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Manuel Zelaya

Manuel Zelaya

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José Manuel Zelaya Rosales (born 20 September 1952) is a politician who was President of Honduras
President of Honduras
This page lists the Presidents of Honduras.Colonial Honduras declared its independence from Spain on 15 September 1821. From 5 January 1822 to 1 July 1823, Honduras was part of the First Mexican Empire of Agustín de Iturbide....

 from January 27, 2006 until June 28, 2009. The eldest son of a wealthy businessman, he inherited his father's nickname "Mel," and, before entering politics, was involved in his family's logging and timber businesses.

Elected as a conservative, Zelaya shifted to the political left during his presidency, forging an alliance with the ALBA. On 28 June 2009, in the 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis
2009 Honduran constitutional crisis
The 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis was a political dispute over plans to rewrite the Constitution of Honduras, which culminated in a coup d'état against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya by the Honduran military...

, he was seized by the military
Military of Honduras
-pre-1979:During the twentieth century, Honduran military leaders frequently became presidents, either through elections or by coups d'état. General Tiburcio Carías Andino was elected in 1932, he later on called a constituent assembly that allowed him to be reelected, and his rule became more...

 and secreted to Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

 in the 2009 Honduran coup d'état
2009 Honduran coup d'état
The 2009 Honduran coup d'état, part of the 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis, occurred when the Honduran Army ousted President Manuel Zelaya and sent him into exile on June 28, 2009. It was prompted by his attempts to schedule a non binding poll on holding a referendum about convening a...

. On 21 September 2009 he returned to Honduras clandestinely and resurfaced in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa
Tegucigalpa , and commonly referred as Tegus , is the capital of Honduras and seat of government of the Republic, along with its twin sister Comayagüela. Founded on September 29, 1578 by the Spanish, it became the country's capital on October 30, 1880 under President Marco Aurelio Soto...

. In 2010 he left Honduras for exile in the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

, an exile which lasted more than a year.

He is now a deputy of the Central American Parliament
Central American Parliament
The Central American Parliament , also known as PARLACEN is a political institution devoted to the integration of the Central American countries. Its headquarters are in Guatemala City....

 representing Honduras.


The surname 'Zelaya' is a word from the Basque language
Basque language
Basque is the ancestral language of the Basque people, who inhabit the Basque Country, a region spanning an area in northeastern Spain and southwestern France. It is spoken by 25.7% of Basques in all territories...

, meaning 'field.'
Zelaya was born the first of four children in Juticalpa, Olancho. Two of his brothers remain alive: one is Carlos Armando and the other is Marco Antonio. Zelaya's mother, Ortensia Rosales de Zelaya, has been described as his best campaigner. His family first lived in Copán
Copán is an archaeological site of the Maya civilization located in the Copán Department of western Honduras, not far from the border with Guatemala. It was the capital city of a major Classic period kingdom from the 5th to 9th centuries AD...

, then they moved east to Catacamas, Olancho.

He attended Niño Jesús de Praga y Luis Landa elementary school and the Instituto Salesiano San Miguel. He studied civil engineering in The National University of Honduras (UNAH), but left after four years with 11 courses completed, in order to engage fully in the agri-forestry business sector. He has engaged in various business activities, specifically timber and cattle, which were handed down to him by his late father. He is now a landowner in the department of Olancho. In 1987, Zelaya became manager of the Honduran Council of Private Enterprise
Honduran Council of Private Enterprise
The Honduran Council of Private Enterprise is a business trade organization in Honduras. COHEP is the largest such trade organization in the country, and is one of the three private organizations in Honduras proposes candidates for the Supreme Court of Honduras...

 (COHEP), as well as the National Association of Wood Processing Enterprises. The COHEP occupies a particularly important role in Honduran politics, as the Constitution delineates that the organization elects 1 of the 7 members of the Nominating Board that proposes members of the Supreme Court of Honduras
Supreme Court of Honduras
The Supreme Court of Honduras is the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court of Honduras. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority in Honduras.- Structure, power, and duties :...


