No Threats Posed to U.S. Troops in Honduras, Officials Say
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 30, 2009 U.S. servicemembers serving in Honduras face no current threats following last week’s ouster of the Honduran president, U.S. Southern Command officials said today.
The 600 American soldiers, sailors and airmen based at Soto Cano Air Base are staying on the base and are not conducting exercises with the Honduran military, said Robert Appin, deputy director for public information and outreach at Southcom headquarters in Miami.
The Honduran military reportedly ousted President Manuel Zelaya on June 28. President Barack Obama has expressed concern over the development and said the Hondurans need to work the problem out.
The last off-base operation was June 26, when U.S. servicemembers concluded a medical readiness exercise, Appin said.
Prior to Zelaya's removal, Army Col. Richard A. Juergens, commander of Soto Cano, restricted U.S. servicemembers to the base except for official business as a safety precaution in light of demonstrations around the country, including in the neighboring city of Comayagua. “No one is allowed off base except for emergency situations,” Appin said. “All travel is restricted.”
U.S. forces have served in Honduras since the early 1980s. A mix of active and reserve component servicemembers works with local forces and local institutions. Servicemembers deploy for either six months or a year to Soto Cano, Appin said.