Honduran President Still In Limbo. Martial Law Declared By New Leader

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. Photo: Miraflores

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. Photo: Miraflores

By Dolores M. Bernal, NEWS JUNKIE POST

The faith of the ousted Honduran President, Manuel Zelaya, is still in limbo. Zelaya remains in Costa Rica after a 12-member military team went into his residence, detained him, and exiled him on Sunday. The United States along with all other countries members of the Council of Organization of American States (OAS) have condemned the coup d’Etat and have called for Zelaya’s return as president of the Central American country.

The OAS adopted a resolution stating that it “rejects and repudiates” the coup d’etat and is “concerned with the break-down of the constitutional order in the Republic of Honduras.”

President Barack Obama has also called for Hondura’s government to “respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic charter.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who recently traveled to Honduras, also issued a very similar statement saying that the actions that took place on Sunday be “condemned by all.”

“We call on all parties to respect the constitutional order and the rule of law… and to commit themselves to resolve political disputes peacefully and through dialog,” Clinton said.

But despite the statements from the OAS and the Obama Administration, the Honduran government went ahead on Sunday afternoon to swear in a new president, Roberto Micheletti Bain. Supporters of Micheletti, the head of the legislature, claim that Zelaya signed a resignation letter after he was detained.

“The nation’s congress according to its constitution agrees to: reprimand the conduct of president Manuel Zelaya, due to his repeated violations to the Constitution of the Republic and its laws and for not observing the resolutions and ordinances of the judicial system,” read a decree by the Legislature’s Secretary, Jose Alfredo Saavedra. (Remarks translated to English)

One of Micheletti’s first mandates was declaring Martial Law for the next 48 hours. Honduran’s must stay at home from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., according to La Prensa, a Honduran newspaper.

Still, a U.S. State Department senior administration official stated on Sunday that the United States would only recognize Zelaya as Hondura’s President. He also said that the “resignation letter” shouldn’t be taken seriously given the situation Zelaya was in.

Labor groups and advocates for the poor in Honduras have supported Zelaya, according to reports. He has also formed a strong relationship with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and shares his socialist ideas. Zelaya’s ties with Chavez haven’t been welcomed by the country’s wealthy.

On Thursday, three days before the coup, Chavez warned that Hondura’s “bourgeoisie” were preparing to orchestrate a coup against Zelaya, according to press releases in Chavez’s government website dated 6/26/09.

“Marching towards a coup in Honduras are the bourgeoisie…who are trying to put the brakes on what the people of Honduras want. They’re afraid of the people…I call [on Honduran soldiers] to follow your President and the people of Honduras,” Chavez stated. (Remarks translated to English)

Honduran government officials have been upset with Zelaya’s attempts to change the constitution in order to seek a second term in office. Zelaya has continued to pursue this despite judicial ruling prohibiting from doing so.

The OAS has set up an emergency meeting in Washington D.C. on Tuesday over the situation in Honduras. The US hasn’t made any decision yet regarding sanctions against Honduras since it hopes that the situation in that country will be worked out through dialog, according to the State Department’s senior official.

TV news coverage of Honduran crisis.