Former Honduras President Manuel Zelaya says he is getting on an airplane to return to Tegucigalpa, accompanied, apparently, by the President of the U.N. General Assembly and a group of journalists. The interim government of Honduras has ordered the military and police not to let any airplane carrying Zelaya land.
If turned away, it will likely land in El Salvador, where a separate flight was headed with Latin American leaders who support Zelaya’s reinstatement.
Thousands of protesters were gathering in the capital of Honduras in anticipation of Zelaya’s showdown against the interim government in power since the army ousted him.
Police helicopters hovered over the main Tegucigalpa airport, where soldiers outnumbered travelers and commercial flights were canceled. Access roads were cut off by police checkpoints, with soldiers standing guard alongside.
“The government of President (Roberto) Micheletti has order the armed forces and the police not to allow the entrance of any plane bringing the former leader,” the foreign minister of the interim government, Enrique Ortez, told The Associated Press on Sunday.
So a showdown might be imminent. On the other hand, Zelaya may just continue on to El Salvador for a photo op with friendly Latin American leaders.
UPDATE: The authorities in Honduras blocked the runway, and Zelaya’s airplane circled for a while and continued on to El Salvador:
His Venezuelan pilots circled around the airport and decided not to risk a crash.
“Venezuelan pilots.” No surprise there.