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GOP ignores U.S. coup policy to visit Honduras

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Honduras' coup-installed president told a U.S. delegation of congressional Republicans Friday that full civil liberties would be restored within days, a spokesman for one of the lawmakers said after a meeting that challenged the Obama administration's attempts to isolate the interim government.

Interim President Roberto Micheletti said an emergency decree limiting civil liberties would be lifted no later than Monday, said Wesley Denton, a spokesman for South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint. The GOP lawmakers received assurances in a private meeting at the presidential palace, Denton said.

The controversial decree shuttered two broadcasters critical of the June 28 coup that toppled President Manuel Zelaya — although one, Radio Globo, was transmitting over the Internet after police raided its offices and confiscated equipment.

The decree was isssued Sunday after the return to Honduras of Zelaya, who remains holed up with supporters inside the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa.

The visit highlighted a divide in Washington, where the Obama administration considers the interim government illegitimate and is working to reinstate Zelaya. Many conservatives, however, side with the government installed after soldiers arrested the president in his pajamas and flew him into exile.

DeMint was joined by Reps. Aaron Schock and Peter Roskam of Illinois and Doug Lamborn of Colorado.

Many nations worldwide have condemned Zelaya's ouster and have suspended aid to Honduras.

Congressional visits to shunned governments are not unusual. Both parties have visited, for example, Cuba and Nicaragua.

GOP ignores U.S. coup policy to visit Honduras 10/02/09 [Last modified: Friday, October 2, 2009 10:48pm]
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