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The Battle over Honduras

Worldpress.org, Commentary and analysis from Argentina, Australia, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Jamaica, Peru, Taiwan, and Venezuela, July 5, 2009

Supporters of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya protest against the coup d'etat in Tegucigalpa on June 28. (Photo: Orlando Sierra/ AFP-Getty Images)

Argentina - Buenos Aires Herald (July 5): Venezuela, Brazil and others had sought to include language [in the resolution passed on Saturday to suspend Honduras from the Organization of American States] that would have mandated a cutoff in bilateral cooperation with Honduras—wording that was opposed by the United States, Canada, Mexico and Colombia among others, diplomats said. Zelaya said he wanted to try to return to Honduras later on Sunday. But several countries at the O.A.S. meeting in Washington advised against the move, which could sharply escalate tensions since the interim government has said it will arrest him if he returns.

Australia - The Sunday Morning Herald (July 5): The Organization of American States has expelled Honduras in reaction to last week's military coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya. Thirty-three out of 34 members of the pan-American body [with Honduras abstaining], gathered in Washington for an extraordinary session of its General Assembly, voted late on Saturday in favor of the expulsion. The assembly acted on the basis of Article 21 of the O.A.S. Charter that gives member nations the right to suspend membership of a country in case of an "unconstitutional interruption of democratic order" and when "efforts to address the situation through diplomatic means have failed."

China – China Dgshi News (July 4): Honduras' refusal to restore ousted President Manuel Zelaya despite an appeal by the top envoy for the Americas has put the impoverished nation on a collision course with the world community that could lead to its isolation. Honduras' interim president, Roberto Micheletti, said, "The O.A.S. is a political organization, not a court, and it can't judge us." Nations around the world have promised to shun Micheletti. Neighboring countries have imposed trade blockades, the United States has halted joint military operations and European Union ambassadors have abandoned the Honduran capital. The World Bank already has suspended $200 million in financing, and the Inter-American Development Bank has put $450 million on hold.

Costa Rica - Inside Costa Rica (July 1): The Honduran Legislature approved earlier this afternoon a decree that suspends five of the rights of citizens in Honduras: the inviolable right of home, the freedom of association, a person can be held more than 24 hours without a charge and freedom of movement in the country. The decree was presented to the Legislative Assembly by Roberto Micheletti, who was given the power of the presidency following the military coup d'etat last Sunday. The decree approved by the legislators virtually places the country under siege. The measures are designed to prevent any demonstration on the streets of Honduras in the event deposed president Manuel Zelaya returns.

Cuba – Granma International (July 4): President Manuel Zelaya sent a message to the Honduran people today assuring them that he is prepared to make any effort and any sacrifice to obtain the freedom that the country needs. "This cruel blow is against the Honduran nation and has exposed before the world that in Honduras there is now a species of barbarity and persons who have no awareness of the damage that they are inflicting on our country and its future generations."

Jamaica – Jamaica Observer (July 5): Honduras rebuffed demands by the international community to reinstate Zelaya in the name of constitutional order, thrusting the poor Central American nation deeper into political crisis and isolation. The Micheletti government has charged Zelaya with eighteen criminal acts including treason and failing to implement more than eighty laws approved by Congress since taking office in 2006, and vows to arrest him if he returns. Zelaya called on supporters to prepare to greet him at the airport today and yesterday more than 10,000 of them gathered near the heavily guarded presidential palace and pledged they would be ready if he returns.

Peru - Latin America Press (July 3): Honduras' government has scoffed at mounting international pressure — seemingly one of the greatest displays of diplomatic unity in recent years — to reinstate President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted less than a week ago. Opposition to his government has grown since he steered Honduras, a country of some 7 million, away from its traditional role as steadfast U.S. ally, to align itself more with Venezuela's Chávez. Honduras is a member of Chávez's Boliviarian Alternative for the Americas, or A.L.B.A., which was founded as response to the U.S. now-failed effort to have blanket free trade in the region. The military action shook Central America, which has not seen a military coup remove a head of state in a quarter-century.

Taiwan - Taiwan News (July 6): Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega apologized to Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou Saturday for missing a Friday evening state banquet because of the festering crisis in neighboring Honduras and declared that all sides must "absolutely avoid any bloody conflict" in Honduras. Speaking to Ma, the Sandinista leader related that planning for the Taiwan visit initially focused on the issue of how to cope with the global financial crisis, but related that the atmosphere had been dramatically transformed by the overthrow on June 28 of Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya by a military coup which he said had brought "unprecedented tension" to the region. "We also received some information that the archbishop of Honduras had warned that there would be a bloodbath in Honduras if he returned," said the Nicaraguan president.

Venezuela - Latin America Herald Tribune (July 5): Virtually every government in the Americas has condemned the coup in Honduras. The World Bank is withholding $270 million in loans to the poor Central American nation and the Pentagon announced Wednesday a suspension of joint activities with the Honduran military. Not all of those rejecting Zelaya's ouster have demanded his reinstatement, yet even governments and institutions with no particular fondness for the deposed head of state insist the political conflict in Honduras must be resolved democratically.

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