Oppose Coup D'etat in Honduras
Emergency Rally in Support of Honduras
End the Coup Now!
WHEN: Monday, June 29, 2009, from 3-6 PM
WHERE: In front of the Honduran Mission to the United Nations, 866 UN Plaza (to the east of 1st Avenue, between 48th and 49th streets), Manhattan, NYC
WHY: At 6 AM on Sunday, June 28, 2009, Honduras’ popular president Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped, removed from power, and brought to Costa Rica. It is no coincidence that this is the day that millions of Hondurans were preparing to vote on whether they wanted to reform their constitution – similar to what the people of Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia have done in recent years.
Manuel Zelaya is backed by a majority of labor unions and social movements in Honduras. This coup was carried out in a way that mirrors the removal of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from Haiti and the attempted coup against President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, who was brought back to power by the Venezuelan people. Clearly, this is an act of economic and political elites in Honduras, the U.S., and elsewhere who are desperate to prevent Honduras from continuing to unify with the more leftist and socialist countries in Latin America.
Following the kidnapping of Zelaya, Honduras’ foreign minister and ambassadors from Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua have also been attacked – in clear violation of international laws. Now, the people of Honduras have taken to the streets in protest and Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia, Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, and others have made public statements condemning the coup d'etat in Honduras and calling on the international community to react to ensure democracy is restored and the constitutional president is reinstated. Washington, on the other hand, remains silent as of now.
Join the people of Honduras and the international community in condemning the coup d’etat and demanding that Manuel Zelaya and the kidnapped foreign minister be reinstated.
This rally is sponsored by the Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of New York and other progressive organizations and movements throughout New York City. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Demonstration to Protest the
Demand the restoration of the Manuel Zelaya as president of Honduras
Wednesday, July 1, 4:30 PM
On Sunday, June 28, the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was overthrown by the U.S. trained, and equipped Honduran military. Honduran soldiers invaded the residence of President Zelaya as he slept, and forcibly exiled the president to Costa Rica, just hours before a nationwide referendum was scheduled to take place.
It has been reported that the ambassadors of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua in Honduras have been kidnapped along with Honduran Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas, and have being beaten by Honduran military forces.
While President Obama has expressed that he is "deeply concerned" and that the coup is illegal, Secretary of State Clinton has stated the U.S. government has not formally designated the military coup as a military coup. And why? Such a move would require, according to U.S. law, that the U.S. cut off almost all U.S. aid to Honduras. In addition to aid to the Honduran government and military, aid is provided to various rightist groups and political parties from such entities as USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute, and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.
While the U.S. denies any involvement in the coup, at least two of the coup leaders have received training from the Pentagon's School of the Americas, located at Fort Benning, Georgia, and known by many as the School of the Assassins. Just about every military coup in Latin America since the 1960s (and there have been quite a few) has been led by graduates of the School of the Assassins and supported by the U.S. government.
Furthermore, the U.S. maintains about 550 military and 650 civilian personnel at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, which is also the home of the Honduran Air Force and Naval Academy. And let us not forget, the U.S. has dispatched military forces to Honduras on several occasions to protect the interests of the United Fruit Company (now known as Chiquita) and the Standard Fruit Company (now Dole).
The Honduran people are in the streets protesting and resisting the military. As of Monday evening, there are reports of several Honduran military battalions refusing to support the coup.
Join us Wednesday in solidarity with the people of Honduras.
Initiated by MECAWI, the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice, and Latinos Unidos de Michigan and The U.S. Cuba Labor Exchange
ALBA, SICA and the Rio Group Organizing to Defend Honduran Democracy
An Extraordinary Summit of the Bolivarian Alternative of the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) began Monday June 29 in Nicaragua with the aim of defending Honduran democracy, after the coup d'etat against constitutional President Manuel Zelaya and the establishment of a de facto government. Meetings of the member countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA) and the Rio Group are also planned.
President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega announced the convening of the summit early Monday morning. He also said meetings will begin with SICA, ALBA and the President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, who chairs the Rio Group. "We are making efforts to establish the urgency and importance of a meeting of the Rio Group,” Ortega stated. He said that with the attendance of most of the countries of these integration and solidarity systems, there will be a majority to debate the coup d'etat perpetrated in Honduras and to affirm the defense of the constitutional rights of her people.
The presidents from ALBA member-states started to arrive in Managua on Sunday night to take part in the urgently summoned summit. The meetings will discuss actions to support the return of Zelaya to office. ALBA condemned the coup against Honduran democracy in a statement made public on Sunday at the United Nations (UN). ALBA demanded the restoration of Manuel Zelaya's constitutional presidency and stressed that they will not recognize any other government from that country. “We demand the immediate return of democracy in the Republic of Honduras and the restoration of Manuel Zelaya to office, as the legitimate Constitutional President of that country,” reads the document.
The first President to arrive in Nicaragua's capital city was Rafael Correa, from Ecuador. He said that his attendance was aimed at “defending democracy not only in Honduras, but in Latin America.” He condemned the coup against Zelaya and added, “We come here to tell these de facto powers that want to take over Honduras that they must reestablish immediately and unconditionally the legitimate, constitutional and democratic Government of President Jose Manuel Zelaya.”
Correa stressed how important it was for all the Heads of State of the Rio Group to take part in the meeting to be held in Managua on Monday afternoon. He made a call to President Calderon, current chair of the Rio Group, urging him to summon the rest of the presidents. “We requested a meeting of the Heads of State,” Correa said, but “instead a meeting with the ministers of foreign affairs is to take place, according to information received from the Mexican Ministry.” He said the Mexican Ministry reported that this “was because the presidents would not be able to attend.” Correa added, “I do not know how many Heads of State have been asked [if they can attend]. On Sunday morning, at least 10 out of 23 countries that are part of the Rio Group said they would attend,” he emphasized. Correa said, “I do not know what could be more important than solving an emergency of this nature, where there has been an attempt not only against the people of Honduras but also against the democracy of all Latin American peoples.”
