Manuel Zelaya Returns To Honduras And Promises To Reenter Politics

May 29, 2011 7:20 pm 1 comment

Ousted President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya.

After 16 months in exile, overthrown Honduran President Manuel Zelaya returned Saturday to Honduras, where he will immediately reenter politics.

Wearing his trademark cowboy hat, Zelaya exited the plane flanked on both sides by some of Latin America’s most prominent leftwing politicians — including Colombian ex-Senator Piedad Córdoba and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. (See a picture of his return here.) Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro and Panamanian ex-President Martín Torrijos also accompanied him.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who did not travel to Honduras to witness Zelaya’s return, fired off a congratulatory tweet: “Mel Zelaya returned to his Honduran Fatherland! It’s a great victory for the Honduran people!”

Zelaya’s flight from neighboring Nicaragua arrived more than three hours later than planned after organizers suggested he wait for the Manchester-Barcelona game to finish in order to field a larger audience, according to Honduran news agency La Prensa.

“We’re pushing for a Constituent Assembly to retake power,” Zelaya said in a speech to thousands of followers who gathered to greet him outside the airport. “I came to participate in what the people want — revolutionary processes that will make this country move forward,” he added.

Zelaya thanked Honduran President Porfirio Lobo and the international community for facilitating his return, but had harsh words for the United States, who he accused of derailing an agreement he negotiated with transitional President Roberto Michelletti in October of 2009. Zelaya said Washington “boycotted” the agreement, which then-President of Costa Rica Óscar Arias mediated.

In a sharp turnaround from his position during exile, Zelaya called upon the international community to recognize the conservative Lobo administration, which was elected after the June 2009 coup. Zelaya’s new position did not sit well with one of his party’s spokesmen, Juan Barahona, who said Lobo supported the coup and Zelaya only changed his position toward the Lobo administration for diplomatic reasons.

Baharona also said he opposes Honduras’ immediate return to the OAS, in order to give time to ensure that the conditions of agreement allowing Zelaya’s return are carried out.

With Zelaya back in the country, his party — the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP, in Spanish) — says it will now begin collecting the signatures it needs to present to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal in order to participate in the next round of elections.

Not everyone was happy to see Zelaya come back, and some lashed out at Lobo for working with Chávez to broker Zelaya’s return. (Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos appears to have convinced Chávez to agree to stop opposing Honduras’ return to the Organization of American States if Lobo allowed Zelaya back into the country.) “Lobo is following in Zelaya’s footsteps by becoming friends with Chávez,” said Fernando Anduray of the Unión Cívica Democrática, referring to Venezuela’s President. Anduray’s party supported the June 2009 coup.

The OAS plans to vote on Honduras’ reinstatement in an extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly in Washington on Wednesday.

Image: Sandra Cuffee @ Flickr.

1 Comment

  • James Cooper

    The Biggest Mistake that Honduras as created is the Return of a Dictador and a Chavezist follower. Nicaragua is gone to the same toilet od Communist, Dictatorship, Crimes and know Honduras!! Hey Thanks USA!!

Leave a Reply

Other News

  • Guatemala Photo Essays Oxlajuj Baktun: Maya Era Ends, As Longstanding Tensions Remain

    Oxlajuj Baktun: Maya Era Ends, As Longstanding Tensions Remain

    HUEHUETENANGO, Guatemala – Events here during the much-awaited end of the Oxlajuj Baktun, a 5,129-year period in the long Mayan calendar, provide a clear reflection of the divisions and challenges faced by Mayan communities today. The media exploited inaccurate apocalyptic rumors the Maya never predicted, the government and business sectors viewed it as an opportunity to gain economically through tourism, and progressive groups like the Consejo del Pueblo Maya del Occidente seized the opportunity “to strengthen ancestral wisdom and never-ending search [...]

    Read more →
  • Dispatches Mexico Mexico Protests: Rumors Of Deaths During Anti-Peña Nieto Demonstrations Stir Social Media

    Mexico Protests: Rumors Of Deaths During Anti-Peña Nieto Demonstrations Stir Social Media

    NEW YORK — Social media buzzed this weekend with unconfirmed rumors that several protesters had died in confrontations with police during the inauguration of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Thousands took the streets to protest the return of the Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party to power, which was ousted from the presidency in 2000 after governing continuously seven decades. Some 105 protesters were left injured, with 29 requiring medical attention. Protesters hurled Molotov cocktails, threw stones, and there were reports of a [...]

