President Manuel Zelaya

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In January 2009, President Manuel Zelaya decided, despite the opposition of the business elites, to increase the country’s minimum wage, which was until then the lowest of the region. The country’s elite and the powerful media organs began an intense campaign to discredit and vilify the president and his cabinet. President Zelaya was accused of wanting to make a ‘new Venezuela’ (Naiman, 2011; Benjamin, 2009). Therefore, when he planned to change the constitution, following a strong popular demand to revise it, the opposition accused him of wanting to do so to make it possible for him to run again for the elections (in Honduras a president can be elected only once)(Ruhl, 2010). On June 28, soldiers stormed into the presidential palace and sent…show more content…
Indeed, the U.S. corporate interests in Honduras are important, with multinationals such as Dole and Chiquita employing 11,000 people as well as manufacturers in apparel, auto part and mining and hydroelectric investment (Frank, 2012). However, in the two first years of his mandate, he moved to the left, especially towards Venezuela, taking in part in 2008 in the ALBA initiative (Cannon & Hume, 2012; Ruhl, 2010; Maher 2012). Therefore, after the coup, the de facto government retrenched to its obsequious behaviour towards the oligarchy, what some refer to as the ‘second coup’, a push for the agenda of transnational investors and Honduran elites (Cannon & Hume, 2012; Frank,…show more content…
It first condemned what happened, however without actually naming it a ‘coup,’ probably because if it did it would have forced Washington to terminate its aid programme to Honduras. However, after the coups in Madagascar and Mauritania, the U.S. did not hesitate to immediately and totally stop their aid (Main, 2010; Weisbrot, 2011; Chomsky, 2010). It did not withdraw its ambassador from Tegucigalpa as the European countries did. The U.S. continued training Honduran officers and the IMF, after withdrawing loans to the Zelaya government following disagreements over his economic policies, provided a loan of 150$ million to the coup regime (Chomsky, 2010). Nonetheless, the U.S. did take some measures. They suspended their non-humanitarian aid, cancelled the visas of the leading members and supporters of the interim government but they did not resort to the most effective trade sanctions and slowly but surely diminished their support for Manuel Zelaya (Ruhl, 2010). They supported an agreement between him and Roberto Micheletti, the interim president, that would create a unity government and reinstate Manuel Zelaya. However, when this turned sour, the Obama administration did not move an inch (Ruhl, 2010). Washington then announced that the U.S. would recognise the November elections, giving very little hope to President Zelaya’s of ever coming back to power (Rulh, 2010; Main, 2010). The negotiations proposed by
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