Cultura y conciencia

Manuel Zelaya’s Prison

Nelson Santana

How President Leonel Fernández aids the Honduran opposition and legitimizes the June 28 military coup that overthrew democratically-elected president Manuel Zelaya.

Manuel Zelaya’s Prison by José Efraín Estrella

July 1, 2010

June 28th marked the first anniversary of the military coup that overthrew President Manuel Zelaya. The bloody coup was the first of its kind of this century.

Zelaya attracted popular support after raising the minimum wage in one of the poorest countries in the region. 

After several attempts to enter Honduras failed, Zelaya was offered to live in the Dominican Republic by President Leonel Fernández who in one hand opposed the coup from the start; and on the other hand, helped the coup makers consolidate themselves in power and stage a fraudulent presidential election marred by government attacks on the opposition. As a result, Porfirio Lobo, a conservative politician, became president. At the moment, Hondurans who support Zelaya’s return face state sponsored executions carried out by the military and paramilitaries gangs.

Furthermore, independent journalists face violent attacks for speaking out. According to Amnesty International, seven journalists have been killed since March of this year.

Meanwhile, Zelaya remains in exile in the Caribbean island of Dominican Republic which brings to mind Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide, who in the February 2004 coup d’étatwas forcibly flown to South Africa away from his constituents.

In one way, Zelaya is physically closer to his supporters than Aristide has ever been due to the geographical proximity with Honduras. However, Zelaya cannot meet with them and leave the island without anyone noticing. In fact, Zelaya is more like a prisoner who has lost his freedom of movement thanks to Dominican president Fernández.

To read about the latest Amnesty International report on human rights abuses click below: