For Immediate Release: September 21, 2009
Contact: Dan Beeton, 202-239-1460
Washington, D.C. - President Manuel Zelaya's reported return to Honduras would be a significant move and could force an end to the political crisis that followed the June 28 coup d'etat, Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said today.
"This could be the moment of truth for the Obama administration," Weisbrot said. "If Zelaya is back, they will have to choose sides. It is pretty clear that the rest of the world will stand with Zelaya, for his return to the presidency, and for the restoration of democracy in Honduras."
With many heads of state gathered in New York for the annual meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, it is very likely that they will take action in support of President Zelaya.
In response to the June 28th coup that overthrew President Zelaya, the Organization of American States, the UN General Assembly, and other international bodies called for the "immediate and unconditional return" of Zelaya to the presidency. The United States response has been somewhat more ambiguous and has varied over the ensuing months.
The de facto regime has threatened to arrest Zelaya upon his return to the country.
"The arrest of Zelaya on dubious charges - which the regime has no legal authority to pursue - would increase its isolation, and possibly sanctions, from the international community," said Weisbrot.
When Zelaya attempted to return to Honduras in July, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced his actions as "reckless," saying that Zelaya should give more time for a negotiated solution. Months later, the de facto regime in Honduras has still rejected proposals by mediator and Costa Rican president Oscar Arias - proposals agreed to by Zelaya.