Thu, Oct 01, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Cracks deepen among Hondurans


Cracks are deepening among supporters of Honduras’ coup-imposed government, with business leaders softening their opposition to reinstating ousted president Manuel Zelaya and lawmakers threatening to revoke an emergency decree limiting civil liberties.

Zelaya said on Tuesday night that he was encouraged by a plan proposed by an influential business chamber for putting him back in office and ending the crisis. The plan includes bringing foreign troops to Honduras to ensure that if Zelaya was restored to the presidency, he would respect an international mediator’s proposal that his powers be strictly limited.

Zelaya said it was “good sign” that “conservative sectors of the country are analyzing a proposal” that includes his reinstatement.

“We will make the respective analysis,” Zelaya told Channel 11. “We hope to enter into talks with those who are making this proposal in the next hours.”

Lawmakers, meanwhile, made clear Congress would revoke an emergency security crackdown if the interim government does not, Rigoberto Chang, a congressman with the conservative National Party, said on Tuesday.

Interim Honduran President Roberto Micheletti backtracked on the decree on Monday, saying he had agreed to reconsider the move at the request of congressional leaders. But the order appeared to remain in effect on Tuesday.

Police prevented hundreds of demonstrators from marching in support of Zelaya for a second straight day. Two broadcasters that criticized the coup remained shuttered, although one, Radio Globo, was transmitting on the Internet a day after police raided its offices and confiscated equipment.

The disagreement over the security decree was the biggest public rift between Micheletti and the Congress that put him in power after soldiers forced Zelaya into exile June 28 in a dispute over changing the Constitution.

Conservative politicians expressed fear the emergency decree imposed on Sunday would endanger the Nov. 29 presidential election, which they consider Honduras’ best hope for regaining international recognition. The ballot was scheduled before the removal of Zelaya, whose presidential term expires in January.

Chang said leading conservative lawmakers “weren’t even consulted” about the security crackdown.

“It took us by surprise,” he said. “We were scared because they weren’t taking us into account at all.”

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