Roberto Micheletti

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Roberto Micheletti
Roberto micheletti 01.jpg
President of Honduras[1][2]
In office
28 June 2009 – 27 January 2010
Preceded byManuel Zelaya
Succeeded byPorfirio Lobo Sosa
President of the National Congress
In office
25 January 2006 – 28 June 2009
Preceded byPorfirio Lobo Sosa
Succeeded byJosé Alfredo Saavedra
Deputy of the National Congress of Honduras
In office
25 January 1982 – 25 January 2006
ConstituencyYoro department
Personal details
Roberto Micheletti Baín

(1943-08-13) 13 August 1943 (age 77)
El Progreso, Yoro, Honduras
Political partyLiberal Party
Spouse(s)Siomara Girón

Roberto Micheletti Baín (born 13 August 1943) is a Honduran politician who served as the interim de facto president of Honduras from June 28, 2009 to January 27, 2010 as a result of the 2009 Honduran coup d'état.[3] The Honduran military ousted the President, and the National Congress read a letter of resignation, which was refuted two minutes later by Zelaya in conversation with CNN en Español;[4] days later, the coup-plotters claimed that the Supreme Court had ordered to forcefully detain President Manuel Zelaya because "he was violating the Honduran constitution"; Zelaya was exiled rather than arrested. Micheletti, constitutionally next in line for the presidency, was sworn in as president by the National Congress a few hours after Zelaya was sent into exile by the Honduran military.[5] He was not acknowledged as de jure president by any government or international organization.[6] The 2009 General Election took place as planned in November and elected Porfirio Lobo Sosa to succeed Micheletti.

Before serving as president, Micheletti was the president of Honduras' National Congress. A deputy in Congress since 1982, Micheletti is currently a member of the Liberal Party of Honduras.

Family background[edit]

Born in El Progreso, Yoro Department, Micheletti was the eighth of nine siblings (6 boys, 3 girls).[7] Micheletti's father was Umberto Micheletti, who immigrated from the Bergamo province of Lombardy, Italy.[8] His mother was Donatella Bain Moya, also born in El Progreso.

He is married to Siomara Girón and they have 3 children.

Political career[edit]

In 1963, Micheletti was a member of the honor guard of President Ramón Villeda, who was toppled by the military; Micheletti was arrested and jailed on 3 October[8] and jailed for 27 days.[7] In 1973 he moved to the United States, living in Tampa, Florida, then in New Orleans, Louisiana, for two years before returning to Honduras in 1976.[9] While living in the USA he finished high school and started his own business.[8]


Micheletti won a Congressional seat in 1982 which he has held till June 2009, except for a brief period when he ran Hondutel, Honduras' state-owned national telephone company.[7]

In 1985 Micheletti was part of a group of deputies who signed a motion calling for the National Congress to reseat itself as a National Constituent Assembly. A Venezuelan government webpage claims that the proposal was aimed at enabling then-President Roberto Suazo to run for re-election in the 1985 Honduras presidential election.[10] Ultimately the proposal was dropped when most congressmen refused to support the motion.[11]

He has twice sought his party's nomination to run for president, both times failing to win the internal election for the nomination of his party, the latter occasion in 2008 to former Vice President Elvin Santos, who won the Liberal nomination for the November 2009 presidential election.[7]

President of the National Congress[edit]

Micheletti presided over the National Congress of Honduras from 25 January 2006[12] until 28 June 2009. Although he was a member of the same party as Manuel Zelaya, there had been conflict between the two politicians before the constitutional crisis.

Presidency (2009-2010)[edit]

The Ministerio Publico's office charged Manuel Zelaya with violations of the constitution, laws and court orders. The Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant. On the morning of June 28, 2009, the military arrested President Zelaya and deported him to Costa Rica.[13][14][15][16][17]

After a resignation letter from President Manuel Zelaya was read to the National Congress of Honduras, which Zelaya later denied writing, Zelaya was dismissed as president, by a show of hands in the National Congress, on 28 June. Congress, under Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 205, 220, subsections 20, 218, 242, 321, 322 and 323 of the Constitution of the Republic, unanimously agreed to:[18]

  • disapprove Zelaya's repeated violations of the constitution, laws and court orders,
  • remove Zelaya from the post, and,
  • name the current President of Congress Roberto Micheletti to complete the constitutional term ending January 27, 2010.
A demonstrator enthusiastically supports Micheletti.

