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Coup in Honduras: Military Ousts President Manuel Zelaya, Supporters Defy Curfew and Take to the Streets
Monday, June 29, 2009 :In the first military coup in Central America in a quarter of a century the Honduran military has ousted the democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya. Former Parliamentary speaker Roberto Micheletti who was sworn in as Zelaya's replacement on Sunday has imposed a two-day nation-wide curfew. But hundreds of Zelaya supporters remain on the streets and shots were fired at protesters near the Presidential palace early Monday morning. We go to Honduras to speak with Honduran medical doctor and award-winning human rights activist, Dr. Juan Almendares and NYU professor of Professor of Latin American History, Greg Grandin.
In the first military coup in Central America in a quarter of a century the Honduran military has ousted the democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya. Former Parliamentary speaker Roberto Micheletti who was sworn in as Zelaya’s replacement on Sunday has imposed a two-day nation-wide curfew. But hundreds of Zelaya supporters remain on the streets and shots were fired at protesters near the Presidential palace early Monday morning.
The ousted President was forced from the Presidential palace by armed soldiers early Sunday morning and flown to Costa Rica after he tried to carry out a non-binding referendum to extend his term in office. Micheletti says Zelaya was not ousted through a coup but by a legal process. But speaking at a press conference in Costa Rica Zelaya called it a kidnapping and vowed to return to his country as President. He explained that a small group of elites and military officers were behind the coup.
The military coup in Honduras and the reported arrests of the Cuban, Venezuelan, and Nicaraguan ambassadors to Honduras have been roundly condemned by the Organization of American States that held an emergency session Sunday. The Honduran representative compared the coup to what happened in Chile in 1973. The Venezuelan representative accused former Bush administration under-secretary of state Otto Reich of complicity in the coup. Earlier in the day Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned that his armed forces were on alert.
President Obama meanwhile issued a declaration Sunday morning saying he was “deeply concerned” by reports from Honduras. In a statement later in the day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the action against the ousted Honduran President should be “condemned by all.” The US Ambassador to Honduras reaffirmed that the United States only recognizes Manuel Zelaya as the President of Honduras.
For the latest from Honduras we go to Dr. Juan Almendares, who joins us on the line from the capital city of Tegucigalpa. We’re also joined here in the firehouse studio by New York University Professor of Latin American History Greg Grandin.
Dr. Juan Almendares, Honduran medical doctor and award-winning human rights activist. He is the President of the Honduran Peace Committee as well as the past Secretary of the Coordinating Committee of Popular Organizations. He was an opposition candidate with the Democratic Unification Party during the last presidential elections.
Greg Grandin, professor of Latin American history at NYU and author of “Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism.” His latest book is “Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City.”