealt with during closed-door meetings.

"The issue of Honduras should not be marginalized," said Hugo Martinez, the foreign minister of El Salvador. "The only thing that does is strengthen the enemies of Honduras' democracy."

The Honduras issue has split the region and put some of the OAS's most powerful members on opposite sides.

In one corner is Brazil, which along with Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua, has argued that Honduras needs to take additional steps before it's allowed to return to the OAS fold.

On the other side, the United States has been rallying Central American and other countries around the idea that the nation has made amends.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that while the United Sates condemned the 2009 ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, the country's clean elections in November and the new administration's commitment to deal with the issue should be rewarded.

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