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Coup in Honduras

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:35 pm    Post subject: Coup in Honduras Reply with quote

Interestingly, perhaps, that Obama and Chavez both support President Zalaya.


Protests erupt, gunshots heard after Honduras coup
Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:12pm EDT

By Mica Rosenberg

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Gunshots were heard near the presidential palace in Honduras late on Sunday as protests erupted after the country's army ousted and exiled leftist President Manuel Zelaya in Central America's first military coup since the Cold War.

Hundreds of pro-Zelaya protesters, some of them masked and wielding sticks, set up barricades in the center of the capital, Tegucigalpa, and sealed off road access to the presidential palace.

A Reuters witness said several shots were heard outside the presidential palace and an ambulance was seen arriving at the scene. It was not clear if anyone was injured or who fired the shots.

Zelaya, in office since 2006, was ousted in a dawn coup after he upset the judiciary, Congress and the army by seeking constitutional changes that would allow presidents to seek re-election beyond a four-year term.

Congress named an interim president, Roberto Micheletti, who announced a curfew for Sunday and Monday nights. The country's top court said it had told the army to remove Zelaya.

The coup was strongly condemned by Zelaya's regional ally Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez -- who has long championed the left in Latin America. Chavez put his military on alert in case Honduran troops moved against his embassy or envoy there.

U.S. President Barack Obama's administration, the European Union and a string of other foreign governments also voiced backing for Zelaya, who was snatched by troops from his residence and whisked away by plane to Costa Rica.

The Organization of American States demanded Zelaya's immediate and unconditional return.

Honduras, an impoverished coffee, textile and banana exporter with a population of 7 million, had been politically stable since the end of military rule in the early 1980s.

But Zelaya has moved the country further left since taking power and struck up a close alliance with Chavez, upsetting the army and the traditionally conservative rich elite.

Zelaya tried to fire the armed forces chief, Gen. Romeo Vasquez, last week in a dispute over the president's attempt to hold an unofficial referendum on Sunday about changing the constitution to allow presidential terms beyond a single, four-year term. Under the constitution as it stands, Zelaya would have been due to leave office in early 2010.

A former businessman who sports a cowboy hat and thick mustache, Zelaya, 56, told Venezuela-based Telesur television station that he was "kidnapped" by soldiers and barely given time to change out of his pajamas. He was later bundled onto a military plane to Costa Rica.


Zelaya was to fly on Sunday evening to the Nicaraguan capital, Managua, to meet Chavez and other regional leftist leaders. The OAS said the organization's Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza, was on his way to Nicaragua for consultations with the regional leaders.

The global economic crisis has curbed growth in Honduras, which is heavily dependent on remittances from Honduran workers abroad. Recent opinion polls indicate public support for Zelaya has fallen as low as 30 percent.

The army stood guard outside as Honduran deputies unanimously elected Congress head Micheletti, a member of Zelaya's own Liberal Party, as interim president until after the elections in November.

Micheletti defied world pressure to reverse the coup, saying: "I don't think anyone here, not Barack Obama and much less Hugo Chavez, has the right to come and threaten (Honduras)."

Honduras is a big coffee producer but there was no immediate sign the unrest would affect output.


Chavez said he had put his troops on alert over the coup and would do everything necessary to abort the ouster.

He said that if the Venezuelan ambassador was killed, or troops entered the Venezuelan embassy, "that military junta would be entering a de facto state of war, we would have to act militarily." He said, "I have put the armed forces of Venezuela on alert."

Chavez has in the past threatened military action in the region but never followed through.

The United States and other foreign governments condemned the coup. Obama called for calm.

"Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference," he said in a statement.

A senior Obama administration official said later that Washington recognizes only Zelaya as president.

The coup could be an early test for Obama as he tries to mend the United States' battered image in Latin America, a regional expert said.

"This is a golden opportunity to make a clear break with the past and show that he is unequivocally siding with democracy, even if they (Washington) don't necessarily like the guy," former Costa Rican Vice President Kevin Casas-Zamora told Reuters in Washington.

Honduras was a staunch U.S. ally in the 1980s when Washington helped Central American governments fight left-wing guerrillas.

Chavez, who is known for his stridently anti-U.S. rhetoric and has in the past accused the United States of backing his own removal, said there should be an investigation to see if Washington had a hand in Zelaya's ouster. The White House denied any participation in the coup.

