Sunday, June 28, 2009
Translation and links: Coup d'état in Honduras
Given the rather wretched initial coverage of the US media (NYT and NPR reports that fail to include the phrase coup d’état, though CNN’s initial coverage looks downright exhaustive, if still one-sided, in comparison), I thought it would be worthwhile to translate TeleSUR con the developing events (original here).
President Zelaya is assumed to be in Costa Rica
TeleSUR 28 June, 2009 –
Honduran president Manuel Zelaya was taken to Costa Rica by the Honduran military in a coup d’état this Sunday. Meanwhile, Roberto Micheletti, the president of the Honduran congress, has declared himself interim president, an action which has been rejected by thousands of Hondurans who have taken to the streets to demand the return of the democratically elected president.
Honduran government spokeswoman Patricia Rodas informed teleSURE that she has information that president Manuel Zelaya has been presumably taken to Costa Rica. She emphasized that this information has yet to be confirmed, and asked [Costa Rica] to act according to the rule of law and notify the world of the president’s status.
Earlier, the president’s son Héctor Zelaya said to TeleSUR that his father had been forcibly removed from the country. He added that according to the latest information more than 200 soldiers entered the presidential palace and removed president Zelaya in white vehicles.
“In this situation the first thing we lost was communication. The last was that the president was removed from power,” said Héctor Zelaya.
He added that at time that he was speaking from a secure location.
The president’s wife, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, for her part, told TeleSUR Sunday morning that “in cowardice they took the president from his house, they beat him physically but they also delivered blows to democracy.”
“Today we ask for the freedom of the president, and we urge the Armed Forces to free the president and to guarantee his safety.”
She added that today, when people want to change the history of Honduras and silence the people, “I know that not a single Honduran citizen supports this military coup.”
Masked soldiers have since the early hours of the morning occupied the presidential palace. According to information specially obtained by teleSUR in Honduras, armed soldiers took the president to a military air base, but have yet to determine the exact location of the president. A government spokesperson has denounced the “kidnapping” of Zelaya.
Government spokeswoman Patricia Rodas told teleSUR “soldiers, including snipers, have surrounded my home…they have kidnapped [the president] and we don’t know his whereabouts…our houses are surrounded by the military and we have no idea for how much longer we will be able to speak,” said Rodas.
“They have once again murdered the hope of democracy, of equality, all with this sudden attack of terrorism against our people,” she added.
A popular inquiry to determine if Honduras should convoke a national constituent assembly was to take place this Sunday in Honduras with the opening of voting centers that had been established in the parks of this Central American country’s principal cities.
The inquiry, held after the collection of more than 400,000 signatures, has been a source of significant controversy amongst certain political and social sectors in Honduras, and is presumed to be behind the coup d’état against the president of this country, Manuel Zelaya.
Hmmm. Now NPR is reporting that Zelaya has ‘fled’ to Costa Rica. Disappointing stuff from the US media here, again.
Honduras was ruled by a string of military governments from 1963-1981. Throughout the 1980s, the country served as the United States’ base of operations in its covert wars against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, as well as the location from which the US intervened in the civil conflicts which engulfed Central American states for much of the later 20th century.
Zelaya has been a controversial figure in Honduras and elsewhere. He has aligned himself openly with the Latin American left, joining the Bolivarian Alternative for the peoples of América in 2008. He also has been noted for calling a change in the US 'war on drugs' to address the demand-side of the global trade rather than militarizing countries like Honduras, a major transit point for the hemispheric drug trade.