Venezuela's Chávez Advances Mediation Effort with Ex-Honduran President
Posted: Monday, April 18, 2011
By Rachael Boothroyd
April 18, 2011 - Venezuelanalysis.com
Venezuela's President Chávez met with ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya and a delegation from the National Resistance Front (Frente de Resistencia Hondurena) on Saturday in order to continue mediation of the current political conflict in Honduras.
The meeting was arranged following an initial dialogue between Chávez, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and the current Honduran president, Porfirio Lobo, on the 9th of April in Cartagena, Colombia.
In his meeting with Chávez, which lasted more than three hours, Zelaya outlined the primary conditions that will set the basis for negotiations and initiate mediation to allow his return to Honduras. Lobo has since agreed to mediation and the conditions set out by Zelaya will act as a 'working draft' for further negotiations.
Afterwards Chávez, who is jointly leading the mediation committee with Santos, reaffirmed that Venezuela would continue to fight for the "reestablishment of peace and democracy in Honduras," adding, "We are fighting to consolidate, not just in Venezuela, but on the whole continent, in Latin America, Central America, South America, an area of peace. A great area of peace which is truly democratic, where social justice – real peace – prevails."
Zelaya thanked Chávez and the Venezuelan people for their role in the negotiation process, stating, "The people of Venezuela are the leading example and representation of the process of change in Latin America."
After seeking a referendum on the creation of a constituent assembly, Zelaya was ousted in a coup d'état in June 2009 and is currently in exile in the Dominican Republic. A presidential election led to the replacement of the military junta by Porfirio Lobo in January 2010, however, several countries in Latin America, such as Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela have refused to acknowledge the election's legitimacy. Honduras has been expelled from the OAS (Organisation of American States) since the 2009 coup and continues to experience political instability amidst reports of human rights abuses.