Postcards from Honduras

by Jul 5, 2009All Articles

Sunday, July 5, 2009 Posted by Eva Golinger
DAY 8: COUP GOVERNMENT SHUTS DOWN ALL AIRPORTS IN HONDURAS TO IMPEDE PRESIDENT ZELAYA’S RETURN
The de facto coup government in place in Honduras since last Sunday’s coup d’etat has militarized the international airport outside the capital city of Tegucigalpa and shut down all other airports in the country. Letters were received by the Embassies of Argentina, Paraguay and Ecuador from the coup government, denying authorization for airplanes to land in Honduran airspace carrying the heads of state from those nations.

Protesters against the coup government and in favor of President Zelaya’s return are gathered around the airport in Tegucigalpa, awaiting their constitutional president’s arrival. They have reported snipers are stationed all around the airport, apparently ready to fire at any airplane that enters the area.

President Zelaya is announcing right now from Washington, where he arrived last night to attend the extraordinary Organization of American States (OAS) meeting that resulted in the suspension of Honduras from the multilateral group until constitutional order is reestablished, that he will return today to his country, accompanied by two different delegations. The first delegation will be compromised of President Zelaya and the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) Miguel D’Escoto. They will arrive directly in Tegucigalpa. The second delegation will be the Secretary General of the OAS, Jose Miguel Insulza, together with President Cristina Fernandez of Argentina, President Fernando Lugo of Paraguay and President Rafael Correa of Ecuador. The second delegation will land first in neighboring El Salvador.

It is unclear still how President Zelaya’s airplane will enter Honduran airspace considering the coup government has militarized the nation and placed an order prohibiting the arrival of his airplane. The flight from Washington is four hours, so he should be entering Honduras around 4pm EDT, approximately. Either the plane will be shot down or President Zelaya will be taken prisoner by the military coup forces upon arrival.

Saturday, July 4, 2009
DAY 7: OAS SUSPENDS HONDURAS; ZELAYA SAYS HE WILL RETURN HOME SUNDAY
Things are really heating up in the streets in Honduras. Mass marches supporting President Zelaya, ousted in last Sunday’s coup d’etat, have set on the capital, Tegucigalpa, anticipating the president’s return on Sunday, July 5th. Zelaya issued a statement to his supporters in Honduras, calling on them to resist the coup in a non violent way and to await his return on Sunday. He also told the coup leaders to step down now while they still can, reaffirming the isolation imposed upon them by the international community. President Zelaya has said he will return on Sunday around noon, arriving at the international airport outside the capital city. He will be accompanied by President Cristina Fernandez from Argentina, President Fernando Lugo from Paraguay and President Rafael Correa from Ecuador.

The coup leaders still refuse to relinquish power and have reiterated that should Zelaya return, he will be arrested and imprisoned for crimes of “treason”. (Uh, I think it’s the other way around guys. Overthrowing and kidnapping a democratically elected president at gunpoint and forcing him into exile is actually more consistent with the crime of treason that convening a non-binding opinion poll to evaluate public opinion on important policy issues, which is what they accuse Zelaya of doing).

The top representative of the catholic church in Honduras, Cardinal Rodriguez, gave a nationally broadcast speech late last evening, stating the church supports the coup government and doesn’t recognize a coup d’etat as having taken place. Now, the coup government is calling its illegal actions a “constitutional presidential succession”. Cardinal Rodriguez warned President Zelaya not to return to the country, stating that if he does, there will be a “bloodbath”. He actually really said that, and in fact eerily ended his sermon by saying the word “bloodbath” (baño de sangre) with a devilish smile.

CNN continues to interview and report on the coup government as a constitutional government, calling the dictator in place “President Micheletti”. CNN is also presenting the alleged “charges” against President Zelaya, as fact.

The Organization of American States (OAS) is meeting in Washington this evening to determine the final suspension of Honduras from the regional group. Despite the decision made last night by the coup government to renounce the Democratic Charter and withdraw from the organization, the OAS does not recognize that action as legitimate, since the coup government itself is not recognized as a legal, constitutional government. Nevertheless, Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, who returned this morning from Tegucigalpa, presented his report to the permanent council of member states this evening, explaining that the coup government refuses to budge at all and understands the consequences of its actions. Canada is opposed to President Zelaya returning to Honduras on Sunday, stating that “it’s too early”. Well, Canada, tell that to the thousands in the streets of Honduras whose rights are being violated now for eight days. There is still a curfew imposed by the coup government and a suspension of civil rights. Independent media are still censored or closed by the coup government and there is at least one reported and confirmed assassination at the hands of military. The army is also shooting M16s at the buses bringing people to the capital from the interior of the country, impeding their arrival to participate in the mass rallies in support of President Zelaya.

The Obama administration has been silent now for several days on the events in Honduras. I guess they are all enjoying a happy 4th of July while Hondurans are repressed, beaten and persecuted by the coup government that is still receiving millions in aid from the United States. Maybe Obama/Clinton are waiting for President Zelaya to actually be killed (which could happen if he returns to the country tomorrow, since there are snipers positioned all around the international airport, apparently awaiting his arrival) in order for Washington to classify the events this week in Honduras as a “coup d’etat” and suspend all aid.

Even the far right wing governments of Colombia, Peru, Mexico and the entire European Union have withdrawn their ambassadors from Honduras and suspended all ties with the country until President Zelaya is reinstated. Only the United States continues to stand alone as the sole supporter of the coup government. The US Ambassador in Tegucigalpa, Hugo Llorens, continues to maintain meetings with the coupsters.

DAY 7: COUP GOVERNMENT IN HONDURAS WITHDRAWS FROM OAS
Well, it’s official! The Organization of American States (OAS) doesn’t need to bother suspending Honduras from the OAS because the coup government has decided it is withdrawing from the most important regional body in the Americas. Roberto Micheletti, the dictator who was sworn in as de facto president in Honduras on Sunday, after the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped at gunpoint by masked soldiers and forced into exile, has said, “to hell with you OAS”, “we don’t need you either!” During Secretary General of the OAS, Jose Miguel Insulza’s visit to the Central American nation to hand deliver the 72-hour ultimatum demanding the coup government step down or face suspension (the most severe sanction the OAS can impose), coup leader Roberto Micheletti gave a speech before supporters and later issued a formal statement withdrawing Honduras from the OAS, declaring, “we don’t have to respond to anybody, we are a sovereign nation”. The OAS visit was intended to reach some kind of dialogue or solution to the crisis in Honduras since the coup occurred on early Sunday morning, yet the coup government held tight to its position of power.

