[News] Manuel Zelaya - Democracy has a price and I am prepared to pay

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Sun Jul 26 11:06:56 EDT 2009

Manuel Zelaya: `Democracy has a price and I am prepared to pay it'

Giorgio Trucchi's interview with Hondura's President Manuel Zelaya Rosales
was conducted on July 19 in Managua, Nicaragua, as an exclusive
for Sirel-UITA (Regional Latin American Secretariat of the International Union
of Food, Agriculture and Hotel Workers World Wide). The English 
language website
of the UITA is at 
<http://www.iuf.org/www/en/>http://www.iuf.org/www/en/. The interview 
only appears in
Spanish at the Latin American website based in Montevideo, Uruguay, at

This translation is by Felipe Stuart Cournoyer, July 22, 2009. Words within
square brackets [like this] are the translator's additions made for 
the sake of

* * *

By Giorgio Trucchi

When the Managua press conference of the constitutional president of Honduras,
Manuel Zelaya Rosales, ended I was able to get into the president's vehicle
along with his minister of the presidency Enrique Flores Lanza to go to an
interview with international media. In just a few days -- or perhaps hours --
President Zelaya was to set out on his return trip to Honduras. In 
the intimacy
of the vehicle we began this exclusive interview for Sirel.

Giorgio Trucchi: In the last few days you've announced your intention 
to return
to Honduras, no matter the cost . Is this a definitive decision?

Zelaya Rosales: This is not a question of something that goes against the
stability of the country; rather it is a solution in the search for stability.
We hope that this will be the best way to undertake an internal dialog that
solves the conflict and end the repression under which the Honduran people are

Dialogue with whom?

With the people because the people command in a democracy . The power-sectors
who have taken up arms are repressive groups and they have to give up the
exercise of command that the people have not granted them.
What has most saddened you about this coup against your person and your
government cabinet?

What pains me is that the country is being destroyed. Society is 
suffering, and
they are trying to destroy the progress we have achieved and the efforts of so
many generation through the use of arms.

The de facto government is totally isolated on the international plain and is
facing a strong and tireless internal resistance from grassroots movements.
Despite that, it is carrying on with a totally intransigent attitude. The
question arises -- is this just a matter of insensitivity, or are they placing
their confidence in support from foreign actors?

They are like wild animals from the jungle who cling to their food. They think
Honduras is their personal ranch. They're a group of ten families who 
want to consolidate their economic wealth and privileges. Their fear 
is groundless
because no one is trying to get at them. Nevertheless, they believe that
democratic development will [badly] affect them and so do not accept democracy.

In the press conference you said that sectors of the United States 
extreme right
supported and continue to back the coup. Are you convinced the involvement of
those sectors?

These people have made public demonstrations of their support to the coup,
including US senators and members of Congress. Mr Otto Reich is the 
former Under
Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere and he came out in 
support of the
coup. Many people in the United States have done the same. Hence, 
there is proof
and evidence that ex-president George W. Bush's hawks are behind this coup.

What importance has the grassroots, social, and union movement had in blocking
the progress of the coup?

The are protagonists in defence of democracy because the think that 
democracy is
an instrument that enables them to make social conquests. They are 
combating the
coup and won't give up until the effects of this attack against the Honduran
people and against democracy is ended.

The coupsters are defying the world and we have to set a precedent 
before it is
too late.

UITA [International Union of Food, Agriculture and Hotel Workers] has been
following events from the optic of grassroots movem ents, before, during, and
after the coup? For those sectors there are two elements that cannot be
negotiated: rejection of amnesty for the coupsters, and going ahead 
with having
a fourth ballot box [in the coming elections that would consult voters about
whether or not a constitutional reform process should be undertaken], and the
installation of a constituent assembly. What do you think about those points?

It would be ridiculous to award a prize to the coupsters for carrying out a
coup. I think the position of the social movements is to seek a 
solution to the
conflict, but without any prizes or pardons for committing penal and common
crimes. At the same time, I think that the seven points put forward by [Costa
Rica's] President Oscar Arias speak about political amnesty but not 
for ordinary
and penal offences.

Regarding social reforms, I think that finding a new strategy to carry on with
these reforms must be part of a broad process of discussion 
throughout Honduran
society. Social reforms should not be ended, nor should the peoples' rights to
participation [in political decisions] be blocked because they are
constitutional rights. In that sense, Oscar Arias's points were not 
discussed in
their breadth because the coupsters do not accept restitution of a democratic
system. They want a de facto regime that is lawless; they want to maintain it
with violence. We cannot accept that.

It's been said that there are two basic elements in trying to find a 
solution to
the conflict: the position of the United States and the role of the armed
forces. What's your opinion on that?

Today we sent a letter to President Barrack Obama, respectfully asking him to
stiffen measures not only against the repressive state, but also against those
individuals who conspired and carried out the coup.  We hope a quick 
response so
that the measures undertaken will really restore a system based on law and
order. If that does not happen we are all in a precarious situation, not just
myself -- a victim of a coup for defending society's rights -- but the whole
population.  I believe that President Obama not only has diplomatic mechanisms
to exercise pressure, but also has other strong resources that I hope he
applies; and also other countries in Latin America [should do the same].

Regarding the armed forces, if they are going to be used to carry our coups,
then logically we have to evaluate their role. However, I believe 
that, in this
case, it was the high command that ordered the coup. The officers and the new
generation that is going to receive  blood-stained armed forces do not agree
with this coup.

Is it getting close to the moment of your return to Honduras? Aren't 
you afraid
of being arrested or assassinated?

I have no fear. But I am taking precau tions and being careful. When life
demands, you have to live with a sense of effort and of its rewards. Sometimes
sacrifice is necessary to bring about social conquests, and I am ready to make
the effort for people's liberty, democracy, and peace.

Did you ask the media to accompany in your attempt to return to the 
country. Are
you really proposing to go back?

I've asked them to accompany me. I am going to risk everything and 
the world is
taking the same risk with my return. I've said that if there is an 
General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez will be responsible for my death.

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