The Honduran constitution mandated that the head of Congress, Roberto Micheletti, act as the provisional head of state since Vice President Elvin Ernesto Santos had resigned in December 2008 to run for president.

Micheletti's term in office saw demonstrations for and against him, although the demonstrations for him encountered none of the violent repression from the police.[19]

Domestically his government was supported by organizations such as Unión Cívica Democrática and opposed by the "Resistance".

International support for the Micheletti government was scant. Official reactions from many international leaders condemned the ousting of President Zelaya, many of them calling for his reinstatement. The Organization of American States (OAS) said it would not recognize any government other than that of Manuel Zelaya.[20]

The United States rejected the overthrow of Zelaya in statements by President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens.[21] The European Union also condemned the ousting of Zelaya. Cuban president Raúl Castro asked for the return of democracy in Honduras.[22] Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez stated that he had put his nation's armed forces on alert,[23] and vowed to take military action if Venezuela's embassy or envoy to Honduras were harmed.[24][25][unreliable source?]

Micheletti's 25-year-old nephew Enzo Micheletti was abducted and found murdered in late October 2009 though no evidence linking this crime to the political events going on was discovered.[26][27]

Deaths that have been allegedly linked to the violence in the aftermath of the coup include 19-year-old Isis Obed Murillo Mencías, shot in the head on 5 July when Zelaya's plane was trying to land at Toncontin Airport;[28][29] 40-year-old campesino leader and Democratic Unification Party member Ramón García on 12 July, after he was forced by unknown people to get off a bus;[28] 23-year-old Pedro Magdiel Muñoz Salvador, allegedly detained by police during anti-coup protests and taken to an El Paraíso police station on 24 July, allegedly found at 6:30 am the following morning with 42 stab wounds[30][31][32] and 38-year-old high school teacher Roger Abraham Vallejo Soriano, shot in the head allegedly by security forces during protests on 31 July, dying on 1 August.[33][34][35]

Costa Rican President Óscar Arias acted as a mediator in the talks between the Honduran government and Manuel Zelaya to try to find a political solution. He presented a seven-point agreement, which called for a unity government. Zelaya wanted to become president again and the Supreme Court warned that only Congress could grant amnesty to Zelaya.[36] Zelaya's representatives accepted the Arias proposal "in principle" but Micheletti's representatives balked at the key point of Zelaya returning to power in Honduras.[36]

In an open letter to the Wall Street Journal published on 27 July 2009, Roberto Micheletti listed the Honduran government's reasons and justification for ousting Zelaya. In it, Micheletti claimed Zelaya's removal from office was supported by the Supreme Court (15-0), an overwhelming majority of Congress, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the Administrative Law Tribunal, the independent Human Rights Ombudsman, the two major presidential candidates of the Liberal and National Parties and Honduras’ Catholic Cardinal. Micheletti also stated that it was not a "military coup" since the military was following orders given by a civilian Supreme Court and Zelaya was replaced with a civilian from the line of succession prescribed in the Constitution.[37]

On 21 August 2009, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights dispatched a six-member delegation which reported accusations it received. The delegation was told of alleged violent confrontations and arbitrary arrests. Someone even accused the police of rape. Some alleged that judges were threatened "at gunpoint". Based on the statements it received, the delegation concluded that there was "an atmosphere of intimidation that inhibits the free exercise of freedom of expression".[38]