On Saturday, the OAS will convene a new meeting to review the results of its failure in Honduras and the decision of the coup government to defiantly ignore the regional body’s intentions to resolve the conflict peacefully (if that is even possible at this point). Several presidents, such as Cristina Fernandez of Argentina and Rafael Correa of Ecuador will travel to Washington for the special OAS follow up meeting to the Honduran crisis.

President Zelaya had hoped to return Saturday to his elected post, yet the situation in his country, post-coup, is more complicated than originally imagined. Hondurans supporting Zelaya marched cross the nation to the capital, Tegucigalpa, on Friday to send a message to the OAS General Secretary that they are waiting for their legitimate president to return.

If the Obama administration doesn’t formally sanction the coup government in Honduras and suspend all relations, as every other country around the world has done so far, a terrible precedent will be set in the hemisphere, allowing for coups that produce “friendly” results for Washington. The United States is pleased with the outcome of Sunday’s coup, which deposed a leftist president aligned with countries like Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia, but at the same time is not happy with the method – a military coup- to achieve the end goal. However, if Washington continues without firmly condemning the coup government’s actions and withdrawal from the OAS, Obama will lose all credibility in Latin America.

DAY 6: OAS SECRETARY GENERAL HEADS TO HONDURAS TODAY TO PERSONALLY GIVE ULTIMATUM TO COUP GOVERNMENT
Today the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Jose Miguel Insulza, is traveling to Tegucigalpa to personally inform the coup government, in place since Sunday’s military coup d’etat, that if they don’t step down by Saturday and allow for President Manuel Zelaya’s return to power, then Honduras will be suspended from the most important multilateral organization in the region. The suspension will not just be symbolic, it also includes ceasing all economic aid from the Inter-American Development Bank, which provides millions of dollars in support to the Central American nation, and the imposition of sanctions for human rights violations through the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

The coup government, led by Roberto Micheletti, has said it will remain in power “with or without” the OAS. We’ll see how things develop today.

Meanwhile, the United States is the only remaining country in the Americas still maintaining diplomatic relations with Honduras after Sunday’s coup. The US Ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, remains in Tegucigalpa, apparently “negotiating” with the coup government to find a solution. However, President Zelaya, the constitutional and democratically elected president of Honduras since 2005, has stated he will not “negotiate” his return to power. It’s ridiculous to request a president overthrown in an illegal coup negotiate with the criminals who overthrew him in order to reestablish constitutional order.

There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that the US Government is, unfortunately, involved in that will soon be exposed.

Check out how the State Department is finding ways to get out of sanctioning Honduras and pressuring the coup government to step down by now legally classifying what took place as a “military coup d’etat” under US law. Note how instead of referring to the coup in English, the State Dept official does it in Spanish, as though that somehow makes it mean something else (yeah, since it’s said in Spanish, it doesn’t mean the same under US law):

Excerpt from Wednesday’s State Department press briefing:

“QUESTION: And so this is properly classified as a military coup?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Well, I mean, it’s a golpe de estado. The military moved against the president; they removed him from his home and they expelled him from a country, so the military participated in a coup. However, the transfer of leadership was not a military action. The transfer of leadership was done by the Honduran congress, and therefore the coup, while it had a military component, it has a larger – it is a larger event.”

The Obama administration is trying desperately to save its image before the world, but not break ranks with its allies in Honduras. It’s very pleased with the outcome of the coup, just not the method used to get there. So now they’re saying, it was a “golpe de estado”, and even though the armed military guards in ski masks kidnapped President Zelaya from his bed at gunpoint in the middle of the night and forced him into exile, since it was a leader of Congress, a civilian, and not a military general, who subsequently named himself the de facto president, then it’s not a “military coup”.

DAY 5: MASS PROTESTS IN HONDURAS AGAINST COUP; TENS OF THOUSANDS MARCHING ON THE CAPITAL TO AWAIT PRESIDENT ZELAYA’S RETURN
Despite the suspension of constitutional rights in place as of yesterday, per a decree by the Honduran congress in support of the coup government, tens of thousands of Hondurans are mobilizing throughout the country and participating in nationwide marches in route to the capital, Tegucigalpa. Demonstrators are protesting the illegal coup d’etat that ousted the democratically elected president, Manuel Zelaya, on Sunday, after kidnapping him from his bedroom and forcing him into exile. Hondurans in support of President Zelaya are marching on the capital to await President Zelaya’s return, scheduled as of now for Saturday, July 4th, after the Organization of American States (OAS) 72-hour ultimatum, that was issued to the coup government on Wednesday, calling on them to step down or face severe sanctions, has expired.

Hondurans are still denouncing the media blackout in place in their country, preventing the majority of people in the country from receiving news from independent and international sources. The only media permitted to broadcast or publish since Sunday’s coup are those supporting the illegal takeover of the state.

Hondurans are also reporting food and medicine shortages in the country, resulting from the border closings imposed by neighboring nations Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador, in reaction to the coup. Central American nations have adamantly condemned the coup and refused to recognize the illegal government in place, led by Roberto Micheletti, former head of congress. Nations around the world have expressed they only recognize Manuel Zelaya as the legitimate and constitutional president of Honduras.

It is still unsure how things will play out over the next few days, since the coup government is defiantly holding its power in Tegucigalpa and still has the military on its side. If they refuse to step down by Saturday, further sanctions could be imposed that would severely harm the already third poorest nation in Latin America’s economy and infrastructure. As it stands today, the coup government appears ready to bear the consequences of months of isolation from the world community. The US may determine next Monday that sanctions should be in place against Honduras, resulting from the military coup, but it is unlikely that substantial aid will be cut, which will allow the illegal government to ride out the next 6 months until elections are held in November.

Governments in Latin America have stated they will not recognize any government elected during the November elections if the coup government remains in place until then, since such a process would not be considered legitimate or constitutional.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009
DAY 4: CNN BACKS COUP; SUSPENSION OF CIVIL RIGHTS IN HONDURAS; EUROPEAN UNION RECALLS ALL AMBASSADORS FROM HONDURAS
CNN en Español, viewed throughout Latin America, has been backing the coup against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya since day 1, Sunday, June 28th. They initially referred to the events as a military coup during the early hours, then slowly transformed their headlines to call the coup a “forced succession”. By the end of the day, dictator Roberto Micheletti was considered, by CNN, the “constitutional president” of Honduras and Zelaya was the “deposed” president.

