The big news in Honduras is that the good guys seem to have won a four-month political standoff over the exile of former President Manuel Zelaya. Current President Roberto Micheletti agreed yesterday to submit Mr. Zelaya's request for reinstatement as president to the Supreme Court and Congress, and in return the U.S. will withdraw its sanctions and recognize next month's presidential elections.
Mr. Zelaya, whose term would have expired in January, isn't likely to be reinstated, given that the court has twice ruled against his right to remain in office. The Honduran Congress, which voted in June to remove Mr. Zelaya, will then use that high court's opinion to decide if he should be restored to power.
There is a risk that Venezeula's Hugo Chávez and other Zelaya allies will try to buy support for their man and stir other trouble. But Hondurans who have rightly stood up to enormous U.S. pressure to reinstate Mr. Zelaya aren't likely to be intimidated now.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton trumpeted the result as a diplomatic triumph, but it's more accurate to say that it extricated her and the Obama Administration from the box canyon they entered by throwing in with Mr. Zelaya. Hondurans had deposed Mr. Zelaya on entirely legal grounds for threatening violence and violating the country's constitution in an attempt to run for a second term.
The U.S. nonetheless meddled and demanded that Mr. Zelaya be reinstated.
But Hondurans refused to bend, and the State Department apparently decided at last that Honduras was going to go ahead with its election whether the U.S. agreed or not. The Honduran compromise provided Mrs. Clinton with an elegant diplomatic exit.
Washington and the Organization of American States have now promised to send observers and recognize the elections; there will be no amnesty for Mr. Zelaya if he is charged with a crime; and the zelayistas will renounce their plans to call for a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution. If Mrs. Clinton wants to call this a victory, it is—for Honduras.
Tratto da The Wall Street Journal