TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras - A top aide of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said he was heading back to the country yesterday to lead the "final battle" against coup leaders, while thousands of his supporters blocked roads to demand his return.
Patricia Rodas, foreign minister of Zelaya's toppled government, said the deposed president was "on his way" back, but she would not say how he planned to enter the country or when he expected to arrive. Honduras' interim leaders have promised to arrest him if he returns.
"Our president will be in Honduras at some point and at some moment," Rodas said in La Paz, Bolivia, whose left-leaning president, Evo Morales, is a Zelaya ally. "He is already on his way. God protect him and the people of the Americas who are with him."
It would be Zelaya's second attempt to return to Honduras since the military deposed him and flew him out of the country in a June 28 coup. The interim government thwarted his first return attempt July 5 by sending military vehicles to block the airport runway and keep his plane from landing.
Interim President Roberto Micheletti said Wednesday that there were reports Zelaya planned to enter over the Nicaraguan border tomorrow.
If Zelaya secretly enters Honduras, it could complicate negotiations scheduled for tomorrow in Costa Rica. Neither Zelaya nor Micheletti is on a Costa Rican government list of people expected to attend the weekend negotiations.
Prospects for finding common ground appeared slim.
Micheletti, the former congressional leader who was sworn in to serve out the final months of Zelaya's term, offered Wednesday to step down but said that hinged on guarantees that Zelaya would not return to power.
Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who is mediating the talks, said that proposal was unacceptable.
Zelaya said Tuesday that Hondurans had the right to launch an insurrection against an illegitimate government.