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Zelaya’s Daughter Pichu Recalls the Honduran Military’s Brutal Kidnapping of Her Father in 2009

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In the early morning hours of June 28, 2009, masked soldiers raided the Zelaya home in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. President Zelaya’s daughter Xiomara Hortensia “Pichu” Zelaya hid under the bed as soldiers fired shots into the home. Following the coup she went into exile and hadn’t seen her home until Saturday. “My dad, when he heard the gunshots, he went out of his room, and he went to my room, told me to get dressed up, because the military are coming,” Pichu Zelaya says. “And I heard the gunshots and everything. So he told me to hide, to find somewhere to hide.” [includes rush transcript]

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Sunday, we caught up with Héctor’s sister, Xiomara Hortensia Zelaya, also known as Pichu.

XIOMARA HORTENSIA ZELAYA: Because this is the house where the military came, and they kidnapped my father in a very brutal way. And I’m going to show you around where the military got into our house.

AMY GOODMAN: Were you home?

XIOMARA HORTENSIA ZELAYA: I was home. I was the only one of the family who was with him. So, I had to be locked down in my room. I was hiding under the bed.

AMY GOODMAN: What did you — first what did you hear? What time was it?

XIOMARA HORTENSIA ZELAYA: The first thing — it was 5:00 a.m. The first thing I heard was a couple of shots. And the gunshots were at the front of our house, because the military who were with us had some kind of fight with the military who were coming in. So, since they couldn’t come in from the front door, they came around by the back door. And I’m going to show you all the gunshots that are still in the door. And my dad was sleeping, obviously; it was 5:00 a.m. And they got in from behind of our house. And here’s the gunshots. This is where they got in.

My dad, when he heard the gunshots, he went out of his room, and he went to my room, told me to get dressed up, because the military are coming. And I heard the gunshots and everything. So he told me to hide, to find somewhere to hide. And he came down. He was wearing his pajamas. And he was trying to see, and he came here and tried to see if —- if he could go -—

AMY GOODMAN: Go out from here?

XIOMARA HORTENSIA ZELAYA: Yes, from here. And when he opened the door, the military were coming, so he had to climb to the ceiling from here to that area. And —

AMY GOODMAN: So he climbed over here?

XIOMARA HORTENSIA ZELAYA: So he climbed over here, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: He jumped up on —


AMY GOODMAN: — the sort of the second floor of your house, on the ledge of the house.


AMY GOODMAN: Did you understand at that point what had happened to your father?

XIOMARA HORTENSIA ZELAYA: Yes, of course. Since I’ve been with my dad, and my whole family has been with him since the very beginning, when he started into politics, and then when he won the presidency and during his presidency, we stood by his side. We knew what was going on, and we knew something was coming. And everything was being prepared before the coup — I mean, the media — and the whole plan to bring his government down. And so, by that time, we knew — we knew something might come, something will happen, though we weren’t sure, because everything has been — everything had gone into an agreement. And it was, I mean, Sunday, the day we were going to make that referendum. So, by that time, we really were sure nothing was going happen, so we said we’re going to be safe, and nothing is going to — nothing actually is going to happen today. So, we got something — some kind of relied on the idea that we couldn’t believe the military could make a decision like that to abruptly do such harm to our democracy and to our country.

So, later on, what happened was that we didn’t know where my dad was. And the only thing that we could actually start saying and showing to the world what had happened, that he was kidnapped from his house. And so, that’s why I took pictures, since I went out from the house. I took pictures of the doors and sent them to the OAS, to our ambassador to OAS, to show him what was going on. And I called my mom. My mom was in somewhere else; she was not home. She was working, and not in Tegucigalpa. She was in Olancho. That’s a region where our family is from. And my sister was in her house, and my brothers and everyone, so I had to call them and tell them what was going on, so we could go to somewhere safe. And each one of us went to a different embassy. Later on, when we knew —

AMY GOODMAN: Where did you go?

XIOMARA HORTENSIA ZELAYA: I went to Nicaragua, the embassy of Nicaragua. My sister went to the embassy of Taiwan.

AMY GOODMAN: Why did you go to all different ones?

XIOMARA HORTENSIA ZELAYA: Well, since we were in different places, we couldn’t actually try to reach one another to see where were they going. And we didn’t want to use our cell phones, either, because they might be intervened or something. So we said no, no communications, and we just tried to go somewhere safe. So, I knew where they were, each one of them, later on, two weeks later. We had very less — none, actually, communication between us. My mom was at the U.S. embassy. My youngest brother was with her. My other brother, he was at Cuban embassy, and I was at Nicaragua, and my sister at Taiwan, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Did you see the soldiers?

XIOMARA HORTENSIA ZELAYA: I did not see them until I went down. Since I went out of the house, there were some military still there, right in the front of the house.

AMY GOODMAN: Could you see their faces?


AMY GOODMAN: Were they wearing masks?


AMY GOODMAN: Were you scared?

XIOMARA HORTENSIA ZELAYA: Of course. Of course, I was.

AMY GOODMAN: Xiomara Hortensia Zelaya, known as Pichu, the daughter of the ousted President Zelaya, named after her mother, Xiomara. Many are wondering if her mother will run for president in the next elections. When we come back, we sit down with President Zelaya in his house to talk about the day the military kidnapped him there at gunpoint and why he believes the U.S. is behind the coup. Stay with us.

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