Honduran leader boots nets off air

Actions condemned by global observers

In a turbulent week in Honduras, the de facto president of a coup-imposed government clamped down on the media and curbed civil liberties. Then he asked for forgiveness.

On Sept. 27, interim leader Roberto Micheletti proposed broad measures that would allow his government to curtail and disrupt public protests. Just hours after the announcement, police stormed the offices of Cholusat Sur TV and surrounded Radio Globo, forcing the stations off the air. Both outlets are sympathetic to ousted president Manuel Zelaya.

The move drew an immediate response from international observers, who condemned the interim president’s actions. Human Rights Watch accused Micheletti of “taking away freedoms to an outrageous degree.”

After an unprecedented showdown with Congress, which refused to back the draconian measures, Micheletti appeared in a televised news conference the following day, asking for “forgiveness from the Honduran people.”

He added that he would urge the Supreme Court to reverse the decree “as quickly as possible.”

The outcry has been a black eye for an administration still looking for legitimacy since seizing power in a bloodless coup three months ago. The United States has so far refused to recognize the Micheletti government, hoping to broker an agreement between his de facto regime and Zelaya. The former president has been taking refuge in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa since returning to Honduras from exile two weeks ago.

As of September 30, both Cholusat Sur TV and Radio Globo remained off the air.

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