On March 11, 2010, the US Department of State released their annual report on Human Rights, in which they stated "On June 28, the military forcibly removed and sent into exile President Jose Manuel Zelaya, and Congress President Roberto Micheletti Bain became the leader of a de facto regime. Until the June 28 coup d'état (June coup), the country was a constitutional, multiparty democracy with a population of approximately eight million..." and "Although the coup was bloodless, subsequent related events resulted in the loss of life as well as limitations by the de facto regime on freedom of movement, association, expression, and assembly".[39] In an official press release published in their website, the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa stated that "Before the June 28, 2009 coup d'état, Honduras faced substantial challenges in the protection of human rights, had one of the Western Hemisphere's highest homicide rates, and some killings appearing to be politically motivated. The human rights climate deteriorated significantly following the coup, especially with regard to respect for the rights of women, members of ethnic communities and sexual minorities and other vulnerable groups. While the de facto regime was in power, there were incidents resulting in loss of life, disproportionate use of force, including beatings by security forces of protestors, sexual assaults, as well as other serious human rights abuses. The de facto regime engaged in substantial interference with freedom of movement, association, expression, and assembly."[40] According to the US Embassy's website, they "expressed to the Honduran Attorney General, members of the security forces, and the Human Rights Ombudsman, among others, their serious concerns about reported human rights abuses".[41]

According to the latest Greenberg Quinlar Rosler Research opinion poll during October 9–13, 48% of Hondurans regarded Micheletti's performance as good or excellent. 50% regarded his performance as bad or poor.[42]

The 2009 General Election took place, as planned, on 29 November. The National Party candidate, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, was victorious over Liberal Party candidate Elvin Santos, winning the election with 56.56% of the vote. Lobo Sosa was inaugurated as president on January 27, 2010.[43]

Legislator for life[edit]

In January 2010 the Honduran Congress granted Micheletti the status of "legislator for life".[44] This appointment does not make him immune from prosecution, as some international media sources stated.[45]

Attack on his daughter[edit]

On November 5, 2013 a daughter of Micheletti was shot at, but not seriously injured, while driving with her chauffeur and armed guards.[46]


