First Lady Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, Wife of Ousted Honduran President, Speaks Out About Coup
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AMY GOODMAN: After a failed attempt to return to Honduras over the weekend, ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has complained that U.S. condemnation of the coup against him is waning. Zelaya had tried to cross back into Honduras from Nicaragua on Friday but stayed for less than an hour.
Zelaya criticized the United States for not doing enough to condemn the regime which ousted him and says the U.S. has stopped describing his removal from power as a "coup.” Zelaya also asked President Obama in a letter to prohibit bank transactions and cancel the U.S. visas of individuals involved in the coup. The list includes the de facto Honduran president Roberto Micheletti, Attorney General Luis Alberto Rubi, public prosecutor Rosa America Miranda, and all the heads of armed forces branches led by General Romeo Vasquez Velazquez, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Honduras.
Speaking to supporters from the Nicaraguan town of Ocotal, close to the Honduran border, Zelaya called on the U.S. to take a bolder stance against the coup.
PRESIDENT MANUEL ZELAYA: [translated] Secretary Clinton needs to confront the dictatorship with force, so we will be able to speak well about President Obama, confront it with strength. She should stop evading the topic of the dictatorship and confront it, so that we know exactly what the United States’ position is in relation to this coup.
AMY GOODMAN: At a news conference on Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described Zelaya’s attempt to cross back into Honduras as “reckless” and urged all parties to, quote, “avoid any provocative action that could lead to violence.”
Meanwhile, human rights groups in Honduras note that two pro-Zelaya demonstrators were killed along the border area, reportedly by armed security forces of the military coup. Honduran troops at checkpoints have prevented thousands from amassing at the border to show their support for Zelaya.
Well, for more on the situation in Honduras and the prospects of the ousted president’s return, I’m joined now by the wife of the ousted Honduran president, First Lady Xiomara Castro de Zelaya. She’s spent the past day trying to get to the border and joins me now from the town of Jacaleapa.
Welcome to Democracy Now! , Mrs. Zelaya. What happened when you tried to get to the border?
XIOMARA CASTRO DE ZELAYA: [translated] Since our journey began on Friday from Tegucigalpa, there have been checkpoints with police and soldiers all along the way. They have decreed a curfew, which, for us, is a state of siege. Choluteca has already been under the curfew for eighty hours. These are border departments along Nicaragua’s border. They are not allowing food to come into the departments, and they’re also not allowing people that have crossed the border to receive food, medicine, water.
We’ve been waiting at this checkpoint for sixty hours now, which is just twenty-five kilometers from the border. Two days ago, on Saturday, General Romeo Vasquez offered the President’s family a helicopter to transport them to him in Nicaragua. And the President’s office, the current president’s office, issued a communiqué saying that they would place a private jet at the disposal of Mr. Zelaya’s family to go anywhere around the world.
AMY GOODMAN: Why don’t you use it?
XIOMARA CASTRO DE ZELAYA: [translated] We are Hondurans. This is our land, these are our people, and this is our family. We do not want to go to another country. Our constitution states that no Honduran can be removed from his country. The President was taken out of his home with shots being fired, arms, bayonets. And now they want to commit another crime, taking his family out of the country.