Zelaya's father was given a 20 year prison sentence for his role in the Los Horcones massacre
Los Horcones massacre
The Horcones Massacre was a series of killings centered around the Los Horcones ranch in the department of Olancho, Honduras, in June 1975, in which up to 15 religious leaders, campesinos and students were killed, by the military, in a backlash against peasant land grabs orchestrated by the Roman...

, which took place in the Zelaya family ranch Los Horcones in 1975, but, as a result of an amnesty decree, served less than two.

Since January 1976, Zelaya has been married to Xiomara Castro de Zelaya. They have four children: Zoe, Héctor Manuel, Xiomara Hortensia ("La Pichu") and Jose Manuel.

Political career

Zelaya joined the Liberal Party of Honduras
Liberal Party of Honduras
The Liberal Party of Honduras is a centre-left liberal political party in Honduras that was founded in 1891. The party is a member of the Liberal International...

 (Partido Liberal de Honduras, PLH) in 1970 and became active a decade later. He was a deputy in the National Congress
National Congress of Honduras
The National Congress is the legislative branch of the government of Honduras.The Honduran Congress is a unicameral legislature. The current President of the National Congress of Honduras is Juan Orlando Hernández. Its members are 128 deputies, who are elected on a proportional representation...

 three consecutive times between 1985 and 1998. He held many positions within the PLH and was Minister for Investment
Investment has different meanings in finance and economics. Finance investment is putting money into something with the expectation of gain, that upon thorough analysis, has a high degree of security for the principal amount, as well as security of return, within an expected period of time...

 in charge of the Honduran Social Investment Fund (FHIS) in a previous PLH government. Under the administration of Zelaya the FHIS lost $40 million dollars, and Zelaya was accused of financial embezzling but escaped being prosecuted.
In the 2005 presidential primaries
Honduran general election, 2005
General elections were held in Honduras to elect the President of Honduras, Vice-President, and deputies to the National Congress of Honduras on 27 November, 2005. For the 2005 election the constitution was amended to create a single vice-president...

, his faction was called Movimiento Esperanza Liberal (MEL). He received 52% of the 289,300 Liberal votes, to 17% for Jaime Rosenthal Oliva and 12% for Gabriela Núñez
Gabriela Nunez
Gabriela Núñez de Reyes was the Minister of Finance of Honduras under the interim government of Roberto Micheletti. She had previously been Minister of Finance from 1998 to 2002, under the government of Carlos Flores and President of the Central Bank during 2006-2007.In the private sector she was...

, the candidate of the Nueva Mayoría faction.


During Zelaya's time in office Honduras became a member of ALBA, an international cooperation organization based on the idea of social, political, and economic integration between the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Political opponents, particularly business elites, opposed his foreign policy, including his alliance with Hugo Chávez
Hugo Chávez
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías is the 56th and current President of Venezuela, having held that position since 1999. He was formerly the leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when he became the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela...

 in Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

, and friendship with Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

's Raúl Castro
Raúl Castro
Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz is a Cuban politician and revolutionary who has been President of the Council of State of Cuba and the President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba since 2008; he previously exercised presidential powers in an acting capacity from 2006 to 2008...


In spite of a number of economic problems, there were a number of significant achievements under Zelaya's presidency. Under his government, subsidies to small farmers were provided, bank interest rates were reduced, the minimum wage was increased by 80,% school meals were guaranteed for more than 1.6 million children from poor families, domestic employees were integrated into the social security system, free education for all children was introduced, poverty was reduced by almost 10% during two years of government, and direct state help was provided for 200,000 families in extreme poverty, with free electricity supplied to those Hondurans most in need.

Alliance with ALBA

On 22 July 2008, Zelaya sought to incorporate Honduras into ALBA, an international cooperation organization based on the idea of social, political, and economic integration in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Zelaya did not file the country's budget to the Honduran Congress by 15 September 2008, as required by the country's constitution. He said it was impossible to come up with numbers, blaming the world financial crisis. Zelaya was criticised by one of his own ministers. Julio Raudales, Zelaya's former deputy minister, said the budgetary black hole cost the country some $400 million (in external funding).

