The Honduras Coup of

June, 2009

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The Honduras Coup of June, 2009


On June 28, 2009, the Honduran military stormed the Presidential residence in the capital city of Tegucigalpa, and arrested President Manuel Zelaya. The deposed President was then taken to an air base, put on a plane, and flown into exile in Costa Rica. Upon landing in Costa Rica, President Zelaya claimed that he remained the legal president of Honduras.

Meanwhile, after his departure from Honduras, the Supreme Court declared his ouster to be legal, and the Honduran Congress applauded the military action and declared Roberto Micheletti, the speaker of parliament and next in the Presidential line of succession, to be the new president.

This dramatic turn of events was foreshadowed by weeks of political and legal turmoil between President Zelaya on the one side, and the Supreme Court and the Congress on the other. The constitution limited Zelaya from running for another term as president, so he proposed a national referendum, or vote, to change the election limits to allow him to run again. The Supreme Court and the Congress claimed any such referendum was illegal. Zelaya ordered the military to help run the election, but the military said they would not participate in the illegal vote. Zelaya then fired the head of the military, General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez. The Supreme Court then reinstated the general.

The military, the Supreme Court, and the Congress are all generally considered to be conservative supporters of the status quo. President Zelaya is considered to be more liberal, or leftist in his political leanings, and has the support of labor unions and farm groups, who seek economic reforms in order to benefit the nation's poor. Zelaya was an ally of Venezuela's leftist leader, Hugo Chavez.

Reaction from around the Western Hemisphere has been unusually unanimous in condemning the ouster of Zelaya. Leftist leaders such as Chavez and Cuba's Castro were expected to protest the coup against a fellow leftist, but even more conservative leaders such as Columbia's President Uribe called for Zelaya's return to power. The United States also is calling for a reversal of the coup.

The day following the coup, the military and the police clashed with thousands of protesters in the capital city. Protests continued into July, as Honduran workers, teachers, and students took to the streets to protest the overthrow of Zelaya. Soldiers in full battle gear acted as riot police and battled the growing numbers of protesters. The picture below is indicative of the type of fighting taking place in the capital of Tegucigalpa.

The President of Costa Rica offered to negotiate an end to the political crisis, and negotiations began between the deposed president and the new government.

Political and diplomatic negotiations continued for the rest of the summer, but then, on September 22, ousted president Zelaya suddenly appeared in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa after sneaking into the country. Security forces clashed with protesters outside the Brazilian embassy, and Brazil requested a meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

Protesters clash with Honduran soldiers in Tegucigalpa


Links and Resources:


Use of mercenaries in Honduras on the rise, U.N. panel says--CNN, Oct. 11, 2009

Brazil asks UN for emergency meeting on Honduras--AP, Sept. 22, 2009

Honduran forces break up protest at Brazil embassy--Reuters, Sept. 22, 2009

Why Honduras Sent Zelaya Away--Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2009

OAS gives 3-day deadline to Honduran coup leaders--Houston Chronicle, June 30, 2009

In Honduras, forces crack down on protesters--LA Times, June 30, 2009

Leaders from Obama to Chavez blast Honduras coup--Associated Press, June 29, 2009

The Winner in Honduras: Chávez--New York Times, June 29, 2009

Obama Likely to Tread Carefully With Uribe--Washington Post, June 29, 2009

2009 Honduran political crisis -Wikipedia Article


Opinion and Editorials:

What I Heard in Honduras : Our ambassador is the only person I met there who thinks there was a 'coup.' Let's release the State Department legal analysis.--Wall Street Journal, Oct. 10, 2009

Limbaugh: Obama Laying Groundwork for Third Term --NewsMax, June 30, 2009