Reports on the tense situation in Honduras, two days after a military coup d'etat ousted democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, continue this morning around the major U.S. papers. The AP has the latest on the situation, writing early this morning that Zelaya has vowed to return to Honduras in two days to reassume the presidency. Standing with many leaders of the Latin American Left late Monday, Zelaya said he would accept an offer by the OAS's Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza, to accompany him back to Honduras and work to restore democracy. However, Zelaya first wanted to rally more international support by speaking to the U.N. General Assembly in a special session on Tuesday. Zelaya also urged Honduran security forces to stop repression of protestors in the country. The LA Times leads its coverage with that story, saying "troops in battle dress chased chased rock-throwing demonstrators through the streets of Tegucigalpa...as a military helicopter whirred overhead." The International Red Cross says at least 30 were injured in the protests and government officials say nearly 40 individuals were detained. The Honduran military also cut off access to internet news sites and international cable television while seven international journalists working for Venezuela-based Telesur were briefly detained by the armed forces. The Washington Post focuses on the swift international condemnation of the military coup. Three of Honduras's neighbors cut overland trade with the country Monday and Mexico and Brazil joined a number of other Latin American countries in keeping their ambassador's out of the country. Close Zelaya ally Hugo Chavez continued to be most forceful in his rhetoric, declaring "we are ready to support a rebellion of the people of Honduras." The WaPo says "belligerence" on the part of Chavez is forcing the Obama administration into a difficult position. Obama, meeting in Washington with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, called the Sunday's action a "coup" and a "terrible precedent" in the region. But Sec. of State Hillary Clinton was more tempered in her words, saying the military action would not trigger an automatic cut in millions of dollars of U.S. aid to Honduras. The U.S. is far and away Honduras's largest trading partner and President Obama requested $68 million in economic and military aid for the country in his 2010 foreign aid budget. And the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly the School of the Americas, confirmed reports that several of those military officials involved Sunday's coup were trained at the U.S.-run military academy during the 1980s and 1990s. It's that past of U.S. policies that the New York Times leads with in its reporting. The paper says the coup has pitted the U.S. against "a history of backing rival political factions and instigating coups in the region." U.S. State Department officials, however, signaled that while they were not in agreement with President Zelaya's plans to move forward with a controversial non-binding referendum which could trigger a rewriting of the Honduran constitution, such moves did not warrant a coup d'etat. "On the one instance, we’re talking about conducting a survey, a nonbinding survey; in the other instance, we’re talking about the forcible removal of a president from a country," an anonymous DOS official told the Times.
On the opinion pages, however, there is some disagreement about whether or not the actions taken by the Honduran military were justified. The LA Times denounces the military coup and says it must be reversed, but, with the Post says a restoration of democracy would also include Manuel Zelaya stepping back from controversial measures to seek indefinite re-election. LAT op-ed contributor Andres Martinez brings Cuba into the mix saying that while the coup should be rejected, the Castro government should not receive a free pass from Latin American leaders condemning the actions of the Honduran military. In the NYT, Alvaro Vargas Llosa replaces Cuba with Venezuela, saying it is Hugo Chavez who has come out of Sunday's events with the moral high ground. The Miami Herald, after reporting on the institutional weaknesses of Honduras, blames Zelaya for instigating Sunday's coup. And in no uncertain terms, the WSJ, for the second day in a row, comes down in support of the Honduran coup, calling it the "triumph of law."
Overshadowed by the situation in Honduras, the Wall Street Journal is the only paper to issue much of a report on the post-election environment in Argentina. The paper says that the defeat of President Cristina Kirchner's faction of the Peronist party leaves her as a lame duck and opens the door for "moderate leaders to seize influence" in the country. The elections seem to have been a stinging defeat for the Kirchners who even lost Nestor Kirchner's home state of Santa Cruz. And their is speculation that many in the Peronist party may shift their allegiances to Sen. Carlos Reutemann, a former Formula One driver who has good relations with many in the Argentine agricultural sector. Other potential candidates in the 2011 presidential contest include Kirchner V.P. Julio Cobos and Mauricio Macri, the mayor of Buenos Aires. Francisco de Narváez who led the rival ticket against the Kirchner's in Sunday's legislative elections cannot run for president because he was born in Colombia. The AP highlights how the vote triggered the resignation of Nestor Kirchner as the Peronist Party's leader. Daniel Scioli, governor of the Buenos Aires province, replaced Mr. Kirchner.
And, in other news, preliminary Senate results in Haiti show President Rene Preval's party picking up 5 of the 11 Senate seats that were up for grabs. Five different parties picking up the other seats and an independent candidate won one seat. However, turnout was even lower in the second round of voting than in the first. Finally, the LAT also reports on the drug war's spread to another border, that of the U.S.-Canada frontier. In a story that has been reported by others, the paper connects a crackdown in Mexico to growing drug violence amongst cocaine dealers in British Columbia.