On 30 September, Zelaya signed two emergency executive decrees, both with the number 46-A-2208, which each authorized transfer of 30 million lempiras of public money for advertising his fourth ballot box plans. The Supreme Audit Court's investigation raised concerns of squandering public funds
Financial irregularities during the Manuel Zelaya administration
Alleged Financial irregularities during the Manuel Zelaya administration received attention of many Hondurans.In late 2008, Zelaya went as far as refusing to send Congress a budget, claiming that it was impossible to come up with numbers, even though the constitution required the president to...


Conflict with media

Zelaya said that the main media outlets in Honduras, owned by wealthy conservatives, are biased against him and did not provide coverage of what his government was doing: "No one publishes anything about me. . . . what prevails here is censorship of my government by the mass media." Inter Press Service says that the vast majority of radio and TV stations and print publications are owned by just six families.

According to a paper written by Manuel Orozco and Rebecca Rouse for the Inter-American Dialogue
Inter-American Dialogue
The Inter-American Dialogue is a U.S. based think tank for policy analysis, exchange, and communication on issues in Western Hemisphere affairs...

 think tank in the United States, the Honduran media operate as arms of political parties. Honduran journalists say that most of the news media there are unabashedly partisan, allied with political parties and local power brokers.

On 24 May 2007, Zelaya ordered ten two-hour cadenas (mandatory government broadcasts) on all television and radio
Radio in Honduras
Radio in Honduras began in 1928, when the Tela Railroad Company established Tropical Radio. The first commercial radio station, Radio HRN, began broadcasting in 1933.-History:...

 stations, "to counteract the misinformation of the news media." The move, while legal, was fiercely criticized by the country's main journalists' union, and Zelaya was dubbed "authoritarian" by his opposition. Ultimately, the broadcasts were scaled back to a one-hour program on the government's plans to expand telephone service, a half hour on new electrical power plants and a half-hour about government revenues. According to the University of New Mexico
University of New Mexico
The University of New Mexico at Albuquerque is a public research university located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the United States. It is the state's flagship research institution...

's electronic bulletin NotiCen, "Zelaya's contention that the media distort his efforts is not without merit", citing reports which gave the public the impression that murder rates were rising, when they actually fell by 3% in 2006.

A journalist who often criticized Zelaya was murdered by unknown gunmen in 2007. Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) and the United Nations criticized the threat to journalists in Honduras. Other critical journalists, such as Dagoberto Rodriguez and Hector Geovanny Garcia, fled into exile because of constant murder threats.

Corruption investigations of Hondutel

Manuel Zelaya appointed his nephew Marcelo Chimirri
Marcelo Chimirri
Marcelo Chimirri, a nephew of the deposed president of Honduras Manuel Zelaya, is a former General Manager of the state-owned telecom company Hondutel...

 as General Manager of the state-owned telecom Hondutel
Hondutel , is Honduras' government owned telecommunications company.It has a monopoly on international calls...


According to the Mexican newspaper El Universal, relying on information supplied by the Arcadia Foundation, Hondutel's income decreased 47% between 2005 and 2006, the first year of President Manuel Zelaya's administration, despite Hondutel's monopoly on international calls In April 2009, Latin Node Inc., an American company, pleaded guilty to making improper payments to Hondutel, "knowing that some, or all of those funds, would be passed on as bribes to officials of Hondutel". Chimirri who resigned in 2007, was arrested following the coup, and remains in prison on charges of abuse of authority and embezzlement, charges which he denies. Apart from Chimirri, Oscar Danilo Santos (the former manager of Hondutel), Jorge Rosa, and James Lagos are all charged in connection with allegedly committing crimes of abuse of authority, fraud and bribery having received bribes of $1.09 million U.S. from an international carrier in exchange for Hondutel providing that carrier lower rates than other firms. Auditor Julio Daniel Flores was charged for the lesser crime of violation of duties of officers.

Attempts to modify the constitution

President Zelaya came to international attention in June 2009 when he was overthrown in a military coup and forced into exile. The crisis that led to his removal from office centered around the question of whether changes would be made to the 1982 Honduran Constitution
Constitution of Honduras
The Political Constitution of the Republic of Honduras was approved on 11 January 1982, published on 20 January 1982, amended by the National Congress of Honduras 26 times from 1984 to 2005, and 10 interpretations by Congress were made from 1982 to 2005. It is Honduras' twelfth constitution since...

