The Honduras Coup; and why it was condemned by many

, by Mark Seychell

The Honduras Coup; and why it was condemned by many

On 28 June, 2009, in Honduras there was to be a non binding referendum held in order to conduct changes in the Constitution which would amend the provision stating that a president must only be in office for one four year term, thus giving the then President, Manuel Zelaya, the chance to be re elected.

Many national bodies, including the Honduran Supreme Court ruled this somewhat democratic move by Zelaya as illegal, and on the morning of the 28th, the Supreme Court deployed the military to oust President Zelaya.

House Speaker, and next in the line of Presidential Succession, Roberto Micheletti, was later sworn into office by the Honduran National Congress. Despite the Honduras Supreme Court declaring that the coup d’état played out well within the parameters of Honduran law, not a single foreign state recognised the coup or the newly instated government. President Barack Obama said that as far as the US are concerned they still consider Manuel Zelaya to be the President of Honduras due to the illegality of the coup. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was much stronger in his reaction, vowing to “bring down” any replacement government.

Not a single foreign state recognised the coup or the newly instated government.

Several supranational organisations such as the United Nations, the Organisation of American States, and the European Union, have all condemned the coup on the basis that it was not in conformity with Human Rights conventions agreed upon by the OAS. In fact, Honduras has been sanctioned and suspended from within the bosom of the OAS for refusing to reinstate the ousted President Zelaya. In fact, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution which called for the reinstatement of Zelaya as the President of Honduras. Zelaya spoke in front of the General Assembly where he was applauded several times. In his speech, Zelaya promised not to seek another term as President and said that he would not accept a second term if he were asked to serve again.

In a statement done in response to the OAS’s reaction, the Honduran military’s chief lawyer, Herbert Bayardo Inestroza said, “In the moment that we took him out of the country, in the way that he was taken out, there was a crime. Because of the circumstances of the moment this crime occurred, there is going to be a justification and cause for acquittal that will protect us.”

Deputy Attorney General Roy David Urtecho has begun an investigation into why Zelaya was removed from Honduras by force instead of being charged in court; although who is to say that this investigation will not be influenced to favour the plight of the revolutionary government in some way or other?

There have been almost daily protests both against and in favour of the Micheletti interim government.

30th June saw the first rally in support of Zelaya’s removal take place in the capital, as thousands of Zelaya opponents took to the main square. Roberto Micheletti made an appearance and said that the November general elections will be held as scheduled and that a new president will be sworn in on January 2010.

Yet, protests did not cease as several thousand Zelaya supporters gathered near the Presidential Palace, confronting the guarding soldiers and lit tires on fire. In response to daily pro-Zelaya protests, Congress approved a decree on July 1st that applied an overnight curfew and allowed security forces to arrest people at home and hold them for more than 24 hours.

Protests turned deadly with two confirmed dead and several others injured on 5th July as protestors gathered around the airport to hinder the military from preventing Manuel Zelaya’s plane from landing in Tegucigalpa. Since then there have been almost daily protests both against and in favour of the Micheletti interim government.

During Democracy Now!, an American current affairs program, Manuel Zelaya was invited as a special guest. There he showed that he was clearly not fleeing from the law, but rather from aggression. He said, “I am willing to submit to a trial at any time, but not to the justice of Micheletti or the military justice of the coup leaders. That’s not justice. That’s an illegal regime and a de facto one that’s null and void.” In this same program, President Zelaya described the coup as being ‘made by a group of ambitious businessmen that want to maintain their privileges associated to multinational companies with political puppets and corrupt military.’

It is beyond doubt that Zelaya has the status quo placed firmly, albeit not too comfortably, in his bandwagon. This is due to the fact that a military coup d’état, one which took place on grounds of constitutional protection, has now turned into a conflict which goes far beyond the Honduran borders. It has now become Honduras versus the World. Only time will now tell when the revolutionary government led by Micheletti will succumb to the pressures of international sanctions and the prospect of a Latin American war.

Image:
- Manuel Zelaya, source: image provided by the author

Your comments

  • On 25 August 2009 at 17:57, by Aaron Ortiz Replying to: The Honduras Coup; and why it was condemned by many

    Why doesn’t this article mention the many peaceful protests in favor of Michelleti, which reached 100 thousand people?

  • On 25 August 2009 at 19:53, by democrasia Replying to: The Honduras Coup; and why it was condemned by many

    Hey kid, you should really investigate the truth, before publishing such rubbish. Funny how when you ask Honduras how they feel of what occured....95% if not more or happy and back the presidential succession. Clearly they must know more than you. What you write is read by people ,uninformedlike you, and might believe these lies.

    be more responsible.

  • On 26 August 2009 at 17:41, by Mark Seychell Replying to: The Honduras Coup; and why it was condemned by many

    In order to reply to the previous two messages, this article was aimed at why the Coup was condemned and not praised.

    Please do your research well, as I have, before accusing me of posting ’rubbish’ and ’lies’.

    Best regards, Mark Seychell

  • On 26 August 2009 at 17:54, by Mark Seychell Replying to: The Honduras Coup; and why it was condemned by many

    As a reply to the first message now, I did mention the protests in favour of Micheletti but did not elaborate as that was not the point of my article. To the second message, I replied in my previous statement.

    Best regards, Mark Seychell

  • On 28 August 2009 at 19:46, by Luca Replying to: The Honduras Coup; and why it was condemned by many

    I agree completely with mark. his arguments are well backed---and to the second message referring to the fact that 95% are happy with the presidential election, i tell you that instead of telling mark that what he wrote is rubbish, go on and prove that 95 % are in favour! do you have statistics? before saying 95% prove it my dear—how can you expect us to believe you without proves!

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