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Honduras repeals emergency decree

  • Story Highlights
  • Decree limited constitutional rights such as freedoms of expression, public gathering
  • Micheletti: Canal 36 TV, Radio Globo stations will reopen "if the law allows them"
  • Micheletti appears to soften stance against return of Zelaya to power
  • U.S. lawmakers visit Honduras to express support for Micheletti
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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (CNN) -- Honduras' de facto President Roberto Micheletti said he has lifted a controversial emergency decree that had limited some civil liberties.

De facto Honduran president Roberto Micheletti speaks at a news conference in Tegucigalpa on Monday.

De facto Honduran president Roberto Micheletti speaks at a news conference in Tegucigalpa on Monday.

Roberto Micheletti said on Monday he "completely repealed" the decree that he had imposed in response to the unexpected return of ousted President Jose Manuel Zelaya to Honduras two weeks ago. Zelaya has been holed up in the Brazilian embassy in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa.

The decree limited constitutional rights, such as freedoms of expression, travel and public congregation. The measure was broadly condemned and became an obstacle toward a resolution between Micheletti and Zelaya.

One of the most visible effects of the decree was the closure of two broadcasters considered pro-Zelaya. The police and military seized the Canal 36 TV station and Radio Globo stations. Authorities removed equipment from the stations and posted soldiers to guard the buildings.

The stations would be allowed to reopen "if the law allows them," Micheletti said.

Because the stations were found to have violated the decree, the stations will have to appear before the courts to decide whether they will regain their broadcast permits, Micheletti said.

Also Monday Micheletti appeared to soften his stance against a return of Zelaya to power under any circumstances.

Once the country's presidential elections -- slated for next month -- are over, a president-elect may be able to negotiate a resolution to the political crisis, Micheletti said in an interview with Televicentro.

After the election "we can talk about any scenario that we can think of," Micheletti said, adding that it is hard to even think about restoring Zelaya before the election.

Zelaya's return "is an issue for a dialogue" between the players, the de facto president said at the news conference.

Up to now, Micheletti's public stance has been that Zelaya would never regain his post.

Micheletti spoke alongside U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, the most recent in a string of American lawmakers who support the de facto government to visit the Central American country. Two other Florida Republican lawmakers, brothers Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, also traveled to Honduras but did not speak at the news conference.

During the weekend Republican U.S. Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina led a delegation that included Reps. Aaron Schock and Peter Roskam of Illinois and Doug Lamborn of Colorado, also both Republicans.

The visiting lawmakers back Micheletti's stance that Zelaya's June 28 ouster was not a coup, but a constitutional transfer of power that was triggered by a violation of the constitution by Zelaya. The deposed president had insisted on carrying out a referendum that could have opened the door for him to run for a second term, something prohibited in the Honduran constitution. The military, on orders from the country's supreme court, detained him and exiled him outside the country on the day the vote was to be held.

Ros-Lehtinen said she was in Honduras to express support for Micheletti's government, which the United States does not recognize.

"It's much more than one person against another person," she said. "It's respecting the rules, the laws, the constitution of a country."

Because the United States does not recognize the Micheletti government, the State Department did not arrange any of the meetings for the visitors but did provide logistical support such as transportation and security, State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly said.

Honduras has been in turmoil since Zelaya was forced out of the country and replaced hours later by legislative leader Micheletti.

The United Nations, the OAS and the European Union have condemned the coup and demanded that Zelaya be reinstated.

Micheletti has accused Zelaya of using the embassy situation to instigate an insurrection, and this weekend gave the Brazilian embassy an ultimatum over the ousted president's status. Brazil rejected the ultimatum.

All About HondurasRoberto MichelettiJose Manuel Zelaya

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