Stand in Solidarity with the People of Honduras - LASC alert and demands


Military Coup in Honduras - Stand in Solidarity with the People of Honduras

The Latin America Solidarity Coalition (LASC) condemns the militarycoup against the democratically elected Honduran President Zelaya. TheHonduran social movements, who are courageously resisting the militarytake-over through protests, occupations and strikes, are calling on theinternational community to speak up in defense of real and directdemocracy, for life, justice, liberty, dignity and peace.

Call the State Department and the White House and ask for actions, not merely words, including:

1. A cut off of all US aid (as required by US law) until Zelaya is safely returned to office.
2. Financial sanctions against the coup plotters
3. An investigation into what signals U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens gave to coup plotters before the coup.

State Department: 202-647-4000 or 1-800-877-8339
White House: Comments: 202-456-1111
Click here to send a message to President Barack Obama

Background: A military coup took place in Honduras on Sunday,June 28, led by SOA graduate Romeo Vasquez. In the early hours of theday, members of the Honduran military surrounded the presidentialpalace and forced the democratically elected president, Manuel Zelaya,into custody. He was immediately flown to Costa Rica.

A national referenfum had been scheduled to take place onSunday in Honduras to consult the electorate on a proposal of holding aConstitutional Assembly in November. General Vasquez had refused tocomply with this vote and was deposed by the president, only to laterbe reinstated by the Congress and Supreme Court.

The Honduran state television was taken off the air. Theelectricity supply to the capital Tegucigalpa, as well telephone andcellphone lines were cut. Government institutions were taken over bythe military. While the traditional political parties, Catholic churchand military have not issued any statements, the people of Honduras aregoing into the streets, in spite of the fact that the streets aremilitarized. From Costa Rica, President Zelaya has called for anon-violent response from the people of Honduras, and for internationalsolidarity for the Honduran democracy.


More background information and articles:

Obama Has the Power and Responsibility to Help Restore Democracy in Honduras

Resistance and Repression in Honduras

Honduras: Old Coup Strategy, Different Stage

Coups and Constitutions: From Bolivia to Honduras  



Roberto Micheletti Bain, a son of immigrants from Lombardy,Italy, was sworn aspresident of Hondurasby the National Congress on Sunday, June 28, after the coup in which thedemocratically elected president, Manuel "Mel" Zelaya, was ousted bymilitary officials. Micheletti's appointment was justified by a supposedresignation letter by Zelaya; howewer, Zelaya denied having signed such aletter.  His cabinet, in a statement made public on Monday, June 29,expressed that they are joining the peaceful resistance that will not recognizethe new government of Micheletti.

Zelaya announced that he will return to Honduras on Thursday, July 2,accompanied by the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General,José Insulza.  "I will complete my four-year term whether you,leaders of the coup d'etat, like it or not." pronounced Zelaya. However Micheletti announced that he will remain in power no matter how intensethe international pressure gets. The Honduran Attorney General has threatenedto imprison Zelaya under corruption charges if he returns to Honduras. In the meantime over 25,000 Hondurans have taken to the streets to demonstrateagainst the military coup d'etat. The protesters faced a violent onslaught oftear gas, rubber bullets, tanks firing water mixed with chemicals, and clubs asthe military tries to maintain control over the fragile country. Click here to watch a video on the riots followingthe coup.

Latin American Governments Isolate Honduras Politically andEconomically

The Head of States of many Latin American countries convened in Nicaragua onMonday, June 30, to conduct emergency meetings regarding the Honduran crisis.The countries members of  Bolivarian Alliance (ALBA), the Central America Integration System (SICA), andthe Rio Group unanimously condemned the coup andextended their support to President Zelaya.  The Organization of AmericanStates (OAS) Secretary General, José Insulza, as well as President Zelaya, andHonduran Chancellor, Patricia Rodas were present at the meetings.

SICA members, whose attendees included Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes,Guatemalan President Alvaro Colón, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, decidedto remove their ambassadors to Hondurans and to leave their embassies with afew staff.  SICA members also halted commerce along the border with Honduras for 48hours.  Moreover the Central American Bank for Economic Integrationissue a statement announcing the suspension of credit to Hondurans until Zelayain reinstated to power. The ALBA countries also decided to withdraw theirambassadors but to continue their international cooperation programs withHondurans.  Mexico and Brazil have also joined the list of countriesthat have pulled out their ambassadors from Honduras. 

