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When the going gets tough, the tough get the world's most decorated peacemakers. At least, that seems to be the case with Honduras, whose de facto leaders have agreed to welcome a delegation composed of the likes of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Costa Rica's current President Oscar Arias.
Both men are proud bearers of a Nobel Peace Prize for brokering peace deals between bitter violent foes; Carter at Camp David in 1978 for the Middle East, and Arias in the following decade in Central America.
Arias has so far failed to get his San Jose Accord signed by the men for whom it was intended — Honduras' deposed President Manuel Zelaya and de facto President Roberto Micheletti. Their signatures would seal the deal on a plan that proposes to see both of these leaders back together in government again, this time in a power-sharing regime of reconciliation.
Clearly, Costa Rica's Arias could not go it alone. But now with Carter on the team, maybe the peacemakers are prepared to play ball. The former president claims he will provide a supporting role. "He is not offering himself as a mediator," Carter spokeswoman Deanna Congileo told CNN, "but rather supporting the mediation of [Costa Rican] President Oscar Arias and the Organization of American States mission."
Micheletti's nod to the team was a bit of a turnaround for the leader. Micheletti has said Arias is a "puppet" of international interests and “has ceased to be a proper mediator.”
But the de facto leader might feel more comfortable now that the mission could also include Panamanian Vice President and Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Varela, who represents a government that may be the closest thing to a regional ally Micheletti's got. While the international community has expressed that nations won't recognize the results of Honduras' upcoming presidential elections, Panama came out last week saying it would, as long as the vote is fair and transparent. The recently elected Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli — one of Latin America's few standing conservative leaders — reportedly has maintained an open line of contact with the Micheletti administration and offered to serve as a mediator.
Meanwhile, what a time to campaign for a presidential election. Each candidate probably dreads the chilly global rejection he could face if elected in a vote held in the current climate. They must be nervous. Although they almost unanimously have ruled out Zelaya's return to power, they've been publicly endorsing Arias' mediation process. Like it or not, it's still the only proposal. Let's see what President Carter brings to the table.