Since then, CNN has shown about 90% coverage favorable of the coup government in Honduras, conducting interviews with Micheletti as well as those in his “cabinet”. The “analysts” and “experts” providing insight and commentary on the coup in Honduras have all been either conservative U.S. voices of those on the Latin America right, like Alvaro Vargas Llosa. CNN has done little or no reporting on the mass protests on the streets in Honduras against the coup government, nor has it covered or reported on the detention of several Telesur and Associated Press journalists by military forces in Honduras this past Tuesday. CNN is also not providing much coverage of the major media blackout still in place in Honduras or the repressive measures taken by the coup government to impose states of emergency, suspend civil and human rights and mandate a national curfew through the weekend. And CNN is obsessed with making this whole thing to be about Chávez, and not about the internal class struggles in Honduras.

The coup government in Honduras announced this evening that the congress has passed a decree suspending all constitutional rights in the country indefinitely. This means the coup forces can enter homes without warrants, detain anyone with no notice or justification, prohibit all public gatherings, such as marches, rallies, protests or meetings, and maintain censorship of independent media. Due process rights are also suspended as are all other civil and political rights. Hondurans are also denouncing the coup government is forcing men as young as 15 to join the military to “defend” the country against any potential foreign threats or forces that may invade the country to restore Manuel Zelaya to the presidency.

If, as the coup leaders say, all is calm and peaceful in the streets of Honduras and a majority of Hondurans support the coup government led by Micheletti, then why does martial law need to be imposed and individual rights suspended?

In April 2002, when the coup was executed against President Chávez, the dictator who took over briefly, businessman Pedro Carmona, told CNN in a live interview that all was calm and peaceful in the streets of Caracas and throughout Venezuela. Meanwhile, millions of people were pouring into the streets around the capital and the nation to demand their president be returned to power. In Venezuela, the people and loyal armed forces were able to rescue their democracy, constitution and president, and defeat a coup backed by Washington.

Thousands are protesting in the streets throughout Honduras, facing repression and risking detention, or even worse, assassination. The people of Honduras fighting this brutal repressive coup and dictatorship (that is refusing to step down, despite all the international pressure) need your solidarity and support! Especially if you are in the US, find ways to pressure the Obama administration and demand it suspend aid to Honduras until the coup government steps down. Both the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank have temporarily suspended loans to Honduras until constitutional order is restored. All member nations of the European Union have withdrawn their ambassadors in Honduras. The US is the only nation that has not followed suit. Washington appears to be buying time trying to figure out how to save face and save its strategic interests in Honduras. Latin America and Europe have stood firm against tyranny. Will the US be an ally to tyranny or an example of democracy?

DAY 4: PRESSURE ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO ACCEPT COUP IN HONDURAS
Yes, I know Fox News is not the best way to judge the political scene in the US, but this video clip is a hint into the way US media is now beginning to portray the coup events in Honduras over the past few days. And note the NPR correspondent’s comments, very similar analysis as to mine over the past few days regarding Washington’s ambiguity regarding this coup so as to buy time and possibly recognize the coup government as “transitory” until the elections in November…….very dangerous.

Note, this will isolate the US/Obama Administration from the rest of Latin America and definitely show Obama is not an agent of change. Also note, Chávez is not planning to “invade” Honduras!!! That’s ridiculous.

DAY 4: ZELAYA POSTPONES RETURN TO HONDURAS 72 HOURS/OAS GIVES COUP GOVERNMENT ULTIMATUM
The conclusions of the emergency Organization of American State (OAS) meeting held yesterday in Washington regarding the coup d’etat in Honduras resulted in the suspension of President Zelaya’s declared return to the country for another 72 hours. Zelaya had announced on Monday that he would return this Thursday, July 2nd, to reclaim his constitutional position as President of Honduras, after a military coup ousted him violently on early Sunday morning and forced him into exile in Costa Rica. The OAS members issued an ultimatum to the coup government in Tegucigalpa, headed by Roberto Micheletti, former head of Congress, who has now evolved into Honduras’ first dictator since 1979. The regional body, comprised of all nations in the Americas, except for Cuba, has informed Micheletti’s illegal government that it has 72 hours to step down or face suspension from the OAS and regional – as well as international – isolation. Micheletti, who enjoys the strong support of Honduras’ armed forces, the majority trained, schooled and funded by the United States, has vowed he will not step down from the office he has long desired and has now illegally usurped after Sunday’s coup.

Sub-Secretary of State, Thomas Shannon, attending the OAS meeting in Washington yesterday, confirmed that Manuel Zelaya is the “legal and constitutional” president of Honduras, but still stopped short of clarifying the U.S. government’s position regarding the coup d’etat and Zelaya’s unconditional return to power. The US has signed on to the OAS statement, but this is not the same as Washington legally and officially declaring on its own terms that a coup d’etat has occurred and that it will only recognize the government of Zelaya as legitimate. OAS resolutions, similar to UN General Assembly resolutions, are not legally binding.

Here is the OAS Resolution, available at www.oas.org:

RESOLUTION ON THE POLITICAL CRISIS IN HONDURAS
(Adopted at the plenary session, held on July 1, 2009 and pending to be revised by the Style Committee)

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,

GRAVELY CONCERNED about the political crisis in the Republic of Honduras as a result of the coup d’état against the government of President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, which has produced an unconstitutional alteration of the democratic order;

RECALLING Permanent Council resolutions CP/RES. 952 (1699/09) of June 26, 2009 and CP/RES. 953 (1700/09) of June 28, 2009, regarding the situation in Honduras;

CONVENED urgently by the Permanent Council in accordance with Article 20 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter;

REITERATING the principles and purposes established in the Charter of the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Democratic Charter on the strengthening and preservation of the democratic institutional system in member states, as well as the importance of strict adherence to and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the principle of nonintervention in the internal affairs of other states; and

TAKING NOTE of the declarations by international organizations, sub-regional groups, and governments of the member states,

RESOLVES:

1. To condemn vehemently the coup d’état staged against the constitutionally established Government of Honduras, and the arbitrary detention and expulsion from the country of the constitutional president José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, which has produced an unconstitutional alteration of the democratic order.

2. To reaffirm that President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales is the constitutional President of Honduras and to demand the immediate, safe, and unconditional return of the President to his constitutional functions.

3. To declare that no government arising from this unconstitutional interruption will be recognized, and to reaffirm that the representatives designated by the constitutional and legitimate government of President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales are the representatives of the Honduran State to the Organization of American States.

4. To instruct the Secretary General to undertake, together with representatives of various countries, diplomatic initiatives aimed at restoring democracy and the rule of law and the reinstatement of President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales, pursuant to Article 20 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and report to the Special General Assembly on the results of the initiatives. Should these prove unsuccessful within 72 hours, the Special General Assembly shall forthwith invoke Article 21 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter to suspend Honduras’ membership.

