Exclusive: Interim Leader of Honduras 'On the Record'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 16, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Did President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton make a bad choice in telling Honduras to put former Honduran President Zelaya back in office? Did they get it right or wrong? We report, you decide. And we are taking you right into the middle of it.

Now, here's what we know. On June 28th at dawn, the then-president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was arrested by the Honduran military, put on a plane and tossed out of Honduras. Why? Well, according to reports, President Zelaya was planning to hold a referendum in an effort to change the constitution of Honduras so that he could remain president past the end of his term.

The Honduran supreme court told the president this was illegal and that the Honduran constitution specifically forbids this. But President Zelaya ignored the Honduran supreme court and forged ahead with his plans for the referendum. Next, and at the order of the Honduran supreme court, the military went to the president's house, arrested him, and flew him out of the country.

Then Roberto Micheletti, who was the president of their Congress, was installed interim leader to hold that post until the November election. President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton are siding with President Zelaya, condemning the change of power, calling it illegal, calling it a coup. Now, the interim leader says it's not illegal, that the removal of Zelaya is required under the Honduran constitution.

Here's what we know. Article 239 of the Honduran constitution reads as follows. "No citizen who has already served as head of the executive branch can be president or vice president. Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform, as well as those who support such violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease in its functions and will be unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years."

So was the removal proper? Was the transfer of power legitimate? Interim leader Roberto Micheletti insists Honduran elections will go on as scheduled in November. The United States does not intend to recognize those election results.

We went to Honduras, and interim leader Roberto Micheletti went "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: Sir, nice to see you. And it is beautiful here!

ROBERTO MICHELETTI, INTERIM LEADER OF HONDURAS: This is a quiet country, a happy country, and beautiful places all over Honduras.

VAN SUSTEREN: What happened last June? Because in the United States, we wake up one morning and find that you've put your president on a plane and booted him out of here.

MICHELETTI: He was not the president at the time he's -- we take -- we took him to -- sent him to Costa Rica because he'd been doing lot of talk against our constitution.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, as I understand it -- and I don't know your constitution or your law very well at all, but as I understand it, he wanted to have a national poll on June 28th...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... to convene a national congress to change the constitution so that he could be president a second time.

MICHELETTI: This is against the law. In our country, nobody can be president -- if he is president for one time, he can no longer run for president again.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you wanted to change the constitution so that you could have two or three or four terms, how do you change the Honduran constitution?

MICHELETTI: You cannot change the constitution ever.



VAN SUSTEREN: There is no way to amend it?

MICHELETTI: Since 1980, (inaudible) is who made the constitution. And they thought that someday there was going to be big man who would try to change the rule in our country, is why they support two, three, four articles in the constitution that it's not allowed to be president again.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you saying he was a bad president or a crooked?


VAN SUSTEREN: Both -- he's a crook?

MICHELETTI: He's a crook. We can prove that.


MICHELETTI: We can prove that. He had his minister to the secretary to go to the bank to subtract from the bank 40 million limperas in cash.

VAN SUSTEREN: How much is that in dollars, any idea?

MICHELETTI: $2 million. We are a poor country

VAN SUSTEREN: What did he do with it?

MICHELETTI: Nobody knows.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does he have any defenders, anyone saying it was wrong, he should still be president?



MICHELETTI: Our best friend, the United States, they have been saying that he should come back.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who is that best friend?

MICHELETTI: The government of the United States.

VAN SUSTEREN: And so your view is that President Obama and Secretary Clinton do not have the full story. That is your view.

MICHELETTI: They don't know. I am sure they do not know.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you ever met President Obama or Secretary Clinton?

MICHELETTI: No, no, no. I admire them, but never in my life. One day I had a telephone call from Mrs. Clinton.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did she have to say?

MICHELETTI: She asked me to find a way to return Mr. Zelaya.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did you say?


VAN SUSTEREN: Well, since that call, the United States has cut off $31 million money to this country. What do you say about that?

MICHELETTI: We have a commission that went to the United States and tried to talk to the Congress. But we find a big wall. They insist at the OSS that we have a military coup. And that is not true. We are in power, the civilians are in power. We will have elections on November 29.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you running?

MICHELETTI: No, I am not. I can't run any more in my life, because if I am president for one day in this country, I cannot run any more.

You will find out what happened in Venezuela, you're going to find out what he was trying to do. It was the same thing that happened in Venezuela. Hugo Chavez is a dictator. How many years Hugo Chavez in power? He was trying to do the same thing.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is the friendly with Chavez?

MICHELETTI: I think he's brother.

VAN SUSTEREN: They are like brothers?

MICHELETTI: Yes, they are like brothers.

VAN SUSTEREN: Since June 28th, Zelaya has tried to get into this country, at least as far as I know, twice. What happened?

