Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hondura´s President Zelaya is in Costa Rica

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (CNN) -- Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya said he awoke to gunfire in his home and was still in his pajamas when the military forced him to leave the country Sunday.

"This was a brutal kidnapping of me with no justification," Zelaya said of the military-led coup. He was speaking from Costa Rica where a military plane had taken him after he was held Sunday morning.

In Tegucigalpa a growing crowd, including families with children, gathered outside of the presidential residence. Video showed soldiers walking down some of the streets of the capital, and military helicopters flew overhead.

Zelaya, a leftist elected in 2005, had found himself recently pitted against other branches of

Despite the military and Congress' position, Zelaya pressed forward, vowing last week that he would push for the referendum. His four-year term ends in January 2010, and under current law he cannot run for re-election.

He called the coup an attack on Honduran democracy. "There are ways to protest without arms," Zelaya said. 

A military team entered the president's residence and met resistance from Zelaya's guards, a Honduran government official told CNN. The official at first said Zelaya was injured, but later said it appeared he had not been. 

Earlier, the military had confiscated ballots from the presidential residence, in effect canceling the disputed vote. Meanwhile, the state-run television news station was taken off the air, and there were reports of cell phones and electricity interruptions in parts of the country. 

The country's top military commander, Gen. Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, told the president that the military would not support the referendum.

In response, Zelaya said last Wednesday that he would fire Vasquez.

Zelaya last week referred to the highest court in Honduras as the "Supreme Court of Injustice" but later reaffirmed that Vasquez still held his military post.

Determined to hold the referendum, the president on Thursday led a protest to the military base where the ballots were being housed and took possession of them. The military seized those ballots Sunday morning.

Sunday's events followed a tumultuous week in Honduras, a country where 70 percent of the population lives in poverty.

The military had ruled Honduras for 25 years, until a democratically elected civilian government came to power in 1982.
Zelaya won the presidency in 2005 with 49.8 percent of the vote to 46.1 percent for Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo.


Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who was arrested by soldiers earlier on Sunday, is in Costa Rica and has asked for asylum, CNN's Spanish-language channel reported, citing the Costa Rican government.

Zelaya, an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, had provoked a political crisis after seeking to hold a consultative vote on constitutional reforms that a court ruled was illegal.


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