TEGUCIGALPA – Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said on Saturday that he “hasn’t broken off talks” with the de facto president, Roberto Micheletti, and added that the Organization of American States (OAS) backs his proposal to let Congress decide on his reinstatement.
Zelaya also rejected any action on his behalf that would entail “violence or arms” to put pressure on the de facto government and instead asked for more trade and economic reprisals.
“Talks haven’t been broken off, they’re suspended” until his commission and Micheletti’s get together this weekend and meet again on Monday, Zelaya said in an interview on Tegucigalpa’s HRN radio.
One of the people closest to Zelaya, his Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas, had said Friday in Bolivia, where she is attending the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) summit, that the dialogue had been “definitively broken off” due to Micheletti’s “intransigence” in refusing to reinstate the elected president in power.
The head of Zelaya’s commission, Victor Meza, said Friday that “the talks continue” in spite of the disagreement between the two parties on his reinstatement proposals.
Nonetheless, the deposed president said that he has “no optimism” about the negotiations, which reached agreements on other points but not on his eventual return to the presidency of his country.
Zelaya proposed that Congress decide on this point and Micheletti argued that it should be the Supreme Court (CSJ), since the ousted president has trials pending for suspected political and common crimes.
The de facto president presented another possibility on Friday, according to commission member Vilma Morales, but its content has not been revealed by the delegations and will be analyzed this weekend.
Zelaya commented that on Thursday “there was a consensus of the two commissions on the text, which was taken to Micheletti who tossed it out” in order to propose on Friday that a political problem should be made a matter for the court, which is “unacceptable, it’s an insult to the intelligence.”
“Then we presented another text, another proposal, that is backed by the OAS and backed by the international community,” which suggests that the matter be discussed by Congress, he said.
The banished president said that he rejected Micheletti’s proposal because “the court is judge and part of this coup d’état,” having ordered his capture last June 28, after which the military deposed him and expelled him to Costa Rica.
De facto Cabinet head Rafael Pineda defended the CSJ’s ruling on the reinstatement of Zelaya because it is handling several cases against him and “Congress cannot resolve matters that are in the province of another power of the state.”
Zelaya said that “the best thing would be giving the political decision to politicians, with the politicians getting legal advice,” and in fact his proposal includes the possibility of Congress consulting with the CSJ.
As for his request through a communique that foreign ministers of OAS nations increase their sanctions against the de facto government, he considered that
“they can perfectly well establish tougher trade and economic measures, which the United States would comply with immediately.”
Those sanctions could be related “to many activities to do with ports, economic transfers ... there are a lot of things in that field that are within the Free Trade Agreement” with the United States, he said.
“We’ve never believed in nor asked for displays of violence and arms – we actually oppose procedures of that kind,” he said.
Zelaya also said that “conditions do not exist for transparent elections” in Honduras on Nov. 29 and that “they are cooking up a fraud in order to make the departure of Mr. Micheletti and his friends viable.”
Asked about whom such a fraud would favor, Zelaya said: “It would favor whoever takes part.”