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Friday, July 24, 2009

Confrontation Brewing in Honduras (UPDATE)

The deposed leader of Honduras, Jose Zelaya, is right now standing on the Nicaraguan side of the border of Honduras and Nicaragua on his cell phone with a series of supporters presumably in preparation of re entering the nation.

Estoy en la zona intermedia en la frontera de Nicaragua” declared ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, on video broadcast around the world, while speaking with someone reported to be from his family, whom he had hoped to meet at the border. Zelaya is, as of 15:55 EDT, today, about to re-enter Honduras from the territory of Nicaragua, amid a “caravan” of supporters. It is thought to be possible he is communicating with Honduran security forces.

Zelaya was ousted by a military intervention in June, after a ruling from the
nation’s highest court found that his attempts to organize a referendum to alter the constitution and serve a third term were illegal. The governments of the US and the EU, as well as diplomats from the UN and other international bodies, have called the military intervention illegal, despite Zelaya’s actions having been judged to be outside his constitutional authority.

His critics, and those who set up the interim government, say the Honduran constitution does not have any formal process for impeachment and that actions judged illegal by the courts amount to a “self-implementing” removal from office. Zelaya’s defenders, and observers in the international community have said Zelaya was not found guilty of crimes, but was simply told his hopes of organizing a referendum to allow for a third term were not to be realized.

The current interim president, Roberto Micheletti, has pronounced that he would arrest Zelaya if he tried to re enter. Police have been dispatched to the border and so this appears to be a Mexican stand off of the highest order brewing. This is a breaking story and so details are still coming.


Now there are reports of tear gas fired.

Clashes erupted on the Honduran border Friday as ousted President Manuel Zelaya arrived just meters away in Nicaragua ahead of an expected showdown in a second attempt to return to power.

Zelaya arrived at Las Manos, on Nicaragua's border with Honduras, at around midday (1800 GMT) as anti-riot police fired tear gas on hundreds of his supporters massed on the other side.Zelaya supporters, including some armed with stones, faced off with hundreds of soldiers and anti-riot police, while the Honduran government imposed an 18-hour curfew in border areas.



CNN is reporting that Zelaya has now just crossed into Honduras.

Ousted Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya walked under a border chain Friday and returned to his country nearly a month after being removed by a military-led coup.

Zelaya was surrounded by supporters as he attempted to fulfill a vow to return after being removed by a military-led coup in June.

His arrival at the border came minutes after police and soldiers fired on his supporters in El Paraiso, CNN en EspaƱol correspondent Jorge Jimenez said. Two people were wounded, he said.Neither the shooting nor the injuries could be independently corroborated.

The police and soldiers fired tear gas at the demonstrators for about 15 to 20 minutes before letting off a barrage of 15 to 20 shots, Jimenez said.


(UPDATE) Zelaya only took a "symbolic" step into Honduras according to Steve Harrigan. Zelaya continues to be on the Nicaraguan side of the border.

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