Central American countries and Mexico requested Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos to help reconcile positions with Southern Cone countries so that former president Manuel Zelaya could return to Honduras, revealed Colombian Foreign Affairs minister Maria Angela Holguin in an interview with Bogotá’s El Espectador.
“We worked in the Honduras issue because Central American countries and Mexico asked President Santos to help bring positions closer, particularly in the Southern Cone”, said Holguin who added that Santos spoke with his Venezuelan peer Hugo Chavez about the issue on several occasions and together they finally brokered the deal.
“In Paraguay I met with the Foreign ministers from Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Argentina” and “I also was in contact all the time with Venezuelan Foreign minister Maduro to keep him in touch of discussions, so finally we were all talking about the Honduras problem”.
Last Saturday Ministers Holguín and Maduro were standing next to former president Zelaya when he returned to Honduras and was greeted by thousands.
On Wednesday the Organization of American States, OAS, will be holding an extraordinary general assembly in El Salvador when besides the calling issue, internal security in the region, the Honduras case and its reinstatement will be on the table.
Zelaya was ousted as president by a military in June 2009, following a ruling from the Supreme Court, supported by Congress when he tried to amend the constitution. Honduras was then forced out of OAS. Zelaya had been living in the Dominican Republic before his return on Saturday.
The incident was first condemned by all OAS members but cracks surfaced when some countries wanted to punish those involved in the ousting led by Brazil and Venezuela, while another group, with the US, Colombia and some Central American countries, opted for a constructive approach since the new Honduras government was legitimately elected and following the country’s electoral calendar.
“We worked with Maduro (Venezuela supported all along Zelaya and wanted his immediate reinstatement) and with Honduran president Porfirio Lobo, first on what we agreed and then on disagreements, all was done by mail, chat or phone”, said Minister Holguín.
Finally we went over 25 drafts “and I decided to travel to Honduras. The same did Maduro and we spent a whole day discussing, Zelaya was in Caracas, and only last week did we reach a deal”.
“This represent a milestone to help consolidate national reconciliation in Honduras”, said Holguín.
On Saturday night following the political rally in Tegucigalpa, President Porfirio Lobo hosted Manuel Zelaya, family and delegation in Government House with a welcome banquet.
Now it’s up to the OAS assembly to decide on reinstatement with a special majority which apparently exists.