The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) applauds the measures that the U.S. Department of State announced yesterday to pressure Honduras' de facto government to restore constitutional order. On June 28, the constitutionally elected president, Manuel Zelaya Rosales, was overthrown and flown out of the country to Costa Rica by the Honduran military. After Zelaya met with Secretary Hillary Clinton yesterday, the State Department issued a statement describing the situation as a "coup," and declaring that it would terminate financial assistance to the de facto regime. The State Department also announced it would revoke the visas of targeted members of the coup government and their supporters, and said that under current circumstances it could not recognize the results of presidential elections that the de facto government intends to organize in November.
"This is a very important signal to the Honduran government, and Latin America, that the United States will not support coup d'états in the hemisphere," stated Vicki Gass, a Senior Associate at WOLA. "The warning that the U.S will not recognize the results of the presidential elections if they take place under the de facto regime and that they will begin revoking visas again of members and supporters of the coup, make clear that there will be serious consequences if the de facto government does not accept President Arias' proposal, and restore constitutional order, including returning President Zelaya to office."
WOLA remains concerned that the de facto government will continue to be obdurate in the face of international condemnation and will attempt to use the electoral process to validate its actions in June. "Up until now, the Micheletti government has been intransigent in the face of gradual but increasing pressures from the United States and others. We may need to employ a full court press," said Gass. "If they persist in refusing to restore constitutional order to Honduras, then the State Department must take stronger steps to apply pressure, including economic sanctions and the freezing of bank accounts."
Vicki Gass, Senior Associate on Rights and Development
202-797-2171; [email protected]