There were political developments in Honduras this week. After negotiations had broken down last week, several high level U.S. officials, including the Asst. Sec. for the Western Hemisphere, flew in and helped to encourage the parties to regroup and to structure a deal. The U.S had apparently been trying to avoid taking the lead role in this process, but is getting some credit for having helped to make this finally happen.
The deal is more of a framework than a clear indication of what will really happen next. There will be a ¨government of unity and reconcilation¨designated by both sides next week and it will be interesting to see what that actually means. The Honduran Congress will ultimately decide whether or not former president Zelaya will return to office and under what conditions, although there is no specific time table for this decision and they may wait until after the election. There will also be a Committee of Verification to enforce the terms of the deal and a Truth Committee to determine what actually happened before and after June 28th, the date of the change of government (and the date that we left home.) This latter group, however, will not start to work until next January, when the new government is in place. The most important points are that 1) the elections scheduled for the end of November will go forward and will be recognized internationally and 2) both sides will ask that Honduras´relations with the rest of the world be normalized and the aid programs be restored. It does not appear that anyone really expects profound change from any of the candidates who are likely to win (all of whom were chosen by their respective parties long before the current crisis and most of whom have avoided saying much of anything about the change in government during this campaign and negotiation process), but most people we talk to seem to agree that having the election will be the best way to put all of this trouble behind and to move forward in some manner.
More personally, we spent a good part of the first few days of this week looking for a house or apartment. It went better than we expected and was an interesting way to learn more about the town, walking through neighborhoods looking for ¨for rent¨signs. There are a large number of small rooms without kitchens for rent. These are intended for the numerous students who live here and attend one of the three universities or who have moved here from a smaller community to go to high school. Several of these young people also eat with the same family that we are living with now and pay for food on a monthly basis, which is common for students. We will continue searching and are still optomistic that we can find a suitable place.
With our respective work programs, we are starting to do some legal work in preparing summaries of a couple of laws. We can read law, even if we cannot speak about it very well. The Honduran Ley de Municipalidades is only a little bit shorter than Title 9 of ARS and preparing a summary of key points will be a task that we will confront in the coming weeks. We also helped with the Habitat fund raising dinner this week which was a nice event with an impressive marimba band. Eliza is now very skilled at making lovely paper flowers from dyed papel higiénico.
We had our first intestinal problems this week, but have recovered and are doing pretty well now. All the best.