World News

Honduran Zelaya post coup return unlikely: Chavez

CARACAS (Reuters) - Toppled Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is unlikely to return to office, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Monday after weeks of tough diplomacy to reinstall his close leftist ally.

Soldiers dragged Zelaya out of Honduras at gunpoint in June, months before the end of his term, and the defacto government has ignored international condemnation and is preparing for elections in November.

“Regardless of whether Zelaya returns or not, and really, at this point, that’s hard to imagine, Honduras will keep up the fight,” Chavez said in a phone call to Venezuelan television from Libya.

Despite condemnation from the United States and most world governments, Honduras’ interim government, led by Roberto Micheletti, has refused to allow the return of Zelaya, who it says was too close to the socialist Chavez.

Chavez initially put his troops on alert after the coup and provided Zelaya with the jet he used in an aborted attempt to land in Honduras’ capital Tegucigalpa days after his overthrow.

Micheletti believes that he can hold on to power until a new president takes office in January after the elections, He is gambling that the vote will allow Honduras back into the international community, despite most world leaders vowing not to recognize any leader until democracy is restored.

On Tuesday, Zelaya was scheduled to meet with members of the Organization of the American States in Washington.

Reporting by Fabian Andres Cambero