The ALBA nations have been convened for a special meeting in Managua, Nicaragua. Presidents Chávez of Venezuela, Correa of Ecuador and Ortega of Nicaragua are present, along with Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez. President Zelaya of Honduras, ousted earlier this morning by a militar-civil coup, is the guest of honor. Zelaya gave a recount of his kidnapping, saying machine guns opened fired on his residence this morning before soldiers kidnapped him and placed him on the presidential airplane. He didn't know where he was going until he arrived to Costa Rica. Apparently, the Costa Rican government was notified as Zelaya's plane was landing. The ALBA countries have clearly condemned the coup in Honduras today and are meeting to such effect.
The OAS declaration was also quite clear in condemning the coup and calling for President Zelaya's immediate reinstatement to power. Nevertheless, the coup government in Honduras has refused to respond to the calls of the international community to restore Zelaya to power. They continue to insist a coup has not taken place, but rather a "transition" to "democracy". (?!).
Two State Dept spokespeople have given a press conference and indicated, still a bit ambiguously, that the US Govt is calling for Zelaya's reinstatement and only recognizes him as the constitutional president of Honduras. Here is an extract of their telephone press conference today:
"QUESTION: Thanks. This is Elise Labott with CNN. Thanks for doing this. I know you say that this is a - it has to be dealt with internally, but I was wondering, given the presence of U.S. troops in the country, whether you’ve been in touch with the military. It sounds like the military has been kind of restricted to the barracks. So are there any discussions with the military right now, and are you working with them to try and find some compromise? Thanks.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: By the military, you mean U.S. military or Honduran?
QUESTION: Well, no, I mean, is the U.S. military making contact with the Honduran military at this point? I mean, whether the - where are your - I mean, obviously, since the president - and it sounds like the foreign minister has been detained too, maybe - I mean, what are your contacts with the Honduran government right now?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: We do not have military-to-military communications at this point. At the beginning of the day, the Honduran armed forces were taking calls from our Embassy as we were condemning this act, and - but they have ceased to take those calls.
QUESTION: So how are you - I mean, what is your communication with the government right now since you’re not talking to the military? And what is the situation with the foreign minister? Was he detained as well?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: We believe the foreign minister was detained. I don’t have independent confirmation of that; however, our ambassador in a public press conference called for the release of all officials who have been detained, demanding that Honduran authorities release them immediately.
We have been attempting to communicate with especially members of congress and others who have been driving this process, and insisting that they need to step down and restore full democratic and constitutional order.
QUESTION: But you haven’t heard back from them?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Well, I mean, they haven’t done that yet, so --
QUESTION: Okay. Thanks.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Cal Woodward. Please state your affiliation.
QUESTION: Associated Press. Just to be clear, are you - is the U.S. Government calling for the return of the president?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Correct. "