Saturday, May 28, 2011

Manuel Zelaya returns to Honduras

Nearly two years after being ousted from the Honduran presidency Manuel Zelaya returned to his home country.

The former leader arrived in the capital city of Tegucigalpa this afternoon on a flight from neighboring Nicaragua. Thousands of supporters of the deposed leader gathered near Tegucigalpa's main airport and celebrated the return of Zelaya.

After arriving, Zelaya addressed his backers and praised the "reconciliation" pact he signed along with current president Porfirio Lobo that facilitated his return:

Furthermore, according to AFP:

"We arrive full of optimism and hope to search for an exit to this crisis. At one moment we had almost lost it all, but they never defeated us," he told his supporters.

Zelaya, 58, thanked his supporters and paid homage to those "who spilled their blood in this plaza," including an 18 year-old shot dead during a protest a week after the coup.

"Their blood was not spilled in vain because we are here still engaged in the struggle," he told the enthusiastic crowd.

Despite the warm welcome some Hondurans were upset with Zelaya's return from exile. "(He) should focus on singing and playing his guitar, which he does well ... and forget about politics, because his time has passed," said ex-legislator Irma Acosta. Even if Zelaya does "forget about politics" the deal reached between him and Lobo last Monday permits the formation of a new political party by Zelaya's supporters.

The pact, which was facilitated by the Colombian and Venezuelan governments, also permits for the country's planned return to the Organization of American States (OAS). According to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza claimed that Honduras "has already met the necessary conditions for its reentry into the organization". Reinstatement could come as soon as next month.

Video Source - YouTube
Online Sources - The Guardian, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Bloomberg, BBC News

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