Honduras “truth commission” starts investigation

A Honduran truth and reconciliation commission on May 4 began investigating the June 2009 coup that removed Manuel Zelaya from power. The commission is tasked with understanding the circumstances that led to the coup, and making recommendations for the future. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has praised the commission as “an important first step toward reconciliation” in Honduras. The commission is also supported by the US government, and Honduras hopes it will result returning Organization of American States (OAS) recognition to the Central American republic. “We want to do what we can to leave behind the shock to our economy,” Foreign Minister Mario Canahuati told Bloomberg. “Our intention is to have friends and alliances.”

In a hopeful sign for the Honduran government, OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza attended the commission’s inauguration in Tegucigalpa. But Zelaya supporters have rejected the commission as a farce, pledging not to cooperate with investigation. Chair of the five-member commission, former Guatemalan vice president Eduardo Stein, said he hopes to deliver a final report by January 2011. (Jurist, May 4; Bloomberg, May 3)

Human rights abuses are continuing under the new government of President Porfirio Lobo—with a wave of assassination of journalists now drawing portests from international observers. On April 21, TV reporter Jorge Alberto “Georgino” Orellana was gunned down as he left his station immediately following his broadcast—the seventh journalist to be killed in Honduras since March 1. The killings have prompted Reporters Without Borders to name Honduras as “the most deadly country in the world” for the media. Lobo pledged to investigate the crimes, and said he would appeal to Spain, Colombia and the US FBI to assist in the cases. (El Nuevo Herald, April 25)

See our last post on Honduras and Central America.

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