Ousted president Manuel Zelaya heads back to Honduras

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Presidente Zelaya is heading for Honduras with the hope of being able of "practice his rights peacefully".

Manuel Zelaya, the president of Honduras who was removed from power by the Honduran Supreme Court, has begun making his way back to his country. Flying from Washington, Zelaya is to arrive in Honduran air space at around 22:00 (GMT).

The former president had announced his willingness to return to his country, hoping for a reintegration. Zelaya asked his people to be able to "practice his rights peacefully" after his arrival in the Central American country.

Nevertheless, the interim government that deposed Zelaya has announced that the flight would not be allowed to land. Foreign Minister Enrique Ortez said "I have ordered to not allow him to enter, whoever he comes with, to avoid the imprudence of allowing a president of the republic to die, of allowing a president of the republic to get hurt, of allowing a person to die".

Zelaya travels together with the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Miguel D'Escoto. Other leaders of Latin America, who had promised to travel together with Zelaya, will instead monitor the development of events from El Salvador. Among these leaders are the presidents Rafel Correa (Ecuador), Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (Argentina) and Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), together with the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza.

"If Zelaya lands and regards it timely for us to go, we will go", said Correa. Furthermore, Cristina Fernández added that "there is a clear attempt from Zelaya to return, even if they don't allow it, and to restore order in the country".

Zelaya's return takes place after the Organization of American States (OAS) voted in favour of suspending Honduras from the organization. OAS resolved to suspend "immediately" the de facto Honduran government lead by Roberto Micheletti in accordance with the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

However, fear has aroused that Zelaya's return could trigger more violence. The archbishop of Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, urged Zelaya not to return, fearing a possible "bloodbath".