President Hugo Chávez and former President Manuel Zelaya met at the Venezuelan Presidential Palace in Caracas to discuss the mediation process to restore democracy in Honduras.
The meeting took place last week, after Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos had proposed mediation by Caracas and Bogotá to start negotiations allowing the return of Zelaya to his country after the June 2009 coup d’état.
“As I told Santos, when the possibility to mediate for reconciliation in Honduras emerged, I had to consult it with Manuel Zelaya first, and that’s why he is here today. He has approved to move forward, with his points of views and conditions,” explained Chávez.
The Venezuelan leader said that the current Honduran President Porfirio Lobo is willing to dialogue, by which the only remaining step to complete the process is to endorse a document of commitment.
Lobo was elected president of Honduras in November 2009 in an internationally criticized election organized by the regime installed after the coup.
“President Porfirio Lobo has also showed that he is willing. Now, to shape the initiative, it has to be drawn up in a document,” explained Chávez.
For his part, Zelaya, the former Honduran president and main leader of the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), said that four aspects to normalize the situation in Honduras were presented during the meeting, including the return of all exiles who left Honduras after the country’s democratic order was broken in 2009.
The rest of the topics presented during the meeting were to install a Constituent Assembly in Honduras to restore the democratic order, to recognize the FNRP as a political force and to guarantee the respect of human rights.
Additionally, Zelaya informed that the coup d’état against him produced a tremendous harm to the Honduran people and regional democratic unity. He said that his overthrow “divided Latin America and, besides, caused a tremendous harm to the Honduran people and regional democratic unity.”
“The right-wing movements were wrong about Central America and Honduras by trying to stop a peaceful, social and political democratic movement that seeks freedom for our societies. Time has shown it,” he said.
The former president denounced that the destabilizing movements against his government were “supported from the U.S., and I think there were also planed from there.”
Juan Barahon, leader of Honduras’ FNRP, said that the meeting of president Chávez and Zelaya was positive, and added that this initiative will help to restore constitutional order in the Central American nation.
“We fully trust in the mediation of Commander Hugo Chávez in this conflict, we trust that that it will allow Honduras to restore the constitutional order through a constituent national assembly allowing José Manuel Zelaya and the rest of the political exiled people as part of the coup d’état to return,” he said.
Additionally, Zelaya demanded the current Honduran government a commitment to respect human rights.
“After the coup d’état we just have had repression and death for the dictatorship we live today,” Zelaya said.
AVN / Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / April 17, 2011