Honduran ‘unity’ cabinet collapses

Author: By Fiona Ortiz, Reuters

Ousted President Manuel Zelaya declared the week-old pact dead and called on
Hondurans to boycott a presidential election this month because, in a
surprise move, de facto leader Roberto Micheletti said he would form a new
government without him.

The demise of a US-driven deal to end the crisis throws into question whether
foreign governments will recognize the result of the Nov. 29 election and
means any incoming government could inherit a chaotic political situation
and be cut off from vital international aid.

The United States and the Organization of American States, or OAS, which had
pushed the two sides into their agreement after months of delays, urged them
to return to the table.

Zelaya and Micheletti had agreed to form a unity government by Thursday, but
then they clashed over who would lead the cabinet until Congress decided
whether to reinstate Zelaya.

“They need to stop making dire statements that this agreement is dead,” State
Department spokesman Ian Kelly said, adding Washington was disappointed with
recent developments.

OAS head Jose Miguel Insulza deplored the breakdown but blamed the de facto
government and said the elected president should be restored “without
further subterfuges.”

Zelaya, who was toppled and sent into exile in a June 28 coup, said he would
not go back to the negotiating table.

“It’s impossible. The thing is completely worn out and it makes no sense to
continue,” he told a Chilean radio station from the Brazilian embassy in
Tegucigalpa, where he has been holed up since sneaking back into Honduras in
September.

South American leaders demanded Zelaya’s restitution and Brazil condemned the
de facto government’s “delay tactics”. It also said Zelaya was welcome to
stay in the embassy, where Honduran soldiers and military vehicles are
deployed outside.

Inside, Zelaya called for peaceful protests by his supporters around the
country and told his long-faced supporters “only God knows what happens
next.”

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