Military Coup in Honduras – Urgent Action Needed

On Sunday, a coup d’état was carried out against President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras by military and political forces hostile to his government. Heavily armed, hooded soldiers arrived at his residence at 5am and, after a scuffle with his security forces, kidnapped Zelaya and flew him to Costa Rica.

Later Sunday afternoon, the Honduran Congress convened an emergency session, where a letter of resignation, supposedly signed by Zelaya was read, and the previous head of Congress, Roberto Micheletti, was sworn in as the new President. Most of Zelaya’s Cabinet has been taken into custody, including Foreign Minister, Patricia Rodas, who was kidnapped by the military despite efforts on the part of Ambassadors from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela to prevent her arrest.

The situation remains very tense, especially in the capital of Tegucigalpa where thousands of protesters have assembled in a non-violent attempt to resist the military take-over. Last night police used tear gas, water cannons, clubs, rubber and real bullets to disperse protesters causing many injuries. Social movements and unions in Honduras have called a national strike and leaders fear arrest. Accounts from several parts of the country report the military is breaking into homes in pursuit of leaders. Media outlets have been forcibly closed, journalists arrested and electricity has been intermittently shut off.

World leaders and bodies such as the UN, OAS, Grupo de Rio and the EU have resoundingly denounced the coup and called for Presidents Zelaya’s unconditional return to power. In contrast, our government has failed to make these explicit demands. The coup in Honduras marks a chilling reminder of the not so distant past in Central America where U.S. backed military and business elites have run roughshod over democracy with devastating consequences for the regions peoples and natural resources.

Please call the State Department and the White House and ask for the U.S. to clearly and immediately:

1.Denounce the military coup in Honduras.
2.Call for the immediate reinstatement of President Zelaya without conditions.
3.Suspend all aid to Honduras until President Zelaya is reinstated, in accordance with the U.S. foreign operations bill.
4.Hold an investigation into the role of U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, in events leading up to the coup.

President Obama at: White House Comments, 202-456-1111 or Switchboard, 202-456-1414 and the State Department: 202-647-4000 or 1-800-877-8339

Right now the people of Honduras are at risk for a violent internal crackdown. Please take action as we stand vigilant with the people of Honduras at this critical juncture.