Zelaya seeks return to Honduras, gets foreign backing

Argentina’s president and the head of the Organization of American States plan to accompany ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya as he tries to return to his country this week, an Argentine Foreign Ministry source said, in a growing show of support in the hemisphere to restore him to power.

Zelaya was bundled out of office and into exile in Costa Rica in a military coup on Sunday. There has been a tide of international condemnation for the ouster, from U.S. President Barack Obama to the Honduran leader’s leftist allies in Latin America, led by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.In Honduras, pro-Zelaya protesters have clashed in the streets with security forces.

Zelaya said on Monday evening he planned to return to Honduras on Thursday, accompanied by OAS chief Jose Miguel Insulza. The news that Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez also planned to travel with him added to the pressure on the interim leaders of Honduras to back down.

Other Latin American leaders might travel with Zelaya, Fernandez and Insulza, the Argentine source said.

Further piling on the pressure, the World Bank has “paused” all program lending to Honduras following the coup, the bank’s president, Robert Zoellick, said on Tuesday.

“We’re working closely with the OAS (Organization of American States) and looking to the OAS to deal with its handling of the crisis under its democratic charter,” Zoellick told reporters in Washington. “In the process we have put a pause with our lending.

Sunday’s coup in Honduras, an impoverished coffee-producing country of 7 million people that had been politically stable since the end of military rule in the early 1980s, was the first military putsch in Central America since the Cold War.

Zelaya, a close ally of Chavez, had riled the armed forces, courts and Congress with his quest to change the constitution to let presidents seek re-election beyond a single four-year term.

But the coup has been swiftly condemned, including by Obama’s administration. The U.S. president said on Monday Zelaya was the legitimate Honduran president and he was working with the OAS and other regional bodies to resolve the situation.


In a signal of the international support behind him, Zelaya planned to speak at the United Nations on Tuesday.

Zelaya, speaking of his planned trip back to Honduras, defied the interim government to repress protests, or kill him.

“If they send troops to repress demonstrations or to kill me, then let them try before the eyes of the world,” Zelaya said at a meeting of Latin American leaders in Nicaragua. He said he had accepted an offer by Insulza to accompany him, but gave no details of how he expected to carry out his return.

Honduras’ Congress named Roberto Micheletti, a conservative veteran of Zelaya’s Liberal Party as caretaker president soon after Zelaya was pushed out on Sunday.

The interim government’s foreign minister, Enrique Ortez, appeared to leave the door open for Zelaya to come back this week although only if he recognizes he is no longer president.

“He can come in, but only if he leaves his presidency behind him,” Ortez told local media. “We are not going to allow him to come here to create unnecessary problems.”

The capital, Tegucigalpa, was calm on Tuesday morning after a second night under curfew. Hundreds of Zelaya supporters had clashed with riot police on Monday to demand his return in one of the world’s major coffee producers.

Coffee output and exports appeared untouched by the turmoil as ports and roads remained open [ID:nN29384653].

Micheletti, who set himself up in the presidential palace despite the protests outside, told Reuters most Hondurans supported the ouster, which he said had saved the country from swinging to a radical Chavez-style socialism [ID:nN29409053].

Zelaya, a cowboy hat-wearing logging magnate, upset conservative elites with his growing alliance with Chavez.


Micheletti has the backing of the powerful business and political elites that have run Honduras for most of its history since independence from Spain in the 19th century.

His government expects to stay on until elections due in late November, but he will come under pressure to negotiate a swift end to the crisis.

Zelaya has low support — polls showed around 30 percent before his ouster — as many Hondurans were uncomfortable with his tilt to the left in a country with a long conservative, pro-Washington position.

“Some sort of negotiation will have to occur,” said Shannon O’Neil at the Center on Foreign Relations. “For the international community, the most acceptable solution is that Zelaya comes back and completes the last several months of his term as president, and then steps down.”

Left-wing Latin American presidents led by Venezuela’s Chavez said in Managua, capital of neighboring Nicaragua, that they would withdraw their ambassadors from Honduras in protest at the coup. Central American nations plan to do the same [ID:nN29361794] and announced a two-day halt in trade.

The Honduras crisis is a test for the White House in a region where Obama has promised a new era of relations after often testy years under the Bush administration.



5 Responses

  1. Why are the world leaders so intent on supporting Manuel Zelaya? Do they really know the truth, the circumstances that led us to take such drastic measures? Do they know that what happened on Sunday was the last resort in order to defend justice and democracy in our nation? Do they know how this monster has manipulated the most needy people into believing him and has used and abused them. How he has paid them off to gain their support! Do you all really know? Or did you just assume that he was a victim… Why then is that close to 90% of the country do not want him back? Please you must learn the truth before you just throw him back on us!

  2. I more than welcome international agencies’ attitude and action towards democracy in Honduras. If President Zelaya is guilty then the Courts must determine this and not the military.
    Anyway, again we see the international community’s double standard. While supporting democracy in Honduras, there is still no condemnation to Chavez’s dictatorship or Ajmedinajad’s dictatorship and crimes. Business corporations continue to work with these two dictators without any moral qualm nor pressure from international community.
    Does this mean that money and oil are more important than democracy? Unfortunatelly, the answer is clear.

  3. The OAS has kicked us out of their league and the US has cut off funds, i am 100% sure they know who is going to suffer from their actions.
    You are right Sebastian, oil and and money is what runs this world these days.
    back in the 80’s the US gave our country 100’s of millions of dollars, but the economy only recieve a small percentage of that money.
    these countries need to stay out of our contry and all latin America, because they are the one who has been arming and training the military in all latin America and when that backfires, its always our people who suffers.
    Would any of those 33 nations who voted for Honduras disqualification from the OAS like to have Zelaya as their president, I know what that answer would be, not even the peopple of Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua or Bolivia would want him, because they don’t want the one who is ruling them now.
    A good example of the United State position in latin America is the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, where the people of the Bay Islands and the Mosquito Coast had to be turned over to Honduras simply because the US did not have any interest in that region, so the British Empire could not.
    And the world could see the results, Honduras did not acknoledge the Bay Islands for years and to this date they Honduran government only remember us during election period.

  4. Cuba is a one party dictatorship kept in power by the military and a secret police state which locks political opponents and newspaper reporters up for life.

    The Organization of American States, with the blessing of Obama, restores them to full membership in the OAS.

    A democratically elected President is removed from power by other Democratic institutions ( Congress and the Supreme Court ) with the blessing of the Presidents own party, by a 100 to single digit vote of congress, for violating the Democratic constitution of Honduras and attempting to change that Democratic Constitution by illegal, one party, means.

    The OAS suspends Honduras with Obama’s Blessing.

    Cuba with a communist, one party, openly anti-democratic government is welcomed back into the OAS just a couple of months before.

    It Appears Obama favors one party dictatorships like Cuba, Iran and Venezuela over multi-party constitutional governments like Honduras.

    Strange thing is, the U.S. main stream media is OK with Obama’s position on this, even though Venezuela and Iran are in the process of shutting down and taking over all media outlets that disagree with the government’s propaganda.

    Strange country the US has become recently.

  5. In Haiti in 1991 there was the removal by the military of Aristide. SAME CIRCUMSTANCES!!!! Within a week the OAS had imposed an embargoe which lasted 3-years destroying the poorest country of the hemisphere economy. WHERE IS THE COMMERCIAL EMBARGOE ON HONDURAS????? They are not black enough????

    As far as I am concerned, this must be resolved very fast in order to limit th suffering.

    If the International Community inisists, let Zelaya go back ot his office, have the parliament impeach him then arrest him. That way it is done legally and no BULLSHIT international organization can say crap.


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