5. To extend this special session of the General Assembly until July 6, 2009.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009
DAY 3: COUP GOVERNMENT IN HONDURAS EXTENDS NATIONAL CURFEW THROUGH JULY 3rd
Brief note:

The coup government in Honduras, led by dictator Roberto Micheletti, former head of Congress, has reactivated the state television channel 8 after days of silence during the military coup that began on Sunday, June 28th. Apparently, the coup government needed a few days to find another team, loyal to the coup leaders, to operate the station.

A statement was read on Honduras’ Channel 8 this evening, declaring an extension of the national curfew, imposed on Sunday, through July 3rd. The curfew is between the hours of 9pm and 5am. Those in the streets will be subject to military repression and detention.

There is no other justification for the imposed curfew and repression except for the stifling of dissent and the fear of mass protests to the coup government. This action further confirms Micheletti’s coup regime is struggling to maintain control over the situation in the country and is responding to its opposition with repressive measures.
Posted by Eva Golinger at 10:43 PM 1 comments 

Tuesday, June 30, 2009
DAY 3: OAS & UN MEETINGS TURN THE PRESSURE UP ON COUP GOVERNMENT IN HONDURAS, WHICH DEFIANTLY REFUSES TO STEP DOWN
The coup government that took over the Honduran presidency on Sunday, June 28 via a military coup, is defiantly refusing to step down, despite major international pressure from the world community. Roberto Micheletti, former head of Congress before being sworn in as the coup president, has said he will not resign from the presidency, claiming his rise to power was a “constitutional act” and the “will of the people”. Today in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, Micheletti held a rally with his supporters, mainly middle and upper class Hondurans, who filled the streets surrounding his podium. He was accompanied by previously deposed high military command General Romeo Vasquez, a School of the Americas graduate who led the coup efforts. Constitutional President Manuel Zelaya had ordered him to step down last Wednesday, after the General refused to obey orders from the president to distribute electoral material throughout the country to enable a non-binding consultation on the possibility of future constitutional reform that would have occurred Sunday had the coup not taken place.

Today, the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, ousted in the coup on Sunday, received widespread support from the 192 member nations of the United Nations, who all signed onto a resolution unanimously calling for Zelaya’s unconditional reinstatement, condemning the coup d’etat underway in Honduras and strongly suggesting members cease relations with the coup-installed government until President Zelaya is returned to his elected office.

The Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., also received President Zelaya in a special session, and confirmed the commitment to resolve the political crisis in Honduras, as well as threatening to suspend Honduras’ membership in the regional multilateral body until Zelaya is returned to power and the coup government steps down. Zelaya allegedly met with Sub-Secretary of State Thomas Shannon during his stay in Washington.

While the international pressure is heating up on the coup government to step down, Roberto Micheletti continues to enjoy the full support of Honduras’ armed forces. Micheletti himself is a former soldier, adding to his close ties in the high military command. However, what is clear is that the Honduran armed forces would not act without the approval of the Pentagon, and particularly the approximately 600 US troops stationed on the Soto Cano base, a military presence that has been in Honduras actively since the early 1980s. In fact, Colonel Oliver North used the Soto Cano base in Honduras as a launching pad for the operations of the paramilitary death squads known as the “contra”, trained and funded by the CIA, that were used to stifle leftist movements in Central America during the Reagan Administration, particularly in Nicaragua against the Sandinista government.

An interesting note that could provide clues regarding US support for the coup against Zelaya, is the fact that the Soto Cano base, while heavily funded and occupied by US military troops and personnel, and equipment, is actually not technically or legally a US military base. Honduran law forbids foreign military presence in the country. To get around the law, the US made a “handshake agreement” with the Honduran government decades ago, to allow the US military presence in exchange for economic and military aid. The US provides millions of dollars annually (between $60-$100 million/year) to Honduras in military and development aid.

Curiously, President Zelaya had issued a decree about a year ago, in early 2008, announcing the Soto Cano base, approximately 50 miles from the capital, would be used for commercial aircraft and international flights. A fund from the ALBA countries (the regional trade agreement between Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominique, St. Vicent, Antigua & Barbados) was dedicated to building a civilian terminal on the base. Such an effort could have led to a further expulsion of US military presence on the base, as the ALBA countries, staunchly anti-imperialist, could have supplemented the funding Honduras was dependent on from Washington. According to the terms of the “handshake agreement” regarding US military presence and occupation of Soto Cano, it could be terminated unilaterally by the Honduran government with little notice.

DAY 3 UPDATE: WORLD BANK “PAUSES” AID TO HONDURAS; WHY CAN’T OBAMA FOLLOW SUIT?
Strange to see the World Bank, headed by Bush-Reaganite Robert Zoellick, Condi Rice’s second arm and co-signer of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) – the Bush-Cheney war doctrine in the Middle East to gain world energy control and domination and justify wars in Iraq and beyond – taking a step even the “progressive” Obama Administration has refused to pursue.

This in from Reuters:

“WASHINGTON, June 30 (Reuters) – The World Bank has “paused” all program lending to Honduras following a military coup in the impoverished country, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said on Tuesday.

“We’re working closely with the OAS (Organization of American States) and looking to the OAS to deal with its handling of the crisis under its democratic charter,” Zoellick told reporters, “In the process we have put a pause with our lending.” (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by James Dalgleish)”

Does Obama really want to appear further right-wing than Robert Zoellick?

DAY 3 UPDATE: COUP GOVERNMENT IN HONDURAS THREATENS TO IMPRISON PRESIDENT ZELAYA IF HE RETURNS
Despite efforts by the international community to pressure the coup government that illegally took power on Sunday in Honduras to step down, de facto president Roberto Micheletti has stated he will remain in power through January 2010, when a newly elected president is sworn in. Micheletti spoke today outside the presidential palace in the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, to hundreds of supporters, announcing he will have President Zelaya arrested if he returns to Honduras. Zelaya confirmed again today, speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, that he plans to return to his post as constitutional president of Honduras this Thursday. He will be accompanied by Organization of American States Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa.

Zelaya’s opposition controls the Honduran congress and supreme court, and de facto president Micheletti has already installed a partial cabinet and called on his Attorney General to draft detention orders that authorize President Zelaya’s capture and imprisonment for alleged crimes of treason, drug trafficking and violation of the constitution. So far, Micheletti and his illegal coup imposed government have not presented any evidence of crimes committed by President Manuel Zelaya.

