By Catherine O'Malley


Manuel (Mel) ZelayaManuel_Zelaya_detail,_ABR_August_07,_2007.jpg

Mel Zelaya is a Honduran politician and business man and comes from a wealthy Honduran family. In 1970 he joined the Liberal Party of Honduras and has held many positions within the party since. He also served as a deputy in the National Congress three consecutive terms from 1985 to 1998. Finally for his highest position yet, he served as president of Honduras from January 27, 2006 to June 28, 2009. His economic and social policies were generally favored by labor unions, civil society groups, and regionally poorer groups whereas the middle and upper class feared that he was looking to establish a socialist populism because of his alliance with Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. Also, the middle and upper class were threatened by his 60 percent increase in the minimum wage. His presidency was generally seen as shifting quickly to the left. "The impression that stuck with the traditional political class and with the most conservative business leaders of the country was that Zelaya had taken a dangerous turn to the left, and therefore that their interests were in jeopardy. We underestimated the conservatism of the Honduran political class and the military leadership." said Zelaya's former interior minister, Victor Meza. Zelaya became alienated from his own party mainly because of his forging an alliance with the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) which was established by Hugo Chávez.

The Constitutional Crisis

The recent Honduran Constitutional Crisis that has escalated just in the last few months is an ongoing political dispute over plans to rewrite the Constitution of Honduras. It was Zelaya's plan, the Honduran fourth ballot box referendum, on whether or not to include a fourth ballot box and propose to hold a national vote on drafting a new Constitution. The majority of Hondurans opposed this plan and claimed it as unconstitutional including most politicians from the two largest parties. Despite the plans lack of popularity Zelaya pushed on with his plan and consequentially the Supreme Court issued a warrant for his arrest. Zelaya and his supporters say that he was attempting to modernize the Honduran Constitution to better serve the country, note that any reforms would be enacted after his term. On the other hand, his non-supporters say that his plan is a disguised attempt to unconstitutionally eliminate presidential term limits and bring in Chávez-style socialism.

June 28, 2009 Coup

A coup or as it is also known coup d'état is the sudden, often violent and illegal seizure of power from a government. On the morning of June 28, 2009 President Mel Zelaya was awoken by the military forcing him out of his home and placing him on a plane to be sent to Costa Rica. The military did not have a comment that day, however, the Supreme Court issued a statement saying that they had ordered the military to arrest Zelaya and that the military was doing their job by "defending the law against those who had publicly spoken out and acted against the Constitution's provisions."

29honduras.span.600.jpg