. Zelaya proposed a national poll to gauge interest in constitutional change, which provoked a fierce reaction from opposition parties. Those responsible for the coup justified their actions on the grounds that Zelaya's interest in potentially convening a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution was illegal, and alleged that his real motive was to increase his time in office. Zelaya denied that his motive was to stay in office, stating that he intended to step down in January 2010 as scheduled, noting that his successor would be elected at the same time the vote on whether to convene a constituent assembly would occur.

Under constitutional law, the President of Honduras can amend the constitution without any referendum given that a congressional majority exists. However, eight articles cannot be amended, including those related to term limits, the permitted system of government, and the process of presidential succession.

Because the president can amend 368 of 375 articles without any constituent assembly, some suspected that Zelaya's true intention was to extend his rule. One-time Christian Democrat presidential candidate Juan Ramon Martinez argued that Zelaya was attempting to discredit parliamentary democracy, saying, "There appears to be a set of tactics aimed at discrediting institutions... he has repeated on several occasions that democratic institutions are worthless and that democracy has not helped at all".


On 11 November 2008, following requests from many Honduran groups for the convening of a constituent assembly
Constituent assembly
A constituent assembly is a body composed for the purpose of drafting or adopting a constitution...

, Zelaya issued a decree organizing a poll to decide whether the electorate wanted a fourth ballot box installed at polling places for the upcoming 29 November 2009 General Election – an addition to the usual three for Presidential, Congressional, and municipal candidates. The fourth ballot would be to ask voters whether they would consider convening a National Constituent Assembly for the purpose of writing a new constitution. Later, in March 2009, Zelaya announced that first he wanted to have a preliminary poll – he suggested 28 June 2009 as a date – to ask voters whether they wanted the fourth ballot to be included in the November 2009 election.

There has been considerable debate as to whether Zelaya's call for a poll about whether to organize a constituent assembly was legally valid according to the 1982 Constitution. Article 373 of the Constitution states that the Constitution can be amended by a two-thirds majority of the normal National Congress. Only eight articles cannot be amended in this fashion; they are specified in Article 374 of the Constitution and include term limits, system of government that is permitted, and process of presidential succession. Because the congress can amend 368 of 375 articles without any constituent assembly, some observers charged that Zelaya's true intention of holding a referendum on convening a constitutional convention on the same date as his successor's election was to extend his term of rule. In a newspaper interview shortly before his removal from office, Zelaya stated that he had every intention of stepping down when his term ends in January 2010.

The Associated Press, citing Manuel Orozco of the Inter American Dialogue, said that "His [Zelaya's] campaign for changing the constitution has energized his support base of labour groups, farmers and civil organisations who have long felt marginalized in a country where a wealthy elite controls the media and much of politics."

Violation of Supreme Court rulings

The Supreme Court, without deciding on the constitutionality of the poll, ruled that a lower court ruling blocking the referendum was lawful

The Supreme Court's ruling was supported by Congress, the country's attorney general, top electoral body, and the country's human rights ombudsman, who all said that Zelaya violated the law. Despite the opposition of the other branches of the government, Zelaya moved forward with his plan to hold a consultative poll on 28 June 2009. In Honduras it is a function of the military to assist with election logistics; accordingly, in late May 2009, Zelaya issued a request to the military to distribute ballot boxes and other materials for the poll. The chief of the military, General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez
Romeo Vásquez Velásquez
Romeo Vásquez Velásquez is a retired Brigadier general turned politician. He was head of the armed forces of Honduras from January 11, 2005 to January 25, 2010. He was born in Siguatepeque, Comayagua. In 1972 he joined the army, and he attended the School of the Americas at least twice, in 1976...

, refused to carry this out. In response, Zelaya dismissed Vásquez on 24 May. Subsequently, defense minister Edmundo Orellana and several other military commanders resigned in support of Vásquez. Both the Honduran Supreme Court and the Honduran Congress deemed the dismissal of Velásquez to be unlawful.

By 25 June, the newspaper La Tribuna reported that the military had deployed hundreds of troops around Tegucigalpa, to prevent possible disturbances by organisations that support Zelaya and with the exception of leftist organizations, "all sectors are publicly opposed to the consultation, which has been declared illegal by the Prosecutor and the Supreme Court". The troops were deployed from the First Infantry Battalion, located 5 km East of the city, to the vicinity of the presidential residence in the West, and the airport, in the South.

