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Honduran president overthrown due to fear of reelection

By Laura Haime
Published: November 2009

Early in the morning on June 28, soldiers of the Honduras military stormed into the presidential palace and kidnapped their president, Manuel Zelaya, while he was still in his pajamas.

A plane from his own air force awaited Zelaya outside of his palace to take him to Costa Rica.

Zelaya’s arrest was the conclusion of growing tensions over a referendum, which was to have taken place Sunday. This election determined whether or not the leftist president could revise the Honduras Constitution.

Inspired by his close friend, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who accomplished to change the Venezuelan Constitution and since has remained president for 16 years, Zelaya hoped to amend the constitution for his own reelection.

The Supreme Court affirmed that the referendum was unconstitutional. Congress supported the decision by opposing the election.

While in the airport, the Zelaya frantically screamed “I am still the President of Honduras. Later that day, Congress attempted to accept what they said was a letter of resignation from the president himself.

Although the truth was undeniable, Congress decided to vote him out of office and replaced him with Roberto Micheletti, the President of Congress.

History teacher Robert Parlin offers further clarification to explain the reasons behind the coup.

“Other members of the government were concerned about the steps that the president was taking, he said. “They noticed that the president had gradually begun to lean more towards the left, and the other officials feared a socialist country.

Initially people thought that the UN and the US supported the coup, especially given that Zelaya is a leftist and a supporter of Chavez.

The New York Times, however, quotes President Barack Obama saying that there was a need to reinstate Zelaya and “to respect democratic norms¦Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference.

Zelaya told a local television station in San José, “they are creating a monster they will not be able to contain, an usurper government that emerges by force, cannot be accepted, will not be accepted by any country.

Parlin agrees with Zelaya that the coup affects the world negatively because it provides an example for other struggling countries.

“[The coup] was a dangerous and violent overthrow to determine the government, Parlin said. “What I don’t understand is why they carried out the coup when they could have just voted him out of office in the upcoming elections.

According to the Honduran newspaper La Prensa, Micheletti is inviting Zelaya to have talks, but Zelaya refuses to hold discussions on Micheletti’s terms and wants to be reinstated to serve his term until January 2010.

Carlos Reyes, who is favored by the US, withdrew his candidacy from the upcoming elections stating that to run under the current situation would be to support the military coup.

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