Hugo Chávez, President of Venezuela is also in Managua. He emphasized, “The oligarchies cannot stop the changes. This is an era of changes, necessary changes due to the failure of the right-wing. This aggression against Honduras is also against the peoples of the continent and against the great majority of our governments,” Chávez said. He warned the military in Honduras not to attack the unarmed people, saying “The peoples have the right to resist and combat, and we will be here supporting them.” Chávez also made clear that the Venezuelan military would not intervene, as monopoly media reports have said. “We would not ever do that because of the respect to the sacred sovereignty of Honduras. We are here to support Honduras, respecting it,” he said. Chávez also demanded solidarity actions for Honduras. “We have come here to speak up with lot of strength and vigor, making a call to all the governments of this continent not stay with statements alone. It is not enough to say that we condemn the coup. We demand solidarity demonstrations with Honduras and with the Constitutional President of that country, Manuel Zelaya.
In addition to Chávez and Correa, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Bruno Rodriguez also arrived in Managua on Sunday. President of Bolivia, Evo Morales and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Honduras, Patricia Rodas, arrived on Monday.
Member Countries of ALBA, SICA and the Rio Group
ALBA, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our Americas, includes Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela.
SICA, the System for Central American Integration, includes Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic.
The Rio Group includes: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela
Distinguished presidents and ministers:
I shall be brief; there are many heads of state and high-ranking representatives of our governments here who also wish to speak.
A serious and extremely significant event for Latin America and the Caribbean has brought us together here. We all know about the mistreatment and abuse to which the president and foreign minister of Honduras, and the ambassadors of Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba were subjected. The right of the Honduran people to express themselves politically has been trampled on.
Our first message to the Honduran people is one of solidarity and support. Cuba strongly condemns the brutal coup d'état against the constitutional government of Honduras and its legitimate president and rejects the criminal attack on that nation's popular sovereignty.
Aggression against the political constitutionality of any member country must be unanimously rejected by the Rio Group and in the most forceful terms. As President Chávez rightly said last night, this is the moment to act according to one's beliefs, wasting no time and unmasking those who condemn the coup, but then applaud under the table, as has happened so many times in our common history.
In Honduras, there is and can only be one president. José Manuel Zelaya must return immediately and unconditionally to the performance of his duties. We believe that there can be no negotiations whatsoever with the perpetrators of the coup, nor any condition or demands of any kind for the legitimate government of President Zelaya.
The conflict between the people's aspirations for a better future and the interests of the oligarchic sectors in perpetuating an unjust and unsustainable order will be decided there. It is a conflict that transcends Honduran borders and is an expression of the danger of a return to the past of military dictatorships which, in the recent past and with the support of the U.S. government, terrorized for decades the Latin American peoples – particularly those of Central American and the Caribbean – but virtually without exclusion.
We recall the most recent attempts: Bolivia, with Evo Morales threatened by separatism. Friendly governments rallied to his defense, undertook their role, halted that variety of aggression against a sovereign government and a president who, for the very first time, represents those born on this continent who have taken on their shoulders most of the burden of exploitation (Applause).
Before that, it was with Hugo Chávez, the double coup, the typical coup d'état, and arousing the whole of the population and restoring President Chávez to his rightful place once again; the oil coup that cost Venezuela millions of dollars.
And now with Zelaya in Honduras. I do not know if it is just by pure chance that the three individuals mentioned form part of the nascent ALBA, which although they are not saying it, is worrying many persons. These three examples alone demonstrate that the oligarchy and exterior forces that accompany them still have a lot of influence in terms of holding back history.
I ask myself what they will do with Correa in Ecuador. I fear that he is the next candidate and the next meeting of the Rio Group will be to congratulate Correa for successfully defending his country and revolutionary process (Applause).
I have only mentioned a few countries; I could mention some others that belong to ALBA. For that reason, the fascist coup d'état against President Zelaya is an affront to all the peoples and governments of Latin America and the Caribbean, and cannot go unpunished. Its masterminds will have to take responsibility for the crimes and outrages that have taken place in this sister nation.
The mass media will also be responsible as accomplices, for lending themselves to the coup faction's aims and for confusing the people. At least we were able to find out what was happening through the vital work of Telesur (Applause). Equally responsible are the oligarchic groups that are trying to legitimize a criminal act of this magnitude, and reactionary sectors in the hemisphere that are backing the transgressors of constitutionality.
The U.S. government must act in line with its declarations and assume them with all seriousness. I believe in the sincerity that President Obama and his secretary of state can demonstrate, but they must demonstrate it with actions, not with words.
Without popular support, with the total rejection of Latin American and Caribbean governments, no coup perpetrators can last. As Fidel said in his reflections of yesterday, those in Honduras cannot even breathe without the support of the United States or some of the forces with power within the government of the United States.
To the Honduran people, campesinos, workers, professionals, teachers, health workers, the business sectors, and to all the sons and daughters of the homeland of Morazán, I reiterate the message of solidarity and support of the Cuban people, and our commitment to accompany you in this battle for justice and dignity.
Thank you very much.
Translated by Granma International
Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA)
On Sunday the 28th of June in early hours of the morning, when the Honduran people were getting ready to exercise their democratic will through a poll with a consultative character, promoted by the President of the Republic Manuel Zelaya Rosales to deepen participative democracy, a group of hooded soldiers, who affirmed they had received orders from the High Command of the Armed Forces, assaulted the residence of President Zelaya, in order to kidnap him, disappear him for a number of hours and later expel him violently from his homeland.
