Zelaya crosses into Honduras — but doesn't stay long

Manuel Zelaya, Honduras ousted president has crossed into Honduras.
Manuel Zelaya, Honduras ousted president has crossed into Honduras. Pedro Portal / Miami Herald / MCT

LAS MANOS, Nicaragua — In a chaotic scene Friday, ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya briefly set foot on Honduran soil for the first time since his June ouster — and posed for photographers along an entry post sign declaring "Welcome to Honduras.''

Zelaya was wearing his trademark cowboy hat for his first step onto Honduran soil, surrounded by dozens of supporters and a crush of journalists.

All that had separated him from Honduras was a knee-high chain stretched along the Nicaraguan border. So he stepped over the line just before 5 p.m. Eastearn Time. A crowd followed.

"For the impoverished of the world, democracy is a weapon, an instrument to fight for justice,'' Zelaya said. "Democracy is what can make or break a king, not an army.''

He stayed only about 15 minutes on his native soil, before leading the crowd back across the border into safe haven in Nicaragua.

The interim Honduran government had vowed to arrest Zelaya, and the army whose officers ousted him in his pajamas on June 28 had arrayed dozens of semi-trailers along the road to Las Manos, effectively blocking the arrival of hundreds of supporters.

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