The Obama Administration is still wavering on its position regarding the Honduran coup. There is growing concern that should the U.S. Government fail to impose sanctions on Honduras and classify these events as a coup d’etat, Micheletti will take that as a silent approval of his de facto government and refuse to step down until the current presidential term runs out and elections are held in November.

Washington is still buying time by debating the “legal terminology” it choses to use in reference to the Honduran coup. Under U.S. law, the government must suspend most economic and military aid to a nation run by a military coup that has deposed a democratically elected government. Honduras is a major recipient of U.S. economic and military aid, totaling over $100 million annually. State Department representatives are currently negotiating with the coup government in Honduras to find a solution, which may be similar to Haiti in 2004 when President Aristide was kidnapped and forced into exile by opposition forces supported by Washington and later a “transition” government was implemented until elections could be held to install a new regime. It would be unfortunate and a major blow to democracy and social and economic justice if the current situation in Honduras ends the same way. It would also be a huge stain on the Obama Administration before the eyes of the international community and would finally “pop” the bubble of “hope” and “change” the Obama campaign sold to the world.

DAY 3 UPDATE: URGENT NEWS FLASH: U.S. SIGNS ONTO UN DECLARATION CONDEMNING COUP, CALLS FOR ZELAYA’S IMMEDIATE UNCONDITIONAL REINSTATEMENT
The UN General Assembly in New York just voted on the resolution discussed yesterday that unequivocally condemns the coup d’etat in Honduras, executed on Sunday, June 28th. The resolution calls for the immediate, unconditional return of President Zelaya to the presidency of Honduras to complete his term which ends in January 2010. The resolution also calls for all member states to REFUSE TO RECOGNIZE the coup government in place now in Honduras, headed by Roberto Micheletti, former head of Congress. The resolution also condemns human rights violations committed by coup leaders and condemns the violations of diplomatic norms also committed by the coup forces when they kidnapped and beat the Venezuela, Cuban and Nicaraguan ambassadors in Honduras on Sunday afternoon.

Nevertheless, as this Reuters article explains, “The resolution, watered down from an earlier draft that said the assembly “decides to recognize no government other than that” of Zelaya was co-sponsored by a group of Latin American and Caribbean states joined by several others including the United States.”

And more importantly, “General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding.”, meaning, it’s symbolic, important, but still, symbolic. So we still need a firm statement from the US Government regarding the unconditional return of Zelaya to the Honduran presidency and the non-recognition of the coup government…

President Manuel Zelaya is right now speaking before the UN General Assembly…..
…will update as developments continue.

DAY 3, HONDURAN COUP CONTINUES; ZELAYA SAYS HE WILL RETURN THURSDAY
The meetings held yesterday in Nicaragua by Latin American and Caribbean nations concluded late in the evening. The ALBA nations, Rio Group, Central American nations and CARICOM (Caribbean nations) unanimously condemned the coup against President Zelaya in Honduras, called for his immediate and unconditional reinstatement to the presidency and for an investigation to be conducted into human rights violations that have been committed by the coup forces in place since Sunday.

The Central American nations and ALBA nations also recalled their ambassadors from Honduras and cut all diplomatic ties until President Zelaya is restored to power. The countries bordering Honduras, which are Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador, suspended all commercial activity and border traffic for 48 hours. Brasil also recalled its ambassador from Honduras and cut relations, as did Peru, which by the way is governed by right-winger Alan Garcia.

At the conclusion of last night’s meetings in Managua, President Zelaya announced he will return on Thursday to Honduras, accompanied by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Jose Miguel Insulza, and a delegation of regional heads of state. This morning, President Cristina Fernandez of Argentina announced she will be a part of that delegation on Thursday.

Zelaya is expected to speak today before the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City. The UN has already issued a unanimous declaration condemning the coup and calling for Zelaya’s immediate and unconditional reinstatement to the presidency. Zelaya will also be present at the special meeting convened today in Washington by the Organization of American States (OAS). It is expected that at this meeting, the OAS will suspend Honduras’ membership from the regional body, a move set to severely isolate the coup government and encourage it (if not force it) to step down and allow for democracy to be restored.

There is still a curfew and media blackout imposed in Honduras. Yesterday’s protests left several dead and hundreds wounded and detained by military forces.

The coup government, led by dictator Roberto Micheletti, still refuses to acknowledge its actions as illegal and in clear violation of Honduran and international law. They have stated that they are trying to communicate with the OAS and UN to “explain” the “truth” about what has happened in the country, still standing by their initial position regarding the events that have taken place since Sunday. The coup government continues to insist a “coup d’etat” has not occurred and that their violent and illegal actions have been in the “name of democracy”.

Major international media are still reporting the reason behind Sunday’s coup as an alleged “reelection” attempt by President Zelaya. But in reality, Sunday’s scheduled opinion poll was not a reelection bid by Zelaya, it was a non-binding consultation with the people of Honduras, backed by more than 800,000 signatures from Honduran citizens that would merely consider the possibility of adding a 4th issue to the election ballot this coming November, when presidential elections are to be held. The question posed for Sunday’s poll was:

“Do you agree that, during the general elections of November 2009 there should be a fourth ballot to decide whether to hold a Constitutional Assembly that will approve a new political constitution?”

As you can see, this makes no mention whatsoever of reelection efforts nor does it even confirm that an actual constitutional assembly would be held. It merely poses the question to the people to determine whether a majority of Hondurans want to allow the possibility of constitutional review and reform next year. In any case, the poll would have been non-binding.

A very important fact here is that President Zelaya’s term runs out at the end of this year and he is not allowed to run for reelection under the current constitution. If the fourth ballot were included in the November elections and a constitutional assembly was convened, it wouldn’t be until 2010. President Zelaya would no longer be president of Honduras and so therefore, his “reelection” would be impossible.

It’s amazing how dramatically the media have distorted this issue.

The main reason the elite powers in Honduras didn’t want Sunday’s poll to take place was because they don’t want the people’s voice to be heard. The current constitution of 1982 in Honduras doesn’t even recognize women’s or indigenous people’s rights. Imagine, if the people spoke, real change could happen, change that could alter the balance of power. Those in power, unwilling to share it, will do anything to crush initiatives for change.

The Obama Administration is still refusing to demand President Zelaya’s immediate and unconditional reinstatement to the presidency and still is not considering suspending aid to Honduras until the coup government steps down. This is an unacceptable response to a clear violation of democracy and human rights. Even the Washington Post today is reporting on the US Government’s role in the coup and its ambiguous position regarding the resolution to this crisis.

Excerpt here:

“Asked whether it was a U.S. priority to see Zelaya reinstalled, Clinton said: “We haven’t laid out any demands that we’re insisting on, because we’re working with others on behalf of our ultimate objectives.”