There is some doubt, however, that Zelaya ever actually fired Vásquez. CNN news on 27 June reported that Zelaya on 24 June had said that he would fire Vásquez; but that on 26 June Zelaya said that he had never carried out his threat and the general had not been fired. "I didn't do it", CNN quoted him as saying.

The Congress, the attorney general, and the top electoral tribunal declared Zelaya's proposed referendum to be illegal. Congress began to discuss means to impeach Zelaya. On 27 June and again on 30 June 2009, thousands of protesters opposed to Zelaya's rule marched through the capital city.

Constitutional crisis

On 28 June 2009, the country's Supreme Court issued an order to detain President Zelaya, who was subsequently seized by the military. He was then brought to the air force base Hernan Acosta Mejia,
and taken into exile in Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....


The reason given for the arrest order were charges brought by the Attorney General, and the order was to enable a statement to be made to the Supreme Court.
The decision to expatriate him was, however, taken by the military themselves, knowing full well that it violated the constitution, 'to avoid mob violence.'
Following the coup, Zelaya spoke to the media from his forced exile in San Jose, and identified the events as a coup and a kidnapping. He stated that soldiers pulled him from his bed and assaulted his guards. Zelaya stated that he would not recognize anyone named as his successor, and that he wanted to finish his term in office. He also stated that he would begin to meet with diplomats, and attended the Summit of Central American Presidents held in Managua
Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua as well as the department and municipality by the same name. It is the largest city in Nicaragua in terms of population and geographic size. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Xolotlán or Lake Managua, the city was declared the national capital in...

, Nicaragua, two days later (30 June 2009).

The National Congress voted unanimously to accept what they said was Zelaya's letter of resignation, but Zelaya said he did not write the letter.

National Congress President Roberto Micheletti
Roberto Micheletti
Roberto Micheletti Baín is a former de facto president of Honduras who served as a result of the 2009 coup d'état. The Honduran military was ordered by the Supreme Court to forcefully detain President Manuel Zelaya once the Court stated he was violating the Honduran constitution; Zelaya was exiled...

, the next person in the presidential line of succession, assumed the presidency following Zelaya's removal from office.
The event was greeted with applause in Congress, which had denounced Zelaya's repeated violations of the constitution and the law and disregard of orders and judgments of the institutions.

The world — including international bodies like the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the European Union - publicly condemned the events. U.S. President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 said, "We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the President of Honduras." Hugo Chávez threatened to invade Honduras if the Venezuelan embassy or ambassador were attacked. Venezuela has said it would suspend oil shipments, and Honduras's neighbors—El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua—suspended overland trade for two days.
A one-page United Nations resolution, passed by acclamation in the then 192-member body, condemned the events and demanded Zelaya's "immediate and unconditional restoration" as president. The resolution calls "firmly and categorically on all states to recognise no government other than that" of Mr. Zelaya.

During the first five days out of country, Zelaya spent 80,000 dollars of Honduran public money on goods including hotels, food and clothing.

Zelaya's wife, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya
Xiomara de Zelaya
Xiomara Castro de Zelaya is the wife of deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. The daughter of Olga Doris Sarmiento Montoya and Irene Castro Reyes, she was born in Tegucigalpa on September 30, 1959...

, charged that the exiling of her husband was a violation of the Honduran Constitution.
Article 102 of the Honduran Constitution forbids expatriating or handing over of Hondurans to foreign countries.

According to Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll, on October 9–13, Hondurans opposed the coup 60% to 38%, but were evenly divided on restoration of Zelaya's presidency 49% to 50% (with limited powers), or 26% to 51% (with full powers). The approval rating of Micheletti's interim presidency was 47% while Zelaya's presidency had an approval rating of 67%.

Return to Honduras

On 21 September 2009, Zelaya and his wife arrived at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. Zelaya stated that to reach the embassy he travelled through mountains for fifteen hours, and took back roads to avoid checkpoints. Zelaya did not state from which country he entered Honduras. Hundreds of Zelaya's supporters surrounded the Brazilian embassy. Zelaya chanted "Restitution, Fatherland or Death!" to his supporters, raising fears that Zelaya was attempting a violent confrontation.

