A military coup in Honduras this weekend deposed President Manuel Zelaya. The Honduran Congress has stripped Zelaya of his office and appointed the president of the Congress, Robert Micheletti, to be head of state. It is Central America’s first military coup since the Cold War.
Eva Gollinger in Caracas, Venezuela reports:
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 controversy 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.
Such an initiative has never taken place in the Central American nation, which has a very limited constitution that allows minimal participation by the people of Honduras in their political processes. The current constitution, written in 1982 during the height of the Reagan Administration’ s dirty war in Central America, was designed to ensure those in power, both economic and political, would retain it with little interference from the people. Zelaya, elected in November 2005 on the platform of Honduras’ Liberal Party, had proposed the opinion poll be conducted to determine if a majority of citizens agreed that constitutional reform was necessary. He was backed by a majority of labor unions and social movements in the country. If the poll had occured, depending on the results, a referendum would have been conducted during the upcoming elections in November to vote on convening a constitutional assembly. Nevertheless, today’s scheduled poll was not binding by law.
Kim Pearson has a great summary this morning over at BlogHer.
I’m left wondering about the safety of the women in Honduras during military coup and state instability–these are often the times when sexual assault increases, women struggle to get access to the medical help they need, not to mention all the other basic resources that are necessary to keep families going. We’d love to hear from readers with family in the area…
There will be a protest of the military coup of Honduras at the United Nations today from 3 to 6 pm for those in the New York area.
Update: Christy Thornton, the head of NACLA, recommends this post on the subject. She’ll be writing something for us tomorrow on the topic.