Immediately, the people of Honduras reacted like the noble heirs of the legacy of Francisco Morazán , in the streets of the cities and towns of Honduras. From the early hours of the morning hundreds of electoral booths received thousands of men and women who attended to exercise their right to vote, and on being informed of the kidnapping of their president, spilled out onto the streets to protest the coup d'etat, giving an example of heroism, to confront, unarmed, the guns and tanks.
Through the screens of Telesur, they managed to break the national and international silence that the dictatorship wanted to impose through closing the state television channel and cutting the electricity supply, aiming to conceal and justify the coup d'etat against their people and the international community — demonstrating an attitude that recalls the worst epoch of the dictatorships experienced in the 20th century in our continent.
With one single voice, the governments and peoples of the continent reacted condemning the coup d'etat, making clear that in Honduras there is only one President and one government: that of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales. At the same time, we salute the declarations of condemnation, that from very early, other governments of the world began to issue.
In the face of the urgency of the situation, the governments of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America immediately convoke an Extraordinary Presidential Council, with the objective of agreeing on forceful actions to defeat the coup d'etat in Honduras, to support the heroic people of Morazán and to unconditionally re-establish President Manuel Zelaya Rosales in his legitimate duties.
After analyzing the circumstances which have produced this coup d'etat, in the face of the gravity of the violations of International Law, the multilateral agreements and the accords of our countries with the Republic of Honduras, and in view of the categorical rejection that the international community has manifested before the dictatorial government that is trying to impose itself, the member countries of ALBA have decided to withdraw our Ambassadors and leave a minimum expression of our diplomatic representation in Tegucigalpa until the legitimate government of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales is reinstated in its duties.
Likewise we recognize as the only diplomatic representatives of Honduras in our countries, the personnel designated by President Zelaya. Under no circumstances will we accredit personnel designated by the usurpers.
Equally, as full members of the various systems of integration of the continent, we insist that our brother countries of UNASUR, SICA, CARICOM, the Rio Group, the UN and the OAS proceed in the same way in the face of the assailants of the Honduran people.
On the other hand, we have agreed to declare ourselves in permanent alert in order to accompany the valiant people of Honduras in the actions of struggle that they have convoked, and we invoke the content of Articles 2 and 3 of the Political Constitution of the Republic of Honduras:
"Art. 2: Sovereignty corresponds to the People from which emanate all the Powers of the State that are exercised through representation. The Sovereignty of the People can also be exercised in a direct manner through a Plebiscite or Referendum. The supplanting of popular Sovereignty and the usurpation of the constituted powers are classified as crimes of Treason against the Fatherland. The responsibility in these cases is imprescriptible and can be deduced to the role or petition of any citizen."
"Art. 3: No one has to obey neither a usurper government nor those who assume functions or public employment through the force of arms or using measures or procedures that break or fail to recognize that which the Constitution and the laws establish. The acts verified by such authorities are invalid. The people have the right to resort to insurrection in defense of constitutional order."
As well as the principles of International Law that respect acts of resistance and rebellion of the people confronting attempts at domination. To the teachers, workers, women, youth, peasants, indigenous peoples, honest business people, intellectuals and other sectors of Honduran society, we assure you that together we will win a great victory against the coup plotters that aim to impose themselves on the brave people of Francisco Morazán.
Invoking the spirit and thought of Francisco Morazán, together with him, we proclaim to the coup plotters: "Men, you who have abused the rights of the people for a sordid and stingy interest! With you I speak, enemies of independence and liberty. If our actions, aimed at acquiring a homeland, can suffer a parallel to those Central Americans that you have persecuted and exiled, I challenge you to present them. Those same people, who have been humiliated, insulted, debased and betrayed so many times, that today are the arbiters of their destiny and ask for our advice, those people will be your judge."
Those who are leading the coup d'etat must know that it will be impossible to prevail and to make fun of international justice, to which sooner or later they will be subjected. We call on the officials and the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Honduras to rectify and to put their weapons at the service of the people of Honduras and their general commander, President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales.
The member countries of ALBA, in consultation with the governments of the continent and with various institutions that guarantee the fulfillment of International Law, are bringing forward measures so that the grave violations and the crimes that are being committed are not gotten away with.
The only path that remains for the coup makers is to abandon their attitude and to guarantee immediately, unconditionally, and definitely, the return of President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales to his constitutional functions.
The Republic of Honduras is a full member of ALBA, and likewise of other regional integration and multilateral organizations, whose membership demand respect for the sovereignty of the people and the constitution. Because these fundamental conditions have been violated by the coup makers, the governments of ALBA have decided to maintain all cooperation programs that we have pre-empted with Honduras through President Zelaya.
Likewise, we propose that punitive measures are applied by all the multilateral integration organizations and mechanisms, which would help to enforce the immediate return to constitutional order in Honduras and would bring about the principles of action that Jose Marti referred to when he said, "Each person does their duty, and nothing can defeat us."
The governments of ALBA declare ourselves in a permanent consultation session, with all the governments of the continent, in order to evaluate further joint actions that enable us to accompany the Honduran people in the re-establishment of legality and the restitution of the President Manuel Zelaya Rosales.
Two hundreds years since the historic gesture that our peoples have developed throughout the continent, following the timeless example of the General of free men Augusto Cesar Sandino, of Francisco Morazan and faithful to the word of the liberator Simon Bolivar, we put our hope with the people of Honduras and the peoples of the world for the sureness of victory, as, "all the peoples of the world who have wrestled for freedom have, in the end, exterminated their tyrants."
