Well, for now anyway. According to the Wall St Journal, Zelaya’s plane was being redirected to El Salvador as Honduras closed their airspace. Zelaya is said to have tried to order the military to reopen the airport. The Honduran military was ready for any defiance of the redirection and police helicopters could be seen flying over the airport.
It is fortunate that Honduras took the position of closing their airspace. Even the top Catholic Church official went on TV asking Zelaya not to force a confrontation that would lead to bloodshed by returning today. I’m not sure that there were many optimistic that Zelaya’s return could be handled without escalating the situation to an armed conflict. It is clear that Micheletti made the right decision today.
Honduras has now said it is willing to begin negotiations with the OAS, with one caveat: the negotiations do not include the return of ousted president Zelaya. If this is the only thing that is acceptable to the OAS, then I’m not sure how much good this will do. But if this includes a new election earlier than would normally occur, as has been discussed before, then perhaps the OAS would be willing to reinstate them with a newly elected president.
Since today’s potential disaster has been averted, perhaps everything can cool down a little and we can find a solution that is agreeable to all sides.
UPDATE: 7:25pm est. Crowd going crazy next to airport: Sight of a plane.
UPDATE: 7:31pm est. Plane not landing. Rerouted to Managua, Nicaragua.
UPDATE: 7:36pm est. Apparently Zelaya was on board plane. “I denounce this to the international community,” ousted Honduran president Zelaya says on phone from plane.”
UPDATE: 7:40pm est. Zelaya says vehicles on ground prevented landing. “If I could parachute to the ground I would.”
Clashes have broken out between Zelaya supporters and the military near the airport and several are reported dead. Here is a photo:
VERY GRAPHIC PHOTO – BE ADVISED — CLICK HERE to see Zelaya supporter who was killed in attacks.
More Photos (some are graphic, so beware)