I came to Honduras as part of a delegation of concerned activists who went to witness and accompany the daily protests, monitor human rights violations, and report back to the international community on conditions since the June 28th military coup. On that day, democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya was forcibly removed from office by the Honduran military and expelled from the country.In the aftermath there has been an immediate popular uprising in his support, with many instances of severe police and military repression which continue today.The following is a reflection on time spent in and around Tegucigalpa during two critical weeks in August.
Last night as I was packing my bags to go to Honduras, I heard that the military repression was getting worse.One hundred and fifty arrested, many wounded.I sit in the airport waiting room and scan CNN.Not a mention on the world news.
By Neil Brandvold, who was at Toncontin airport in Tegucigalpa awaiting the arrival of President Zelaya’s plane when the Honduran military opened fire on the crowd.
The democratically elected president of Honduras, Mel Zelaya, is currently making plans for a second attempt to enter Honduras since he was ousted in a military coup just under a month ago. Earlier this week, Costa Rican president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias proposed a plan to return Zelaya to the presidency. Zelaya agreed to all conditions outlined in the proposal, including establishing a power-sharing government and holding presidential elections on Oct. 28, a month earlier than scheduled. The proposal was immediately rejected by the junta.
Zelaya has arrived at a Nicaraguan town on the border of Honduras with plans to enter the country by land, stating: “I have requested my wife and family accompany me, and have made the military responsible for any damage. I am going unarmed and peacefully so that Honduras can return to peace and tranquility.” It is a risky move for the president and his supporters, especially considering his first attempt to re-enter the country on July 5th was blocked by the junta. On that day, the military open fired on a gathering of upwards of 100,000 peaceful demonstrators at the Toncontin airport in Tegucigalpa and subsequently blocked the runway preventing the plane from landing.
The army in Honduras has ousted and exiled its leftist president, Manuel Zelaya, in Central America’s first military coup since the cold war, after he upset the army by trying to seek another term in office.
The US president, Barack Obama, and the EU expressed deep concern after troops came at dawn for Zelaya, an ally of the socialist Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, and took him away from his residence.