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

  • Caribbean Cuba North America Today in Latin America Latin America Lauds U.S., Cuba Breakthrough

    Latin America Lauds U.S., Cuba Breakthrough

    Top Story — World leaders have almost universally praised the U.S. and Cuban governments for their announcement Wednesday that they would normalize diplomatic relations for the first time since 1961. Reaction among U.S. lawmakers, however, was more mixed. Latin American leaders across the ideological spectrum lauded the decision that will have sweeping impacts across the region. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos praised “the courage and the audacity of President Barack Obama and the Cuban government,” and Mexican President Enrique Peña […]

    Read more →
  • Caribbean Cuba News Briefs North America United Nations United States Transcript: Obama’s Cuba Speech

    Transcript: Obama’s Cuba Speech

    Below is a full transcript of President Obama’s speech on Cuba. A video of the speech can be found following the transcript. OBAMA: Good afternoon. Today, the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba. In the most significant changes in our policy in more than fifty years, we will end an outdated approach that, for decades has failed to advance our interests, and instead, we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries. […]

    Read more →
  • Caribbean Cuba News Briefs North America United States U.S., Cuba to Restore Diplomatic Ties, But Embargo Remains

    U.S., Cuba to Restore Diplomatic Ties, But Embargo Remains

    The U.S. and Cuba will work to normalize diplomatic relations for the first time since 1961, President Obama said Wednesday, a major shift in policy that nonetheless falls short of the outright removal of the U.S. economic blockade on the island. The announcement comes after Cuba’s release of American aid contractor Alan Gross from prison, in exchange for the release of three Cubans jailed in the state of Florida for espionage — a sign of good faith between the two […]

    Read more →
  • Brazil Southern Cone Today in Latin America Charges Filed Against Brazilian Lawmaker After Rape Remarks

    Charges Filed Against Brazilian Lawmaker After Rape Remarks

    Top Story — Brazil’s attorney general filed charges of incitement to rape against Brazilian congressman Jair Bolsonaro after he made violent comments to a fellow lawmaker in Congress last Tuesday, saying, “I wouldn’t rape you. You’re not worth it.” It is the second time Bolsonaro, a right-wing representative from Rio de Janeiro state known for misogynist remarks, has used the word inappropriately in Congress. Bolsonaro’s comments were directed at Maria do Rosário, a former secretary of human rights, as she […]

    Read more →
  • Central America Dispatches Honduras Alternatives to Detention Leave Some Honduran Immigrants in “Shackles”

    Alternatives to Detention Leave Some Honduran Immigrants in “Shackles”

    NEW YORK — On an average weekday Eva, a 39-year-old woman from Honduras, never leaves a 15-block radius in the Bronx. From bringing her two children to school, to taking English classes, visiting her church and running errands, her life is mapped on a now-familiar route — one that is precisely tracked by the electronic monitoring device strapped to her ankle. Eva, who asked to have her name changed because she is currently going through deportation hearings, received the device […]

    Read more →
  • Caribbean Haiti Today in Latin America Haitian Prime Minister Defends Record After Resignation

    Haitian Prime Minister Defends Record After Resignation

    Top Story — Haiti’s Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe spoke out on Monday, defending his legacy after an independent commission set up by President Michel Martelly pressured him to resign over the weekend. Several other ministers also stepped down amid a political standoff that has been years in the making. Lamothe’s resignation comes in the wake of continued anti-government protests demanding elections that have been delayed since 2011. On Friday, U.N. peacekeepers were seen firing at a crowd of protesters while […]

    Read more →
  • Mexico North America Today in Latin America Mexican Federal Police Implicated in Student Killings

    Mexican Federal Police Implicated in Student Killings

    Top Story — Federal authorities in Mexico appear to have participated in the September attack on a group of teacher trainees in the state of Guerrero, contrary to prior government claims, according to an investigation released Saturday by Proceso magazine. Proceso’s investigation reportedly uncovered state documents that show federal police officers knew the attack was ongoing and even shot at the students as they travelled on several buses toward a protest event in Iguala, Guerrero. After that attack, 43 of […]

    Read more →
  • Caribbean Cuba News Briefs Cuban Laws May Have Changed, But the Jokes Haven’t

    Cuban Laws May Have Changed, But the Jokes Haven’t

    In 2010, I found myself among hundreds of heeled and hairsprayed Cubans in Havana’s Teatro Karl Marx waiting for the start of the Premios Lucas — a sort of MTV Video Music Awards of Cuba. Hosted by beloved comedian Luis Silva and with performances by pop, rock and reggaeton groups, “Los Lucas” was sure to be a revelatory peek into the popular culture consumption of my Cuban peers. Los Lucas did not disappoint. Every moment of the two-hour show was […]

    Read more →
  • Andes Argentina Colombia News Briefs Southern Cone Latin American Environmentalists Call For End To Fracking

    Latin American Environmentalists Call For End To Fracking

    Latin American environmental activists called for an end to fracking this week, as international leaders gathered in Lima, Peru, for the United Nations summit on climate change. Researchers and protestors from Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Colombia met in Lima over the last two weeks to share their concerns about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in their countries, and released a public statement criticizing the practice on Monday supported by 71 environmental organizations. “It is at the Conference of the Parties […]

    Read more →
  • Brazil Southern Cone Today in Latin America Brazil Charges 36 Over Petrobras Corruption Scandal

    Brazil Charges 36 Over Petrobras Corruption Scandal

    Top Story — Brazilian prosecutors on Thursday filed criminal charges against 36 people for alleged involvement in a massive kickback scheme at oil giant Petrobras, Brazil’s largest company, which is partially state-run. The indictments include top executives at six of the country’s major engineering firms and two former Petrobras directors. The 36 charged are accused of money laundering, corruption, and forming a criminal organization. Prosecutors allege that billions of dollars were paid as bribes to Petrobras by several engineering companies […]

    Read more →