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PRESIDENT ZELAYA LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA

From the Desk of the President, Tegucigalpa, November 14, 2009

His Excellency, BARACK OBAMA
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington D. C. 20520
United States of America

Dear President Obama:

When I first met with Secretary of State Clinton on July 8 after the coup d'etat, the position of the Obama administration was made clear to me and to the world regarding its condemnation of the coup d'etat, non-recognition of the coup regime authorities and urging the return to the rule of law with the reinstatement of the President elected by the people. 

The official position of your government was consistent with your representatives who sponsored and signed the resolutions of the UN, and the OAS and the third point that requires my immediate and safe restitution. 

On June 28, 2009, the military abducted and forced me into exile to Costa Rica. The Honduran Congress issued an illegal decree ordering "The separation of citizien José Manuel Zelaya from the post of Constitutional President of the Republic" without constitutional authority to do so, no due process and without being summoned to a trial. 

Secretary Hillary Clinton proposed mediation with President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica at our first meeting.  Even though I consider it counterproductive to dialogue with people who are armed, I accepted the mediation taking into account the sponsorship by the U.S. and international community. 

In a September 4, 2009 statement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed the following: "The positive conclusion of the process initiated by Arias would be the basis for proceeding with a legitimate election." 

It is well known that the de facto regime would not have signed the Accord without the visit to Honduras by Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Thomas Shannon, Daniel Restrepo and Craig Kelly.  We all know why the Tegucigalpa - San José agreement was breached. 

Faithful to the truth, President Oscar Arias declared: "Micheletti never had the will to work together.  Instead, he ridiculed the international community, stalling for time and never returning power to where it belongs."  Former President Ricardo Lagos, a prominent member of the International Verification Commission, confirmed this by stating: "Mr. Micheletti broke it," "Micheletti did things he should not have done like saying 'I'll form a unity government without Zelaya’ which is what caused the failure of this negotiated agreement.” 

The very day that the Accord's Verification Commission was installed in Tegucigalpa, State Department officials made surprising statements in which they changed their position and interpreted the agreement unilaterally with the following statements, "... the elections would be recognized by the United States, with or without reinstatement ...". 

The de facto regime welcomed this change and used these statements for their own purposes.  This noncompliance and violation resulted in an immediate termination of the Accord. 

Therefore, we express the following:

The Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord is null and void because of unilateral noncompliance by the de facto government.  The Accord was designed to be implemented comprehensively and simultaneously; it was not to be seen as twelve separate agreements.  The single agreement with twelve points had a single purpose, to restore democratic order and social peace, and reverse the coup d'etat with the safe return of the legitimately elected President of the Republic by popular vote. This would foster a climate of national reconciliation and a subsequent constitutional electoral process, guaranteed to be free fair with the participation for all Honduran citizens. 

The forthcoming elections should take place within a legal framework and with international support, especially from the OAS and UN.  Without the political conditions which ensure the most basic rights for citizens, there can be no guarantee for free and fair elections with transparency. 

With this, I note that the new position of the U.S. Government officials eludes the initial goal of the San Jose dialogue.  It relegates the Accord with the legitimately recognized government into the background and attempts to shift the agreement toward a new electoral process regardless of the circumstances in which it develops. Among others, public resources are being approved by government officials who are not legally recognized and they are justified with budget documents that have not been authorized by the legitimately recognized President. 

Under these conditions, this electoral process and its results will be subject to legal challenge and non-recognition.  This seriously jeopardizes the future stability of relations between Honduras and other nations who recognize its results.

As noted by the OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, there is no political climate for elections. This was also pointed out by U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) who observed in her recent visit to Honduras that there is a proven climate of human rights violations in Honduras. 

On November 6, we stated our refusal to continue with the false dialogue. With the passing of the deadline on November 5, the text of the Accord becomes a dead letter that has lost meaning. Agreements need to be followed in a timely and correct fashion. The violation of this one by the de facto regime is the condition which determines that the agreement ceased to exist.

Undoubtedly, precious time was lost in this failed attempt. 

The presidential election is currently scheduled for the last week of November. In this case, as Constitutional President of Honduras, and as a citizen elected by democratic vote to represent the people of Honduras, I feel obliged to report that under these conditions we can not support the election.  We are proceeding to legally challenge the election on behalf of thousands of Hondurans and hundreds of candidates who feel that this competition is unjust and that the conditions for free and fair elections do not exist. 

Current repression in Honduras is widespread against the Honduran people as well as against the highest authority of the President of the Republic, overthrown by armed force and never subjected to a trial or due process.  Instead of considering my achievements, three years of the best economic indicators and the largest poverty reduction in 28 years of democracy, I currently have 24 indictments and arrest warrants for corruption, drug trafficking and terrorism among others.  Most of my cabinet ministers are subjected to political persecution and have fled the regime to different parts of the Americas.

3500 people detained in one hundred days, over 600 people beaten and injured in hospitals, more than a hundred murders and countless numbers of people subjected to torture directed against citizens who dare to oppose the regime and express their ideas about freedom and justice in peaceful demonstrations.  All this converts the November election into an anti-democratic exercise under an uncertain state of lawlessness with military intimidation for large sections of our people. 

To hold elections in which the President elected by the people of Honduras, who is recognized by your government and the international community, is a prisoner surrounded by soldiers in the Brazilian embassy, while the de facto president who was imposed on the country by the military is surrounded by the powerful in the governmental palace, would be an historical embarrassment to Honduras and a disgrace to the democratic peoples of the Americas. 

This electoral process is illegal because it covers up the military coup and the de facto state which Honduras has been subject to.  It provides no guarantees for Honduran citizens for a free and fair election.  It is an undemocratic electoral maneuver repudiated by large sectors of the population to cover up for the perpetrators and masterminds of the coup d'etat.

Elections involve a process with debates and a presentation of ideas with equal opportunity for all.  They do not just occur on election day 

In my capacity as President elected by the Honduran people, I reaffirm my decision that from this date onward, whatever the case, I DO NOT ACCEPT any agreement to return to the presidency to cover up the coup.  We know that the coup has had a direct impact with the military crackdown on the human rights of the inhabitants of our country. 

Mr. President,

I was present at the Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad and Tobago earlier this year, where you said:  "Let's stop accusing the United States for what it did around the continent in the past and let's look toward the future."

The future that is revealed to us today, with the policy shift in the case of Honduras favoring abusive intervention by the military castes in the civilian life of our nation (which historically caused our countries in the twentieth century to go backward and to stagnate) is not more than the decline of freedom and the disdain for human dignity.  It is a new war against the processes of social and democratic reforms which are very necessary in Honduras. 

President Obama,

Each time that a legitimately elected government in the Americas is overthrown, violence and terrorism achieve a battle victory and Democracy suffers a defeat.  We still refuse to believe that the military coup in Honduras is now the new state terrorism of the twenty-first century, and that it will be the future for Latin America that you spoke about in Trinidad and Tobago. 

We are firmly determined to fight for our democracy without hiding the truth and when a people decides to fight peacefully for their ideas, no weapon, no army nor any maneuver is capable of stopping them.

I await your prompt response and I reiterate my highest consideration, 

José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, President of Honduras

 

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UPDATED Nov 20, 2009 5:49 PM
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