New evidence exposes US support for 2009 Honduras coup

August 31, 2017

A new investigation conducted by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Research Associate Jake Johnston reveals key details involving US officials and their support for the 2009 coup in Honduras that ousted former President Manuel Zelaya.

The investigation, published by The Intercept, was based on military intelligence documents and interviews with Honduran and US officials. It focuses on the Pentagon and the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), and their interests in ensuring the success of the military coup against Zelaya.

Johnston found:

  • A top US military official met with Honduran coup plotters a day prior to the coup, demonstrating that they knew about the forthcoming ouster. 
  • A Honduran military official’s warning to the US ambassador was met with “indifference.”
  • A retired US general provided assistance to Honduran military leaders advocating for the coup, according to interviewed sources, confirming previous allegations.
  • US military officials were guided by an “obsessive concern” with former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s growing influence in the region as opposed to domestic Honduran issues. 

Overall, the investigation demonstrates that the Pentagon's main interest was to maintain tight relations with close Honduran military allies, rather than overturn the coup.

Prior to his removal, Zelaya sought to hold a non-binding, nationwide poll on whether to include a fourth ballot box in the forthcoming elections to usher in a National Constituent Assembly for the rewriting of the country’s constitution. The effort was intended to democratise the country’s laws, which have traditionally favoured the Honduran elite. 

Zelaya had also begun forging ties with progressive Latin American governments — such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Cuba and Bolivia — while joining the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).

On June 28, 2009, high ranking army officials received orders issued by the Supreme Court to detain Zelaya and transferred him, by force, to Costa Rica.

In 2010, Zelaya was allowed to return to Honduras, a country that plunged into rampant violence following the coup. Since then, hundreds of social activists and dozens of journalists have been killed by suspected right-wing death squads.

[Republished from TeleSUR English.]

Like the article? Subscribe to Green Left now! You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.