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Venezuelan President: Today's Events in Honduras a "Moral Victory"

By Tamara Pearson
July 05, 2009

Responding to the fact that Honduran President Manuel Zelaya could not land in Honduras to resume his presidency on Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that the attempt was still a "moral victory," and that Venezuela would continue supporting Honduras until democracy is restored.

Following his kidnapping last Sunday, President Zelaya, tried to land in his country in a plane at around 7pm today, but there were military vehicles on the runway and he was told that the plane would be "intercepted" if it tried to land. The pilot was forced to turn back and land in Nicaragua. There had been a large march and protests outside the airport in support of Zelaya for most of the day, in which Telesur reported at least two people killed by the military and many injured.

Directly following these events, President Chavez spoke live with Telesur, the Venezuelan initiated Latin American news service, and the only service offering live coverage of the protests and intended plane landing. Chavez had been attending the celebration of Venezuela's Independence Day in Bolivar city.

"We're here in Bolivar celebrating independence and following the events [in Honduras] minute by minute," he said.

Chavez noted that the plane transporting Zelaya was Venezuelan and a product of the Bolivarian Alliance for Our Americas (ALBA), and congratulated the pilot on his bravery. "He's passed three or four times very low [over the airport in Honduras] but as Zelaya said, there isn't even one runway available."

He called the military that repressed the marches today "cowards" for "abusing the people of Honduras" and stressed the broad support Zelaya has from all Latin American leaders.

"I think it's been a big moral victory...[the coup leaders and military] haven't let them land but we'll continue supporting Honduras until they restore democracy," said Chavez. "Manuel Zelaya achieved his mission; the people are waiting for him."

Nevertheless, Chavez said that he regretted the deaths of the protestors and the repression against them, and reiterated that the Honduran bourgeoisie and US imperialism were behind the coup.

"This gorilla government won't last, its going to fall," Chavez said.

Yesterday, Venezuela confirmed it would stop sending petroleum to Honduras, and Honduras was unanimously suspended from the Organisation of American States (OAS) after it failed to comply with the OAS's ultimatum to restore Zelaya to the presidency by Friday.

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