Rumors Fly and Tensions Rise as Zelaya Flies Back to Honduras.
As Honduras’ exiled president Manuel Zelaya is reportedly flying from Washington’s Dulles Airport to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, reports and rumors are flying wildly as to what Zelaya may expect when and if his aircraft attempts to land there.
Headlines such as “Honduran military told to turn back Zelaya’s jet,” and “Zelaya nears Honduras, asks soldiers for loyalty.”
And reports that the interim Honduran president, Roberto Micheletti, has ordered the military to “turn away the plane;” that thousands of Zelaya supporters are gathering at the Tegucigalpa airport waving Honduran flags and posters of Zelaya; and, finally, that protests at the airport have turned violent as interim government security forces have fired warning shots and tear gas at Zelaya supporters as they attempt to enter the airport to greet the returning president.
According to reflector.com Zelaya said, while en-route to Honduras:
I am the commander of the armed forces, elected by the people, and I ask the armed forces to comply with the order to open the airport so that there is no problem in landing and embracing with my people…Today I feel like I have sufficient spiritual strength, blessed with the blood of Christ, to be able to arrive there and raise the crucifix.
And interim president Micheletti, refusing to withdraw his order to prevent the plane from landing, has said that he would not negotiate with anyone until “things return to normal.”
At a news conference, according to reflector.com, Micheletti said: “We will be here until the country calms down…We are the authentic representatives of the people.”
What makes the entire situation even more confusing, and delicate, is that, according to reflector.com:
At least three other planes left the Washington area separately, carrying Latin American presidents, the secretary-general of the Organization of American States and journalists. They were trailing Zelaya to see what happens in the skies over Honduras before deciding where to land.
Flying with Zelaya were close advisers and staff, two journalists from the Venezuela-based network Telesur, and U.N. General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, a leftist Nicaraguan priest and former foreign minister who personally condemned Zelaya’s ouster as a coup d’état.
It is reported that the aircraft Zelaya is flying in is a small Venezuelan jet provided by Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez.
There are now reports that the Venezuelan plane carrying exiled president Zelaya has landed in El Salvador, and unconfirmed reports that shots have been fired at the Tegucigalpa airport.