 Central American statesman, lawyer, orator, and general born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in 1792
Translated by Kiraz Janicke and Tamara Pearson for Venezuelanalysis.com
The Chair of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), expresses its strongest denunciation and condemnation of the brutal coup d'état carried out in the early hours of this morning against the Constitutional President of the Republic of Honduras, a sister nation that is full member of the Movement.
President Manuel Zelaya, legitimately elected by the Honduran people, was brutally kidnapped by a group of pro-coup military and expelled from the country, in an attempt to prevent, through violence, the realization of the democratic referendum to be held today in the Republic of Honduras.
Likewise, the Chair of the Coordinating Bureau denounces the kidnapping of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Honduras, H.E. Mrs. Patricia Rodas, and demands her immediate release and respect for her personal safety and integrity. The Armed Forces of that country are responsible for the life and dignity of the Foreign Minister.
The Chair of the Coordinating Bureau condemns also the outrage against several Ambassadors accredited to Honduras, including the Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba, who were kidnapped and beaten, by those who took part in the coup.
The Chair of the Coordinating Bureau strongly calls upon all countries, international organizations and other members of the international community, to firmly condemn the military coup d'état and call for the reinstatement of the Rule of Law in the Republic of Honduras, including the return and full reinstatement of its legitimate and constitutional President Mr. José Manuel Zelaya.
(NAM has 118 member states, including 53 countries from Africa, 38 from Asia and 26 from Latin America and the Caribbean)
And then I also wondered if you would comment on the coup in Honduras and what additional steps the U.S. might be considering there.
In the question and answer period during the press briefing President Barack Obama held with Colombia's President President Alvaro Uribe, Obama responded to the following question about the military coup d'etat in Honduras:
QUESTION: I also wondered if you would comment on the coup in Honduras and what additional steps the U.S. might be considering there.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, let me first of all speak about the coup in Honduras, because this was a topic of conversation between myself and President Uribe.
All of us have great concerns about what's taken place there. President Zelaya was democratically elected. He had not yet completed his term. We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the President of Honduras, the democratically elected President there. In that we have joined all the countries in the region, including Colombia and the Organization of American States.
I think it's -- it would be a terrible precedent if we start moving backwards into the era in which we are seeing military coups as a means of political transition rather than democratic elections. The region has made enormous progress over the last 20 years in establishing democratic traditions in Central America and Latin America. We don't want to go back to a dark past. The United States has not always stood as it should with some of these fledgling democracies, but over the last several years, I think both Republicans and Democrats in the United States have recognized that we always want to stand with democracy, even if the results don't always mean that the leaders of those countries are favorable towards the United States. And that is a tradition that we want to continue.
So we are very clear about the fact that President Zelaya is the democratically elected President, and we will work with the regional organizations like OAS and with other international institutions to see if we can resolve this in a peaceful way.
I want to start with yesterday’s unfortunate events in Honduras, which were a test of the inter-American system’s ability to support and defend democracy and constitutional order in our hemisphere.
The United States has been working with our partners in the Organization of American States (OAS) to fashion a strong consensus condemning the detention and expulsion of President Zelaya and calling for the full restoration of democratic order in Honduras. Our immediate priority is to restore full democratic and constitutional order in that country.
Today, foreign ministers of the Rio Group will be attending a previously scheduled meeting of Central American leaders in Managua, Nicaragua to address the issue of Honduras. And tomorrow, the OAS will hold an Extraordinary General Assembly.
As we move forward, all parties have a responsibility to address the underlying problems that led to yesterday’s events in a way that enhances democracy and the rule of law in Honduras. To that end, we will continue working with the OAS and other partners to construct a process of dialogue and engagement that will promote the restoration of democratic order, address the serious problems of political polarization in Honduras, restore confidence in their institutions of government, and ensure that Honduras moves successfully towards its scheduled presidential elections in November of this year. […]
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, do you believe – you used the words “detention” and “expulsion.” Do you believe that a military coup d’état has taken place in Honduras, or are you studying a legal – formal legal determination that a coup d’état has taken place that would therefore trigger the aid cutoff that is required under U.S. law?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we do think that this has evolved into a coup. The president, as you know, has been expelled. Another person has been substituted for the president. But we think that this is a fast-moving situation that requires constant attention, which we are certainly providing to it, along with our bilateral partners and through the OAS as our multilateral vehicle. We are encouraging that there be a delegation going to Honduras following the Extraordinary General Assembly tomorrow to begin working with the parties to try to restore constitutional order. So we are withholding any formal legal determination. But I think the reality is that having expelled the president, we have a lot of work to do to try to help the Hondurans get back on the democratic path they have been on for a number of years now. […]
I think it’s important that we stand for the rule of law and democracy and constitutional order. And when I talk about supporting the work that’s being done in the OAS, and certainly a distinguished delegation to work with the parties in Honduras, I think that all parties involved have to take a step back and look at how the institutions within their democracy are supposed to be working. So there are certain concerns about orders by independent judicial officials that should be followed and the like, but the extraordinary step taken of arresting and expelling the president is our first and foremost concern right now.
Then we do want to work with the parties, as I said, to try to return to a rule of law, and that means for everybody. Everybody needs to kind of take a step back here and take a deep breath. And so, look, we have a lot at stake in maintaining our democracy and not going backwards, and we would expect all parties to play a responsible role in doing that.
Various organizations across Latin America are taking action to demand the return of Honduras' constitutional president, Manuel Zelaya, President of Honduras. The Bolivia’s Labor Federation (Central Obrera Boliviana—COB) is meeting June 29 in La Paz to organize activities in different cities of the country against the coup in Honduras and in defense of democracy in that country.
