Tuesday, June 30, 2009

El Salvador's response to Honduran coup

In the wake of the coup d'etat in Honduras, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes announced his support for and recognition of Manuel "Mel" Zelaya as the democratically-elected president of Honduras. Funes reiterated his support while attending a meeting for the System for Central American Integration, whose attendees included Guatemalan President Alvaro Colóm, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, Mexican President Felipe Calderón, and Honduran Chancellor Patricia Rodas. Funes stated that he is seeking support for the diplomatic isolation of the coup's leaders. As a result of the meeting, SICA participating countries have removed Honduran ambassadors; however, the Salvadoran Chancellery clarified that El Salvador will not close the Honduran Embassy. The Salvadoran government, along with Honduras' other neighboring countries, has halted commerce along the country's border with Honduras for 48 hours.

In a press conference on Sunday, FMLN party leaders condemned the coup d'etat in Honduras. Sigfrido Reyes, the FMLN's communications secretary and vice-president of the Legislative Assembly, defended Manuel Zelaya, stating, "President Zelaya was not asking to continue to be in power, rather he was asking for a citizen consultation to ask the Honduran people if they wanted to have a fourth ballot box in the November elections."

Many suspect that Mauricio Funes and his new government is watching the Honduran coup with a strong sense of unease. Funes is the first leftist president in the history of El Salvador, and the former ruling party, ARENA, and other conservative parties continue to control the National Civil Police and the Legislative Assembly.

- Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

*Photo from Diario CoLatino.

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