Update 1: Sen DeMint stops vote on Socialist Obama nominee for Latin America
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Republican senator unhappy with U.S. policy on Honduras delayed on Tuesday a committee vote to confirm the nominee to head the State Department's bureau of western hemisphere affairs.
Conservative Senator Jim DeMint, who has expressed concern over Washington's call for ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to be reinstated, invoked his right to ask the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to postpone voting to confirm Arturo Valenzuela, currently a professor at Georgetown University, to be assistant secretary of state.
DeMint also asked for a delay in confirming Thomas Shannon as U.S. ambassador to Brazil. Shannon currently holds the assistant secretary's post.
Both votes had been set for Tuesday afternoon but are now likely to be held next week.
DeMint is one of 17 Republican senators who wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this month asking the administration to reassess its stance on Honduras.
The group said it worried that Washington's pro-Zelaya stance would legitimize "abuses of power" and "violations of the Honduran constitution" by Zelaya before he was ousted by the army on June 28.
Efforts to broker an end to the Honduran power struggle collapsed on Sunday, after interim leader Roberto Micheletti rejected a proposal to reinstate the overthrown president.
Clinton spoke to Micheletti by phone after the talks fell apart and warned him he could face cuts in economic aid unless he strikes a deal with his rival.
DeMint and other Republicans have said they believe Hondurans were acting lawfully when they ousted Zelaya after he had sought to hold a referendum on overhauling the constitution to allow his re-election.
A spokesman for DeMint said on Tuesday the senator was also displeased at Valenzuela's refusal to discuss Honduras at length during his nomination hearing.
At the hearing, DeMint asked why Washington would want to be on the same side as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro, in the Honduran crisis.
"President Obama rushed to side with Chavez and Castro before getting the facts. Now it's clear that the people of Honduras were defending the rule of law," DeMint said on Tuesday, through his spokesman.
Supreme Court chief Jorge Alberto Rivera vehemently rejects outside interference of a constitutional order carried out by the congressional branch, in conjunction with the Honduran military
Broad coalition of private sector demonstrates total support to the new constitutional government
Civil and political sectors from all walks of life offer their fidelity to Micheletti
Key members of cabinet participated, as well
Micheletti promotes investment, both foreign and domestic, unequivocally exclaims that Zelaya will never return as President, extols reconciliation in the future and promises to turn power over on 27 January 2010 after November elections
Micheletti demands "respect" from abroad, from those intertwining themselves in Honduras domestic matters
National Police has captured up to 120 foreigners infiltrated in country, majority of which are Nicaraguans and Venezuelans
Police force ready, willing and able to capture Zelaya, due to the 18 charges he has leveled against him
Supreme Electoral Tribunal investigating members of Zelaya's corrupt cabinet
Since Mel's ouster not one Venezuelan aircraft has landed in country with drug shipments nor violated air space, save Zelaya's infamous flyover of the airport
Zelaya agitators looking to disrupt nation with calls to strike
What a surprise, Sandinista Legion of Doom member, Danny Ortega, wants to alter the Nicaraguan constitution in order to seek indefinite re-election
Panama mediating as well, Foreign Minister meets Micheletti delegation
Canada conveys patience, urges Mel not to return precipitously
Legion of Doom member, Chile's President Bachelet, blasts the Micheletti government
Zelaya pressuring EU to suspend money and ties, will form an internal resistance, fomenting violence and rebellion
Three entry points that Mel is citing as possible avenues for his return to Honduran territory....can you say re-run?
Mel spent 10,000 USD in government funds to have his life size sculpture created, his bust and one of bloody terrorist, Che Guevara
He also had himself painted along with other former Presidents
Mel thanks fellow Legion of Doom member, the socialist bull dyke and daughter of a traitor, Pres. Bachelet from Chile
Marxist Venezuelan FM lambastes Israeli (first nation to recognize Micheletti) Deputy Foreign Minister, Dorit Shavit, who links the ALBA Legion of Doom nations to Iran and Hezbollah