In Honduras, political crisis takes a holiday
In Honduras, political crisis is taking a holiday.
A standoff between the president and congress and the Supreme Court that brought the country to the brink last week is now on hold until Jan. 3, as offices closed Monday for the holiday season.
No one answered at the Supreme Court or the attorney general's offices, and President Porfirio Lobo was silent after calling Friday for a national dialogue to find a way out of the crisis.
"We're going on Christmas vacation," congressional vice president Marvin Ponce said Monday.
Little more than a week ago, Lobo had accused a group of powerful business leaders and the Supreme Court of plotting against him. Then congress, with soldiers surrounding the building, voted in the early morning hours on Wednesday to oust four justices who voted against Lobo's police reform. Many called the vote illegal. The attorney general's office promised to investigate.
But for now, the country where Lobo's predecessor was deposed in a coup apparently plans to spend the next three weeks in heavenly peace.
Three years after former President Manuel Zelaya was run out of office at gunpoint in his pajamas, Lobo has struggled. He has twice warned that his enemies are conspiring to oust him in a coup, and then provoked a constitutional crisis with congressional vote, which legal scholars have described as everything from an abuse of power to a betrayal of the country.
Lobo met all day Friday behind closed doors with leaders of the various factions and the help of the Venezuelan embassy. Venezuela was key in brokering a 2011 deal that saw the peaceful return of Zelaya, who has now formed his own political party. Lobo's approval of the deal was one of the first things he did to alienate the business leaders who supported the coup.
The Supreme Court tried to meet last week to address the crisis, but couldn't agree on a quorum between the ousted justices and their replacements. The fired justices complained that they didn't receive due process.
Justice Antonio Henriquez, who remains on the court, told Honduras Channel 3 television that he too intends to remain silent, but not because of the holidays.
"Until they restore our colleagues, no one is going to meet with the usurpers," he said Sunday.