The United States still has about 550-600 troops stationed at Soto Cano Air Base, a Honduran military installation that is also the headquarters for a regional U.S. joint task force that conducts humanitarian, drug and disaster relief operations.

Democracy has taken root in Central America in recent decades after years of dictatorships and war, but crime, corruption and poverty are still major problems. Zelaya said the coup smacked of an earlier era.

"If holding a poll provokes a coup, the abduction of the president and expulsion from his country, then what kind of democracy are we living in?" the ousted president said in Costa Rica.

The Supreme Court, which last week came out against Zelaya and ordered him to reinstate fired military chief Vasquez, said on Sunday it had told the army to remove the president.

(Addition reporting by Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa, David Morgan, JoAnne Allen and Ross Colvin in Washington, and Frank Jack Daniel in Caracas, Writing by Alistair Bell and Catherine Bremer, Editing by Frances Kerry)


There are souls in the boots
Of the soldiers America
Fuck your yellow ribbon
If you want to
Support your troops
Bring them home
And hold them tight
When they get here
-Andrea Gibson - For Eli
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James D

Joined: 16 Dec 2006
Posts: 1012

PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who knows what to think with so much fork-tongued Doublespeak going around these days!
Ain't it scary when they speak the truth!!

What they say is one thing - what they do is quite another.


The Keys to understanding what is happening in Honduras
Ignacio Escolar
(Translation by James D for Breakfornews)

1. What had been convened for yesterday, which the “golpistas” (those behind the coup) have impeded, wasn’t the permanent re-election of Zelaya nor the presidency for life. Not even the reform of the constitution. What was being voted for was a non-binding referendum to ask the Hondurans if they would like that in the next elections, those in November, they also vote for the creation of a constituent assembly to reform the magna carta. In short: it was something apparently so offensive as asking if you could ask about reforming the constitution.

2. The current constitution of Honduras establishes a single mandate for the presidents of five years. Zelaya’s terminates in November and, in any case, he couldn’t present himself for re-election because by this date the constitutional reform that he proposes wouldn’t be approved. At most, it would have been possible that in November to vote for the possibility of a constitutional reform. He himself has denied in various interviews that he intends to present himself for re-election.

3. The parliament is in conflict with the president among other things because Zelaya, who went to the polls for the “Partido Liberal” (centre right), has carry out left wing policies and has allied himself with Hugo Chavez. A few days ago, the parliament approved a law that prohibits celebrating any kind of consultation within 180 of the elections. It is an ad hoc rule, done to impide Zelaya’s referendum.

4. The argument that Zelaya used to go ahead with his referendum, despite the sentences and new laws against it, was that it didn’t consist of a referendum but a poll. In Honduras it is compulsory to vote. Not so in Zelaya’s consultation, where the vote was optional. To sort out the decision, the “poll” was to be carried out by the Honduran equivalent of the CIS, the National Institute of Statistics. The parliament argued that the consultation would be manipulated, as the count would be done by organization dependent on the president.

5. The Supreme Court that has ordered the expulsion of Zelaya from the country (according to the surreal explication of the “golpistas”) is not a Supreme Court comparable to European courts. To start with, because its complete name is “Tribunal Supremo Electoral” (TSE) - Electoral Supreme Court, its composition emanates from the parliament (that is to say, from the parties that are opposed to Zelaya, the “golpistas” who today have approved the military coup) and amongst whose powers is to regulate the elections but not to detain the president. It is not the first dirty trick of this institution. When Zelaya, unexpectedly, won the elections, the TSE delayed his access to power for more than a month with technical excuses.

6. As it has not been legally established that the president cease to be so because the army deports him, the “golpistas” have falsified a letter of resignation from Zelaya – whose supposed author has denied it - signed some days ago and where it assures that he leaves the post for health reasons. The Congress today has voted his dismissal from office and the naming of a new president using it as an argument.

7. The political opposition of the president has been using judicial powers to boycott his government for some time now. Amongst the more surreal cases is that of the plan to reduce the consumption of fuel and contamination that was called “Hoy no circula”, – (Don’t drive today) , an imitation of similar ones in Mexico DF, that has functioned for years. Zelaya tried to oblige all cars to stop for one day a week. The Supreme Court of Justice declared it unconstitutional.

