Honduras: will Zelaya show up? UPDATE Zelaya lands in El Salvador; 2 dead
Honduras’ Micheletti states that Nicaraguan troops are heading to the border with Honduras.
Zelaya’s plane landed in El Salvador – See 4:15PM update below.
2 dead in Honduras
See further updates.
A brief roundup of headlines:
Honduras will not allow the landing of any airplane that may be carrying Mel Zelaya back to the country.
While Zelaya was saying he was going back, in the company of OAS head Insulza, Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez, Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, and Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, Bachelet’s staff already denied that allegation, Insulza already visited Honduras and left (but will he be going back?), Fernandez is not going, and Correa and Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo are meeting at the Ecuadorian embassy in Washington DC to decide whether to go or not. Across the Atlantic, Spain’s José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero offered to negotiate, but demanded Zelaya’s restoration to the presidency.
As if that weren’t enough foreign intervention, Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega was predicting “a bloodbath” in Honduras. Here’s the Nicaraguan ambassador at the UN repeating that statement, which is what Chavez was saying the other day, but denies that Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela are supplying weapons to Zelaya sympathizers in Honduras (video in Spanish):
They’re like the boss who won’t let you resign. They want to make a point of firing you.
Here at the US, the WaPo’s saying U.S. Misread Scale of Honduran Rift. That’s probably the understatement of the year, but the year is young. The article goes on,
The crisis also pits Obama’s nuanced approach to diplomacy against that of an often bellicose rival, Chávez, who has taken center stage in the showdown by threatening to overthrow the government that took over from Zelaya.
Zelaya’s airplane is scheduled to arrive in Honduras this afternoon.
The story gets even more “fluid”: Now Zelaya says he’s heading to Honduras with UN General Assembly head Miguel D’Escoto, while Fernandez, Correa and Lugo are heading to San Salvador.
Honduras’ Micheletti states that Nicaraguan troops are heading to the border with Honduras. Micheletti requested that Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega and Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez respect Hondura’s sovereignty and stop interfering in the country. Video in Spanish:
Update: Nicaragua denies troops headed for Honduras.
The Venezuelan plane carrying deposed president Mel Zelaya landed in El Salvador, according to Honduran daily El Heraldo. Venezuelan chancellor Nicolás Maduro verified that the airplane was Venezuelan and identified it as YV-1496.
Hugo Chávez is celebrating Venezuela’s Independence Day, July 5.
Welcome, Memeorandum readers.
Protesters are being held about a quarter mile from airport. Army feel back, police just fell back and it appears they are letting the protesters to the airport. No violence so far. Protesters are self policing. One protester threw a rock and hit a policeman. Police did not respond and protesters pushed the young man back to the back of the crowd. They have been negotating with the police and appear to have gotten access to the airport after promising no violence.
Hunter, from the airport, reports that shots were fired. Noticias 24 confirms at least two dead, according to a police source talking to AFP, in a clash between demonstrators and the armed forces at the airport. Video from Chavez-owed TeleSur
At least one person has been killed as Honduran troops try to disperse supporters of ousted President Manuel Zelaya at Tegucigalpa airport. Mr Zelaya’s plane has been circling above the capital after flying in from the US, while the interim authorities insist it will not be allowed to land. They are seeking to re-route the plane to El Salvador instead.
El Universal reports the plane was unable to land when military vehicles obstructed the runway. Zelaya vows to try again tomorrow or the day after. The Right Scoop has a very graphic photo and links to a twitter stating that Zelaya’s flight was diverted to Nicaragua. However, Noticias 24 says the plane was heading back to El Salvador.
More photos WARNING: GRAPHIC at Noticias 24.
El Universal photo:
Not clear whether the Venezuelan plane carrying Zelaya will be landing in El Salvador or Nicaragua.
Hunter Smith, on location, updates.
The NYT confirms Zelaya’s plane landed in Nicaragua; additionally,
But even as President Zelaya’s flight approached Honduras, a flurry of diplomatic efforts were underway to try to stop the crisis from spinning out of control. Mr. Micheletti issued another urgent offer to the O.A.S. to negotiate a diplomatic resolution to the crisis, although even as he vowed to talk, members of the de facto government did not back down from their refusal to allow Mr. Zelaya to return to office.
And in a possible reciprocation by the O.A.S., the organization shifted away from a strategy that prohibited their diplomats from speaking with Mr. Micheletti. For the first time, officials indicated that the O.A.S. would open direct channels of communication.
In a telephone interview, a senior Obama administration official said that the United States, worried about the worsening tensions on the streets of Honduras, was also beginning its own diplomatic efforts, in coordination with the O.A.S., to get the negotiations with the de facto government moving sooner rather than later. The officials would not give details of their efforts.
“This is an extremely difficult and delicate situation,” the senior administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, “and from our point of view, speed is of the essence.”