Condemning the Honduran coup as a throwback to Latin America's ugly history, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias said Tuesday that the country can't have free and fair elections until its de facto government lifts a repressive decree that silenced opposition media and forbade public gatherings.
Speaking at the Americas Conference in Coral Gables, the Nobel Peace Prize winner said he spoke Monday with Honduras' acting President Roberto Micheletti, who assured him that he would withdraw a restrictive decree that suspended some civil rights. But despite Micheletti's promises, the decree issued Sunday remains in place, critical news stations remain shut down, and opponents are worried.
"What kind of democratic elections are these, in which public meetings cannot take place without the authorization of the army?" Arias said.
"What kind of democratic elections are these, in which the media can be closed for opposing unspecified 'government resolutions?'
"Only the most forgetful of people could read this decree without experiencing memories of a terrible Latin American past."
Arias, who won the Nobel for his work resolving the civil wars in Central America, has served as a mediator in Honduras' three-month political crisis.
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