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

  • Mexico North America Today in Latin America Mexican Troops Executed Victims in June Slayings, Rights Body Finds

    Mexican Troops Executed Victims in June Slayings, Rights Body Finds

    Top Story — Mexican troops executed up to 15 of the 22 suspected gang members killed in June in the small town of San Pedro Limón, according to an investigation by the government’s human rights agency. The account by Raúl Plascencia, president of the commission, contradicted several prior versions of a murky story offered at various stages by the military, the Attorney General’s office and an eyewitness. Plascencia called for prosecutors to investigate a potential cover-up by military officials. At […]

    Read more →
  • Caribbean News Briefs North America As World Series Begins, So Does ‘Latin American Pipeline’ to MLB

    As World Series Begins, So Does ‘Latin American Pipeline’ to MLB

    When the opening pitch is thrown Tuesday night in game one of the World Series, a number of Latin American players will be front and center under the bright stadium floodlights. What won’t be on display, however, are some of the darker stories behind how many Latin Americans make it to play in Major League Baseball in the first place. This season, Latin American players made up close to a quarter of all MLB players — a staggering 86 percent of […]

    Read more →
  • Chile Southern Cone Today in Latin America Pinochet Bodyguard and Ex-Mayor Arrested in Santiago

    Pinochet Bodyguard and Ex-Mayor Arrested in Santiago

    Top Story — Chilean authorities have arrested a former aide to Gen. Augusto Pinochet, accusing him of committing various atrocities under the 1973-1990 military dictatorship. A judge on Monday ordered the arrest of retired military colonel Cristian Labbe on charges of “unlawful association” with a group that ultimately became the DINA secret police force. Labbe was allegedly involved in the murder of 13 people under Pinochet’s dictatorship. Those 13 people, investigators found, were tortured and executed at the notorious Tejas […]

    Read more →
  • Caribbean Cuba Today in Latin America Latin American Ministers Will Meet in Havana to Discuss Ebola Fight

    Latin American Ministers Will Meet in Havana to Discuss Ebola Fight

    Top Story — Top health officials from several Latin American countries are meeting today in Havana, Cuba, to discuss joint efforts to combat Ebola, as fears grow over the virus’ potential to spread to the region. Leaders from the socialist ALBA bloc, which includes Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and several Caribbean countries, will meet to coordinate efforts following unilateral travel bans by several countries in the region. On Saturday, retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro penned a column in the […]

    Read more →
  • Brazil Southern Cone Today in Latin America Brazilian Man Confesses to Killing 39 People, Attempts Suicide in Jail

    Brazilian Man Confesses to Killing 39 People, Attempts Suicide in Jail

    Top Story — A Brazilian man confessed to committing at least 39 murders after police arrested him in the city of Goiânia on Thursday after a 70-day investigation. Thiago Henrique Gomes de Rocha, a 26-year-old security guard, seems to have targeted women, homeless people and homosexuals. De Rocha, who committed the murders over three years, approached his victims on a motorcycle before demanding their belongings and then shooting them. Police noted de Rocha’s “coldness” and extreme rage when recounting his […]

    Read more →
  • Andes Today in Latin America Venezuela Falling Oil Prices Raise Worries of Venezuela Default, Crisis

    Falling Oil Prices Raise Worries of Venezuela Default, Crisis

    Top Story — Analysts are worried about a new phase of economic chaos in Venezuela as falling oil prices continue to take their toll. Insurance rates on the country’s debt shot up Wednesday to a new high, more than three times the size of the rate in late June, after a drop in oil prices raised worries the country may fail to pay off its obligations to foreign bondholders. The spike in Venezuela’s bond insurance rates means it costs investors […]

    Read more →
  • Caribbean Haiti North America Today in Latin America U.N. Extends Controversial Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti

    U.N. Extends Controversial Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti

    Top Story — The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) will be renewed for another year, the U.N. Security Council announced on Tuesday. The council, composed of 15 nations, unanimously decided to renew the MINUSTAH mandate, though the number of military personnel in Haiti will be reduced from 5,000 to 2,370. The number of police personnel will remain unchanged. MINUSTAH was initially created in 2004 after former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in a coup, leading to violence and […]

    Read more →
  • Mexico North America Today in Latin America Mexican Radio Host Shot Dead on the Air

    Mexican Radio Host Shot Dead on the Air

    Top Story — Mexican activist and radio host Atilano Roman Tirado was shot on-air during his weekly program Oct. 11 in the state of Sinaloa. Two gunmen forced their way into the radio studio of Fiesta Mexicana where Tirado hosted his Saturday morning program “Así es mi Tierra.” Listeners of the program could hear a shot fired around 10:40 a.m. followed by a co-worker’s voice saying, “he killed him.” Programming on the station did not resume for another 30 minutes. […]

    Read more →
  • Andes Bolivia Dispatches Bolivians in New York Cast Votes for President, Favoring Opposition

    Bolivians in New York Cast Votes for President, Favoring Opposition

    NEW YORK – When Bolivians in New York City cast their votes in a presidential election Sunday, most of them went against the trend that swept President Evo Morales into his third term. While Morales won around 60 percent of the vote in Bolivia, New York voters gave him just over a quarter of their vote, preferring instead the opposition candidate Samuel Doria Medina. The remote election in New York was held at a public school in the Latino enclave […]

    Read more →
  • Mexico North America Today in Latin America Mexico Arrests Another Drug Cartel Kingpin

    Mexico Arrests Another Drug Cartel Kingpin

    Top Story – Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, alleged leader of Mexico’s Juarez cartel, was captured in the Mexican city of Torreon, the Associated Press reports. This is the second arrest in two weeks of a major Mexican cartel leader, following that of Hector Beltrán Leyva, of the Beltran Leyva organization on Oct. 1. Nicknamed “The Viceroy,” or “The General,” Fuentes had a $5 million reward for his arrest in the United States and a $2.2 million reward in Mexico. He took […]

    Read more →