Heads of state throughout the Caribbean region have expresses their condemnation of the military coup in Honduras that has removed President Manuel Zelaya from office. Zelaya was seized by hooded and armed soldiers at Honduras’ Presidential Palace early Sunday morning and forced to board a plane to Costa Rica.
Roosevelt Skerritt, Prime Minister of Dominica, has called Zelaya’s removal from office “illegal.” “We believe that this is a dangerous trend where the rule of law has been set aside and a constitutionally elected president has been removed, Skerritt said, as he called for sanctions against Honduras if Zelaya is not reinstated. The Jamaican government has also called for Zelaya’s reinstatement, saying it maintains full support for President Zelaya and has condemned the manner in which he was removed from office. Jamaica’s foreign affairs minister Dr. Kenneth Baugh says the actions are in breach of the principles of respect for the rule of law, human rights and constitutional order.
The government of Guyana issued a statement declaring that “in accordance with the principles of democracy and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, the government of Guyana is concerned with the breakdown of the constitutional order in the Republic of Honduras that has occurred as a result of the coup d’etat.” The release expressed the government’s concern for reported violence against members of the government and foreign representatives: “The government of Guyana also joins in the condemnation of all acts of violence and detention of the government ministers and urged their early release.”
Cuba has called the military coup a “criminal, brutal” and demanded the immediate return to office of deposed leftist President Manuel Zelaya. “I denounce the criminal, brutal character of this coup,” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez told a news conference in Havana. “This coup has removed a legitimate and constitutional government simply for wanting to hold a vote. There is only one constitutional government in Honduras, and one constitutional president who should return immediately without conditions,” Rodríguez said.
Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Patrick Manning also called for the return of Zelaya: “In keeping with the Inter American Democratic Charter, the situation in Honduras today clearly affects the development of that country’s democratic political institutional process and the legitimate exercise of power,” Manning said in a brief statement. Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas also condemned the military action in Honduras saying “the will of the Honduran people must be respected.”
“The government of Barbados views with grave concern and therefore condemns the interruption of the democratic process in our sister state of Honduras. The government of Barbados therefore calls for the reinstatement of the democratically elected government…” said, Ricardo Kellman, Barbados’ alternate representative to the OAS. Belizean permanent representative to the OAS, Ambassador Nestor Mendez, said his country’s government joins in rejecting “in the strongest possible terms”, the military coup and stands ready to work with the Organisation of American States to undertake any actions necessary.
At a meeting of the ALBA group in the Dominican Republic, ambassadors of Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela issued a joint statement “rejecting and condemning the shameful coup perpetrated against Manuel Zelaya’s government which was elected by a sovereign people.” The statement called for the international community to echo their condemnation and work hard to prevent bloodshed in the nation. The statement also called on Dominicans to demonstrate publicly against the coup and called for the Dominican government to make a clear and categorical declaration joining most of the world in condemning the events.
The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) has also condemned the rebellion in Honduras. An emergency meeting of the OAS permanent council, comprising ambassadors, met within hours of the coup yesterday and issued a statement calling for Mr. Zeleya’s return to office. “There is a strong demand for the immediate and unconditional return of President Zelaya… to resume his duties as president of the country and if that does not happen the call has been made for a special General Assembly as soon as possible,” read the organization’s statement.
Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez has warned that he’ll take military action if anyone harms his ambassador in Tegucigalpa. In a news conference Chavez said the coup is destined to fail as international pressure is building for Zelaya to return to power in the Central American country, with neighboring countries closing their border with Honduras and other Latin American nations pulling their ambassadors from Tegucigalpa.