John D. Negroponte, a former senior State Department official and ambassador to Honduras, said Clinton’s remarks appeared to reflect U.S. reluctance to see Zelaya returned unconditionally to power.

“I think she wants to preserve some leverage to try and get Zelaya to back down from his insistence on a referendum,” he said.

Clinton told reporters that the situation in Honduras had “evolved into a coup” but that the United States was “withholding any formal legal determination” characterizing it that way….

The Obama administration has pledged to work more closely with Latin America and not dictate policy in its traditional back yard. But the United States has several points of leverage: It is Honduras’s biggest trading partner, and President Obama has requested $68 million in development and military aid for 2010. Portions of that aid, which are provided directly to the government, would be cut off in the event of a coup. Congressional officials said last night they were not sure exactly how much that amounted to. Honduras also is a recipient of a five-year, $215 million Millennium Challenge grant that is conditioned on the country remaining a democracy.

The United States also has a close military relationship with Honduras. Hundreds of Honduran officers participate in U.S. military training programs each year, more than most other Western Hemisphere countries.”

Monday, June 29, 2009
UPDATE DAY 2: 4:30PM: OBAMA AND CLINTON SPEAK OUT ON HONDURAN COUP; STILL AMBIGUOUS
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made remarks today about the military-civil coup that took place in Honduras yesterday against President Manuel Zelaya. While condemning the coup, she also stated Washington was not “calling for the reinstatement” of President Zelaya but rather was still “feeling out” and “monitoring” the situation. She also said the Obama administration was not considering cutting of aid to Honduras at this time, despite a coup government being in place. After wavering around saying a “coup d’etat” had taken place in Honduras yesterday, today Clinton said the United States believes the unrest in Honduras “has evolved into a coup.” Nice to know.

President Obama spoke about Honduras at the end of a meeting with right-wing President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia in the Oval Office. The two were meeting on different issues unrelated to the Honduran coup, regarding a free trade agreement between both states that has been stuck in the US Congress for over a year due to congressmembers’ protests against human rights violations in Colombia. Obama referred to Honduras very briefly, stating, ” the weekend ouster of Honduran leader Manuel Zelaya was a “not legal” coup and that he remains the country’s president.” (Is there such thing as a ‘legal coup’?)

From Associated Press:

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama says the weekend ouster of Honduran leader Manuel Zelaya was a “not legal” coup and that he remains the country’s president.

Obama spoke to reporters in the Oval Office on Monday after meetings with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Obama said he wanted to be very clear that President Zelaya is the democratically elected president.
Obama pledged the U.S. to “stand on the side of democracy” and to work with other nations and international entities to resolve the matter peacefully.

NOTE THAT CLINTON’S STATEMENTS ARE FAIRLY AMBIGUOUS, SHE LEAVES ROOM FOR WORKING WITH THE COUP LEADERS….AND SOMEWHAT JUSTIFIES THEIR ACTIONS…

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday the United States believes the unrest in Honduras “has evolved into a coup,” but the U.S. is not demanding that deposed President Manuel Zelaya be restored to office.
She also said the military coup has not triggered an automatic cutoff of U.S. aid to Honduras.

Clinton told reporters at the State Department that a delegation from the Organization of American States will be heading to Honduras as early as Tuesday “to begin working with the parties” on the restoration of constitutional order.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama has not spoken with Zelaya since the Honduran leader was forced into exile. Gibbs said it was premature to talk about whether the U.S. would withdraw its ambassador or seek to cut off aid from Honduras.

Clinton stopped short of saying the Obama administration would demand the return to power of the deposed president, who was forcibly removed from the country on Sunday morning by the Honduran military.

A reporter asked whether the administration would insist that Zelaya be restored to power.

“We haven’t laid out any demands that we’re insisting on, because we’re working with others on behalf of our ultimate objectives, which are shared broadly,” Clinton replied.

“So we think that the arrest and expulsion of a president is certainly cause for concern that has to be addressed. And it’s not just with respect to whether our aid continues, but whether democracy in Honduras continues.”

Clinton cited a “fast-moving set of circumstances” in Honduras that require close monitoring.

“Our immediate priority is to restore full democratic and constitutional order in that country,” Clinton said at her first news conference since breaking her right elbow in a fall at the State Department June 17.

“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,” she added.

While stating that circumstances in Honduras had “evolved into a coup,” Clinton added that it was a fast-moving situation with an uncertain outcome. “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 that they’ve been on for a number of years now,” Clinton said.

She said the United States is looking at its aid program for the country and considering the implications of the forced removal of Zelaya for continued American assistance.

UPDATE DAY 2: 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 the 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 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.

DAY 2: COUP IN HONDURAS; 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 didn’t need the approval of any nation – including the US- 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. Vicent, 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 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 US 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 with consent from their commanding officers, the US Military Group in Honduras and those stationed on the Soto Cano base.
Posted by Eva Golinger at 10:32 AM 0 comments  
TOTALLY GROSS MIAMI HERALD ARTICLE ON HONDURAS
Check out this quote:

”This man broke the law and he deserved to be taken away,” Alvarez aid. “We want democracy in our country and for Chavez to butt out. And we want the United States to give us support.”

From the Miami Herald article, “Hondurans in South Florida express support for shake-up”….WTF?

UPDATE 1:00AM; US GOVT. CONFIRMS IT KNEW COUP WAS COMING
A New York Times article has just confirmed that the US 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 US 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 State and CIA declassified under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that CIA, State and other US agencies, funded, supported, advised and armed the coup leaders….

Here is the NY Times article posted a few hours ago.

And for the documents on the April 2002 in Venezuela, see my first book, The Chávez Code…or visit www.venezuelafoia.info.

