Zelaya's Return to
Sep 21, 2009
* Calls for face-to-face dialogue, without mediation *
Coup "betrayed and made a mockery of" the Arias process
* Zelaya building public international support and
meeting with resistance leaders * Calls for Hondurans
from around the country to gather in
At midday today, 86 days since the military coup d'etat
resistance movement in the final stretch of the long
fight to restore constitutional order. As a spy
helicopter buzzed the demonstrators and police poured
into the area, thousands of supporters gather outside
the Brazilian embassy to receive the President.
In his first comments, Zelaya declared a "day of
celebration." Zelaya called on everyone to gather at
the Brazilian Embassy, and reasserted the commitment to
non-violence. "I'm not afraid of the judicial process,"
he affirmed and added he would face any accusations but
that so far all the coup had produced was calumnious statements.
Zelaya is lining up his support and his strategy in
these moments. He announced that he was waiting for
communication from President Lula, the OAS, the United
Nations, the European Union and others in an interview
with Telesur. He said his plan is to initiate internal
dialogue and that the idea is to demonstrate the
support of the international community without
involving it in the dialogue. He added that he has not
spoken with de facto government and was meeting with
his cabinet and resistance groups.
The legitimate president of
Armed Forces to maintain the calm. "The Armed Forces
are part of the people, they come from the villages and
neighborhoods and should never point their guns at
their own people," he stated. He urged a process to
"recover peace and tranquility" in the country.
Although the police are deploying to control the
growing crowd, resistance leaders are maintaining
control. In a Telesur interview, Juan Barahona, a
leader of the National Front Against the Coup,
expressed his opinion that the "Army cannot launch an
offensive here--there are too any people."
A visibly shaken Roberto Michelleti appeared before on
CNN, denying that the Zelaya was in the country and
claiming that the news was an invention of "media
terrorism" to stir people up and provoke a huge
mobilization. "It's not true. He (Zelaya) is relaxing
in a suite in
a chuckle. He later added that if the news turned out
to be true, Zelaya would be arrested.
By that time, Zelaya's return had already been
confirmed. As the coup chief went into denial,
Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom confirmed the news,
stating that he hoped this would mean the end of the
coup. US State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly
confirmed the presence of Zelaya in
statement calling for all sides to avoid violence, and
President Chavez of
he called his "peaceful and courageous" return. Zelaya
is reportedly meeting with resistance leaders at this moment.
By showing up without violent confrontations at the
Brazilian Embassy before thousands of cheering
supporters, Zelaya plays his strongest cards. As most
eyes were on the Obama adminsitration--and with good
reason given its power in affecting economic and
high-impact actor in the drama. Its power as a regional
leader carries clout not only with other nations
throughout Latin American but also with the United
States, which cannot risk strained relations with the
South American giant.
Hondurans are expected to continue to arrive in
display of support also strengthens Zelaya's hand. His
most important base and chance for restoration has been
in the popular mobilizations that have not missed a day since June 28.
Zelaya's peaceful journey and bloodless return also
underline the non-violent character of the resistance
movement since the beginning. The president gained the
capital without provoking confrontation, thus taking
the wind out of the sails of the State Department's
previous reasons for opposing his return. Now he is
back in the capital, close to a return to power--a
condition of the
Hillary Clinton has no excuse for not supporting
Zelaya's return and efforts at internal reconciliation.
Posted by Laura Carlsen at 11:13 AM