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Brazil, Peru condemn Honduran limits on Zelaya

December 13th, 2009
Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya

Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya

Brazil and Peru on Saturday condemned the refusal by the de facto government of Honduras to allow ousted President Manuel Zelaya to leave the country unless he drops his demand to be reinstated.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Peruvian President Alan Garcia criticized the de facto government’s stance in a joint statement issued by Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Relations. Zelaya, deposed in a June 28 coup, has taken refuge in Brazil’s embassy in the Honduran capital.

“The presidents strongly condemn the unacceptable refusal by Honduras’ de facto government’s officials, totally defying the international rights, to allow the departure of constitutional president Jose Manuel Zelaya to Mexico,” the statement said.

Zelaya said on Thursday the de facto government would allow him to leave the country only if he signs a letter dropping his demand to be reinstated as president. His term in office was scheduled to end on January 27.

Soldiers grabbed Zelaya from his home in June and threw him out of the country in his pajamas, sparking Central America’s worst political crisis since the Cold War. He later sneaked back into Honduras to take refuge in the Brazilian Embassy and conduct a campaign for his return to power.

Honduran voters chose a new president, Porfirio Lobo, in elections on November 29, but many countries including regional power Brazil have yet to recognize the vote. Lobo is due to take power in January.

Zelaya had planned to leave his refuge in the Brazilian Embassy on Wednesday for Mexico but the trip was aborted because of disagreement over whether he would accept political asylum.

The administration in power since Zelaya was ousted wants Zelaya to take political asylum in another country, which would restrict his political activities. However, Zelaya has rejected asylum in favor of a looser status that would allow him to campaign fully for his return.

The de fact government’s foreign minister Carlos Lopez said Zelaya should respect a decision by the Honduran Congress last week that he not return to office.

(Reporting by Hugo Bachega, writing by Inae Riveras, editing by Will Dunham)

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