UPDATE 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 militar-civil coup, is the guest of honor. Zelaya gave a recount of his kidnapping, saying machine guns opened fired 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 to 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 US Govt is calling for Zelaya’s reinstatement and only recognizes him as the constitutional president of Honduras. Here is an extract of their telephone press conference today:

“QUESTION: Thanks. This is Elise Labott with CNN. Thanks for doing this. I know you say that this is a – it has to be dealt with internally, but I was wondering, given the presence of U.S. troops in the country, whether you’ve been in touch with the military. It sounds like the military has been kind of restricted to the barracks. So are there any discussions with the military right now, and are you working with them to try and find some compromise? Thanks.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: By the military, you mean U.S. military or Honduran?
QUESTION: Well, no, I mean, is the U.S. military making contact with the Honduran military at this point? I mean, whether the – where are your – I mean, obviously, since the president – and it sounds like the foreign minister has been detained too, maybe – I mean, what are your contacts with the Honduran government right now?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: We do not have military-to-military communications at this point. At the beginning of the day, the Honduran armed forces were taking calls from our Embassy as we were condemning this act, and – but they have ceased to take those calls.
QUESTION: So how are you – I mean, what is your communication with the government right now since you’re not talking to the military? And what is the situation with the foreign minister? Was he detained as well?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: We believe the foreign minister was detained. I don’t have independent confirmation of that; however, our ambassador in a public press conference called for the release of all officials who have been detained, demanding that Honduran authorities release them immediately.
We have been attempting to communicate with especially members of congress and others who have been driving this process, and insisting that they need to step down and restore full democratic and constitutional order.
QUESTION: But you haven’t heard back from them?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Well, I mean, they haven’t done that yet, so —
QUESTION: Okay. Thanks.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Cal Woodward. Please state your affiliation.
QUESTION: Associated Press. Just to be clear, are you – is the U.S. Government calling for the return of the president?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Correct. “

Sunday, June 28, 2009
UPDATE 7:40PM: OAS RESOLUTION SHOULD IMPLY US 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 US Government shares the same position.

Some rumors are flying around that two US 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 US economic and political aid should provoke a more firm and concise statement by the US Government.

Tomorrow the State Dept will have to respond to questions about the coup….

UPDATE 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 other 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 US 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 US 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.

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.

BTW, The US 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.

UPDATE 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 U.S. Embassies 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.

Sunday, June 28, 2009
UPDATE 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.

UPDATE 4:10PM IF OBAMA DOES NOT REFUSE TO RECOGNIZE COUP LEADERS THAN US 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 evidences its role in this illegal military coup.

UPDATE: 3:44PM FAKE RESIGNATION LETTER FROM ZELAYA DATED 3 DAYS AGO

Alleged resignation letter with forged signature from President Zelaya is dated June 25, 2009. This is completely ridiculous considering that up until he was violently kidnapped this morning, Zelaya gave no indication whatsoever that he was planning to resign. Today, in is forced exile from Costa Rica, he has reaffirmed his role as constitutional president of Honduras and denied any resignation via letter or any other means.

The Honduran Congress has violated the human rights of its citizens and has brutally repressed members of Zelaya’s administration. Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas, who was beaten and taken from her home a few hours ago, has still not resurfaced.

The Honduran Congress says they have not executed a coup d’etat but rather are installing “rule of law” and “democracy”. WTF?????

BTW, the FAKE RESIGNATION letter states:

“Mr. President:

Due to the polarizing political situation in the country, which has provoked a national conflict that is eroding my political support, and due to my uncureable health problems that have impeded me from concentrating on my fundamental duties in the government, I am handing in my irrevocable resignation as President of the Republic, together with my Cabinet members, effective as of today.

With my resignation, I hope to contribute to healing the wounds in the national political environment.

Sincerely,

Jose Manual Zelaya Rosales
President of the Republic of Honduras

Addressed to: President of the National Congress
Honorable Representative Don Roberto Micheletti Bain
Legislative Palace
Tegucigalpa”

THIS IS CLEARLY A FAKE! AND THE GUY IT’S ADDRESSED TO, MICHELETTI, IS THE ONE THE CONGRESS JUST NAMED PRESIDENT OF HONDURAS!

Also, the “health problems” referred to in the letter are regarding the opposition’s claim that President Zelaya is “mentally ill”. Hmmm….the Venezuelan opposition has tried to say the same about President Chavez and have even had psychiatric studies conducted to back their “accusations”.

Maybe all of us are mentally ill who fight for social and economic justice and refuse to bow to imperialism, fascism and military coups!!

3:30PM: HONDURAN CONGRESS SAYS CAN’T ALLOW CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY TO EVER TAKE PLACE
A member of Honduras’ Congress has just admitted that in discussions with the US Ambassador in Honduras, the US Ambassador suggested they just let the opinion poll take place and then vote against the Constitutional Assembly in November, but, said the congressmember, “we can’t just allow ‘these people’ to do this with the help of Venezuela and Cuba.”

“we can’t have a constitution that allows the ‘people’ to elect members on the supreme court and allows the ‘people’ to be involved in government”…….

They also blamed Zelaya for increases in corruption, drugtrafficking and the relationship with “chavismo” in Venezuela….

Nevertheless, they can be in disagreement with Zelaya’s policies, but he was elected by a majority of Honduran people and still remains popular as their president…It’s the elite and the conservative parties, which have power in Congress, who have backed this coup…
Posted by Eva Golinger at 3:25 PM 0 comments  
3:15PM INT’L COMMUNITY UNANIMOUSLY REJECTS MILITARY COUP IN HONDURAS
The Organization of American States, ALBA nations, European Community, United Nations, UNASUR, MERCOSUR and even the United States have now ALL condemned the military coup underway in Honduras. HOWEVER, the Honduran Congress, Supreme Court and military are refusing to recognize their actions as a coup d’etat.

Still the other nation to not unequivocally call for President Zelaya’s immediate rescue and reinstatement is the United States, nevertheless, Hillary Clinton has issued a statement condemning the “situation” in Honduras and calling for “respect” for constitutional order.

Electricity and state media outlets in Honduras are still shut down in order to impose a curfew and blackout state so the military coup can succeed.

Honduran Congress live on CNN en español, Jose Alfredo Saavedra, Secretary of the Congress, has just read a Decree declaring President Zelaya no longer President of Honduras because he wanted to proceed with the opinion poll scheduled to occur today.

What happened to the validity of all those who voted for Zelaya? He is the elected president since 2005!
Posted by Eva Golinger at 3:09 PM 0 comments  
UPDATE 3:00PM: PEOPLE TAKING THE STREETS IN HONDURAS TO PROTEST MILITARY COUP
Minister of the Presidency in Honduras, Enrique FLores Lanza, is live on “Once Noticias” Channel 11 news in Honduras affirming that hundreds of thousands of Hondurans are taking to the streets to demand the return of President Zelaya. He has confirmed that President Zelaya HAS NOT RESIGNED and the letter presented by the Congress is a FAKE.

The OBAMA Administration has not yet called for the unequivocal reinstatement of Zelaya to the presidency of Honduras.

Call the State Department and the White House
Demand that they call for the immediate reinstatement of Honduran President Zelaya.

State Department: 202-647-4000 or 1-800-877-8339
White House: Comments: 202-456-1111, Switchboard: 202-456-1414

The Honduran Congress and Supreme Court are backing the Armed Forces and the military coup. They say a military coup per se has not occurred because the military does not want to take power, but rather the head of Congress will be named president.