Before traveling to Nicaragua, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funesheld a private meeting with OEA's Secretary José Insulza to analyze thesituation in Honduras. Funes announced his support for and recognition of Manuel Zelaya as the democratically-electedpresident of Honduras andreiterated his support while attending the summit in Nicaragua.  El Salvador has joined the sanctions imposed on Honduras bySICA members.

In a press conference on Sunday, FMLN party leaders condemned the coup d'etatin Honduras. ARENA on the other hand, avoided calling the situation in Honduras a coupd'etat and condemned what they called the "disruption of theconstitutional order."  Donato Vaquerano, chief of the ARENAlegislators, urged President Funes to avoid committing Zelaya's mistakes. "The president of ElSalvador should see himself 'Mel' Zelaya'smirror: the leaders should not be authoritarian and should respect theconstitutional order or the Republic" Vaquerano stated threateningly. ManySalvadorans fear that the coup in Honduras,if it remains unresolved, will set a very dangerous precedent for El Salvador,since Mauricio Funes is the first leftist president and the FMLN does not holdthe majority in the Salvadoran Congress.

 US Government's Response to the Coup

After outraged citizens organized demonstrations across the country against theHonduran coup, on Monday President Obama stated, "We are very clear aboutthe fact that President Zelaya is the democratically-electedpresident."  He then alluded to the US Government's history ofsupporting undemocratic military action and political regimes in Latin America, "It would be a terrible precedent ifwe start moving backwards into the era in which we are seeing military coups asa means of political transition rather than democratic elections… we don't wantto go back to a dark past."

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stopped short of calling thecrisis in Hondurasa coup.  When asked what demands the US Government is planning to make ofthe coup leaders, she responded, "We haven't laid out any demands that weare insisting on because we are working with others on behalf of our ultimateobjectives."  John Negroponte, a former State Department official,commented on Secretary Clinton's remarks, "I think she wants to preservesome leverage to try and get Zelaya to back down from his insistence on areferendum," indicating that the State Department may not want Zelayaunconditionally reinstated as president of Honduras.

International Institutions Condemn the Coup

On Tuesday, June 30, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolutionthat asks all 192 member states not to recognize any Honduran government butZelaya's.  The resolution also demanded the immediate return of Zelaya tothe presidency.  Thirty countries co-sponsored the resolution, includingthe United States.Zelaya addressed the UN on Tuesday and received a standing ovation as heapproached the podium.  To see coverage of Zelaya's speech at the UN,click here.

On Sunday, June 28, thePermanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) adopted a resolution condemning the coup d'etat in Honduras anddemanding the "immediate and unconditional return of [President Zelaya] tohis constitutional duties."  OAS Secretary General José MiguelInsulza traveled to Nicaraguaover the weekend to attend the summit of the heads of state of SICA "withthe goal of carrying out all necessary consultations."  The OAS alsocalled for a special meeting of the Permanent Council on Wednesday July 1, in Washington, DC,which Zelaya will attend.  Several demonstrations in support of Zelaya arebeing scheduled for Wednesday in Washington,D.C.

Other internationalinstitutions have taken action to criticize the coup in Honduras. The president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, announced that the bank has"put a pause" on its projects and lending in Honduras. In addition, the president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), LuisAlberto Moreno, announced that lending to Honduras will freeze until thesituation in the country is resolved.

Coup leaders' Links to the School of the Americas

The international community remains concerned about the growing reports ofhuman rights violations in Honduras. Several of the masterminds behind the coup in Honduras are graduates of theinfamous School of the Americas (SOA), now known as the Western HemisphereInstitute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC).  The SOA/WHINSEC is financedby the Pentagon and has trained some of the most notorious perpetrators ofhuman rights violations in Latin America. General Romeo Vásquez, a senior military officer and leader of the coup,attended SOA/WHINSEC in 1976 and 1984.  General Luis Javier Prince Suazo,Air Force Commander and coup leader, attended the SOA in 1996.  GeneralVásquez was dismissed by Zelaya before the coup and General Suazo resigned as aresult.







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