Jun 28, 2009

Pres. Zelaya Calls for the Military to Correct its Actions

Most of this posting is from a televised press conference with President Zelaya today in Costa Rica.

Here is the link: http://www.aporrea.org/tiburon/n137437.htm
(I can't seem to embed the video)

Pres. Zelaya notes that he was taken into military custody by armed soldiers. He was not told where he was being taken. "I was kidnapped, by force, with violence, with brutality. This kidnapping is a blow to the country, to the whole world. It's a regression of 30-40 years to the age of the dictators."

He notes that the coup was planned by a small group of elites and "ambitious military officers."

"In 2010 Honduras will choose another president but in this moment it's a difficult moment for the country. I am the president of the Hondurans and only the people can put me in office or remove me." He adds that he will not ask for asylum, and that he is only asking for "hospitality" and thanks Costa Rica.

"I want to return to my country, I am the president of the Hondurans... I expect the support of all of the Americas, from the United States, the Rio Grande, to Cabo de Hornos."

Costa Rican Pres. Oscar Arias then condemns the coup and says, "We thought that democracy in Central America had been sufficiently consolidated that this couldn't happen. I an very sorry that there are... (those) who make the mistake of applauding a coup just because they don't agree with the current president. It is unacceptable that the constitutional order be interrupted in this way."

"This reflects that democracy in Central America is still fragile."

Arias called on the Rio Group to gather and announced that Zelaya will attend the meeting of the Central American System of Integration (SICA) in Managua tomorrow, which was confirmed by Zelaya.

Zelaya mentioned that, among many others, Under-Sec. of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Tom Shannon, called to affirm that the "U.S. does not support this brutal act", in Zelaya's words.

Zelaya said in the press conference, "The Honduran people are never going to accept... a leader as a result of usurpation..." He noted that communications have been blocked. "The people are in the streets, in many places. I urge the people to remain calm, but that we defend the rights of the society, in pacific resistance, in a process of non-violence to make demands to this sector of usurpers that doesn't know how to respect the rights of the people."

"The country is militarized. I am the president who has most supported the military forces and they repay me with betrayal... I expect them to correct their actions."

A Colombian reporter asks if the coup is a result of his "friendship with Chavez, Ortega and Correa" and if it was planned. Zelaya replies that he is friends with all the presidents of the region, naming names across the political spectrum. "I am friends with all the democratic (leaders) in America and now we are bound in a process of decreasing the inequalities of poverty, to try to give more justice to the people..."

He says the coup is a conspiracy of a "mafia" in Honduras and describes the chronology of events related to the consult that we have explained earlier in these pages, and points out that if people were against the assembly they should have simply voted no.

"Imagine if I had proposed a real reform? They would have executed me on the spot."

He notes that the consult was completely voluntary. He adds that Costa Rica recently carried out a referendum on CAFTA but that the law in Honduras forbids referendums on most issues. "In no part of the world, can a law limit your fundamental rights--to freedom, to justice life, to participation. How can a judge come along and say asking a question is a crime? And then they call out the army, almost assassinate a president, paralyze the country, cut off the light, radio, television... This is the crime."

At the Americas Program, we are receiving some messages from the Honduran lists we belong to. They note that on CNN Espanol, Zelaya announced that his "resignation" letter read by the Sec. of the Honduran Congress was false. Here we see the Honduran elites trying out all the failed techniques of military coups against progressive leaders in the past. This time the efforts are meeting with immediate, massive repudiation on the international level.

Our friend and ally in many causes, Rafael Alegría of Via Campesina, told Telesur that transportation is paralyzed and Luther Castillo of Honduran social movements
confirmed that there is massive mobilization, especially around the presidential residence, demanding the restitution of the president.

The movement has a commitment to non-violence. The international diplomatic community must do everything in its power to peacefully restore constitutional order to Honduras and avoid bloodshed. So far there are only isolated reports of shootings. Hopefully when members of the military coup and its supporters realize that the entire world is watching and repudiates its actions they will back down without causing the murder of Honduran citizens determined to defend their democracy.

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