Honduras: more talk of “unity government” as protest actions continue

Deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said July 18 he agreed with a proposal made by mediator Costa Rica to form a national unity government, and said he would return home from exile in the coming days. “We agree with it, but only as long as all the powers of the state are integrated into it,” he told Radio Globo, adding that his return to Honduras could occur as soon as tomorrow. But the de facto government in Tegucigalpa has not relented of its threat to arrest him if he returns to the country. US officials reportedly warned that any attempt by Zelaya to return to Honduras could jeopardize the Costa Rica-mediated dialogue between his representatives and those of de facto leader Roberto Micheletti.

Zelaya supporters again block highways
For the third day running, Zelaya supporters blocked roads around Tegucigalpa. Some 2,000 filled a southern boulevard, yelling “What’s our president’s name? Manuel Zelaya!” The head of the Human Rights Defense Committee for Honduras, Andres Pavón, said the road to Honduras’s second city of San Pedro Sula and to the international airport were cut by the protests. (AFP, Reuters, July 18)

Some 5,000 supporters in Zelaya’s hometown of Catacamas, Olancho department, marched on the ousted president’s home, after learning that the premises had been seized by the armed forces. The soliders in the house reportedly withdrew with the approach of the crowd. At press time, the protesters are still maintaining a peaceful vigil on front of the property, and say they will stay to protect it from the army. (Rights Action, July 18)

Coup fears in Nicaragua
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said in a July 18 statement on the presidential website one day ahead of celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Nicaraguan Revolution, that a coup is in the works against his government as well. “They’re thinking about a coup in Nicaragua to create chaos and anarchy and to call US troops to come take the government away from the people,” Ortega said. Speaking of the events in Honduras, he said that US officials had a “hand” in Zelaya’s ouster, even if “Barack Obama didn’t have any idea the coup was coming.”

Ortega also accused the de facto Honduran regime of a plot involving dressing up its soldiers to look like Nicaraguan troops and attacking Honduran barracks in an effort to frame the Nicaraguan military. (Bloomberg, July 17)

See our last posts on Honduras, Nicaragua and Central America.

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