AS/COA Online | Honduras Follows In El Salvador’s Footsteps, Declares Gang Truce

Leaders of Honduras’ two largest and most dangerous gangs announced a truce today during press conferences held in a San Pedro Sula prison. “We ask society and authorities to forgive us for the damage we have done,” said the head of the Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, of the agreement forged with the 18th Street gang. Eight months in the making, the truce was mediated by Roman Catholic Bishop Romulo Emiliano, with the backing of the Organization of American States’ Secretary for Multidimensional Security Adam Blackwell. The Honduran president voiced his support on Monday. The deal gives a heavy nod to a gang truce negotiated last year in neighboring El Salvador. That truce led to a hefty reduction in homicides, an accomplishment that Honduras—with a murder rate 10 times the global average—hopes to emulate.

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AS/COA Online - Honduras Bound: Pact Paves Way for Zelaya's Return

More than two years since Honduran leader Manuel Zelaya was forced into exile, an agreement signed over the weekend paves the way for him to return home and for Honduras to return to the fold of the Organization of American States. Zelaya met with current President Porfirio López on Sunday in Cartagena, Colombia, to ink the pact brokered by the host country and Venezuela. “I am pleased to come to sign a reconciliation agreement for the democracy of the Honduran people,” said the ex-leader, who was overthrown in June 2009 after signaling he intended to ignore a court order halting a constitutional referendum. “Return to Honduras without any fear because you will be treated with the respect due a former president,” Lobo told Zelaya in Cartagena.

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AS/COA Online - Pepe Lobo Wins Contested Honduran Election

Co-authored with Mark Osmond. Hondurans turned out to vote Sunday in hotly contested elections, which the National Party's Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo won by a wide margin, according to figures posted by the country's electoral tribunal. Given that he polled ahead of his top opponent, the Liberal Party's Elvin Santos, for weeks before the election, Lobo's victory came as little surprise. What remains less clear is whether a four-month-old political crisis will fade away now that the elections have come and gone. Deposed leader Manuel Zelaya remains holed up in Brazil’s embassy while division runs deep over the election results’ legitimacy.
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AS/COA Online - Timeline: The Honduran Crisis

Honduras found itself caught in an political stalemate after the June 28 overthrow of Manuel Zelaya. Explore a timeline of key dates in the months-long crisis.

June 25: Tensions flare in Honduras when President Manuel Zelaya leads supporters to air force headquarters to seize ballots needed for a June 28 referendum deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Critics say the referendum would have opened the door to a constitutional reform allowing presidential reelection. The Court also reinstates armed forces chief, Romeo Vásquez, whom Zelaya dismissed a day earlier.

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AS/COA Online - Honduras Deal Flounders

A week ago, a U.S.-brokered deal was hailed as a “breakthrough” for its potential to conclude a four-month-old tug-of-war for the country’s presidency. But today—the morning after de facto leader Roberto Micheletti announced the formation of a unity government without the ousted Manuel Zelaya—the deposed president declared the accord “dead.” Meanwhile, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee member James DeMint (R-SC), who opposed the White House’s Honduras policy, lifted a hold on the nominations of Arturo Valenzuela for assistant secretary of Western Hemisphere Affairs and Thomas Shannon as U.S. ambassador to Brazil.
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AS/COA Online | An End to the Honduran Waiting Game?

With a delegation from Washington in Tegucigalpa to push for an end to Honduras’ ongoing political stalemate, negotiators reached a power-sharing agreement late Thursday. The pact, termed a “breakthrough” by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, allows for a “reconciliation and unity government.” The accord also lays a path for answering the sticky question of whether deposed leader President Manuel Zelaya will regain office. Approval of the deal could build international support for recognizing the November 29 elections.

With less than a month to go before those elections, the pact allows the Honduran Congress to vote on Zelaya’s reinstatement—a proposal the deposed leader’s negotiators previously put forth. Following news of the October 29 agreement, Zelaya said he was “optimistic I will be restored to the presidency.” The accord’s provisions call on both sides to recognize election results and the subsequent power transfer, ask the international community for normalized relations, reject amnesty for political crimes, and require creation of a truth commission to investigate events leading up to and following the June 28 coup.
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AS/COA Online | The Honduran Half Step

Talks continue in Honduras between negotiators of deposed leader Manuel Zelaya and the interim government of Roberto Micheletti. Last week, Zelaya’s representatives indicated an accord needed little more than dotted i’s and crossed t’s. Then hope waned as Micheletti’s negotiators said no deal had been reached. Still, both sides indicate the talks have produced measurable progress. After the October 14 round, representative said dialogue had advanced by 90 percent. A day later, the figure advanced another 5 percent. The sticking point? Whether Zelaya should be allowed to serve out the rest of his term. Each side has put forth its own proposal of how to resolve the standoff.
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AS/COA Online | Honduran Impasse Stirs up Differences in Washington

More than two weeks after a surprise return to Honduras, deposed leader Manuela Zelaya remains confined in the Brazilian Embassy. A much-maligned emergency decree declared by interim leader Roberto Micheletti came and went, and the stand-off continues. While tensions simmer between Hondurans for and against Zelaya, Democrat and Republican lawmakers are locked in their own tit-for-tat over the U.S. role in Tegucigalpa standoff. An Organization of American States (OAS) delegation arrives in Honduras on October 7 to mediate in the three-month-old dispute over who should govern the country, raising questions about whether this group of mediators can succeed where other have failed.

In a dispatch, Reuters photojournalist Edgard Garrido describes the current scene inside the embassy compound, where he is confined with Zelaya supporters, a handful of journalists, and the ousted leader. The unlikely residents face food shortages, tear-gas fears, and concerns about what comes next. “With both sides so far apart, it's not at all clear when there will be an end to the crisis, or my unusual and uncomfortable assignment,” writes Garrido, who snapped a widely circulated photograph of Zelaya napping on an embassy sofa.
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AS/COA Online | Counting the Costs of the Honduran Coup

The Honduran de facto government found itself even more isolated September 3 when Washington terminated over $30 million in aid to the Central American country. The State Department had temporarily suspended aid after the June 28 coup when the military forced President Manuel Zelaya out of the country. The agency’s decision came as the deposed leader met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington last week to make his case for stepped-up pressure on the interim government, headed by Roberto Micheletti. In return, the State Department announced not only the end of non-humanitarian aid, but also that it would revoke visas for some members of Micheletti’s regime and refuse to recognize upcoming elections if carried out by the de facto government.
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