Manuel Zelaya, who is the General Coordinator for the Libre Party, earlier this month said that if Minister of Education Marlon Escoto were to bring to him letters of recommendation from the six teachers' unions in Honduras, he would recommend to his wife, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, who is Libre's presidential candidate, to keep Minister Escoto in his position were Mrs. Zelaya to be elected president. According to Mr. Zelaya, "If Minister Escoto brings us recommendations from the the six teachers' unions, I myself, as General Coordinator of Libre, would recommend him to Xiomara. If he brings the recommendation of (Óscar) Recarte, of (Edgardo) Casaña and of Edwin Oliva... if they recommend him, he stays."
On so many levels, this statement by Mr. Zelaya is inappropriate and amateurish, and it portends of how a second Zelaya administration in Honduras might well be run. As the former President of Honduras, the General Coordinator of Libre, and the "First Man" of Honduras, Mr. Zelaya would clearly carry tremendous weight within his wife's government. The question is would it be too much and would it continually cross the line? In other words, "Who would really be running the government, and how would the Honduran people know?" Would the relationship be similar to if Hillary Clinton were to become the next President of the United States in 2016 and Bill were to become First Man? Or would it simply be Mr. Zelaya pulling all the strings and telling his wife what to do and what to say and how to say it? A kind of Latin Rasputin.
In the case of the Clintons, there is no doubt that Hillary is her own person and has a wealth of education and political and government leadership experience. Hillary graduated from Wellesley College. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Yale University. She served as a Congressional legal counsel. She was chair of the Legal Services Corporation and was a partner in the Rose Law Firm. She was First Lady for eight years. She served as a U.S. Senator from New York. And she campaigned against Barack Obama for the U.S. Presidency in 2008.
There is no question Bill would occasionally offer some advice to Hillary. But Mel with Xiomara? And note that this is not only a problem of propriety -- a case of a former president controlling things behind the scenes but, more critically, the soundness of the "advice" and the chaos that could result from heeding it. If Mr. Zelaya, for example, believes that ministers like Mr. Escoto should be appointed only if those whom they employ approve of them, then it is obvious that Mrs. Zelaya would be opening herself up to a lot of very bad counsel. So with regard to government ministers, who exactly would be in charge -- the ministers or the unions?
In reference to Mr. Zelaya's remarks, Mr. Escoto last week said, "It would be embarrassing for me to be a part of these type of structures and decisions by the government." He added, "At no time will politics determine how I behave as a public official, because I can just as well earn my living in the academic or research fields, or in any other area separate from being a public official."
"The only reason I am where I am is my training. If I dedicated 23 years of my life to develop myself, I will never allow myself to be controlled by unscrupulous persons," Mr. Escoto said, alluding to union leaders Óscar Recarte, Edgardo Casaña, and Edwin Oliva, among others. From the sound of it, it's probably Mr. Escoto who should be running at the top of the Libre ticket. Mr. Escoto is a member of Libre and, more importantly, is one of the early founders and grassroots leaders of the Resistencia movement which ultimately led to the creation of Libre. He definitely seems like he's his own person.
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