General Secretary of that federation, Pedro Montes stressed that union leaders and workers in Bolivia rejected the fascist coup of U.S. imperialist origin. He said he spoke with workers in Honduras, who are demanding deep structural changes for the good of the society, but that their demands are being rejected by a group opposed to the development of Honduras.
Demonstrations are also being organized in Panama to denounce the coup d'état against President Zelaya and support the struggle for democracy in Honduras. Political parties demonstrated June 29 at the Honduran Embassy in Panama while other organizations also expressed their opposition to the coup. Participants brought out that those who support the coup do so because they oppose Zelaya’s support for the Bolivarian Alternative for the People of Our Americas (ALBA), and Zelaya’s support for the Honduran social movements. The referendum planned was one way to give people the opportunity to decide the future and the coup leaders opposed this democracy.
The government of Panama denounced the coup against Zelaya and said that the military coup in Honduras will test the Inter American system to which Panama belongs. President Martin Torrijos called on the Honduran institutions, political parties and citizen organizations to proceed “to the fastest normalization of the democratic order.” He said this required “immediately restoring President Zelaya to the complete exercise of his duties, as the basic condition for achieving that aim.”
June 28, 2009, Caracas, Venezuela — The text message that beeped on my cell phone this morning read "Alert, Zelaya has been kidnapped, coup d'etat underway in Honduras, spread the word." It's a rude awakening for a Sunday morning, especially for the millions of Hondurans that were preparing to exercise their sacred right to vote today for the first time on a consultative referendum concerning the future convening of a constitutional assembly to reform the constitution. Supposedly at the center of the controversy is today's scheduled referendum, which is not a binding vote but merely an opinion poll to determine whether or not a majority of Hondurans desire to eventually enter into a process to modify their constitution.
Such an initiative has never taken place in the Central American nation, which has a very limited constitution that allows minimal participation by the people of Honduras in their political processes. The current constitution, written in 1982 during the height of the Reagan Administration's dirty war in Central America, was designed to ensure those in power, both economic and political, would retain it with little interference from the people. Zelaya, elected in November 2005 on the platform of Honduras' Liberal Party, had proposed the opinion poll be conducted to determine if a majority of citizens agreed that constitutional reform was necessary. He was backed by a majority of labor unions and social movements in the country. If the poll had occurred, depending on the results, a referendum would have been conducted during the upcoming elections in November to vote on convening a constitutional assembly. Nevertheless, today's scheduled poll was not binding by law.
In fact, several days before the poll was to occur, Honduras' Supreme Court ruled it illegal, upon request by the Congress, both of which are led by anti-Zelaya majorities and members of the ultra-conservative party, National Party of Honduras (PNH). This move led to massive protests in the streets in favor of President Zelaya. On June 24, the president fired the head of the high military command, General Romeo Vásquez, after he refused to allow the military to distribute the electoral material for Sunday's elections. General Romeo Vásquez held the material under tight military control, refusing to release it even to the president's followers, stating that the scheduled referendum had been determined illegal by the Supreme Court and therefore he could not comply with the president's order. As in the United States, the president of Honduras is Commander in Chief and has the final say on the military's actions, and so he ordered the General's removal. The Minister of Defense, Angel Edmundo Orellana, also resigned in response to this increasingly tense situation.
But the following day, Honduras' Supreme Court reinstated General Romeo Vásquez to the high military command, ruling his firing as "unconstitutional'. Thousands poured into the streets of Honduras' capital, Tegucigalpa, showing support for President Zelaya and evidencing their determination to ensure Sunday's non-binding referendum would take place. On Friday, the president and a group of hundreds of supporters, marched to the nearby air base to collect the electoral material that had been previously held by the military. That evening, Zelaya gave a national press conference along with a group of politicians from different political parties and social movements, calling for unity and peace in the country.
As of Saturday, the situation in Honduras was reported as calm. But early Sunday morning, a group of approximately 60 armed soldiers entered the presidential residence and took Zelaya hostage. After several hours of confusion, reports surfaced claiming the president had been taken to a nearby air force base and flown to neighboring Costa Rica.[...]
President Zelaya's wife, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, speaking live on Telesur at approximately 10:00am Caracas time, denounced that in early hours of Sunday morning, the soldiers stormed their residence, firing shots throughout the house, beating and then taking the president. "It was an act of cowardice," said the first lady, referring to the illegal kidnapping occurring during a time when no one would know or react until it was all over. Castro de Zelaya also called for the "preservation" of her husband's life [...] and made a call for the international community to denounce this illegal coup d'etat and to act rapidly to reinstate constitutional order in the country, which includes the rescue and return of the democratically elected Zelaya.
Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela both made public statements on Sunday morning condemning the coup d'etat in Honduras and calling on the international community to react to ensure democracy is restored and the constitutional president is reinstated. Last Wednesday, June 24, an extraordinary meeting of the member nations of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), of which Honduras is a member, was convened in Venezuela to welcome Ecuador, Antigua & Barbados and St. Vincent to its ranks. During the meeting, which was attended by Honduras' Foreign Minister, Patricia Rodas, a statement was read supporting President Zelaya and condemning any attempts to undermine his mandate and Honduras' democratic processes.
Reports coming out of Honduras have informed that the public television channel, Canal 8, has been shut down by the coup forces. Just minutes ago, Telesur announced that the military in Honduras is shutting down all electricity throughout the country. Those television and radio stations still transmitting are not reporting the coup d'etat or the kidnapping of President Zelaya, according to Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas. "Telephones and electricity are being cut off," confirmed Rodas just minutes ago via Telesur. "The media are showing cartoons and soap operas and are not informing the people of Honduras about what is happening." The situation is eerily reminiscent of the April 2002 coup d'etat against President Chávez in Venezuela, when the media played a key role by first manipulating information to support the coup and then later blacking out all information when the people began protesting and eventually overcame and defeated the coup forces, rescuing Chávez (who had also been kidnapped by the military) and restoring constitutional order.
