Manuel Zelaya will return to his country, and his country to the world
May 26th 2011 | MEXICO CITY
NEARLY two years after he was hustled onto a flight and into exile, Manuel Zelaya at last looks set to return to Honduras. Mr Zelaya’s presidency came to an abrupt end in June 2009 when soldiers sent him packing to Costa Rica after the Honduran Supreme Court ordered his arrest for illegally pressing on with an informal referendum on constitutional change. His ousting, which a truth commission is expected to describe as a coup when it reports next month, led to many countries breaking diplomatic ties with Honduras, and its suspension from the Organisation of American States (OAS).
On May 22nd Mr Zelaya signed a deal with his country’s current president, Porfirio Lobo, who was elected five months after the coup. The agreement, brokered by Colombia and Venezuela, confirms that Mr Zelaya and his former ministers can return home and practise politics without fear of arrest, and that they will be free to pursue a referendum on the constitution provided they go about it in a legal way. Mr Zelaya, who when in office allied with Venezuela’s leftist president, Hugo Chávez, is expected to arrive in Tegucigalpa, the capital, on May 28th, for an initial visit of a few days. It is now “pretty certain” that the OAS will vote Honduras back in, says José Miguel Insulza, its secretary-general—perhaps as soon as this week.