San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Honduran president replaces army chief

Pressed by the international community, Honduran President Porfirio Lobo replaced the Armed Forces chief who played a key role in forcing former President Manuel Zelaya into exile last June, according to Honduran news media reports.

“I can say with satisfaction after serving my country as a member of the Armed Forces for 37 years, two months and seven days, that I feel blessed to have embraced this noble career,” said outgoing army general Romeo Vásquez, according to the Honduran daily La Prensa.

Gen. Vásquez “is going into retirement and returning to civilian life,” Lobo told newswire EFE. The general has been replaced by Carlos Antonio Cuéllar.

Last June, when still president, Zelaya sacked Vásquez for refusing an order to move ballots that would have been used in a controversial vote on whether to hold a national referendum on the possibility of reforming the nation´s constitution. The Supreme Court ordered the chief reinstated and Honduran soldiers ousted Zelaya days later in a June 28 coup.

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