Oscar Arias’s upside-down world

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias had this to say following yesterday’s dog and pony “dialogue” at his house in San José.

“…I’ve said that words hurt as much as gunshots and that we should use respectful language.  I am content; the truth is that no Latin American can fail to feel satisfied after contributing a grain of sand so that the Honduran people might reconcile and that there be no bloodshed.”

Actually, gunshots are quite a bit more painful than words.  But maybe Arias gets his news photoshopped.  Or maybe he just doesn’t read.  He seemed pretty out of it at the joint press conference he did with Zelaya following the Honduran president’s surprise arrival in his country – asking to have the question repeated about whether he’d been informed beforehand about his unexpected guest.

Well, the rest of his speech is no better.  Go ahead and read it (“I believe the arguments from both sides are very convincing…”) and decide for yourself if Arias is really that stupid, or whether the Nobel Peace Prize is rigged, or both.  Afterwards, see the interview with the Costa Rican journalist who says Arias ain’t no mediator.

June 9, 2009 – Oscar Arias:

Translation: Machetera

I’ve always been very sincere when I’ve said that dialogue leads to miracles, just not instant ones, unfortunately.  I have called on the parties to tell them that if Rabin and Arafat could sit down to dialogue, honestly, if they had that kind of courage after so much blood had been shed, after so much time in the Middle East…I’ll never forget the words of Rabin when he was criticized in his country for sitting down and talking with his enemy and he responded: “And what are they waiting for?  One talks and negotiates with one’s enemy.”

In this case we’re not talking about enemies, we’re talking about Honduran brothers who have political differences that have separated them given the interpretation given by the Armed Forces from one moment to the next; they decided to go to the President who was constitutionally elected by Hondurans, they took him from his house, put him on a plane and left him here in Costa Rica.

Before the eyes of the world, without exception, this is a breaking of constitutional order and not to use any kind of euphemism, is called a coup d’etat.  That’s how it’s been recognized by the entire world.  I myself acknowledged it the very same day and I believe I’m the first Head of State and the first government to recognize it was a coup d’etat and regret that it had happened and insist that the international community restore the rule of law and constitutional order [in Honduras] and that this be done by restoring President Zelaya to office.

The following day, the hemisphere’s leaders met in Managua saying the very same thing and after that, the OAS and the United Nations.  This dialogue must continue.

Right now Micheletti’s representatives are here just as are Manuel Zelaya’s and, well, I think that everything in life is relative, but things have gone forward well enough, the fact that things are being said with frankness and sincerity is a significant step.  I’ve said that words hurt as much as gunshots and that we should use respectful language.  I am content; the truth is that no Latin American can fail to feel satisfied after contributing a grain of sand so that the Honduran people might reconcile and that there be no bloodshed.

It’s very difficult to speak of a successful negotiation without touching on the restoration of President Zelaya.

I don’t want to go into detail about the subjects discussed, but it seems to me that it has been a frank, sincere, transparent and respectful dialogue.  Both parties told me that they didn’t want to spend the day sitting down to dialogue while their delegations failed to advance.  Let’s not fool ourselves, I’ve been clear, dialogue produces miracles but not immediate ones.  This is the beginning of a dialogue that should go on.  They are the ones who will have to end this dialogue with a negotiation.

It seems to me that for now we’re going to continue and if necessary, we’ll go on tomorrow and if it’s still not done, into the future, but we’ve not talked about when.

I believe that the arguments from both sides are very convincing and that we will need to continue to advance and get closer to conditions, but that time should allow for the distance to diminish and allow us to focus on commonalities.

It’s the only way forward.  This is the methodology for any kind of negotiation.  When the Palestinians got together with the Jews, the division of Jerusalem was left for last, because it was the most sensitive topic.  My recommendation is to proceed with the easiest things and leave the most crucial subject for last, and that is the restoration of President Zelaya until the end of his term.

Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.

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