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U.N. General Assembly, OAS Back Honduran Zelaya

Manuel Zelaya vowed to return to Honduras tomorrow with leaders of Argentina, Ecuador, the OAS and the U.N. General Assembly.
Manuel Zelaya vowed to return to Honduras tomorrow with leaders of Argentina, Ecuador, the OAS and the U.N. General Assembly. (By Mark Lennihan -- Associated Press)

The U.N. General Assembly unanimously condemned the coup yesterday afternoon and demanded the "immediate and unconditional restoration of the legitimate and constitutional government" of Zelaya.

The action, while not legally binding, provided a show of unity at the United Nations in responding to an international crisis, bringing the United States together with stridently anti-American governments in Latin America such as Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Zelaya took to the General Assembly podium to condemn the coup as an act of "barbarity" by a "small group of usurpers."

In a lengthy address, he portrayed himself as a champion of the poor who had been brought down by a clique of conservative military and economic elites who resented his attempts to improve the living standards for impoverished Hondurans.

He denied allegations that he had prepared the referendum to pave the way for another run for president, saying he planned to step down after his mandate ends in January.

He added that the new government's allegation that he had engaged in wrongdoing was unfounded. "I have been accused of being a populist. I've been accused of being a communist," he said, but added that he had not had an opportunity to defend himself.

"Nobody has told me what my crime is, what my error is," he said.

Zelaya presented a detailed account of the army raid on his home, saying he had been rousted from his sleep by gunfire and confronted by soldiers as he sought to alert a local reporter and others on his cellphone.

Lynch reported from the United Nations.


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