Roberto Micheletti, de facto Honduras president, is admired and loathed

The Miami HeraldJuly 10, 2009 

Roberto Micheletti has been in national politics for three decades — long enough to be one of the fathers of the constitution that he says legitimizes his power.

A one-time presidential honor guard, he's known as a "stubborn mule" as well as an able leader with a sense of humor. But outside of this Central American nation, Micheletti was a virtual unknown.

That all changed June 28, when Micheletti emerged as the de facto president of Honduras after former ally Manuel Zelaya was ousted at gunpoint.

Now Micheletti, 63, has become an international political figure — vilified by those who see him as a coup leader and praised by supporters who see him as a defender of democracy.

Whether he ultimately ends up holding the presidency depends in part on the outcome of negotiations that began Thursday in Costa Rica.

Traveling there in a three-plane convoy Thursday, Micheletti said he would work "tirelessly" to resolve the conflict. But the face-to-face meeting with Zelaya that many were expecting never took place. Instead both men met alone with Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, who is serving as mediator.

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