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Honduras, backed in a corner

Do Zelaya and Micheletti have any choice but to sign the San Jose accord?

The terms likely need tweaking before either side will sign. Some observers argue the Honduran de facto government may never agree to allowing Zelaya’s return, or at least not before the new election campaigns begin.

“Micheletti’s concerned that if Zelaya returns he will interfere with the elections,” said Fabian Volio, Costa Rica’s former Justice Minister, who has been watching the situation closely. But he said there’s a way around that.

“I would move the elections up even another month earlier, to the last day of September, so that Zelaya returns after there’s already a chosen president-elect. Then he would still have three months left to finish governing.”

At the end of last week Zelaya moved with an entourage of supporters and reporters from Managua to Nicaragua’s northern border with Honduras, vowing to return. He managed to step over the line — which is flanked by Honduran armed forces on the Honduras side — for what appeared to be a symbolic return and then retreated back to the Nicaragua side. Zelaya said about 3,000 people have come to his encampment to show support, according to Bloomberg.

Despite the massive media attention and growing support, Zelaya’s actions have been eroding the patience of some key international actors, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who called his stroll across the border a “reckless” move. Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said Zelaya's foray into Honduras was not helping pave the way to a peaceful reconciliation.

Meanwhile, reports of killings and disappearances of protesters have been coming out of Honduras, painting a bleak situation for the country in the wake of the coup. Worsening the picture, free press groups including Reporters Without Borders have condemned what they called the de facto government’s “frequent interruption” of media that have been critical of Micheletti.

Though largely unsympathetic to Zelaya as a leader, Costa Rica's sentiment is that Honduras’s president should go home. As one Tico pointed out, many Costa Ricans just want their own president to return to fixing his own country’s problems.

“I’m all in favor of keeping good relations abroad and even helping solve a crisis,” said Edwin Cardenas, a 40-year-old computer technician. “But the president should be worried about the economic crisis back home too, where people are losing their jobs and having problems. That’s what a lot of people here are thinking.”

More GlobalPost dispatches about the Honduran coup:

A coup without friends

Beating the curfew in Tegucigalpa

The view from Cuba

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/costa-rica/090730/honduras-backed-corner