Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Honduras Crisis

Litbrit has a lengthy post on the Honduras coup. The current situation in Honduras is of personal interest to Litbrit. She spent time in Tegucigalpa during her youth.

The United States is taking a cautious tone. Sec. of State Hillary Clinton expressed concern over the removal of President Manuel Zelaya. Clinton would go as far as label the crisis a coup. The first reason is pragmatism. The White House is waiting the see how the situation plays out. The second reason is the Obama administration has tense relations with Zelaya. The Honduran president is a close ally with Hugo Chavez. That doesn't win points with the White House.

Asked whether it was a U.S. priority to see Zelaya reinstalled, Clinton said: "We haven't laid out any demands that we're insisting on, because we're working with others on behalf of our ultimate objectives."

Zelaya has been threatened with arrest, if he returns to the country. Zelaya intends to enter Honduras with U.N. General Assembly and Organization of American States. Attorney General Luis Alberto Rubi has threatened Zelaya with 20 years in prison.

Zelaya placed a referendum, on the ballot, that would ask if the Honduran Congress should rewrite the Constitution to allow the President to serve more than one term. Rubi and the Supreme Court ruled the ballot illegal. Zelaya kept the referendum on the ballot. The military refused to distribute ballots. Zelaya overstepped his autority by going against the Supreme Court. The military and opposition members overstepped by launching a coup. Democracies do not throw out their leaders by gun point.

Residents in Tegucigalpa sensed trouble before Zelaya was ousted.

Some businesses in the capital, Tegucigalpa, closed earlier this week amid the rising tension.

"A lot of people are worried there will be a coup," said Julio Godoy, a 66-year-old retiree who supplements his pension driving a taxi through Tegucigalpa's hilly streets. "You have businesses closing, stores, even banks. That only causes more fear, even after they open again."

Godoy said he would not vote Sunday because he thinks Zelaya only wants to hold on to power. "This is why presidents are only allowed four years," Godoy said.

Supporters of Zelaya have taken to the streets in protest.

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