The ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is expected to meet with US diplomats in Washington today before attempting to return to Honduras Thursday, five days after being deposed by a military coup. Meanwhile, the streets in Honduras remain tense, and the crackdown on the media has reportedly not been lifted. We go to Honduras to speak with human rights activist, Dr. Juan Almendares. [includes rush transcript]
Dr. Juan Almendares, Honduran medical doctor and award-winning human rights activist. He is the president of the Honduran Peace Committee, as well as the past secretary of the Coordinating Committee of Popular Organizations. He was an opposition candidate with the Democratic Unification Party during the last presidential elections.
President Zelaya of Honduras has just been kidnapped
[Note: As of 11:15am, Caracas time, President Zelaya is speaking live on Telesur from San Jose, Costa Rica. He has verified the soldiers entered his residence in the early morning hours, firing guns and threatening to kill him and his family if he resisted the coup. He was forced to go with the soldiers who took him to the air base and flew him to Costa Rica. He has requested the U.S. Government make a public statement condemning the coup, otherwise, it will indicate their compliance.]
The text message that beeped on my cell phone this morning read “Alert, Zelaya has been kidnapped, coup d’etat underway in Honduras, spread the word.” It’s a rude awakening for a Sunday morning, especially for the millions of Hondurans that were preparing to exercise their sacred right to vote today for the first time on a consultative referendum concerning the future convening of a constitutional assembly to reform the constitution. Supposedly at the center of the controversary is today’s scheduled referendum, which is not a binding vote but merely an opinion poll to determine whether or not a majority of Hondurans desire to eventually enter into a process to modify their constitution.
A military coup has taken place in Honduras this morning (Sunday, June 28), led by School of the Americas (SOA) graduate Romeo Vasquez. In the early hours of the day, members of the Honduran military surrounded the presidential palace and forced the democratically elected president, Manuel Zelaya, into custody. He was immediately flown to Costa Rica.