Manuel Zelaya

President of Honduras from 2006 to 2009

José Manuel Zelaya Rosales (born 20 September 1952) is a Honduran businessman and politician. He became the country's president in 2006 but was deposed in 2009 after a Coup. He now represents Honduras as a deputy of the Central American Parliament and is married to Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, who won the presidency in the 2021 general election. Upon his wife's inauguration he will be the first First Gentleman in Honduran history.

Manuel Zelaya in 2009
It's a state policy of the United States... a bipartisan policy... of US dominance around the world.... During Obama we had a coup in Honduras that was clearly backed by the United States... It was the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that...played the key role in ensuring that (Hondura's) President Manuel Zelaya, who was deposed in that coup (2009), couldn't go back to his country. ~ Eva Golinger



(Most recent first)

  • Ten years ago, John Negroponte, undersecretary of state, and President George W. Bush warned me and threatened me, when I was president of Honduras, saying that if had relations with Hugo Chávez, then I would have problems with the United States. Six months after that warning, I was removed from power and removed from this country. But if you think about the elite in the U.S. government... they want to go back to the 1980s, which was marked by the Cold War, stigmatizing the opposition. They’ve created shock forces, psychological war, dirty war. Well, if they think that they’re going to be able to stop migration in this way, well, it’s only going to worsen. The gangs are a link in the drug trafficking business, and they come about because there’s no jobs.
    There’s an excess of poverty... Youth find no solution... the drug trafficking organizations come on the scene, and instead of creating more jobs, the government brings more repression...
    ...Drug trafficking is managed by the DEA. The DEA knows of each shipment that comes out of Venezuela and Colombia. The DEA knows about it. And some pass through without any problem, and others are stopped. So, there is not a fight against drug trafficking. There is a fight against cartels.
  • The United States doesn’t talk about Honduras, because it’s shameful. They are ashamed to talk about what they’re supporting in Honduras. And the only thing to do about it is to denounce it, because there are murders. There are death squads. They’ve exported what’s called Plan Colombia to Honduras, the false positives, where many opposition leaders, such as Berta Cáceres, to mention one, or Murillo at the time of the coup, or another person who was asphyxiated—a 24-year-old who was asphyxiated by the gases—all of these, there’s no way to describe these crimes over the last 10 years other than by calling them crimes against humanity. And this country should be brought before the International Criminal Court, because what U.S. policy is doing is supporting genocide in Honduras and in Central America....
    In focusing on migration, they’re going to look for some solution to the system that is provoking the migrants, because everyone talks about migration, but the causes of migration are the U.S. policies, the IMF policies, the policies of the Southern Command for this region, are provoking more and more migrants with each passing day. So, militarizing Central America, militarizing Honduras means that that escape valve that the Honduran people have had, which is to be able to get work in the United States... Migration is a human process, seeking to find solutions. When they militarize the border, what they are going to provoke here will be greater convulsions, greater explosions.
  • We don’t need the help of the United States. The United States gives very little assistance. What the United States wants is to exercise economic control over the structures of the macroeconomy worldwide. For example, the World Bank gives Honduras some $150 million a year, $150 million. The Inter-American Development Bank, a similar sum. So, all told, we might get about $240 million. And that is controlled by the United States... The IMF authorizes a letter that is signed every year so that Honduras can go into debt at very high interest rates, because it is a government that is allied with the United States. What that provokes in our region is clear, I think. I think it’s evident, what it causes in our region. I believe that that relationship, where they say they’re going to cut the assistance, has almost no effect.... Let me put it in clearer terms. Honduran migrants send to Honduras about $4 billion a year. Let me repeat this, Amy: $4 billion a year. And the United States, together with the World Bank and the IDB, sends $200 million... It’s all based on U.S. policy and on the interference and meddling of the United States in Honduras.... we should not be a vassal of the United States. We are a small country, but with the same dignity as the Europeans and the U.S. have.
  • If the coup victories so we can look forward to a long conflict because we refuse to bend. We are not afraid of their guns. Honduras army pattern just 7000 men. If we take up arms, we would quickly run away so few soldiers. But our goal is to allocate the regime in a peaceful and honorable way. Women, children, youth, students, workers - we all have united us in a civic front against the coup. Even my 80 year old mother to the streets and practice non-violent resistance.
  • I prefer to march on my feet than to live on my knees before a military dictatorship.

