San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

In Nicaragua, Zelaya forms ‘popular army' to lead peaceful struggle back to Honduras

Deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya will mobilize a “popular, pacific army” of loyal followers to join him in his promised return to Honduras, he said from his exile post in Nicaragua opposite the border with his homeland.

“We will begin with a training period. The best way is for five trainers to train 20,” Zelaya said Wednesday evening to a crowd of hundreds of supporters in Ocotal. He added that the struggle will remain peaceful and the members of his force “will use weapons of intelligence and reason.”

On Thursday, Zelaya held a surprise meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, which came after Zelaya made statements on television urging the United States to step up pressure against the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti.

Though Nicaragua´s Sandinista president, Daniel Ortega, has proven to be a gracious host and staunch supporter of Zelaya´s cause, Nicaraguan opposition leaders such as the Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC) have grown wary of the exiled leader´s pronouncements and prolonged stay in their country.

“The PLC demands that the deposed president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, because of his conduct disrespecting our sovereignty, his warmongering language and utilization of our national territory to organize militias of popular resistance to attack his own country, leave Nicaragua immediately,” reads a party statement released Thursday.

The PLC is also urging Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, a close ally of Ortega and Zelaya, to “lay off Central America.”

For in-depth coverage from Manuel Zelaya´s encampment at the Nicaraguan border, see the July 31 print or digital edition of The Tico Times.

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