Return of Ousted Honduran President Throws Coup Government Into Disarray
Interview with Greg Grandin, professor of history at New York University, conducted by Scott Harris
Just days after Honduran President Manual Zelaya, overthrown in a June 28 coup d'etat, clandestinely returned to his nation and took refuge in the Brazilian Embassy on Sept. 21, the coup government's President Roberto Micheletti suspended constitutional rights and the freedom of assembly. Micheletti also forcibly closed down media outlets viewed as supportive of Zelaya. But after leaders of the Honduran Congress objected to the decree, Micheletti announced that he would soon ask the Supreme Court to rescind his suspension of civil liberties.
President Zelaya, holed up with dozens of supporters in the Brazilian embassy claimed that the Honduran military, which has surrounded the building, were subjecting people inside to a "neurotoxic" gas that caused many of them to become ill. The coup government had given Brazil an ultimatum of 10 days to either grant Zelaya asylum or hand him over for arrest.
Zelaya's surprise return to Honduras threw the coup government into apparent disarray. Micheletti had invited officials of the Organization of American States to come to Honduras to prepare for talks, but then blocked four members of the group from entering the country. He later issued a new invitation for an OAS delegation to return. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with New York University professor of history Greg Grandin, who discusses the latest developments in Honduras, the role of social movements and mixed signals sent by the Obama administration on restoring democratic rule to the Central American nation.
Greg Grandin is author of "Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City." He serves on the editorial committee of the North American Congress on Latin America nacla.org. For up-to-date regional reports on the situation in Honduras, visit www.hondurascoup2009.blogspot.com
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