Honduras’ Zelaya claims plot to kill him at embassy


Madrid/Tegucigalpa : Honduras’ ousted President Manuel Zelaya has said he fears for his life, Spanish media reported Thursday.

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In a telephone interview with the Spanish daily El Mundo, Zelaya said the US and the Organisation of American States (OAS) had helped to foil one plan to kill him and to make it look like suicide.

“Today there is still the risk that the embassy will be assaulted and my suicide will be announced,” he said.

The de facto government headed by Roberto Micheletti has denied plans to attack the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, where Zelaya has taken refuge.

Thousands of supporters of Micheletti and Zelaya took to the streets Thursday in separate demonstrations.

While Micheletti’s supporters – dressed in white – demanded the end of “foreign interference” in Honduras, Zelaya’s supporters – wearing red – demanded the reinstatement of the ousted president. Both groups intended to march towards the Brazilian embassy.

Zelaya returned secretly to Honduras Monday. He had been in exile following a June 28 coup.

Honduras’ de facto foreign ministry accused Brazil of “interfering” in the country’s internal affairs and of having turned its embassy into a “subversion centre” used by Zelaya to incite his supporters to engage in violence and looting.

Brazilian officials stressed Thursday that they would not allow Zelaya to use their embassy for political purposes.

Eduardo Azeredo, the chairman of the Brazilian Senate’s Foreign Relations Commission, noted that “the Brazilian government had no prior knowledge of Zelaya’s arrival at the embassy”.

The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) expressed its “profound concern” over the situation in Honduras, calling for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council.

In New York, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos earlier said Madrid was planning to send its ambassador back to Tegucigalpa, along with those of the European Union and OAS, which withdrew their representatives following the coup.

The ambassadors would be sent back in support of Zelaya, and OAS was also sending a delegation to mediate in the conflict, OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza said, adding he might travel there Friday or Saturday.

Honduran authorities Thursday allowed the restoration of international flights to and from its airports, which had been suspended since Zelaya’s surprise arrival Monday. All flights were expected to be operating normally by Saturday.

The authorities have confirmed that at least one person has been killed in the unrest since Zelaya’s return, while many others – including police officers – have been injured, and scores have been arrested.