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President Zelaya Has Returned to Honduras

September 21, 2009

Quixote Center is reporting that President Zelaya returned to Honduras accompanied by UN Peacekeepers.

Will update later when more things are confirmed.

US confirms ousted president back in Honduras

By FREDDY CUEVAS (AP) – 18 minutes ago

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — The U.S. State Department confirms that deposed President Manuel Zelaya has returned home to Honduras to reclaim his presidency.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly says in Washington that U.S. officials have confirmed that Zelaya is in Honduras. But Kelly adds: “Where exactly he is, I don’t know, and we’re just trying to find out more details.”

Officials of the interim government that ousted Zelaya earlier denied his claims that he had returned to Tegucigalpa. And a U.N. official denied that he was at the United Nations office he said he was speaking from in an interview with a local television station.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Deposed President Manuel Zelaya told a local television station Monday that he has returned home to Honduras to reclaim his presidency, defying threats of arrest.

“I cannot give details, but I’m here,” Zelaya told the local TV Channel 36. His voice, but not his image, were transmitted. He said he was at the United Nation’s headquarters in his homeland.

But a spokeswoman at the United Nation’s offices in Tegucigalpa told The Associated Press he wasn’t in the offices.

“I have no idea where that story came from,” said spokeswoman Ana Elsy Mendoza.

Interim government officials who have held power for three months also denied that Zelaya was in the country, calling the reports a lie.

Zelaya, who said he would hold a news conference Monday afternoon in Tegucigalpa, was forced out of the country at gunpoint on June 28. Interim leader Roberto Micheletti has repeatedly said a jail cell awaits Zelaya if he comes back.

Since then most international leaders have condemned Micheletti, terminating aid and demanding Zelaya’s return. Micheletti has said he will step aside after presidential elections are held as scheduled in November.

Leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez also insisted on Monday that his ally Zelaya had indeed returned.

“President Manuel Zelaya, along with four companions, traveled for two days overland, crossing mountains and rivers, risking their lives. They have made it to Honduras,” Chavez said.

And Elisabeth Sierra, a spokeswoman for the Honduran Embassy in Nicaragua, where Zelaya had been exiled, reiterated that the ousted president returned to his country Monday and was at U.N. offices in Tegucigalpa.

“He is in Honduras and calling the resistance to gather in front of the United Nations and protect the constitutional president of Honduras,” she said.

If the current administration attempts to imprison Zelaya, protesters who have demonstrated against his ouster could turn violent, said Vicki Gass at the Washington Office on Latin America.

“There’s a saying about Honduras that people can argue in the morning and have dinner in the evening, but I’m not sure this will happen in this case,” said Gass. “It’s been 86 days since the coup. Something had to break and this might be it.”

Associated Press reporters Catherine E. Shoichet, Martha Mendoza and Alex Olson in Mexico City and Fabiola Sanchez in Caracas, Venezuela, contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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