  1. ^ Thompson, Ginger (2009-08-08). "A Cold War Ghost Reappears in Honduras". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  2. ^ He wasn't acknowledged as de jure president by any government or international organization [1] (in Spanish)
  3. ^ Malkin, Elisabeth, New York Times, 28 June 2009, interim ruler Roberto Micheletti gestures during a news conference in Tegucigalpa Monday.Honduran authorities on Sunday lifted a curfew. Retrieved on 2011-04-26.
  4. ^ "Zelaya niega que haya firmado renuncia" (in Spanish). El Universal. 28 June 2014. Archived from the original on 15 August 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Honduran president sent into exile". Yahoo News/AFP. 2009-06-29. Retrieved 2009-08-06.[dead link]
  6. ^ [2] (in Spanish)
  7. ^ a b c d "Honduras' Micheletti is both admired and reviled". Miami Herald. 2009-07-10. Retrieved 2009-07-10.[dead link]
  8. ^ a b c "La fuga negli Usa e poi il "Partido Liberal"". 2009-06-29. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved July 4, 2009.
  9. ^ Altman, Howard (2009-06-30). "Interim Leader Has Tampa Ties". Tampa Bay Online. Archived from the original on December 4, 2009.
  10. ^ "Micheletti tried to change the Constitution of Honduras in 1985". Radio Nacional de Venezuela. 2009-07-12. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
  11. ^ "Pugilato en el Congreso", Diario La Tribuna, 25 October 1985, page 16, scanned image stored here:
  12. ^ "JUNTA DIRECTIVA DEL CONGRESO NACIONAL (in Spanish)". Website of the National Congress of Honduras. Archived from the original on April 17, 2009. Retrieved July 4, 2009.
  13. ^ ""Mel" Zelaya enfrenta 18 delitos en tribunales". El Heraldo. 2009-07-01. Archived from the original on 2009-12-07.
  14. ^ "20 años de cárcel le caerían a Mel si vuelve". La Prensa. 2009-06-30. Archived from the original on 2009-07-04.
  15. ^ "Micheletti podría asumir en Honduras" (in Spanish). 2009-06-28. Archived from the original on 2010-01-06.
  16. ^ "Micheletti sería el nuevo presidente de Honduras" (in Spanish). Diario digital de noticias de El Salvador. 2009-06-28. Archived from the original on 2009-12-04.
  17. ^ "Honduran Congress names provisional president". 2009-06-28. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  18. ^ "Congreso destituye a Manuel Zelaya". La Tribuna. 2009-06-29. Archived from the original on 2009-12-13. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
  19. ^ "Military Using "Brutal" Force Against Anti-Coup Protests in Honduras". Bloomberg. 2009-06-30.
  20. ^ Malkin, Elisabeth (2009-06-29). "Honduran President Is Ousted in Coup". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  21. ^ "Situation in Honduras". US Department of State. 2009-06-28. Archived from the original on July 1, 2009.
  22. ^ "Cuba condemns coup d'état in Honduras". 2009-06-28. Archived from the original on June 22, 2011.
  23. ^ "FACTBOX: Reaction to coup in Honduras". Reuters. 2009-06-28.
  24. ^ "PENPIX-Main players in Honduras coup". Reuters. 2009-07-01.
  25. ^ "Chávez promete "derrocar" a quien ocupe el lugar de Zelaya" (in Spanish). Hoy Bolivia. 2009-06-29.[dead link]
  26. ^ "Honduras: Asesinan a sobrino de Micheletti". La Prensa. 2009-10-25.
  27. ^ "Investigan muerte de sobrino de Micheletti". El Heraldo. Archived from the original on 2009-10-29. Retrieved 2009-12-14.
  28. ^ a b Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH) (2009-07-15). "Informe Preliminar de COFADEH sobre la situación de DD.HH. en el marco del golpe de Estado en Honduras" (in Spanish). Derechos Human Rights. Archived from the original on 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2009-08-07.[permanent dead link]
  29. ^ Figueroa, Laura (2009-07-13). "Honduran teen's slaying propels youth movement". The Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2009-08-07. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
  30. ^ "Exiled Honduran leader makes 2nd trip to border". Associated Press. Archived from the original on August 5, 2009.
  31. ^ Emanuelsson, Dick (2009-07-28). "Atentado con bomba en sede de sindicato hondureño" (in Spanish). Tercera Informacion. Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
  32. ^ COFADEH (2009-07-26). "Communiqué on the murder of Pedro Magdiel Muñoz Salvador". Derechos Human Rights. Archived from the original on 2019-05-15. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
  33. ^ "International Mission denounces the brutal repression of pacific demonstrations". Agencia Latinoamerica de Información. 2009-07-30. Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  34. ^ "Hieren a manifestante en Tegucigalpa" (in Spanish). Diario El Tiempo. 2009-07-30. Archived from the original on August 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
  35. ^ "Fallece maestro seguidor de Zelaya herido durante marcha en Honduras" (in Spanish). El Tiempo. 2009-08-01. Archived from the original on August 4, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
  36. ^ a b "Honduras negotiations snag over unity government". CTV (Canada). 2009-07-28. Archived from the original on 2013-01-01.
  37. ^ Micheletti Bain, Roberto (2009-07-27). "The Path Forward for Honduras". Wall Street Journal.
  38. ^ "Preliminary Observations on the IACHR Visit to Honduras". Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. 2009-08-21. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
  39. ^ US State Department, 11 March 2010, 2009 Human Rights Report: Honduras. Retrieved on 2011-04-26.
  40. ^ U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa, Honduras, State Department Releases 2009 Report on Human Rights (March 11, 2010) Archived 2010-04-13 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2011-04-26.
  41. ^ "RESS RELEASES 2010, State Department Releases 2009 Report on Human Rights". US Embassy to Tegucigalpa. Archived from the original on 2010-04-13. Retrieved 2010-03-18.
  42. ^ "Honduras Frequency Questionnaire, October 9–13, 2009" (PDF). Greenberg Quinlar Rosler Research. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-11-22.
  43. ^ RedacciĂłn (2010-01-27). ""Son cuatro aĂąos. Ni un dĂa mĂĄs, ni un dĂa menos" - PaĂs" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2010-10-19.
  44. ^ Venezuelanalysis, 15 January 2010, Honduras Withdraws from ALBA, El Salvador Won't Join Despite FMLN Support
  45. ^ "Presidente-Micheletti-no-tendra-inmunidad". El Heraldo. 15 January 2010. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  46. ^ “Si lo hacen conmigo no importa, no con mi hija”: Micheletti
Political offices
Preceded by
Porfirio Lobo Sosa
President of the National Congress
Succeeded by
José Alfredo Saavedra
Preceded by
Manuel Zelaya
President of Honduras

Succeeded by
Porfirio Lobo Sosa