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Zelaya Urges Defense of Democracy on US Visit

By VOA News
02 September 2009

Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is speaking out in support of democracy as he continues efforts to regain power, more than two months after his overthrow in a coup.

Mr. Zelaya delivered a speech Wednesday in Washington at George Washington University, on the events surrounding his June 28 removal.

Mr. Zelaya said his ouster has been a "cause for mourning" in Latin America. He said the accusations against him are unfounded as he accused those behind the coup of trying to scare and humiliate him. The deposed president said a democratic government should work for and be organized by the people.

The caretaker government of President Roberto Micheletti has said Mr. Zelaya was legally removed from office for violating a Supreme Court order to drop efforts to change the Honduran constitution.

The deposed leader meets Thursday with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss the best way forward for Honduras.

His schedule includes talks this week with the Organization of American States.

Mr. Zelaya's trip to the U.S. follows recent contacts between the State Department and a visiting delegation representing the interim Honduran government.

On Monday, a State Department official said the delegation is waiting to find out whether the interim government will re-think its opposition to a Costa Rica-brokered plan that would allow Mr. Zelaya to return to Honduras and complete his term.

Mr. Micheletti's caretaker government has rejected that idea and recently proposed handing power to Supreme Court President Jorge Rivera Aviles.

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