Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Friday that ousted Honduran leader Manuel Zelaya would return to his country in the coming hours.
Chavez, an ally of the president who was toppled in a June 28 coup, spoke as Costa Rica's president prepared to host weekend talks with the rival sides in the standoff -- the worst political crisis in Central America since the Cold War.
Zelaya said that in the coming hours he'll enter Honduras. We're behind him, we have to support him, the leftist Venezuelan leader told reporters outside the presidential palace in Bolivia where he was meeting President Evo Morales.
There was no immediate confirmation of the plans by Zelaya, who is currently in Nicaragua, which borders Honduras.
Zelaya, whisked out of the country in a military coup sparked by his efforts to lift presidential term limits, made an abortive attempt to fly home to his country on July 5.
The interim authorities prevented his plane from landing in the capital, Tegucigalpa, and at least one person was killed in clashes between pro-Zelaya protesters and troops at the airport.
Zelaya's supporters shut down commercial highways on Thursday in protests in the capital and other places, demanding his reinstatement before the weekend mediation talks.
This is a country where almost all the roads are blocked, the country's paralyzed, it's an ungovernable country, Chavez added.
On Thursday, the fiery Venezuelan leader repeated an allegation -- which Washington has denied -- that U.S. authorities had a hand in the coup. The ouster has been widely condemned by foreign governments, including the United States.
(Reporting by Carlos Quiroga; Writing by Helen Popper, Editing by Frances Kerry)