Honduras is a nation that has been the victim of dictatorships and massive U.S. intervention during the past century, including several military invasions. The last major U.S. government intervention in Honduras occurred during the 1980s, when the Reagan Administration funded death squads and paramilitaries to eliminate any potential "communist threats" in Central America. At the time, John Negroponte, was the U.S. Ambassador in Honduras and was responsible for directly funding and training Honduran death squads that were responsible for thousands of disappeared and assassinated throughout the region.
On Friday, the Organization of American States (OAS), convened a special meeting to discuss the crisis in Honduras, later issuing a statement condemning the threats to democracy and authorizing a convoy of representatives to travel to investigate further. Nevertheless, on Friday, Assistant Secretary of State of the United States, Phillip J. Crowley, refused to clarify the U.S. government's position in reference to the potential coup against President Zelaya, and instead issued a more ambiguous statement that implied Washington's support for the opposition to the Honduran president. While most other Latin American governments had clearly indicated their adamant condemnation of the coup plans underway in Honduras and their solid support for Honduras' constitutionally elected president, Manual Zelaya, the U.S. spokesman stated the following, "We are concerned about the breakdown in the political dialogue among Honduran politicians over the proposed June 28 poll on constitutional reform. We urge all sides to seek a consensual democratic resolution in the current political impasse that adheres to the Honduran constitution and to Honduran laws consistent with the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter."
[... Honduras] is highly dependent on the U.S. economy, which ensures one of its top sources of income, the monies sent from Hondurans working in the U.S. under the "temporary protected status" program that was implemented during Washington's dirty war in the 1980s as a result of massive immigration to U.S. territory to escape the war zone. Another major source of funding in Honduras is USAID, providing over U.S.$ 50 million annually for "democracy promotion" programs, which generally supports NGOs and political parties favorable to U.S. interests, as has been the case in Venezuela, Bolivia and other nations in the region. The Pentagon also maintains a military base in Honduras in Soto Cano, equipped with approximately 500 troops and numerous air force combat planes and helicopters.
[...] The modus operandi of the coup makes clear that Washington is involved. Neither the Honduran military, which is majority trained by U.S. forces, nor the political and economic elite, would act to oust a democratically elected president without the backing and support of the U.S. government. President Zelaya has increasingly come under attack by the conservative forces in Honduras for his growing relationship with the ALBA countries, and particularly Venezuela and President Chávez. Many believe the coup has been executed as a method of ensuring Honduras does not continue to unify with the more leftist and socialist countries in Latin America.
As of 11:15am, Caracas time, President Zelaya is speaking live on Telesur from San Jose, Costa Rica. He has verified the soldiers entered his residence in the early morning hours, firing guns and threatening to kill him and his family if he resisted the coup. He was forced to go with the soldiers who took him to the air base and flew him to Costa Rica. He has requested the U.S. Government make a public statement condemning the coup, otherwise, it will indicate their compliance.
12:00 noon: The Organization of American States is meeting in an emergency session in Washington concerning the situation in Honduras and the kidnapping of Honduras' president. Venezuelan Ambassador to the OAS, Roy Chaderton, just announced that the ambassadors of Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua in Honduras have just been kidnapped along with Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas, and are being beaten by Honduran military forces.
President Obama has made a statement regarding his "concern" for the situation in Honduras and a call to all political leaders and parties to "respect democratic norms." However, this statement is NOT a clear condemnation of the coup d'etat that has taken place during the early morning hours on Sunday. Nor did Obama indicate, as other countries have done, that Washington would not recognize any other government in Honduras other than the elected government of Manual Zelaya.
Opposition forces in Honduras, led by a U.S.-funded NGO Grupo Paz y Democracia, have stated via CNN that a coup has not occurred, but rather a "transition" to democracy. Martha Diaz, coordinator of the NGO, which receives USAID funding, has just declared minutes ago on CNN that "civil society" does not support President Zelaya nor his "illegal quest" to hold a non-binding referendum on a potential future constitutional reform. She justified his kidnapping, beating and removal from power as a "democratic transition." Again, this is eerily reminiscent of the coup d'etat in Venezuela in April 2002, when so-called "civil society" along with dissident military forces kidnapped President Chávez and installed a "transition government." The groups involved also received funding from the U.S. government, primarily via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and later from USAID as well.
CNN en Español, Telesur, and other international television stations reporting on the situation in Honduras have been removed from the airways in the Central American nation. The whereabouts of the Foreign Minister and the ambassadors of Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua are still unknown. OAS General Secretary José Miguel Insulze has announced he will travel immediately to Honduras to investigate the situation. President Chávez of Venezuela has also announced an emergency meeting of ALBA nations in Managua, Nicaragua, as soon as this evening.
12:18pm — Dan Restrepo, Presidential Advisor to President Obama for Latin American Affairs, is currently on CNN en Español. He has just stated that Obama's government is communicating with the coup forces in Honduras, trying to "feel out" the situation. He also responded to the reporter's question regarding whether Washington would recognize a government in Honduras other than President Zelaya's elected government, by saying that the Obama Administration "is waiting to see how things play out" and so long as democratic norms are respected, will work with all sectors. This is a confirmation practically of support for the coup leaders. Restrepo also inferred that other countries are interfering in Honduras' international affairs, obviously referring to Venezuela and other ALBA nations who have condemned the coup with firm statements earlier this morning.