Quotes about Manuel Zelaya

  • In 2009, when the president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was ousted by a military coup, the coverage was characteristically scant. Maddow framed the coup as more of a curiosity than a crisis. While some of her coverage focused on the Republicans who planned trips to Honduras in order to support the coup government, other of her segments poked fun at Zelaya’s attempts to re-enter the country. The fact that the Honduran military opened fire on supporters of Zelaya awaiting his return at the airport, killing a teenage boy, was not part of Maddow’s look at the lighter side of overthrowing an elected government.
  • In the last three weeks, two groups totaling over 4,000 people attempted to flee Honduras. At the same time, Indigenous groups back in Honduras are engaged in fighting a new law they say will increase their displacement and the violence that is aimed against them. It is clear the crisis in Honduras that has pushed caravan after caravan to seek refuge in the United States is nowhere near an end. Despite ample evidence of extreme human rights abuses in the immediate aftermath of Zelaya’s removal, the United States decided to support elections widely considered questionable held in November 2009. These events are driven by the same thing: A 2009 coup in Honduras aided and abetted by the United States. The “second coup” came in 2012...The “third coup” happened in November 2017... Each of these events has been followed by tacit or overt approval from the U.S. government, along with continued military aid.
  • A well-off landowner from an elite family who won on the centrist Liberal Party ticket, Zelaya had been no radical... Though he’d moved left over the course of his term — upping teacher pay, providing free lunches at public schools, topping up pensions, and abolishing school fees — even his populist moves had a firm ceiling. While he raised the minimum wage by 60 percent, it stayed at poverty level, and didn’t apply to workers in the maquiladora export industry, a neoliberal business model created to draw in foreign investment.... Being forced to lose even a cent of profit to their grossly underpaid workers was an outrage to the Honduran business elite. With Zelaya pairing these moves with an increasing use of leftist rhetoric, he lost the support of his own party, and the Honduran right plotted to move against him.
  • Despite playing ball with the US elite, Zelaya’s cardinal sin was forging closer relations with left-wing Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, who visited Honduras for the first time in 2008. Under Zelaya, Honduras entered Petrocaribe, Venezuela’s program for selling subsidized oil to friendly governments, and joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the People of Our America (ALBA) trade bloc, an embryonic leftist counterweight to US-led, neoliberal free trade in the hemisphere...
    The pretext for Zelaya’s removal was his move in early 2009 to hold a nonbinding referendum on rewriting the country’s twenty-six-year-old constitution, ostensibly to reflect the “substantial and significant changes” that had taken place in Honduras...There’s no doubt Zelaya’s brinkmanship fed the crisis that ended in his own ouster. But before you side with the coup plotters, consider...that this abrogation of a democratic constitution came in response to not just a referendum whose victory was far from assured, but a nonbinding one... the worst thing Zelaya was accused of plotting — to change the constitution to allow himself a second term — is eminently reasonable.... Honduras’s constitution [is not] some kind of sacred, untouchable document... With a presidential election set only five months after the referendum was due to be held, there was little possibility the constitution could be amended in time to keep Zelaya in power (which he’d have to win a second election to secure anyway).
  • Hillary Clinton would later boast in her autobiography of trying to block Zelaya’s return to office behind the scenes, strategizing with regional allies to “ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot.”... Death squads returned to the country, picking off environmentalists, indigenous land activists, and any other “terrorists” standing in the way of the rapacious business interests unleashed by the government... the country has consistently ranked at the top of the list of most dangerous countries to be an environmental activist... But... it wasn’t just Honduras that felt the reverberations of the 2009 coup... the biggest US loser of the coup was, ironically, Hillary Clinton herself. Despite excising the incriminating passage about Zelaya from later reissues of her book, the matter nevertheless became one of many campaign issues in the 2016 Democratic primary that helped dent enthusiasm for the candidate come election day.
  • Nothing is said about the reason that President Zelaya, the leader whom the coup d’etat removed from office, may have wanted to change the constitution of Honduras. One clear reason, for example, was to limit the power of the military in that much-troubled state – a military with whose leaders I met some years ago in my capacity as Deputy Director of the US Marine Corps War College, and I can only say that when I departed the room where we met, my greatest urge was for a shower to cleanse myself of the stench that lingered from their presence.  

See also

Wikipedia has an article about:
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: