Will Hondurans talk to or at each other?

July 9, 2009

TEGUCIGALPA – On one side is deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, who insists he must be restored to power.
On the other is his replacement, Roberto Micheletti, who insists his predecessor must not be allowed back in the country unless it is to face criminal charges.
In the middle is a Nobel Peace Prize winner from the Cold War era, Oscar Arias, whose self-confidence is likely to be challenged by a seemingly intractable conflict.
Does anybody really believe the talks today in Costa Rica will find a solution? That they are even taking place is something of a surprise.
Micheletti has looked like he would rather bury the family dog than go to the talks. He waited until the last minute to announce definitively that he would attend, perhaps mindful that his own hold on power is tenuous and leaving the country could be risky.
He could not have welcomed the announcement from the U.S. Embassy late last night that Washington was cutting off $16.5 million in military aid and was threatening to rescind a further $180 million in civilian aid.
The immediate response from the government was to accuse Nicaragua of denying Micheletti use of its airspace to fly from Honduras to Costa Rica. Nicaragua denied the allegation, and Micheletti arrived in San Jose this morning.
Zelaya has problems of his own. A GID-Gallup poll published in La Prensa newspaper on Thursday said 41 percent of Hondurans supported his ouster versus 28 percent who opposed it and 31 who said they didn’t know.
Many Hondurans believe he acted illegally but Zelaya has support from abroad given wide condemnation of the coup, including from the United States.
Zelaya’s best hopes for a return would seem to be to relinquish any dreams of staying in power beyond January and to give up the idea of a amending the constitution to lift presidential term limits. But can he possibly return when the army, the Congress and the Supreme Court — not to mention a sizable portion of the population — don’t want him back?

photo credits: Arias and Micheletti, REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate; Arias and Zelaya, REUTERS/Cost Rica Presidency/Handout


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I have to correct something alluded to here and stated more explicitly in Mr. Trotta’s related “timeline” piece. That is the idea that President Zelaya was ousted because he wanted to be re-elected or somehow change term limits. The coup plotters have argued that even proposing such changes to Presidential terms is grounds to be removed from office, per Article 239 of the Constitution. In fact, the various Court orders and decisions NEVER even mentioned Article 239 and the term limit issue. This is likely because there is simply no proof that term limits were in danger with this (non-binding) poll or even that Zelaya wished to do so. He has been categorical throughout, saying this was not his intention at all. So I would appreciate it if Rueters stopped printing allegations from the coup plotters that have no basis in law and were not even part of the legal reasoning behind his removal. This is a highly misunderstood issue that requires clarification from journalists, not more mis-information.

Posted by matthew | Report as abusive

The cuarta urna was clearly declared illegal by the supreme court of Honduras. The additional actions that Zelaya undertook were also illegal. While I am no legal scholar, since my school years in Honduras, I was taught that the constitution of Honduras does not allow for re-election, precisely due to the fear that someone, such as Zelaya, would attempt to stay in power and you know what? The great majority of Hondurans actually like it like that. To state that Zelaya was NOT trying to stay in power is like saying that Chavez has no dog in this fight… laughable.

Posted by honduran | Report as abusive

You also failed to mention his mentor. The lover of Democracy and free speach. You know! The one that just closed down over 200 radio stations that did not agree with his party line. The one that printed the ballots for him. Hugo something or other..The one that has sent several million dollars to whatsisname with the cowboy hat. But then you are still calling it a military coup…

Posted by Expat Yank | Report as abusive

As a Canadian who has lived in Honduras during the past six years, I am in full support of President Micheletti, Honduran government and her people. It is my sincere hope that with President Arias’ experience and expertise, that he will be able to overcome Mel’s bluster and bravado and assist in mediating an acceptable resolution to this situation.

Mel’s supposed international support is based on misinformation and I sincerely hope that as more facts (not media fiction!) come out, that the world will realize that Honduras is protecting its democratic constitution from the likes of wannabe Chavez despots.

Posted by Stephanie Martin | Report as abusive

Almost all Honduras people agree on this subject- No Zelaya. See videos from Honduras showing you what people across the country actually think- multiple sites in Tegucigalpa, see San Pedro Sula, Choluteca, La Ceiba, Cortes.
If you are skeptic, please watch with an open mind. Does it matter what they want? It is their country. The international media won’t show you this:


Most people in Honduras don’t believe the people causing the most trouble in the street are even Hondurans. They believe they are from Nicaragua and Venezuela, paid and imported, but the media won’t tell you what the vast majority of Honduras people think. It doesn’t fit the script designed to satify the desires of their audience.

Posted by Ke Jac | Report as abusive

Reuters coverage and articles regarding the ouster of Zelaya, a thug Chavez wannabe is so leftist biased that it is breathtaking.

To willfully publish these blatant falsities while ignoring the proven facts on the ground in Honduras does an untold disservice to peace-loving, law-abiding Hondurans working for a better way of life than the well known of gulags of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.


Posted by rdman | Report as abusive