4:10pm: If Obama Does Not Refuse to Recognize Coup Leaders then U.S. Approving Military Coup
As of this time, late Sunday afternoon, after the Honduran Congress has illegally removed President Zelaya from power and violently kidnapped and forced him into exile in Costa Rica, the Obama Administration has STILL NOT stated that it WILL NOT recognize any other president of Honduras other than the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya.
All of the nations in the region have made clear that they will only recognize President Zelaya as the legitimate president of Honduras. Even the United Nations and European Community have made clear the same sentiment. Only the Obama Administration has made no statement confirming that it will not recognize the head of Congress, who just declared himself president of Honduras, as a legitimate leader.
THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! We must DEMAND the Obama Administration refuse to recognize any other president than Manuel Zelaya in Honduras. If the Obama administration's rejects such a demand, then it is evidence of its role in this illegal military coup.
4:32pm: Massive Human Rights Violations Underway in Honduras
The Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya, elected in November 2005, has been kidnapped, beaten and forced into exile in Costa Rica. A fake letter of resignation, with his forged signature (see blog entry below), was used by Honduras' opposition majority Congress to justify the president's ouster. Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas was brutally beaten and kidnapped by military forces in her residence just before noon and taken into custody. She has not been seen since.
In complete violation of diplomatic law, the ambassadors of Venezuela and Cuba were both beaten and kidnapped for a short period by Honduran soldiers, under orders of the coup leaders. They have both been released and have taken refuge again in their respective embassies.
A non-binding vote, scheduled for today, on a possible future constitutional assembly, was impeded by the coup leaders, violating the Honduran people's right to vote and participate in their political processes.
Nations around the world, including the United Nations, Organization of American States, Latin American countries and even the United States have condemned the events in Honduras. Only the Obama Administration has yet to clarify whether they will recognize the illegal coup government led by the president of Honduras' congress, Micheletti.
5:00pm: Illegal Swearing in of De Facto President in Honduras
Right now the Honduran Congress is illegally swearing in the president of Congress, Micheletti, as the de facto president of Honduras, in the next development of this ongoing military-civil coup taking place throughout the day.
President Zelaya is still in forced exile in Costa Rica, after being beaten and kidnapped by soldiers under orders of those involved in the coup. Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas is still disappeared, after also being beaten and taking prisoner by the Honduran military in clear violation of her rights.
The United States maintains a military base in Soto Cano, Honduras, that houses approximately 500 soldiers and special forces. The U.S. military group in Honduras is one of the largest in the region. The leaders of the coup today are graduates of the U.S. School of the Americas, a training camp for dictators and repressive forces in Latin America.
Will the Obama Administration recognize the coup government in place now in Honduras? Or will Obama call for the reinstatement of constitutional president Manuel Zelaya. We are waiting to hear from the White House....
Tonight, a special meeting of ALBA nations has been convened in Managua, Nicaragua. Heads of State or high level representatives from Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Venezuela, Dominica, San Vincent and Antigua and Barbados are expected to attend.
5:37pm: Coup Government in Place in Honduras
It's official, illegal, but official. Roberto Micheletti, up until right now the head of Congress, has just been sworn in as de facto president after violently ousting President Zelaya from power, kidnapping him and forcing him into exile in Costa Rica. Micheletti just gave a speech before Congress, broadcast live via CNN en Español and Telesur, along with Honduran stations, was enraged with power, often yelling and declaring his "utmost respect for democracy and the constitution" (?!) He also discussed how his "cabinet" which he is about to announce, will "restore democracy" and "respect for the constitution" to the country. He repeated over and over again that what took place was not a military-civil coup but rather a "civil society" action to "ensure democracy."
Still no word about kidnapped and beaten Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas' whereabouts. The Congress also did not explain President Zelaya's beating and kidnapping and forced exile or the forged resignation letter, which they now obviously are no longer using as a legitimate "justification" for the coup. It's just too bogus.
The U.S. Military Group in Honduras trains around 300 Honduran soldiers every year, provides more than $500,000 annually to the Honduran Armed Forces and additionally provides $1.4 million for a military education and exchange program for around 300 more Honduran soldiers every year.
6:54pm: OAS Has Just Condemned Coup in Honduras, Calls for Zelaya's Reinstatement
In a major blow to the coup leaders in Honduras who just illegally installed themselves in power, the Organization of American States (OAS) has just issued a resolution condemning the coup against President Zelaya, demanding the return of Zelaya to power immediately and clarifying that the OAS will not recognize any government other than Zelaya's in Honduras. Whew! For a minute there I thought this was going to turn out like Haiti in 2004 when coup forces kidnapped President Aristide and forced him into exile and, while the OAS "condemned" the constitutional rupture, they never called for Aristide's reinstatement, and since the U.S. backed the coup, an illegal transitional government was installed and nothing more came of it from the international community.
This time, things seem different. Still waiting on the U.S. Government's official position...If they say they will not recognize the coup government, then we have to see how things will play out in Honduras.
7:40pm: OAS Resolution Should Imply U.S. Condemnation
Since the Obama Administration has stated the coup situation in Honduras should be resolved via the OAS, and the OAS has just condemned the coup and called for the unconditional restoration of President Zelaya to power, that should also imply that the U.S. Government shares the same position.
Some rumors are flying around that two U.S. government reps have made statements to the effect of Obama not recognizing the coup government in Honduras, but not wanting to "get involved" and to "wait" for the coup government to decide it is illegitimate by analyzing the OAS decision.
I think a clear coup d'etat against a democratic government that also happens to be a major dependent on U.S. economic and political aid should provoke a more firm and concise statement by the U.S. Government.
Tomorrow the State Dept will have to respond to questions about the coup.