PRESIDENT ZELAYA WAS BEATEN AND KIDNAPPED FROM HIS HOUSE THIS MORNING AND TAKEN BY FORCE TO AN AIRPLANE AND SENT TO COSTA RICA. FOREIGN MINISTER PATRICIA RODAS HAS BEEN BEATEN, KIDNAPPED AND IMPRISONED BY MILITARY FORCES AND IS STILL IN CUSTODY, HER WHEREABOUTS UNKNOWN. HONDURAN TELEVISION IS TRYING TO SAY THIS IS NOT A COUP. BUT THIS IS A COUP D’ETAT AND MUST BE UNILATERALLY CONDEMNED AND DEFEATED BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TOGETHER WITH THE HONDURAN PEOPLE.
Posted by Eva Golinger at 2:55 PM 1 comments  
UPDATE 2:20pm PRESIDENT ZELAYA DENIES RESIGNATION, LIVE ON CNN
President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras was just live on CNN en Español, confirming that he never signed nor authorized his resignation from the presidency. This is a coup d’etat taking place, he denounced. The Honduran congress has forged a resignation letter removing illegally the president from power. They say it’s a correspondence they have received and have to process, but have not confirmed its authenticity. MAJOR COUP UNDERWAY.

UPDATE 2:10PM: CNN BROADCASTS FROM HONDURAN CONGRESS; STATING ZELAYA HAS RESIGNED
Incredible! Just like Venezuela, April 2002. CNN has just issued a report saying that the Honduran Congress has just read President Zelaya’s resignation from the presidency and the head of Congress will be the new president of Honduras. However, just under one hour ago, President Zelaya spoke live from Costa Rica and did not give ANY indication whatsoever that he was going to resign. Zelaya moreover reiterated that he remains the elected president of Honduras until 2010 and was hoping to return to his country as soon as possible…..Is the resignation letter real? Or is this yet another strange repetition of Venezuela in 2002 when the opposition forces released a forged resignation letter they attributed to President Chávez but had actually been doctored by the coup leaders…

UPDATE 2:00PM: SOA WATCH CALLS FOR URGENT CALLS TO STATE DEPT
Military Coup in Honduras
A military coup has taken place in Honduras this morning (Sunday, June 28), led by SOA graduate Romeo Vasquez. In the early hours of the day, members of the Honduran military surrounded the presidential palace and forced the democratically elected president, Manuel Zelaya, into custody. He was immediately flown to Costa Rica.

A national vote had been scheduled to take place today in Honduras to consult the electorate on a proposal of holding a Constitutional Assembly in November. General Vasquez had refused to comply with this vote and was deposed by the president, only to later be reinstated by the Congress and Supreme Court.

The Honduran state television was taken off the air. The electricity supply to the capital Tegucigalpa, as well telephone and cellphone lines were cut. Government institutions were taken over by the military. While the traditional political parties, Catholic church and military have not issued any statements, the people of Honduras are going into the streets, in spite of the fact that the streets are militarized. From Costa Rica, President Zelaya has called for a non-violent response from the people of Honduras, and for international solidarity for the Honduran democracy.

While the European Union and several Latin American governments just came out in support of President Zelaya and spoke out against the coup, a statement that was just issued by Barack Obama fell short of calling for the reinstatement of Zelaya as the legitimate president.
Call the State Department and the White House
Demand that they call for the immediate reinstatement of Honduran President Zelaya.

State Department: 202-647-4000 or 1-800-877-8339
White House: Comments: 202-456-1111, Switchboard: 202-456-1414

Visit www.SOAW.org and www.SOAW.org/presente for articles and updated information.

UPDATE 1pm: PRESIDENT ZELAYA GIVES PRESS CONFERENCE FROM COSTA RICA
President Zelaya is speaking right now live from San Jose, Costa Rica, alongside the right-wing president of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias, who traditionally has been a staunch ally of Washington. Arias has just adamantly condemned the coup against Zelaya and called for the whole hemisphere to follow suit.

Sunday, June 28, 2009
UPDATE 12:30pm
Foreign Minister of Honduras Patricia Rodas has been taken from her home by soldiers, beaten and imprisoned. Serious human rights violations are occurring in Honduras and President Obama has so far only said he is “concerned”. Another showing of a US double standard? Since Zelaya is a “leftist” president, will the Obama administration refuse to condemn the coup against him?

Chávez announces that President Bachelet of Chile has also condemned the coup in Honduras and is emitting a formal declaration.

UPDATE 12:26pm CHAVEZ SPEAKING LIVE
President Chávez of Venezuela has just announced that the Cuban Ambassador in Honduras has been kidnapped and beaten by Honduran military forces. The Venezuelan Ambassador was beaten, kidnapped and left at the side of a road outside of Tegucigalpa. Chávez has denounced that both CNN and Venezuelan private station Globovisión have been trying to justify the coup against President Zelaya in Honduras. Chávez is live from the presidential palace together with the Honduran Ambassador in Venezuela. Chávez spoke with Fidel Castro in Cuba just over an hour ago regarding the situation. Both Cuba and Venezuela, along with Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador, have unilaterally condemned the coup in Honduras.
Posted by Eva Golinger at 12:23 PM 0 comments

UPDATE ON HONDURAN COUP D’ETAT
UPDATE: 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.

UPDATE: 12pm 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 US-funded NGO Grupo Paz y Democracia, have stated via CNN that a coup has not ocurred, 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 goups 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 Jose 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.

More to come as the situation develops over the next few hours. Catch live blogging at www.chavezcode.com.

COUP D’ETAT UNDERWAY IN HONDURAS
OBAMA’S FIRST COUP D’ETAT

President Zelaya of Honduras has just been kidnapped
By Eva Golinger ( or )
28 June 2009

[Note: 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.]

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 controversary 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 occured, 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 Unted 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. No images have been seen of the president so far and it is unknown whether or not his life is still endangered.

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 cowardness”, said the first lady, referring to the illegal kidnapping occuring during a time when no one would know or react until it was all over. Casto de Zelaya also called for the “preservation” of her husband’s life, indicating that she herself is unaware of his whereabouts. She claimed their lives are all still in “serious danger” 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 have both made public statements on Sunday morning condeming 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 condenming 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 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.”

As of 10:30am, Sunday morning, no further statements have been issued by the Washington concerning the military coup in Honduras. The Central American nation 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 US$ 50 millon 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.

Foreign Minister Rodas has stated that she has repeatedly tried to make contact with the U.S. Ambassador in Honduras, Hugo Llorens, who has not responded to any of her calls thus far. 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.

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