Zelaya Pledges Resistance, Asks US for Sanctions

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Agence France Presse

Zelaya Pledges Resistance, Asks US for Sanctions

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Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya gestures as he heads to El Ocotal in Nicaragua where he is to set up camp, July 25. Zelaya has pledged continued defiance of a conservative-backed coup that sent him into exile and called on the United States to impose sanctions on his country's military and civilian leaders. (AFP/Orlando Sierra)

LAS MANOS, Nicaragua - Ousted Honduran
President Manuel Zelaya has pledged continued defiance of a
conservative-backed coup that sent him into exile and called on the
United States to impose sanctions on his country's military and
civilian leaders.

A Honduran man was found dead Saturday on a road close to Nicaragua as
Zelaya came back to the border for a second day to attempt to return
home.

"We are organizing the resistance," a defiant Zelaya
declared, saying he had set up camp some 100 meters (yards) from the
border with his country, but inside Nicaragua, where he planned to stay
at least through Sunday.

"Let us not be afraid. We are going for
social reform, we are doing this for the presidency of Honduras and to
see the coup plotters expelled," the elected president told reporters
in what he called a "symbolic show of sovereignty."

The former rancher, who veered to the left after taking office, was ousted amid fears he sought to extend his rule.

Almost
a month after he was bundled out of bed by the army and sent into
exile, about 100 supporters who arrived here over the past three days
were rallying around their leader, decked out in his trademark cowboy
hat.

Meanwhile, the Honduran Embassy in Washington announced that
Zelaya had asked US President Barack Obama in a letter to prohibit bank
transactions and cancel the US visas of individuals "directly
responsible for my abduction and the interruption of constitutional
order in my country."

The list includes de facto Honduran
president Roberto Micheletti, Attorney General Luis Alberto Rubi,
public prosecutor Rosa America Miranda, and all the heads of armed
forces branches led by General Romeo Vasquez Velazquez, head of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"We believe that the measures that we are
asking the US administration to take will exercise direct pressure on
the perpetrators of the coup without causing any sort of negative
impact on the people of Honduras," said Enrique Reina, Zelaya's new
ambassador-designate in Washington.

But in a move seen as a step
back from confrontation, the Honduran military expressed Saturday its
full support for Costa Rica-mediated talks on resolving the Honduran
crisis "in the framework of the San Jose Accord" and voiced its
"unrestricted support" for a negotiated outcome.

The accord,
proposed by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, called, among other
things, for Zelaya's restoration in power in Honduras, although with
limited powers.

The Costa Rica talks have failed so far to
produce a deal because the Micheletti regime has steadfastly refused to
accept Zelaya's restoration to the presidency.

The New York Times
said the Honduran military communique, posted of the armed forces'
website was drafted in Washington after days of talks between mid-level
Honduran officers and US congressional aides and was "significant"
because it was the first sign of support for the San Jose accord by a
powerful sector of the de facto government.

Tensions soared on the border, with some 3,000 army and police staff rolled out to enforce the will of Micheletti.

Zelaya
supporters, who defied a daytime curfew to gather near the border
hoping to welcome back their president, blamed Honduran police for
Saturday's death of the man identified by friends as 23-year-old Pedro
Madriel Munoz Alvarado.

The body was found next to a coffee field, bearing knife gashes and signs he had been beaten.

Aides
would not confirm whether the deposed president would again attempt to
cross into Honduras, as the interim regime tightened control on the
region close to Nicaragua.

Soldiers expelled Zelaya from the
country at gunpoint on June 28 in a move supported by Honduras's courts
and legislature as he sought to hold a referendum on changing the
constitution to allow him to seek reelection.

Meanwhile,
Micheletti said that he has invited representatives from Germany,
Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Panama and Japan "to join as observers of
the dialogue that takes place in Costa Rica" under the mediation of
Arias, the 1987 Nobel Peace laureate.

Regional powers, including
the United States, have backed Zelaya's quest to return constitutional
order in Honduras, but many urged him not to come back for fear of
bloodshed.

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