Coup d'etat ("Golpe de estado") in Honduras: a bad precedent

(Image from El País)

(Image from El País)

(image from La Nación... military might rolled out in the streets of Honduran capital Tegucigalpa after arresting and removing the president)

So, today the news broke that the Honduran military physically detained President Manuel Zelaya at 6am. They moved him to a military base and now word is that he has been taken to Costa Rica. The head of Honduras' congress, Roberto Michelletti, is now the interim president.

The Organization of American States is holding an emergency session this afternoon to discuss the alarming developments and how to strengthen democracy in Honduras. The EU and various regional presidents have denounced the move by the military.

However, it's important to note the rationale given by the military for this move: Zelaya is holding a constitutional referendum to vote to change the constitution in order to allow for his re-election. Holding more than one term as president is currently prohibited in the Honduran constitution and his move to change it has been declared illegal by Honduras' legislative and judiciary branches, as well as the military.

In any case, Honduras' democracy is fragile (both Zelaya and the congress/judiciary/military seem to be making power moves to consolidate their own control) and this bodes poorly for Latin America because, well, it'd be nice if coups were not the solution to disagreement over policy. For a place like Paraguay, where the new government is still unable to, well, govern, the example of a military take-over is a bad one.

UPDATE: CNN reports.

UPDATE: Citizen response seems to be mixed. On the one hand, there are pictures of people in the streets burning tires and standing in front of the tanks that are moving in. On the other, the comment posts on news articles include statements like:

"Es una lastima que Mel Zelaya nos haya obligado a llegar a este extremo, pero era necesario."
(It's a shame that [President] Mel Zelaya made it come to this extreme, but it was necessary. Presumably in reference to the attempt to change the constitution and allow his re-election.)

"Como hondureños aca en Miami. estamos mas que felices de saber que tenemos militares valientes que saben defender la soberania de nuestro pais."
(As hondurans here in Miami, we are more than happy to know that we have brave military men who know how to defend the sovereignty of our country.)

"Sr. Chávez,Fidel Castro,evo Morales,Correa y Daniel Ortega. Dejen al pueblo Hondureño en paz,dediquense a solucionar sus problemas en sus paises y,dejen que el pueblo Hondureño solucione sus propios problemas internos."
(Mr. Chavez, Fidel Castro, Evo Morales, Correa, and Daniel Ortega, leave the Honduran people in peace. Dedicate yourselves to solving the problems in your countries and let the Honduran people solve their own internal problems. Zelaya was seen as allied and sympathetic to the more extreme Leftish presidents in Latin America and Chavez particularly. This was, of course, very controversial within Honduras.)

UPDATE: People avoid voting today on the referendum to change the constitution of Honduras that would permit the re-election of President Manuel Zelaya. A mayor gets arrested for supporting the referendum. President Zelaya's attempt to change the constitution was decried as illegal by the legislative and judiciary branches as well as the military.

UPDATE: La Prensa, a Honduran daily, has a great PhotoGallery with images like this:

Oh, and from Costa Rica, ousted President Manuel Zelaya now asks Obama if he was "behind it."

UPDATE: Manuel Zelaya makes a funny, when he insists in a press conference in Costa Rica that he is still "el presidente de los hondureños y solo el pueblo lo puede quitar, no un grupo de gorilas." Or, he is "still the president of the Hondurans and only the people can remove that, not a group of gorillas." Which plays on its homophone "guerrilla" (though the ll and l are different in Spanish, it's close enough to be a pun in Spanish).

And Hugo Chavez threatens "military action" if Venezuela's embassy or ambassador in Honduras are attacked.

UPDATE: Honduras' Congress has read and accepted Manuel Zelaya's resignation ("renuncia"), which he signed before being taken to Costa Rica this morning.

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One Response to Coup d'etat ("Golpe de estado") in Honduras: a bad precedent

berkshire said...

people avoid voting to change the constitute of hunduras.thats not good.


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