Michelletti initially denied Zelaya had returned, but later admitted he had done so, stating that it "changes nothing of our reality". Michelletti later issued a curfew and asked the Brazilian government to place Zelaya in Honduran custody to be put on trial. Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim
Celso Amorim
Celso Luiz Nunes Amorim is a Brazilian diplomat who has been Minister of Defence since August 2011. Amorim was the Minister of Foreign Relations from 1993 to 1995 under President Itamar Franco and again from 2003 to 2011 under President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.Before his appointment by Lula,...

 stated that Brazil did not aid Zelaya's return. Security Vice Minister Mario Perdomo ordered checkpoints to be placed on highways leading to Tegucigalpa, to "stop those people coming to start trouble". Defense Minister Lionel Sevilla suspended all air flights to Tegucigalpa.

Costa Rican President Óscar Arias
Óscar Arias
Óscar Arias Sánchez is a Costa Rican politician who was President of Costa Rica from 2006 to 2010. He previously served as President from 1986 to 1990 and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts to end civil wars then raging in several other Central American countries.He is also a...

 and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged both sides to begin a dialogue toward a peaceful solution and Eulogio Chavez, leader of a 60,000-member teachers union, announced that his organization would go on strike to back Zelaya. Shortly thereafter, Zelaya said that "Israeli mercenaries" were torturing him with high-frequency radiation
In physics, radiation is a process in which energetic particles or energetic waves travel through a medium or space. There are two distinct types of radiation; ionizing and non-ionizing...

 and mind-altering gas and that Israeli mercenaries had installed a mobile phone jammer.

On 27 September 2009 Honduras gave Brazil a ten-day deadline. Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva , known popularly as Lula, served as the 35th President of Brazil from 2003 to 2010.A founding member of the Workers' Party , he ran for President three times unsuccessfully, first in the 1989 election. Lula achieved victory in the 2002 election, and was inaugurated as...

 said that he would ignore the deadline, stating that "Brazil will not comply with an ultimatum from a government of coup-mongers". Honduran interim president Roberto Micheletti
Roberto Micheletti
Roberto Micheletti Baín is a former de facto president of Honduras who served as a result of the 2009 coup d'état. The Honduran military was ordered by the Supreme Court to forcefully detain President Manuel Zelaya once the Court stated he was violating the Honduran constitution; Zelaya was exiled...

 warned that his government would take action if Brazil did not determine Zelaya's status soon. President Lula requested an apology.

Hundreds of Honduran soldiers and Police Officers surrounded the Brazilian embassy, where protests against the coup continued.

On 29 October 2009, the government of "de facto" president Roberto Micheletti signed what United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 Hillary Clinton called a "historic agreement" to let Manuel Zelaya serve the remaining three months of his term. "If Congress agrees", according to Elisabeth Malkin reporting for The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, "control of the army would shift to the electoral court, and the presidential election set for 29 Nov. would be recognized by both sides. Neither Mr. Zelaya nor Mr. Micheletti will be candidates".

When Micheletti announced he had, unilaterally, formed the unity government without input from Zelaya, Zelaya declared the agreement "dead" early on 6 November. The United States sent diplomats to help to resurrect the pact, but Zelaya insisted that he would not accept any deal to restore him to office if it meant he must recognize the elections of 29 November.

Presidential Election of 29 November 2009

On 29 November 2009, a presidential election was held under a state of emergency declared in Decree PCM-M-030-2009. According to the decree, the Secretary of State of the 'de facto' government was expected to participate in the military command for this state of emergency. Five of the six presidential candidates retained their candidacies, while Carlos H. Reyes
Carlos Humberto Reyes
Carlos Humberto Reyes is leader of the trade union STIBYS in Honduras, a coordinator of the Frente Nacional de Resistencia contra el Golpe de Estado en Honduras and was an independent candidate for the 2009 Honduran presidential election before pulling out on November 9...

 had withdrawn his candidacy on 9 November in protest at what he perceived as illegitimacy of the election. Zelaya called for a boycott of the poll. Some Hondurans interviewed by Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 said that they "sought to move past the crisis with the elections", which had been scheduled previous to Zelaya's removal. Early returns indicated that conservative Porfirio Lobo was elected with around 55% of the votes. Official numbers for the turnout of the election falsely placed it at around 60%, but subsequently revised the numbers to 49% turnout.

