Saturday, September 26, 2009

Are Meloco's Supporters Racist?

Honduran businessmen at center of coup dispute

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Die-hard supporters of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya are increasingly turning their anger toward the country's wealthy business elite, a small but powerful cadre believed to solidly back the interim government that removed him at gunpoint three months ago.

The capital is now covered with graffiti demanding "Turks out! — apparently a reference to the Central American country's large number of business people of Middle Eastern descent — and on Saturday pro-Zelaya marchers lashed out at the elite's dominance over wealth in a country where millions are poor.

"They own almost the whole country," pro-Zelaya protester Arnoldo Pagoaga, a medical doctor who marched in his white uniform, said Saturday. "They're terrorists. ... They own the army, and sic it on us."

Fellow demonstrator Rafael Alegria complained that Honduras "has a large immigrant community that owns everything: commerce and industry."

"We don't really have our own economy," Alegria said. "We have to set that right."

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