The opposition Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC) this week announced that former Honduran President Roberto Micheletti will be decorated with the party’s highest honor during a March 21 rally to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the murder of former contra leader Enrique Bermúdez, known by the codename “Comandante 380.”
Micheletti, who last year led Honduras’ de facto government following the military ouster of President Manuel Zelaya, will receive the “Order of José Santos Zelaya” (no relation) in front of some 20,000 PLC sympathizers who are expected at the rally, which will be held in the central department of Boaco, according to a PLC press release.
PLC Vice President Wilfredo Navarro said leaders of his party will visit the National Police this week to ensure security for Micheletti and his delegation. He called on the ruling Sandinista Front to not interfere.
“We insist that police take appropriate measures [to provide] security for such an illustrious visitor,” Navarro said during a press conference. “And anything that happens to Micheletti in this country will be the responsibility of the Sandinista National Liberation Front and the police for not taking seriously their responsibility to protect our illustrious Liberal visitor.”
Navarro called on the Sandinistas to refrain from “any type of aggressive action against ex-President Micheletti and his delegation.”
The Sandinistas, at press time, had not responded to the PLC’s announcement of Micheletti’s visit. But the Sandinistas’ opinion of the controversial Honduran politician is no secret.
Following the Honduran coup last June, and Micheletti’s appointment as that country’s interim president, sparks flew on several occasions between Managua and Tegucigalpa. Ortega and the Sandinistas referred to Micheletti as a “gorilla” and “dictator” and both Micheletti and Ortega accused one another of plotting covert paramilitary actions against the other’s country.
Almost nine months later, and with a new president in office in Honduras, relations have still not normalized between the two countries. Nicaragua still does not recognize the new Honduran government of President Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo, and this week released a statement saying it does not support Honduras’ reintegration into the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Organization of American States (OAS) or any other international body.
Nicaragua’s private sector, meanwhile, has raised concerns about what the Sandinista government’s position will mean for the ongoing negotiations for an association agreement between Central America and the European Union, which is scheduled to finalize in May. Several Nicaraguan business leaders this week warned Ortega against isolating Nicaragua from the rest of Central America, and urged the president not put his political interests above the country’s economic interests.