Organisations and individuals in Honduras, including the National Resistance Front against the coup d'état in Honduras
National Resistance Front (Honduras)
The National Popular Resistance Front or National People's Resistance Front , frequently referred to as the National Resistance Front, is a wide coalition of Honduran grassroots organisations and political parties and movements that aims to restore elected President Manuel Zelaya and hold a...

, Marvin Ponce of the Democratic Unification Party
Democratic Unification Party
The Democratic Unification Party is a left-wing political party in Honduras. PUD was founded on 29 September 1992 by the merger of four leftist clandestine or semiclandestine political parties, in the context of the changed political situation in Central America at that period, following the end...

, and Bertha Oliva of COFADEH, and internationally, including Mercosur
Mercosur or Mercosul is an economic and political agreement among Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Founded in 1991 by the Treaty of Asunción, which was later amended and updated by the 1994 Treaty of Ouro Preto. Its purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people,...

, President Cristina Kirchner
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner , commonly known as Cristina Fernández or Cristina Kirchner is the 55th and current President of Argentina and the widow of former President Néstor Kirchner. She is Argentina's first elected female president, and the second female president ever to serve...

 of Argentina and
the Union of South American Nations, said that elections held on 29 November under Micheletti would not be legitimate.

On 2 December, the National Congress began debate regarding the possible reinstatement of Zelaya to the presidency.

On 4 December, Juan Barahona-led activists ended five months of daily protests demanding the reinstatement of Zelaya, saying they're moving on now that Congress has voted to keep Manuel Zelaya out of office. Juan Barahona, who had been leading protests since late June when Zelaya was forced out of the country, said that his supporters are "closing that chapter" of their struggle. Barahona said it's time for Hondurans who support policies in favor of the poor and other themes that Zelaya espoused to shift their focus to the 2014 elections.


On 20 January 2010, the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 and Honduran President-elect Lobo agreed to a deal that would allow Zelaya to be transported safely from the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa where he had been, to the Dominican Republic upon Lobo taking office on 27 January. Lobo stated that he would ensure Zelaya would leave safely and "with dignity." Lobo negotiated with Dominican President Leonel Fernández
Leonel Fernández
Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna is a Dominican lawyer, academic, and the current President of the Dominican Republic since 2004. He held the same office from 1996 to 2000...

. Lobo also discussed the situation with former presidential candidates
Honduran general election, 2009
The Honduran general election, 2009 was held in Honduras on 29 November 2009, including presidential, parliamentary and local elections. Voters went to the polls to elect:*A new President of Honduras to serve a four-year term starting January 27, 2010....

 who signed a statement on the agreement, as well as requesting that sanctions placed against Honduras as a result of the incident be lifted. The next day, Zelaya agreed to the deal, while a close advisor said he would remain politically active and hope to later return to political activity.

Zelaya, along with his wife, two children, and President Fernández of the Dominican Republic, left Honduras on 27 January 2010, for the Dominican Republic. They continue to live in the Dominican Republic. Zelaya continues to be seen as the legitimate head of state of Honduras by several countries in the region.


Honduran President Porforio Lobo met with Zelaya in Cartagena
-Colombia:*Cartagena, Colombia, a city in the Bolivar Region, the largest city bearing this name*Cartagena de Chairá, Colombia-Other:*Cartagena *Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety*FC Cartagena, a football club based in Cartagena, Spain-See also:...

, Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

 on May 22, 2011. They both signed an agreement that allowed Zelaya to return to Honduras from exile. Six days later, on May 28, Zelaya flew back to Honduras aboard a Conviasa
Conviasa is an airline with its headquarters on the grounds of Simón Bolívar International Airport in Maiquetía, Venezuela, near Caracas. It operates services to domestic destinations and to destinations in the Caribbean and South America...

 jet and was greeted by thousands of his supporters at the airport. He gave a conciliatory speech that called for political reconciliation and increased democracy in the country.

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