Honduras warned of sanctions over coup


LATIN AMERICAN diplomats yesterday delivered an ultimatum to Honduras to reverse a coup within 24 hours or face becoming an international pariah.

José Miguel Insulza, the secretary general of the Organisation of American States, is to lead a delegation that will warn coup leaders of economic and diplomatic sanctions over the ousting of President Manuel Zelaya.

Mr Insulza said he would not negotiate with the new government.

“We hope the coup leaders recognise the damage they are doing to the country and the world and allow the return of President Zelaya,” he told reporters in Guayana yesterday.

He played down hopes of a breakthrough, saying: “I will do everything I can. But I think it will be very hard to turn things around in a couple of days.”

The interim Honduran government in the capital Tegucigalpa ruled out reinstating President Zelaya and said the country could survive isolation.

The crisis could enter a new, explosive phase at the weekend if the president keeps his promise to return to Honduras to try to regain power.

The interim government said it would arrest him.

Rival crowds have demonstrated for and against the exile in recent days, underlining deep polarisation.

Honduras faces expulsion from the 34-member Organisation of American States. Cuba was the last to be so punished, in 1962. It would be a symbolic step, putting pressure on donors and creditors to squeeze the impoverished coffee exporting country.

– (Guardian service)