Tegucigalpa, Honduras Business and political leaders who backed the coup overthrowing President Manuel Zelaya now are considering the unthinkable: returning him to office with limited powers.
The reversal, and Zelaya’s decision to consider it, reflect the growing desperation to resolve a three-month standoff that has turned this Central American country upside down.
John Biehl, special adviser to the Organization of American States, said Wednesday he sensed some movement toward talks.
“The moment has arrived for tempers to cool and reason to reign, and that’s when errors will start being corrected,” Biehl said. “I have found a strong willingness for dialogue,” adding he had heard of proposals to return Zelaya to office briefly.
An advance team of the OAS is scheduled to arrive in Tegucigalpa on Friday to promote negotiations ahead of a visit by a delegation of foreign ministers from member nations next week.
In an attempt to return to normality, the interim government announced Wednesday it was dropping the nighttime curfew in force since Zelaya sneaked back into the country Sept. 21 and then took refuge at the Brazilian Embassy and called on his followers to rally against the government.
“There will be no curfew tonight, something that will please Hondurans,” police spokesman Orlin Cerrato told local media.
The crisis sparked by the June 28 ousting of Zelaya has paralyzed the already impoverished nation.
Honduras has been bleeding millions of dollars a day, and many of its most prominent CEOs have had their visas revoked by the United States, hampering their efforts to do business. Nations have cut aid to demand the ousted leader’s reinstatement while sporadic spikes in tensions have forced the closure of airports, border crossings and factories.
The final straw was the interim government’s decision to impose a surprise emergency decree that suspended civil liberties this week and further damaged the administration’s image at home and abroad.