Ousted ex-president Zelaya returns to Honduras
The ousted ex-president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, has arrived back in his home country, greeted by thousands of supporters after being run out of office almost two years ago.
Zelaya's flight from Nicaragua landed at Tegucigalpa's airport Saturday afternoon where thousands of his supporters had been camping out.
Zelaya, who spent much of his exile in the Dominican Republic, is scheduled to meet with Hondura's current President, Porfirio Lobo, and Organization of American States chief Jose Miguel Insulza.
Zelaya was removed from office in June 2009 by the military for ignoring a Supreme Court order to cancel a referendum, which asked citizens if they favoured changing the constitution.
In November that year, a national election put Lobo in the presidential seat. Lobo promised to make amends with Zelaya and to ensure his safe return.
A deal, brokered by the Colombian and Venezuelan governments, was signed in Cartagena, Colombia, last Sunday by Zelaya and Lobo,which paved the way for the ex-president's return.
The deal allows Zelaya and his allies to return to Honduras without the threat of jail — corruption charges against Zelaya were dropped this month — thus clearing the way for Honduras to rejoin the OAS.
The United States and other countries restored ties shortly after Lobo took power in January 2010. But Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua and Ecuador opposed restoring Honduras to the OAS unless Zelaya could return from exile without facing the threat of prison
The deal includes:
- A national plebiscite on reforming fundamental laws.
- Respect for human rights and the investigation of possible violations.
- A guarantee that Zelaya supporters can participate in Honduras's political life and in 2014 elections as a political party.
Critics of the former president had claimed Zelaya wanted to hijack the democratic process to enable his re-election, which is prohibited by the constitution. Zelaya has denied that.
His supporters say he was tossed out because of his plans to reform Honduras's political and economic structure.
With files from The Associated Press