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Obama: Ouster of Honduras President Was an Illegal Coup
President Obama says the United States still considers Manuel Zelaya to be the president of Honduras.
Monday, June 29, 2009
WASHINGTON -- President Obama on Monday declared that the United States still considers Manuel Zelaya to be the president of Honduras and assailed the coup that forced him into exile as "not legal," deepening the chasm between the Central American nation and much of the rest of the world.
"It would be a terrible precedent if we start moving backwards into the era in which we are seeing military coups as a means of political transition rather than democratic elections," Obama said in the Oval Office after meeting with Colombian President Alviro Uribe. "The region has made enormous progress over the last 20 years in establishing democratic traditions in Central America and Latin America. We don't want to go back to a dark past."
Leaders from across the Western Hemisphere and beyond called for return to power of Zelaya, who arrested on Sunday morning by soldiers who stormed his residence and forced him into exile. The country now has another president appointed by its Congress, Roberto Micheletti, who insisted that Zelaya was legally removed by the courts and Congress for violating Honduras' constitution and attempting to extend his own rule.
"We are very clear about the fact that President Zelaya is the democratically elected president," Obama said.
The United States, he said, will work the Organization of American States and other bodies to try to resolve the conflict peacefully.
The OAS was holding an emergency session on the crisis Tuesday.