Despite efforts by the international community to pressure the coup government that illegally took power on Sunday in Honduras to step down, de facto president Roberto Micheletti has stated he will remain in power through January 2010, when a newly elected president is sworn in. Micheletti spoke today outside the presidential palace in the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, to hundreds of supporters, announcing he will have President Zelaya arrested if he returns to Honduras. Zelaya confirmed again today, speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, that he plans to return to his post as constitutional president of Honduras this Thursday. He will be accompanied by Organization of American States Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa.
Zelaya's opposition controls the Honduran congress and supreme court, and de facto president Micheletti has already installed a partial cabinet and called on his Attorney General to draft detention orders that authorize President Zelaya's capture and imprisonment for alleged crimes of treason, drug trafficking and violation of the constitution. So far, Micheletti and his illegal coup imposed government have not presented any evidence of crimes committed by President Manuel Zelaya.
The Obama Administration is still wavering on its position regarding the Honduran coup. There is growing concern that should the U.S. Government fail to impose sanctions on Honduras and classify these events as a coup d'etat, Micheletti will take that as a silent approval of his de facto government and refuse to step down until the current presidential term runs out and elections are held in November.
Washington is still buying time by debating the "legal terminology" it choses to use in reference to the Honduran coup. Under U.S. law, the government must suspend most economic and military aid to a nation run by a military coup that has deposed a democratically elected government. Honduras is a major recipient of U.S. economic and military aid, totaling over $100 million annually. State Department representatives are currently negotiating with the coup government in Honduras to find a solution, which may be similar to Haiti in 2004 when President Aristide was kidnapped and forced into exile by opposition forces supported by Washington and later a "transition" government was implemented until elections could be held to install a new regime. It would be unfortunate and a major blow to democracy and social and economic justice if the current situation in Honduras ends the same way. It would also be a huge stain on the Obama Administration before the eyes of the international community and would finally "pop" the bubble of "hope" and "change" the Obama campaign sold to the world.