Honduras Readmitted to OAS

Posted June 2nd, 2011 at 3:35 am (UTC-5)
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The Organization of American States has voted to readmit Honduras following an almost two-year suspension that followed the ouster of the country's then-president, Manuel Zelaya, in a June 2009 coup.

The Washington-based organization Wednesday lifted the suspension after a 32-1 vote in which only Ecuador opposed the move. The vote follows an agreement last month that allowed Mr. Zelaya to return to Honduras.

Mr. Zelaya was overthrown and flown out of the country after he allegedly tried to change the Honduran constitution to stay in power. Honduras was suspended from the OAS following the coup. After Mr. Zelaya's overthrow, the United States and OAS failed to persuade an interim government to restore him to power. Five months later, Honduras held previously scheduled elections, and current President Porfirio Lobo was elected. He took office in January of last year.

The U.S. and other countries restored ties with Honduras after the election in November 2009. But Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela opposed Honduras's readmission to the OAS unless Mr. Zelaya was allowed to return from exile in the Dominican Republic, without facing the threat of prison.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Honduras's readmission to the OAS “an important milestone” for the country and could help other Latin American countries face common challenges. But she said more work needs to be done in Honduras to improve its governance, strengthen democratic institutions and safeguard human rights.