Sunday, June 28, 2009

As Goes Honduras...

Today we saw people protesting the recent military coup
in Honduras in which Leftist president Manuel Zelaya was
overthrown. Of course this has received high notes of
condemnation from many of Latin America's presidents,
including our friend Hugo Chavez (insert sarcasm here)

Latin America Unites Behind Ousted Zelaya Of Honduras

CARACAS (AFP)--Latin American countries, many of which are no
strangers to major political upheavals, unanimously condemned
Sunday the Honduran army's ouster and exile of leftist President
Manuel Zelaya.

The drama centered on the president's bid to secure a second term,
becoming the latest in a long list of Latin American leaders, including
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, to seek constitutional changes to
expand presidential powers and ease term limits.

Leftist leaders were especially vocal in their backing of Zelaya, who
was elected as a conservative in 2006 before making a dramatic shift
to the left.

Chavez threatened military action if his ambassador or embassy in
Honduras is harmed, saying he would launch a continental battle to
see Zelaya restored

to the presidency, hours after the Honduran leader was ousted and
flown to Costa Rica.

The "military junta" in Honduras "would be entering a de facto state
of war" should they harm his ambassador in Tegucigalpa, warned the
firebrand leftist leader.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez denounced the "brutal and
criminal coup d'etat" in Honduras and demanded the return of Zelaya,
the "sole legitimate president" of Honduras, whose Congress voted in
its speaker Roberto Micheletti to take over until the presidential term
ends in January.

Chavez, a thorn in Washington's side in Latin America, denounced the
arrest of Zelaya, suggesting the U.S. was implicated.

Speaking in Caracas, Chavez urged U.S. President Barack Obama to speak
out against Zelaya's arrest, saying "the Yankee empire has a lot to do"
with developments in Honduras.

The U.S. has had a battered image in Central and South America, where
it supported several coups and military governments during the Cold War
in a bid to contain the grip of communism over its southern neighbors.

However, in his last interview before his arrest, Zelaya told Spain's El Pais
that a first planned attempt to remove him from power Friday had been
thwarted after the U.S. declined to back the move.

"I'm only still here in office thanks to the United States not supporting a
coup," he said.

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, speaking after voting in legislative
elections in Argentina, said she was "extremely concerned" about the
situation in Honduras, calling the military's removal of Zelaya a sign that
"we are back to the worst barbarism in Latin American history."

Brazil's foreign ministry warned that "military acts of this type constitute a
violation of democracy and are not in line with the political development
of the region."

Saying "the time for dictatorships is over," Bolivia's Socialist President
Evo Morales called on "international organizations, social movements
and presidents to condemn and reject the military coup d'etat in Honduras."

Member countries of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, or
ALBA, an anti-trade liberalization bloc of which Honduras has adhered,
also denounced the "coup d'etat."

An emergency ALBA meeting was called Sunday, Chavez said. The
Organization of American States, or OAS, also held a meeting at its
headquarters in Washington.

The OAS Permanent Council was working on a consensus resolution
"that will condemn the efforts to depose President Zelaya of Honduras,
calling for his return to Honduras and for a full restoration of democratic
order," a U.S. administration official said.

Quito, meanwhile, called for a presidential-level meeting of the Rio
Group, an organization of 23 Latin American and Caribbean states,
without indicating the place or time of such talks.

Zelaya's removal "violates the most basic norms of democracy and
international law," Ecuador's foreign ministry said in a statement,
calling for the "immediate restoration" of the Honduran president to power.

The Rio Group in turn expressed its "strongest condemnation" over the
developments in Honduras, denouncing as "illegitimate" Zelaya's removal
from power.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega urged his peers to hold emergency
talks of the System for Central American Integration, or SICA, voicing
hope to reverse Zelaya's ouster, which he called "a terrorist act against
the institution" of democracy in Latin America.

Honduras neighbor El Salvador stepped up military presence at its
international airport and the border between the two countries to
prepare for the possible evacuation of Salvadorans living in Honduras.

Colombia's foreign ministry expressed "deep dismay over the breakdown
of the constitutional order," adding that it rejected Zelaya's "removal
from power by force."

(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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