Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya Discusses Coup, Costa Rica Talks, US Role and More
JUAN GONZALEZ: Talks between the ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya and the leaders of last week’s military coup begin today in
AMY GOODMAN: Well shortly before the ousted president Manuel Zelaya left
Mr. President, welcome to “Democracy Now!” can you tell us what you have agreed to, what you expect from these talks, and if you been satisfied with your meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?
MANUAL ZELAYA:[translated] I think that both President Barack Obama and Secretary Clinton as well as U.S. Ambassador in Tegucigalpa, Hugo Lawrence, and all the other officials have been completely categorical and clear. While there have been other opinions voiced in the
JUAN GONZALEZ: Mr. President, your opponents who engineered the coup claim that you were trying to subvert the constitution of 1982. What were you trying to do with the referendum that you were holding and is it true that as they say, your were trying to illegally extend your term?
MANUAL ZELAYA:[translated] That is completely false. In
AMY GOODMAN: Mr. President, the
MANUAL ZELAYA:[translated] We only have humanitarian aid coming from the United States the U.S. held up military aid, our officials in Washington have been replaced because they left with the coup. They were changed yesterday. And all of the
JUAN GONZALEZ: Mr. President, you came to office thought to be conservative leader, but yet in your time in office, you sharply increased minimum wage, provided for free school lunches for children, you lowered the price of public transportation. Do you think these policies are the reason behind the elite of Hondurans supporting the coup against you?
MANUAL ZELAYA:[translated] I came to power with a very clear programmatic and ideological platform, to empower citizens in their rights, to empower them economically, socially and culturally and also politically, all the reforms I have proposed are meant to give more power to the population. I do not believe in elites. I don’t believe in military elites or economics elites. I believe that it is the people who have the strength to make the changes. That is why I called my campaign “citizen power." The first law I made was that a citizen participation and the law I was applying with the survey was for citizen participation. We helped the poor along with the First Lady, we have reduced poverty by 10% we’ve had the country growing by 7% economically. So, there is a reactionary group in
AMY GOODMAN: Mr. President, can you describe exactly what happened the morning of the coup and who exactly you think is behind this?
MANUAL ZELAYA:[translated] They attacked my house at 5:30 in the morning. A group of at least 200 to 250 armed soldiers with hoods and bulletproof vests, and rifles aimed their guns at me, fired shots, used machine guns, kicked down the doors and just as I was, in pajamas, they put me on an plane and flew me to Costa Rica. This all happened in less than 45 minutes.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Mr. President, some people have speculated there were former members of the Bush Administration that were waging a campaign against you here in the
MANUAL ZELAYA:[translated] The bad guys always join together. But there are more of us good people and we’re also united and we will win out over them. So don’t worry about that. I need to tell you I have to leave for
AMY GOODMAN: The ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya spoke with us right before leaving for