MICHELETTI: He can come over here and go to the Supreme Court and the judges, and say I'm here, you judge. If I am innocent, I can walk free. But if I'm a corrupt man and a, or whatever, they are supposed to put him in jail.

They tried to make martyrs. The civil rights, they come over here, the president of this commission, but from Venezuela.

VAN SUSTEREN: The one that came over from last August?


VAN SUSTEREN: Because they had a report there were human rights violations.


VAN SUSTEREN: One of the things that was said, the human rights commission said, is that thousands were being detained since June 28. Is that not true?

MICHELETTI: It's not true. They don't find anybody in the jail.

VAN SUSTEREN: The way that the report reads is that you and your interim government are rounding up people, detaining them, and committing these human rights violations, but you laugh at that.

MICHELETTI: Because it is not true.

VAN SUSTEREN: How long have you known Mr. Zelaya?

MICHELETTI: For a long time because he was sometime congressman for one time.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is he like?

MICHELETTI: Well, in the beginning, he democratic, a nice guy. We were for him. We are members of the same party.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you voted for him?

MICHELETTI: Yes. I helped to find many votes for him.

And after that -- he was in the beginning the same Manuel Zelaya. After a year, he started changing, because all the minister of his politics secretary, from the left side, communists.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you going to be in the U.N. this month when all the countries from around the world gather in New York? Will you be representing Honduras?

MICHELETTI: No. They don't recognize us.


MICHELETTI: I do not have a visa to go into the United States.

This is -- I do not know how you say this. It is ironic. In the USA, at the United Nations, a guy who represents Honduras, he put bombs in 1980 in Honduras.

VAN SUSTEREN: Wait a second, what?

MICHELETTI: The man who represents, his name is Carlos Arturo Reina.

VAN SUSTEREN: He is your representative in the U.N.?

MICHELETTI: Yes, representative of Zelaya, not mine.

VAN SUSTEREN: Zelaya appointed him to represent Honduras at the U.N., and what about him?

MICHELETTI: He put bombs in Honduras. He didn't have no visa to get to the United States. Still, he is there, he represents Zelaya there in the United Nations.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me get this straight. He has no visa to go to the United States, but Zelaya put there in the United Nations, so he can go there. And he in the '80s put bombs here?


VAN SUSTEREN: Bombs that blow up?

MICHELETTI: Bombs, yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why was he putting bombs here?

MICHELETTI: I think United States accused him and took his visa from a long time ago.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why was he putting bombs here?

MICHELETTI: Because there was a revolution here. It was against the government.

VAN SUSTEREN: Has the United States ever complained that this is the representative, or have the people in the Honduras ever complained that this is your U.N. representative?

MICHELETTI: We complain against, because we know it was confront the United States. And we want to have good relations with the United States. But he says he is going to be there, and he is there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ok, does he deny putting bombs in Honduras?

MICHELETTI: No, they have proof he did it.

VAN SUSTEREN: But does he say he did not do it, or does he say, "I did it"?

MICHELETTI: The court says he do it, he did that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think that Zelaya will be at the United Nations? Do you expect him to be there?

MICHELETTI: I don't know, and I don't care.

VAN SUSTEREN: Would you like to go?

MICHELETTI: No. We feel very serious what we did in Honduras is correct, is under our constitution.

VAN SUSTEREN: How is Honduras doing? How is your economy?

MICHELETTI: We are doing OK. With a difficult and with money the United States and the other people, working hard, we are going to stay here ruling this country in a good way until 27 of January.

VAN SUSTEREN: So your message to President Obama is what?

MICHELETTI: Send somebody to find out, to read our constitution. Where it says the people of the United States can change your constitution, I say, well, it's OK, because you know the ways how you are going to change the constitution.

It's the same thing in this country -- nobody has the power to change the constitution. It has to be with the people. It has to be with elections.

VAN SUSTEREN: And a message for Mr. Zelaya?

MICHELETTI: Stop trying to hurt the poor people of this country. Don't lie anymore.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir.

MICHELETTI: You thank you. And god bless America and god bless Honduras, and god bless you.


VAN SUSTEREN: Well, just heard the interim leader claims his country's pastor to the UN is a terrorist, that a bump on person the 1980s.

"On the Record" went to Horde Arturo Reina's office at the United Nations, and he fired back. He told us, quote, "If Michelete has said that, than simply see is messed up ahead. It makes me laugh. We have always been passive and we have always fought for the government to take care of its people's needs.

I have been in jail, my brother too has been in jail. It's because we want democracy in a country where the military was trying to take over. That is why I confronted them. It's the same reason my US visa was taken away in 2006."

Now, the State Department has no comment on why Reina's visa was revoked. Reina also made it clear to producers of "On the Record" that he continues to have the support of the U.S. and all European nations, and says none of them recognizes Michelete as president of Honduras.

Reina's entire translated response is owned GretaWire.com.

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