Tag Archives: Honduras

Costa Rican president sick with swine flu

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Costa Rican president sick with swine flu

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias has been diagnosed with the H1N1 virus, commonly known as the swine flu, the government said in a televised statement on Tuesday.

Arias fell ill on Sunday, complaining of a sore throat and temperature, Presidential Minister Rodrigo Arias said.

A doctor’s visit on Tuesday revealed that the president had the H1N1 virus, cases of which had been reported earlier in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose.

The president’s overall health was good, but following his doctor’s advice, he will rest at his home until Sunday, Rodrigo Arias said. The president is expected to return to work on Monday, the minister said.

As of Friday, there were 718 confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus in Costa Rica, and the virus has been blamed for 27 deaths, according to a report by the country’s ministry of health.

A majority of the confirmed cases — 480 — were in San Jose. Arias, 67, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for helping bring an end to Central America’s civil wars.

More recently, he acted as mediator between two feuding sides claiming the leadership of Honduras.


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Obama: Ouster of Honduran president Zelaya was coup

1U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the joint statement at the Cabanas Cultural Center in Guadalajara, Mexico, while attending the North American Leader’s Summit, August 10, 2009.

Obama: Ouster of Honduran president Zelaya was coup

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Monday it was hypocritical for critics of Washington’s response to a coup against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to demand a more forceful U.S. role in returning him to power.

Zelaya, an ally of anti-U.S. leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, said last week the United States needs “only tighten its fist” to evict the de facto government installed after he was overthrown in June.

“The same critics who say that the United State has not intervened enough in Honduras are the same people who say we are always intervening and the Yanquis need to get out of Latin America,” Obama said told a closing news conference at a U.S.-Mexico-Canada summit in Guadalajara.

“You can’t have it both ways,” he insisted, without naming names. “We have been very clear in our belief that President Zelaya was removed from office illegally, that it was a coup and that he should return. We have cooperated with all the international bodies in sending that message.”

The Latin American left had bitterly criticized Washington over the decades for intervening in the region’s affairs through military force, covert action and economic pressure.

Obama, who took office in January, has promised to forge a relationship with Latin America based on mutual respect.

Obama told reporters in Washington last week he had no quick way to resolve the political crisis in Honduras and that the United States would not take unilateral action.

“If these critics think that it’s appropriate for us to suddenly act in ways that in every other context they consider inappropriate, then I think that what that indicates is that maybe there’s some hypocrisy involved in their approach to U.S.-Latin American relations,” Obama said on Monday.

Mediation efforts by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias have so far failed to achieve Zelaya’s return.

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Honduras rivals agree more talks to pursue solution

in.reuters.com

Honduras rivals agree more talks to pursue solution

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica july 11- The rivals for power in Honduras agreed on Friday to hold more talks to seek a solution to the crisis created by last month’s coup, keeping alive hopes that dialogue would prevail over confrontation.

The talks’ mediator, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, made the announcement after chairing a first round of discussions between teams representing ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and the man put in his place by the June 28 coup, Roberto Micheletti.

“Both sides have agreed to continue talks in the shortest time possible and not rest until they reach an agreement to resolve this crisis,” Arias told reporters in the Costa Rican capital San Jose, saying the date for the next meeting would be set in coming days.

Both sides had committed to solving the dispute with “words not gunpowder”, he said, but the task could be tough to reconcile the entrenched positions of the parties.

Mediator Arias won a Nobel Peace Prize for helping resolve Central America’s Cold War conflicts of the 1980s.

While the Organization of American States and U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration have thrown their weight behind Arias’ mediation, leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez condemned the Costa Rica talks as “dead before they started”. He called for a total trade embargo on Honduras.

Chavez said Zelaya, who had angered his country’s ruling elite and military by increasingly allying himself with the Venezuelan leader, was determined to return to his country “by air, land, I don’t know where, but he’s going to enter”.

In a contrasting view of the Costa Rica talks, U.N. General Assembly president Miguel D’Escoto on Friday expressed optimism over a solution to restore Zelaya to office.

“I hear we may be very close to a solution for the restitution of President Zelaya,” D’Escoto told a U.N. news conference, saying his belief was based on “conversations”.

But Micheletti, installed by Honduras’ Congress after the coup, has shown no signs of yielding to international pressure to give power back to Zelaya. He has said if Zelaya returns it will be to face justice, arguing the deposed president violated the constitution by trying to scrap presidential term limits.

Micheletti said in Tegucigalpa on Friday the talks would resume next week and added Honduras was “preparing for the worst” by cutting back government budgets to confront the suspension of credits and aid by foreign governments.

Chavez said in Caracas Obama’s administration had made a “crass error” in engineering the Costa Rica talks, and that there could be no negotiations with “a usurper” in Honduras.

POPE, OBAMA DISCUSS HONDURAS

Washington played down Chavez’ comments.

“There is a negotiation going on. It is … the best route to try to resolve this peacefully and help Honduras return to democratic constitutional order,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in Washington.

He added U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to Arias by telephone on Friday to get an update on the negotiations and to discuss how the United States could help.

Obama and Pope Benedict discussed Honduras during a meeting at the Vatican on Friday, White House deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough said.

Chavez’ comments about Zelaya’s determination to return seemed likely to rekindle fears that he and other leftist allies of Zelaya, like Cuba and Nicaragua, might seek to help the ousted president re-enter the country against the wishes of the interim government and against U.S. advice.

Zelaya said he was working on “peaceful, non-violent methods” to return to office. He spoke in the Dominican Republic and was due travel to Guatemala on Saturday before returning to Washington.

Honduran soldiers blocked the runway when Zelaya tried to return home in a plane provided by Chavez on Sunday. At least one person was killed when the troops clashed with pro-Zelaya protesters.

“The truth is that there is still a lot of intransigence on both sides,” OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza told local radio in Chile on Friday.

Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez said in Santo Domingo he and Zelaya had discussed seeking resolutions to back Zelaya’s return to power from leaders at a Non-Aligned Summit in Egypt next week and also from the African Union.

A CID-Gallup poll published in Honduran media on Thursday showed 41 percent of Hondurans thought Zelaya’s ouster was justified versus 28 percent who opposed the coup.

n Tegucigalpa, Micheletti announced the resignation of the foreign minister of his interim government, Enrique Ortez, who had insulted Obama by calling him “negrito” — little black guy. But he offered Ortez a new post as minister of justice and government.

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