- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 14, 2009

‘WISDOM BEGINS’

A former Costa Rican ambassador to the United States praised the selection of the Costa Rican president to mediate the constitutional crisis in Honduras as Republican members of Congress criticized the Obama administration for its response to the ouster of Honduras’ left-wing leader.

“With the efforts of mediation given to Costa Rican President Oscar Arias … wisdom begins to return and to amend a monumental blunder,” Jaime Daremblum, ambassador in Washington from 1998 to 2004, wrote last week in the Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion.

Mr. Daremblum, now director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the Hudson Institute, had criticized the international response to the Honduran military’s arrest and exile of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on June 28. From President Obama, who called the action a coup, to the Organization of American States, most world leaders denounced the new civilian Honduran government and demanded Mr. Zelaya’s reinstatement.

Mr. Daremblum said world leaders failed to understand that the Honduran Supreme Court ordered the army to arrest Mr. Zelaya after the president had tried to violate the constitution by calling for a referendum that would have allowed him to run for re-election. The Honduran Constitution limits presidents to one term and gives the Honduran Congress the power to amend the charter.

Mr. Zelaya had “trampled the law and attempted to hold an illegal referendum on constitutional reform,” Mr. Daremblum wrote in an earlier opinion article.

In his La Nacion column Friday, he said that Mr. Arias, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his work to end civil wars in Central America, is the right choice to apply diplomacy to find a solution to Mr. Zelaya’s demands to return to Honduras and the interim government’s refusal to allow him back in the country.

“Solutions put forward so far are inflexible and have proven incapable of solving the problem,” Mr. Daremblum said.

Meanwhile, 17 Republican senators wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to complain about a perceived “one-sided support” for Mr. Zelaya and a failure to acknowledge the constitutional crisis that led to his removal. Mrs. Clinton met with Mr. Zelaya last week in Washington.

“It appears that the Honduran government operated under constitutional authority and that the removal of Mr. Zelaya from power was legal and legitimate,” they said in their July 8 letter, which included copies of the charges filed against Mr. Zelaya

The letter was signed by Sens. Christopher S. Bond of Missouri, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, John Cornyn of Texas, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, John Ensign of Nevada, James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, John Kyl of Arizona, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Jim Risch of Idaho, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, John Thune of South Dakota, David Vitter of Louisiana and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

KENNARD TO EU

President Obama plans to name a top executive from a leading private-equity firm to serve as ambassador to the European Union.

William E. Kennard plans to resign from the Washington-based Carlyle Group as soon as the White House publicly announces his nomination, the Bloomberg news service reported Monday.

Mr. Kennard, a major fundraiser for Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign, served as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission under President Clinton.

• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected] washingtontimes.com.

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