Zelaya’s homecoming in Honduras

June 2, 2011

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(Getty Images/Alex Wong)
Former president Manuel Zelaya's return to Honduras this week was brokered by Colombia and Venezuela.

Former president Manuel Zelaya returned to Honduras last Saturday, nearly two years after a coup forced him into exile. His homecoming opened the door for Honduras’s readmission to the Organization of American States (OAS), which in a 32-1 vote yesterday, agreed to restore the country’s membership after it was suspended following the military coup in June 2009.

Zelaya’s return comes as accusations of widespread repression -- including the alleged murder of teachers, farmers and journalists -- plague the government of current president Porfirio Lobo. Ecuador, the lone dissenting vote in the OAS, cited Honduras’s poor human rights record and the impunity of coup plotters as reasons for its opposition to the country’s reinstatement. And in a letter sent this week to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, more than 80 members of the U.S. Congress called for the suspension of U.S. aid to the Honduran military and police.

Dana Frank is a  professor of history at the University of California -- Santa Cruz and also writes about Honduras for The Nation. She explains what Zelaya’s return means for the Central American nation.