Honduras breaks off relations with Venezuela

July 22nd, 2009 - 2:31 am ICT by IANS  

Tegucigalpa, July 22 (DPA) The Honduran de-facto regime Tuesday broke off diplomatic relations with Venezuela, whose president Hugo Chavez has stood by President Manuel Zelaya since his unceremonious ouster and expulsion in late June.
The move represented an escalation in the crisis. The Organization of American States (OAS) has suspended Honduras’ membership to protest the ouster of Zelaya, who was democratically elected, and to oppose his replacement by Roberto Micheletti.

Attempts at mediation by Costa Rica President Oscar Arias ended without agreement on Sunday and could resume late Wednesday.

The post-coup government Tuesday demanded that Venezuela withdraw all of its diplomatic personnel within 72 hours. Deputy Foreign Minister Martha Lorena Casco said that Honduras would also withdraw its ambassador from Caracas.

Micheletti charges that Chavez has been meddling in the internal affairs of Honduras. Micheletti on Sunday rejected Arias’ proposal to allow Zelaya back to head a government of national reconciliation until elections which would be moved up to October, saying it also interfered with Honduras’ internal affairs.

Zelaya has announced he will try again to return to Honduras on Friday. In the days after his ouster, he tried to land in Honduras only to find the airport runway blocked by military troops.

Chavez declared at the beginning of the crisis on June 28 that he wanted to bring down the post-coup government in order to return Zelaya to power.

OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza and Arias have warned of civil war if agreement is not reached on the governance crisis.

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