September 11, 2008

Breaking news: Planned coup rumor

Roberto Micheletti, president of the Honduran national congress
Photo: La Tribuna

Proceso Digital, a online Honduran newspaper, reported today that Roberto Micheletti, president of Honduras' national congress, has met with President Mel Zelaya to discuss information of a planned golpe de estado (coup d'état) on September 15, the national independence day holiday.

Unlike the suggestions that have been made by some citizens, the rumored coup is not against the President, but rather, by the president in junction with the military.

Micheletti stated that the president has categorically denied this. He stated, "I want the Honduran public to be calm because at no time has a coup been planned, because President Manuel Zelaya has assured me of this".

La Tribuna, as of this moment, has only reported a second secret meeting this week between the two functionaries with speculation that it was to discuss the ALBA treaty and internal party elections. In another Tribuna article, Micheletti announced yesterday that ALBA will not be approved by the congress if it commits Honduras to any sort of military action or required submission of Honduras' interests to any other country. He again stated that the congress needs all of the documents.

ALBA is a controversial treaty President Zelaya recently signed with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, along with Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Dominica, despite much objection from Honduran business leaders and congressmen. You can read more about it in my "Sold to the highest bidder - ALBA" article.

La Prensa reported President Zelaya's denial of the coup; however, La Prensa also reported yesterday that a secret meeting occurred last Tuesday between Zelaya and the military leaders, to which the media was not informed as is the normal custom. 'Off the record,' Military leader Romeo Vásquez denied that the meeting was to discuss anything other than policy. He could not explain why the media was not notified of the new meeting which was changed from the planned date and held behind closed doors.
Photo: La Prensa

Porfirio (Pepe) Lobo, president of the Nacionalista party and presidential hopeful in the upcoming elections, has been direct in pointing out that he believes that Mel Zelaya has "planes continuista" (plans to continue his presidency even though the constitution of Honduras does not allow a second term).

A few days ago in Honudiario, Ramon Custodio, Commissioner of Human Rights, reported that the Honduran military is not prepared for any kind of coup.

Several times in the past months, Micheletti has made cryptic comments to the media about persons or groups who are trying to threaten democracy in Honduras. No names were ever mentioned.

So, is this all rumors and overreaction to secret meetings or is something in the works? Are the rumors politically motivated? Where there is smoke, there is fire? I don't know, but Honduras has a very finely tuned grapevine and as often as not, rumors prove to have at least some truth behind them.

September 18 update: The coup that wasn't

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