MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The United States can end the political crisis in Honduras in a few seconds and kick out politicians who led a coup in June, deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said on Tuesday.
“Honduras, despite what the coup leaders say, does not depend on Caracas. Honduras depends on Washington,” Zelaya told CNN en Espanol in an interview.
“The United States only needs to tighten its fist and the coup will last five seconds,” said Zelaya, who held talks with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in the Mexican capital on Tuesday.
U.S. President Barack Obama has canceled $16.5 million in military aid to Honduras after Zelaya was toppled in a coup on June 28 and has condemned his removal to exile by soldiers.
But the de facto government headed by Roberto Micheletti, the former head of Congress, appears to be digging in and the country’s elite say they will keep Honduras running even if it is not recognized by any foreign governments.
Mediation efforts by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias have so far failed to achieve a breakthrough, while Zelaya’s leftist ally President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela also appears to have little power to help.
The United States, Honduras’ longtime ally and top trading partner, has withdrawn diplomatic visas from key members of the de facto government in a bid to force Zelaya’s reinstatement.
Reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez, editing by Vicki Allen