12:26am: Alba Countries Meeting in Nicaragua with President Zelaya
The ALBA nations have been convened for a special meeting in Managua, Nicaragua. Presidents Chávez of Venezuela, Correa of Ecuador and Ortega of Nicaragua are present, along with Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez. President Zelaya of Honduras, ousted earlier this morning by a military-civil coup, is the guest of honor. Zelaya gave a recount of his kidnapping, saying machine guns opened fire on his residence this morning before soldiers kidnapped him and placed him on the presidential airplane. He didn't know where he was going until he arrived in Costa Rica. Apparently, the Costa Rican government was notified as Zelaya's plane was landing. The ALBA countries have clearly condemned the coup in Honduras today and are meeting to such effect.
The OAS declaration was also quite clear in condemning the coup and calling for President Zelaya's immediate reinstatement to power. Nevertheless, the coup government in Honduras has refused to respond to the calls of the international community to restore Zelaya to power. They continue to insist a coup has not taken place, but rather a "transition" to "democracy." (?!).
Two State Dept spokespeople have given a press conference and indicated, still a bit ambiguously, that the U.S. Government is calling for Zelaya's reinstatement and only recognizes him as the constitutional president of Honduras. [...]
June 29, 1:00am: U.S. Confirms It Knew Coup Was Coming
A New York Times article has just confirmed that the U.S. Government has been "working for several days" with the coup planners in Honduras to halt the illegal overthrow of President Zelaya. While this may indicate nobility on behalf of the Obama Administration, had they merely told the coupsters that the U.S. Government would CUT OFF all economic aid and blockade Honduras in the event of a coup, it's almost a 100% guarantee that the military and right wing parties and business groups involved in the coup would not have gone through with it.
So, while many make excuses for the Obama Administration's "calculated" statements, had they been more firm with the coup leaders, instead of "negotiating," the coup may never have happened. Also, the State Department says they believed "dialogue" was the best way to resolve the situation, but their lack of clarity and firm position has caused multiple human rights violations to occur in Honduras and a lot of tension to take place in the region.
And during the April 2002 coup against Chávez in Venezuela, the State Department also claimed it knew of the coup and tried to "stop" it. Later, in my investigations, it was discovered through documents from the State Department and CIA declassified under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that CIA, State, and other U.S. agencies, funded, supported, advised and armed the coup leaders....
10:32am: Mass Repression in the Streets
Last night, the coup government de facto president in Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, spoke live in a television interview (the only television station left open in Honduras, the others have been shut down by the military), and reinforced his determination to remain in power. He said he would allow President Zelaya to return to the country — not as president, but as a citizen — only if he renounces his relationship with President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. Micheletti also said he did not need the approval of any nation — including the U.S. — regarding his position in power and the "new government" in place in Honduras. Despite all of the condemnations from the international community, Micheletti has said his coup government will not step down.
Today there are several meetings in Nicaragua — the Rio Group is meeting (comprised of all Latin American and Caribbean nations), ALBA countries have been meeting since last night (Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbados and Honduras) and the Central American nations are also all going to meet later today to discuss the situation in Honduras.
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has made a statement unilaterally condemning the coup in Honduras and calling for President Zelaya's immediate reinstatement. All have said so far they will only recognize Zelaya as the legitimate president of Honduras.
Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas has been released by the coup military officers who beat and detained her. She was forced into exile in Mexico, where she is now and is expected to fly later today with Mexican president Felipe Calderon to Nicaragua.
The coup government in Honduras has issued arrest warrants for members of Zelaya's cabinet that are still in the country. There is widespread repression throughout the country. A curfew was imposed by the coup government last night at 9pm to 6am this morning and the military have thoroughly barricaded the presidential palace to prevent protesters from getting close.
Television, press and radio in Honduras are not reporting AT ALL on the coup and President Zelaya's whereabouts. As they did during the April 2002 coup against Chávez in Venezuela, television stations are showing soap operas and regular programming, print media is not mentioning the coup at all and neither is radio. There is a MAJOR BLACKOUT on information in Honduras.
No longer is the coup in Honduras making international headlines. Seems like the international media doesn't really care that a military coup has just occurred in Honduras and the president was kidnapped, beaten and forced into exile. Nor are they reporting that for the first time ever, all multilateral organisms, like the OAS, UN, European Community, ALBA, UNASUR, etc, have all condemned the coup and convened emergency meetings to discuss solutions.
This afternoon, President Obama meets with President Uribe of Colombia, in a previously scheduled meeting, and will most likely make statements regarding the situation in Honduras.
Nevertheless, it seems like in the particular coup scenario, Obama has lost control. The U.S. Military Group and Embassy in Honduras have been directly involved with the coup leaders. USAID and the Pentagon have backed this coup, there is just really no question. The Honduran military would never have moved without consent from their commanding officers, the U.S. Military Group in Honduras and those stationed on the Soto Cano base.
11:17am: Violence in Front of the Presidential Palace in Honduras
Alert: There is an irregular situation occurring outside the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Soldiers in riot gear are surrounding the palace, preparing for the coup leaders arrival. But the soldiers are not there to prevent the coup leaders from entering the palace, rather to facilitate their entry and prevent protesters from nearing the palace grounds. The soldiers are in full riot gear with major weapons on hand and a potential major violent repression is about to occur.
Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas, previously kidnapped, beaten and forced into midnight exile by the coup leaders is giving declarations from her forced exile in Mexico. She confirmed she will be going together with Mexican president Felipe Calderon to the meetings in Nicaragua today. She reaffirmed that the government she represents of President Manuel Zelaya remains the legitimate government of Honduras. President Calderon of Mexico, a right-wing president, has offered his help to dialogue with the coup leaders in Honduras in order to restore constitutional order.
(Originally published as "Obama's First Coup d'Etat," on Venezuelanalysis.com, with additional updates from Chavezcode.com)