8. Is the United States behind the coup? Just for a change, no. Obama and Hilary Clinton as much as the US ambassador in the country, have been clear in that respect. Right now the Organization of American States (OAS) is in emergency meeting, from which will come at least a new communication of condemnation.




Coup d'Etat Underway in Honduras: OBAMA’S FIRST COUP D’ETAT

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 occured during the 1980s, when the Reagain 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 responsable 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 condeming the threats to democracy and authorizing a convoy of representatives to travel to OAS 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.”

It's hard to imagine a military coup in Latin America without approval from "above" - Are "They" just hedging their bets?
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James D

Joined: 16 Dec 2006
Posts: 1012

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems like the coup has no international support and Zelaya says he will return to Honduras on Thursday.
Meanwhile, here is a curious site with some good on-going comments updating the news.
So if you're interested, you can follow it here :-




The crisis in Honduras began when the military refused to distribute ballot boxes for the opinion poll in a new Constitution. President Zelaya fired the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Romeo Orlando Vasquez Velasquez, who refused to step down. The heads of all branches of the Honduran armed forces quit in solidarity with Vasquez. Vasquez, however, refused to step down, bolstered by support in Congress and a Supreme Court ruling that reinstated him. Vasquez remains in control of the armed forces.

Vasquez, along with other military leaders, graduated from the United States' infamous School of the Americas (SOA). According to a School of the Americas Watch database compiled from information obtained from the US government, Vasquez studied in the SOA at least twice: once in 1976 and again in 1984.


Congressman Joseph Kennedy has stated, "The U.S. Army School of the Americas...is a school that has run more dictators than any other school in the history of the world."


School of the Americas Watch points out that this is not the first time the SOA has been involved in Latin American coups. "In April 2002, the democratically elected Chavez government of Venezuela was briefly overthrown, and the School of the Americas-trained [soldiers] Efrain Vasquez Velasco, ex-army commander, and Gen. Ramirez Poveda, were key players in the coup attempt."

According to School of the Americas Watch, "Over its 58 years, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counter-insurgency techniques, sniper skills, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. Colombia, with over 10,000 troops trained at the school, is the SOA's largest customer. Colombia currently has the worst human rights record in Latin America."



In Zelaya's case, even if a resignation letter does exist, it is important to keep in mind that it would have been obtained at gunpoint. Zelaya was reportedly kidnapped by 200 armed soldiers who disarmed his Presidential Guard, he was reportedly beaten, and then he was removed from the country. Furthermore, his family remains in the country and he is very concerned for their safety. Under such circumstances, a resignation letter cannot be considered valid, especially because Zelaya has declared from Costa Rica that he will return as President.

In other news, Bloomberg reports that the Venezuelan, Cuban, and Nicaraguan ambassadors were beaten and briefly detained by soldiers this morning. All three countries belong to the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), of which Honduras is also a member country.


Chavez Saber-Rattling
Submitted June 28, 2009 - 3:25 pm by Kristin Bricker A lot's been going around the internet about Chavez's response to the coup, including a possible military response. Prior to the coup the right-wing Honduran press had been publishing reports insinuating that fellow ALBA member-country Nicaragua was sending agents into Honduras disguised as undocumented migrants. Their only proof was...a "normal" influx of Nicaraguan migrants across the border. I'll see if I can find that link again.

Chavez, for his part, has stated that he and fellow ALBA nations "will not recognize any [Honduran] government that isn't Zelaya's."

There have been news reports for days that Chavez has threatened or implied Venezuelan military intervention if Venezuelan diplomats were attacked during the coup.

Following the attack on Venezuela's ambassador, Chavez threatened military action if attacks against his country's ambassador continued. Chavez told Venezuela's VTV: "That military junta over there would be entering into a state of de facto war. We would have to act, including militarily. I couldn't stand here with my arms crossed knowing that they're attacking our ambassador. We can't give in to the thugs. We can't allow a return to thug-ism."

Chavez went on to threaten the power of the man expected to be named Honduras' interim president, Roberto Micheletti. "Mr. Roberto Micheletti will either wind up in prison or he'll need to go into exile. He's practically sent me threats. If they swear him in we'll overthrow him, mark my words. Thugetti--as I'm going to refer to him from now on--you better pack your bags, because you're either going to jail or you're going into exile. We're not going to forgive your error, you're going to get swept out of there. We're not going to let it happen, we're going to make life impossible for you. President Manuel Zelaya needs to retake his position as president."

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