Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said: “I continue to stick with my mandate, fighting to oust the power-grabbers using all peaceful weapons. Maybe this is the most civilized way to do this—the international community, diplomacy, the democratic letter from the United Nations, the letter from the OAS, and all peaceful instruments—so that this return happens with all guarantees of peace and that the people stop suffering with the repression they are enduring at this moment.”
Zelaya later urged the United States to increase pressure on the coup regime. Speaking to CNN, Zelaya said, “Honduras depends on Washington. The US only needs to tighten its fist, and the coup will last five seconds.”
**Post-Ouster Toll Hits Five; Honduran General Denies Coup**
In Honduras, demonstrations continued Tuesday for the return of the ousted president Manuel Zelaya. Hundreds marched in the capital Tegucigalpa, flanked by riot police. The coup regime, meanwhile, said armed forces shot and killed a driver who had failed to stop at a military checkpoint. It was at least the fifth coup-related death since Zelaya’s ouster in June. Meanwhile, the head of the Honduran armed forces and leader of the military overthrow, General Romeo Vasquez, appeared on television to appeal for public support. Vasquez denied a coup had taken place.
General Romeo Vasquez: “We are in a country of laws. And being in a country of laws, it is a democratic country. There was no coup, like others have said, because if there had been a coup, a curfew would have been installed. And I can tell you that all these people who have been causing turmoil would have been jailed. However, we are in a country where freedom prevails.”
**Coup Regime Orders Closure of Radio Station**
The general’s comments came as the coup regime came under scathing criticism from a visiting UN official. Frank La Rue, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to free expression, called the coup government “a dictatorial government…which is closing the spaces of the democracy.” As La Rue spoke, the Honduran radio station Radio Globo said it’s being threatened with closure. The Honduran military has reportedly ordered regulators to shut the station down. Radio Globo has been one of the few Honduran media outlets to criticize the coup regime. Zelaya, meanwhile, was in Mexico City, where he launched a new international effort to return home. Appearing with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Zelaya renewed his acceptance of a Costa Rica-backed agreement to resolve the Honduran crisis.