On The Situation In Honduras

Mr. Leahy:  On Monday, September 21st, President Manuel Zelaya returned to Tegucigalpa, Honduras for the first time since he was deposed and exiled in a June 28th coup d’etat, taking refuge in the Brazilian Embassy.  His return has led to the installation of a curfew, violence between Zelaya’s supporters and Honduran security forces, and troubling reports of the detention and physical abuse of his supporters.

I am encouraged by reports that representatives of Roberto Micheletti, who currently occupies the presidency, have met with President Zelaya.  As divided as these two factions are, these talks need to continue in order to resolve this situation peacefully before the country descends into further bloody confrontations between civilians and police, or it leads to violent fractures within the military.

I continue to believe that the proposal for the restoration President Zelaya and early elections, put forward by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, has the best chance of resolving this conflict.  Brute force, like that reported from Honduras this week, will achieve nothing but further polarization.

If President Zelaya is guilty of violating the law, as some have maintained, there are constitutional procedures for dealing with that.  But by abusing the law themselves and simply throwing him out of the country, those who claim to have acted in the interests of the Honduran people only compounded the country’s problems.  Honduras, an impoverished country that needs the support of the United States and its neighbors, can ill afford this crisis to continue.

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