Honduras Coup Update
Here’s the latest news from the coup in Honduras, where pro-Zelaya demonstrators showed up at presidential offices today, as the Obama administration tried hard to seem like they weren’t totally surprised: Protesters Confront Soldiers After Coup in Honduras.
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — One day after the country’s president, Manuel Zelaya, was abruptly awakened, ousted and deported by the army here, hundreds of protesters massed at the presidential offices in an increasingly tense face-off with hundreds of camouflage-clad soldiers carrying riot shields and automatic weapons.
The protesters, many wearing masks and carrying wooden or metal sticks, yelled taunts at the soldiers across the fences ringing the compound and braced for the army to try to dispel them. “We’re defending our president,” said one protester, Umberto Guebara, who appeared to be in his 30s. “I’m not afraid. I’d give my life for my country.”
Leaders across the hemisphere joined in condemning the coup. Mr. Zelaya, who touched down Sunday in Costa Rica, still in his pajamas, insisted, “I am the president of Honduras.”
The Honduran Congress late Sunday officially voted Mr. Zelaya out of office, replacing him with the president of Congress, Roberto Micheletti, who said Monday that he would resist pressure from other nations demanding the reinstatement of the ousted president, news agencies reported.
In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the last senior member of the administration to visit Honduras, just three weeks ago, said that the United States was working toward “full restoration of democratic order in Honduras.”
She said that the situation in Honduras “has evolved into a coup.” But when pressed by a reporter, she refused to say explicitly that the United States was demanding that Mr. Zelaya be returned to power, although senior administration officials pointed out that the United States had signed on to an Organization of American States statement on Sunday that included such a demand.
“We haven’t laid out any demands that we’re insisting on, because we’re working with others on behalf of our ultimate objectives, which are shared broadly,” Mrs. Clinton said. But, she added: “We think that the arrest and expulsion of a president is certainly cause for concern that has to be addressed. And it’s not just with respect to whether our aid continues, but whether democracy in Honduras continues.”