Friday, November 6, 2009
Proposed Honduras deal collapses as violence increases in capital
A pair of bombings Friday rocked the capital of Tegucigalpa as a week-old agreement to form a unity government to resolve Honduras' four-month political formally collapsed, apparently beyond repair. The two explosions Friday caused little damage and no injuries but put an explanation point on the failure of regional efforts to end the crisis, which began with a military coup in June, according to the Reuters international news service. Honduras has been isolated internationally since coup leaders forced the elected leftist president, Manuel Zelaya, into exile and named legislative leader Robert Micheletti to replace him. Military leaders feared that Zelaya, an ally of Venezuela's famously anti-U.S. president, Hugo Chavez, was planning to move impoverished Honduras even further to the left and was planning to stay in office beyond the end of his term of office in January. Zelaya repeatedly denied that he had designs on extending his term. Under pressure from the United States and other nations, the two sides announced an agreement last week to form a unity government and to have Honduras' Congress vote on who would lead the country, but that deal broke down over differences about who would lead the cabinet in the interim. Zelaya, who was forced to leave the country in his pajamas but had sneaked back into Honduras and took refuge in Brazil's embassy, said Thursday that the deal was dead and urged voters to boycott the Nov. 29 election. "It's absurd what they are doing, trying to mock all of us, the people who elected me and the international community that supports me," Zelaya said, according to Reuters. "We've decided not to continue this theater with Mr. Micheletti." Zelaya refused to appoint ministers to the reconciliation cabinet, as called for in the agreement, prompting Micheletti to name all of them. Micheletti took to the airwaves to announce the appointments. "We've completed the process of forming a unity government," Micheletti told the country. "It represents a wide spectrum despite the fact that Mr. Zelaya did not send a list of representatives." But the Micheletti government surrounded the Brazilian embassy with tanks and soldiers on Friday, signaling the end of reconciliation efforts and a continuation of the standoff.