The leaving of its president

PRESIDENT José Manuel/ Mel Zelaya made a dignified and sad exit from his country, Honduras today, January 27, six months after he was violently deposed by a coup d’état and transported against his will to Costa Rica, and four months after he valiantly re-entered Honduras in a clandestine manner – after two attempts to return by plane and on foot from neighboring Nicaragua – and was given refuge in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa.

He was given a safe conduct by Porfirio Lobo, inaugurated as president on the same day in the wake of post-coup and thus an election outside of any constitutional framework and in the midst of the mass abuse of human rights and civil liberties. That safe conduct to the Dominican Republic, brokered by its president, Leonel Fernández, was the final act of whitewashing the Washington-backed coup on June 28, 2009, after the National Congress announced an amnesty for all those involved in his dispossession.

He was not able to say goodbye to his mother, and had to ask his supporters in the National Resistance Front, who have defended him there from the minute they knew of his return and greeted him there on New Year’s Eve, not to come to the embassy to bid him farewell, as that would complicate matters. But they were there at Toncontín airport in a “mega-demonstration.

What were the crimes of this president, elected by a right-wing Liberal Party on January 27, 2006?

Throughout his presidency he related to and moved closer to Honduras’ poor and dispossessed. He established a basic wage – starting with workers on his own estate – held down oil prices. He consulted with workers and thus emerged the idea of a constituent assembly for full democratic representation, to be put to the ballot in the presidential elections at the end of his mandate, which a high possibility of winning.

In the terrain of foreign relations and particularly those with Latin America, he took Honduras into ALBA.

Possibly Zelaya’s greatest “crime” in the eyes of the empire was his intention to convert the U.S. Palmerola airbase in Honduras – the same location from where he was ignominiously deported from his country – into a civilian airport.

Throughout his exile after June 28, 2009, Zelaya used every democratic resource in all the forums open to him to revert the situation in which his country found itself, while the national resistance movement took on the battle within and developed at an extraordinary and effective pace which cannot be detained. But he was foiled by those very instruments of so-called democracy, or the precepts of veiled self-interest.


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