29 June, 2009 – Spacewar.com
|Honduran soldiers remain standing guard at the presidential palace following a coup d’etat that saw Honduran President Manuel Zelaya ousted, in Tegucigalpa on June 28, 2009. The Honduran National Congress has assigned president of congress, Roberto Micheletti, as the new Honduran head of state, having taken the decision unanimousily due to Zelaya’s ‘irregular conduct’ and ‘repeated violations to the Constitution’. Zelaya insisted from exile in Costa Rica that he remains the rightful leader of Honduras, after being deposed by his country’s military.
Photo courtesy AFP.
New Honduran leader says there was no coup
The newly-appointed leader of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, denied Sunday there had been a coup d’etat, saying President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a legal process. ‘I came to the presidency not by a coup d’etat but by a completely legal process as set out in our laws,’ Micheletti said after being sworn in by Congress. ‘What we have done here is an act of democracy, because our army has complied with the order of the court, prosecutors and judges,’ Micheletti said, winning loud applause from lawmakers. ‘Our national army… complied with the constitution,’ added Micheletti, who is also from Zelaya’s Liberal Party. Honduran troops ousted Zelaya Sunday and flew him out of the country to Costa Rica, ending a bitter power struggle with the military as parliament swiftly voted in a new leader. The Supreme Court said Sunday that it had ordered the president’s ouster in order to protect law and order in the nation of some seven million people. As Congress approved speaker Micheletti as the new interim president, it said it had voted unanimously to remove Zelaya from office for his ‘apparent misconduct’ and for ‘repeated violations of the constitution and the law and disregard of orders and judgments of the institutions.’ Micheletti promised to govern with ‘transparency and honesty’ and ‘work tirelessly to restore peace and tranquility that we have lost.’ He will stay in office until January 27, 2010, when the new president elected in November elections is due to take over. Zelaya, who was elected in November 2005 to a non-renewable four-year term, had sought to revise the constitution through a referendum to allow him to run again in the next elections. The Supreme Court had ruled such a referendum illegal, but Zelaya had tried to press ahead with a vote on Sunday anyway.
By Staff Writers
Tegucigalpa (AFP) June 28, 2009
Honduran troops ousted President Manuel Zelaya Sunday and flew him out of the country, ending a bitter power struggle with the military as parliament swiftly voted in a new leader.
Zelaya insisted as he arrived in regional neighbor Costa Rica that he remained the president of his Central American nation, but just hours later the Congress voted in the parliamentary speaker as the country’s new leader.
The first such major upheaval in several decades in the impoverished country was triggered by a tense political standoff between Zelaya and the country’s military and legal institutions over his bid to secure a second term.
‘I will never give up since I was elected the president by the people,’ Zelaya said from San Jose, accusing Honduran troops of kidnapping him and denouncing what he called a ‘political conspiracy.’
But Congress said it voted unanimously to remove him from office for his ‘apparent misconduct’ and for ‘repeated violations of the constitution and the law and disregard of orders and judgments of the institutions.’
In his place they appointed speaker Roberto Micheletti as the new leader to serve out the rest of the term, which ends in January. New general elections are planned for November 29.
Zelaya, elected to a non-renewal four-year term in 2005, had planned a vote Sunday asking Hondurans to sanction a future referendum to allow him to run for reelection in the November polls.
The planned referendum had been ruled illegal by the country’s top court and was opposed by the military, but the president said he planned to press ahead with it anyway and ballot boxes had already been distributed.
The Supreme Court said Sunday that it had ordered the president’s ouster in order to protect law and order in the nation of some seven million people.
‘Today’s events originate from a court order by a competent judge,’ the country’s highest court said in a statement read by spokesman Danilo Izaguirre.
The drama unfolded just about dawn on Sunday when some 200 troops swooped on Zelaya’s home. He was bundled away in his pyjamas and flown out of the country.
A leading government official, Armando Sarmiento, told AFP that at least eight cabinet members were also detained including Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas.
As planes and helicopters overflew the capital, several hundred Zelaya supporters ignored warnings to stay home and flooded onto the streets of Tegucigalpa shouting out, ‘We want Mel,’ the president’s nickname.
But the demonstration was halted in front of the presidential palace when the way was barred by a cordon of troops and armored vehicles.
US President Barack Obama said he was deeply concerned about the events in Honduras, as US officials said they recognized Zelaya as the country’s legitimate president.
‘We recognize Zelaya as the duly elected and constitutional president of Honduras. We see no other,’ the Obama administration official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon said he wanted Zelaya to be reinstated and human rights in the country to be fully respected.
‘The Secretary-General… expresses his strong support for the country’s democratic institutions and condemns the arrest today of the constitutional President of the Republic,’ a UN statement said.
Sunday’s dramatic events were the culmination of a tense political standoff over the past several days.
Last week Zelaya sacked the country’s top military chief, General Romeo Vasquez and also accepted the resignation of Defense Minister Edmundo Orellana, after military commanders refused to distribute ballot boxes for Sunday’s vote.
The heads of the army, marines and air force also resigned.
The Honduran Supreme Court then unanimously voted Thursday to reinstate Vasquez and hundreds of troops massed late last week in the capital Tegucigalpa.
Zelaya, who was elected as a conservative, has shifted dramatically to the left during his presidency.
He is the latest in a long list of Latin American leaders, including Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, to seek constitutional changes to expand presidential powers and also ease term limits.
Chavez also denounced Sunday’s arrest as a ‘coup d’etat’ and alleged that the United States had a hand in Zelaya’s overthrow.
And he warned that if Venezuela’s envoys to Honduras were harmed he would be prepared to intervene militarily. Cuba’s ambassador to Honduras, Juan Carlos Hernandez, said he had been briefly detained and hit by troops.”