Hondurans Say Removal of Zelaya was Right

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Deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya failed at an attempt to return to his country last night, but he has vowed to try again.

Zelaya's plane was diverted to El Salvador after the Honduran military blocked the runway in Tegucigalpa with soldiers and trucks.
    
Soldiers and pro-Zelaya demonstrators clashed outside the airport, leaving one dead and about 30 wounded.
    
"No, I wanted to land, if the pilots had landed I'd already be on the ground," Zelaya said. "I would have faced the military, I'm not afraid, I have no problem, but the pilots, once they saw the trucks, decided not to land."

'Stop Opression'

At a press conference in San Salvador, Zelaya called on the Honduran military to "stop oppressing the Honduran people."
    
He was joined by the presidents of Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador and the secretary general of the Organization for American States.
    
They are all calling for the interim president Roberto Micheletti to step down and restore Zelaya to power.  But he said Zelaya is a criminal and he will be arrested if he returns to Honduras.

Not a Coup?

What happened in Honduras has been called a military coup. But the government was not overthrown. The Honduran Supreme Court ordered the arrest of President Manuel Zelaya for trying to subvert the constitution, and Zelaya requested exile in Costa Rica rather than jail.

Zelaya's opponents said if there was a coup, it was Zelaya behind it because of his obsession for a referendum to change the constitution to allow him to run again for president. After the Honduran Supreme Court ruled that such a vote would be illegal, Zelaya ordered the army to help him stage a vote anyway.

When the head of the armed forces refused, Zelaya fired him, and then led a group of supporters who raided a military base where the referendum ballots were stored.

Zelaya has been condemned by the Honduran Supreme Court, its congress, its attorney general, its chief human-rights advocate, all its major churches, its main business association, and Zelaya's own political party.

After getting rid of Zelaya, the Army put congress in charge of choosing his replacement. New elections have been scheduled for November.

"A majority of (Hondurans) are in favor of what the actual government has done," Honduran journalist Laura Romero said.

One newspaper vendor says "What happened had to happen and they did to the president what they needed to do, that was due to happen, and the truth is we wanted a change."

"The government of the country has really followed the law. They have investigated the former president," Honduran pastor Dr. Miguel Alvarez said. "They took him through an investigation process and went according to the channels provided by the constitution of the country."

Defeat for the Socialists 

Zelaya's ouster was a major defeat for the socialist "Bolivarian revolution" that Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez has been trying to spread throughout Latin America. Chavez has threatened to invade Honduras for booting his ally. The Organization of American States has condemned Honduras for what it calls a "coup d'état." And President Obama agrees, calling what happened "illegal."

But Honduras said Zelaya's removal was not illegal, and the White House and the OAS were nowhere to be found a few weeks ago when then President Zelaya was trying to stage his illegal referendum.

Honduras is one the poorest countries in the world, where two thirds of the population lives on $2 dollars a day or less. It remains to be seen whether this poor tiny country can continue to stand up to the pressure of the United States, the UN, and almost the entire world.

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Dale Hurd

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A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at Facebook.com/DaleHurdNews.