    Read more →
  • Brazil Today in Latin America Brazil Supreme Court Appoints First Black President

    Brazil Supreme Court Appoints First Black President

    Top Story — The Brazilian Supreme Court appointed the first black presiding judge, Joaquim Barbosa, on Wednesday. Judge Joaquim Barbosa, 58, was appointed by ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2003 and became the first black judge to be appointed to the Supreme Court. More recently, he has been known for overseeing the “Mensalão,” or “big monthly allowance” case, which convicted senior members of ex-President Lula’s administration for corruption. Barbosa will take his post once the “Mensalão” trial ends. [...]

    Read more →
  • Dispatches Mexico Photo Essays United States Caravan For Peace ‘Plants Seeds’ In New York City

    Caravan For Peace ‘Plants Seeds’ In New York City

    NEW YORK – On the night of Sept. 6, a procession of a few hundred people crossed Harlem from east to west before gathering in front of Santa Celicia Parish in the heart of El Barrio, illuminating the steps of the church with hundreds of tiny candles and filling the sidewalk with images of friends and family members lost to the drug war. There, they began to read from a list of dead and disappeared. “Regina Martines,” someone called. “¡Presente!” the crowd responded. [...]

    Read more →
  • Mexico Today in Latin America Zetas Leader Body Stolen From Funeral Home, Mexico says.

    Zetas Leader Body Stolen From Funeral Home, Mexico says.

    Top Story — The body of Zetas leader Heriberto Lazcano, alias “The Executioner,” was stolen out of the funeral home where it was being kept by armed men, Mexican authorities said on Tuesday. Lazcano was allegedly killed on Sunday afternoon and his identity was confirmed on Tuesday by the Mexican Navy. However, the military seems to have been unaware that they had killed Lazcano until after his body was snatched. Lazcano, for whom there was a $5 million U.S. bounty, [...]

    Read more →
  • Mexico Today in Latin America Mexico Arrests Alleged Zetas Leader Suspected Of Migrant Massacre

    Mexico Arrests Alleged Zetas Leader Suspected Of Migrant Massacre

    Top Story — The Mexican Navy captured alleged Zetas cartel chief, Salvador Alfonso Martinez Escobedo, suspected of some of the country’s most well known crimes. Martinez Escobedo was arrested on Saturday and is thought have led the massacre of 72 migrants in Tamaulipas among numerous other crimes, authorities said on Monday. He is also linked to the breaking of 151 prisoners out of jail and the killing of a U.S citizen in 2010, the jailbreak was the largest in recent Mexican [...]

    Read more →
  • Mexico News Briefs Guatemala Implements Police Reform Aimed At Reviewing 20,000 Officers

    Guatemala Implements Police Reform Aimed At Reviewing 20,000 Officers

    Guatemala will implement a program to root out corruption in the police and military, according to Mexican daily El Informador. The wide-reaching anti-corruption program marks an effort by the administration of President Otto Pérez Molina to crack down on the drug traffickers that have infiltrated Guatemala’s often poorly paid security forces — particularly Mexico’s Los Zetas cartel. Some 20,000 police officers will face reviews during the first phase of the program. Two-hundred of them have already begun the process, according [...]

    Read more →
  • Today in Latin America Venezuela Hugo Chavez Wins Venezuela Elections

    Hugo Chavez Wins Venezuela Elections

    Top Story —  Hugo Chávez won the presidential election on Sunday, defeating his opponent Henrique Capriles by over 1 million votes, with 54% of the vote. This will be Chávez’s third re-election after almost 14 years in office. The elections saw a high turnout and voting was extended past the closing time of polling stations.  The electoral council president said that stations where voters hadn’t been able to cast their ballots would remain open. Read more at Aljazeera. Headlines from the Western Hemisphere [...]

    Read more →
  • Honduras News Briefs 2 Honduras Officials Receive Death Threats

    2 Honduras Officials Receive Death Threats

    Two officials in Honduras viewed as sympathizers with the county’s political left have received death threats, the local press reports. The news of the death threats against National Agrarian Institute Director César Ham and Secretary of Justice and Human Rights Ana Pineda raises questions about security in one of the region’s most violent countries, after a string of attacks against journalists and political activists preceded by threats that were disregarded. Ham told Honduras’ El Heraldo that President Porfirio Lobo himself [...]

    Read more →
  • Mexico Today in Latin America U.S. Embassy Car Was Targeted In Mexico Attack

    U.S. Embassy Car Was Targeted In Mexico Attack

    Top Story – New evidence suggests that the Mexican police officers who shot at a U.S. Embassy vehicle on Aug. 24 near Cuernavaca, wounding two CIA officers, were working for organized crime, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday. Mexican officials have confirmed that they are investigating the involvement of the Beltran Leyva Cartel in the attack. Contradicting the Mexican federal police’s claims that the shooting was a mistake, a U.S. official told the Associated Press that the attack was an ambush planned [...]

    Read more →