Ousted Honduran Leader Eyes More US Sympathy

Visiting Washington this week, ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya talked about the need for the U.S. to take a more aggressive stance against the coup regime, and on the vital role of democracy in Latin America's development.

He was speaking at an event hosted by George Washington University.  

Zelaya said his June 28 ouster has been a "cause for mourning" in Latin America. He discussed the need for democratic governments to be organized by the people, suggesting that the most politically disenfranchised are also the most impoverished.

"The most effective way [to govern] is to go to the community and ask their opinion," said Zelaya. He was alluding to the proposed constitutional referendum at the center of his ouster.

Honduras, Zelaya noted, is the most unequal nation in the Americas and the third poorest.

"Democracy is the best way to fight poverty," he stated.

Zelaya highlighted the gains his administration had made in the health, economic and social sectors.

One day earlier, Zelaya attended a closed-door meeting at the Organization of American States. He was scheduled to meet U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Sept. 3.

Although the Obama administration has denounced Zelaya's overthrow, it has not labeled the events of June 28 a coup, or cut off all aid to the de facto regime.

President Zelaya has previously called for tough sanctions against the coup leaders and stated he will mention "other things" the U.S. administration can do during his talks with Clinton.

Human rights organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have denounced mounting abuses under the coup regime.

"We expect in the coming hours not only a declaration by the State Department that there has been a coup d'etat, but also a condemnation of all human rights violations, which are totally direct and clear," Zelaya stated.

About the author

  • Jody Nesbitt

    Jody is a Devex international correspondent in Washington, D.C. Previously, he worked as a monitor in South Africa's provincial parliament, as well as a researcher for the Center for Economic and Policy Research and for Glass Lewis & Co. He has studied at Rutgers University, the University of Natal and the University of the West Indies, earning a bachelor's in political science and a master's in international relations.