Costa Rica's Arias Urges Change in Honduras

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Honduras is one of the world's poorest countries, but its political instability threatens even the U.S.

Now, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias is trying to broker peace there.

Twenty years ago, Arias he won a Nobel Peace Prize for helping to end Central America's civil wars.  Yet today, he's struggling as a mediator to help bring peace to Honduras.

He warns that instability in the small, impoverished country will hurt not just Honduras, but all of Central America and the U.S. as well.

"It's in their interest that their neighbors south of the Rio Grande live in democracy," Arias told CBN News.  "That there be no conflicts, that there be no wars like there were 20 years ago in Central America."

The leader believes political instability in Honduras will drive more people to the U.S.  To prevent that, Honduras needs a legitimate election in November.

Because of that, there's mounting pressure to reinstall Manuel Zelaya, the country's ousted president, before the people vote.  Arias has pushed the current president, Roberto Micheletti, in that direction--with no success.

"I think the fear of the U.S., as is the fear of Latin America and the whole world, is that if a de factor regime is forgiven and consolidated," he said.  "It's an invitation for the military in other countries to once again organize a coup."

Arias admits it's debatable whether the ouster of Zelaya in June was indeed a coup.  Both the judicial and legislative branches of the Honduran government supported it.

In the end, he fears for the Hondurans themselves.

"Economic aid has been suspended from the European Union and from the United States," he explained.  "In the end, the ones who lose are the Honduran people."

That loss of aid disrupts trade, cutting off jobs and income for Honduran families-- and putting them in the middle of a crisis that may well extend beyond November.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

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