a href=”http://www.miamiherald.com/newsalert/story/1155518.html” target=”_blank”>Ousted Honduran president steps into homeland
Ousted President Manuel Zelaya stepped across the border into his homeland Friday, vowing to reclaim his post a month after soldiers flew him into exile.
Zelaya’s supporters clashed with soldiers and police after the government ordered everyone off the streets along the 600-mile (1,000-kilometer) border with Nicaragua in a noon-to-dawn curfew.
Wearing his trademark white cowboy hat, Zelaya walked up to a sign reading “Welcome to Honduras” and smiled to cheering supporters at the remote mountain pass surrounded by banana trees.
He stopped a few steps into Honduran territory, however, saying he was negotiating with military officials to let him be reunited with his family in Honduras.
“I’ve spoken to the colonel and he told me I could not cross the border,” Zelaya said. “I told him I could cross.”
Zelaya said he was trying to get in touch with more senior military commanders.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Zelaya’s trip “reckless.” International leaders have urged Zelaya not to return to Honduras out of fear it would lead to bloodshed, but Zelaya said he had no choice after U.S.-backed talks with the coup-installed government failed to reinstate him.
That government has insisted it will arrest Zelaya once he returns, ignoring threats of sanctions from nations worldwide if he is not reinstated.
Soldiers formed a human chain near the border crossing but made no immediate move to approach Zelaya as he stood speaking on a mobile phone.
Honduras’ deposed president headed toward his nation’s border Thursday to prepare a risky return home to reverse an ouster that is testing the vitality of democracy in Latin America.
The interim government that sent Manuel Zelaya into exile vows to arrest the president if he sets foot in Honduras. Zelaya said he would make a second attempt to return home Saturday, saying U.S.-backed attempts at mediation had broken down.
And who’s behind Zelaya’s move?
Accompanied Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro, Zelaya drove a white jeep out of the Honduran Embassy in Nicaragua, heading toward the northern town of Isteli, where he said he would spend Friday preparing for his return. Honduran Embassy officials broke into applause and chants of “Long live Mel!” using his nickname.
Zelaya said he hoped soldiers at the border would stand down when they see him. He called on supporters to meet him at the border, although he has not yet said exactly where he plan to cross into Honduras.
Zelaya had previously rejected Arias’s 7-point proposal.
Prior posts on Zelaya here