The story appears on

Page A10

September 24, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Honduran standoff as Zelaya hemmed in

HONDURAN soldiers and riot police surrounded the Brazilian embassy, where ousted President Manuel Zelaya was sheltering yesterday, in what could turn into a long standoff and deepen the country's crisis.

Hundreds of security forces, some in ski masks and toting automatic weapons, cordoned off a large area around the embassy building in Tegucigalpa where Zelaya holed up with his family and a group of about 40 supporters.

Leftist Zelaya slipped back into Honduras on Monday, ending almost three months of exile after he was toppled in a June 28 coup, bringing attention to his cause again.

Brazil's government said it would guarantee his protection inside its embassy and called on the United Nations Security Council to discuss Central America's worst political crisis in decades.

Long conflict

Several hundred troops and police, some firing tear gas, cleared pro-Zelaya demonstrators from around the embassy on Tuesday morning, injuring 30 people.

De facto leader Roberto Micheletti said Zelaya could stay in the embassy "for five to 10 years" if he wanted, hinting the administration is preparing for a long conflict.

Electricity and water were briefly cut to the embassy on Tuesday, but food was sent in, witnesses said.

The United States, the European Union and the Organization of American States have urged dialogue to bring Zelaya back to office in the Central American country.

The Honduras crisis has been US President Barack Obama's most serious challenge so far in Latin America. He has been criticized by regional governments for not taking a tough enough stance to reverse the coup, despite cutting some aid.

Honduras' de facto government refused to soften its position against Zelaya's attempt to retake power.

"Zelaya will never return to be president of this country," Micheletti said.

He said later he was willing to talk to Zelaya if the ousted president recognized the validity of presidential elections scheduled for November.

But he insisted Zelaya face legal action, hurting the chances of negotiations taking place.

The leaders of the coup, backed by the country's military, Supreme Court and Congress, insist Zelaya must face trial for violating the constitution.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend